Great customer service is the lifeline of all business. You could offer discounts, sales, and all sorts of promotions. But you won’t achieve long term profitability or sustainability if you can’t get a few of those customers to come back. This is where customer service comes in. When done correctly, the goal is to bring customers back and send them away happy every time; happy enough to pass positive reviews and feedback to potentially new customers. According to author Peter Blackshaw, a satisfied customer will tell at least three friends while an angry one will shout out to 3,000 people.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) good customer service is not what it used to be; it’s evolved a lot over the years. There was a time when returning customer calls, emails and voicemails promptly was enough. Today, customer expectations have shifted drastically, pushing the bar for service standards even higher. This segment aims to look at what good customer service entails, how you can measure it as well as a few ways to help your business deliver service that surpasses customer expectations.
Modern Definition of Good Customer Service
In our previous article, we described customer experiences as online or offline interactions that customers have with your company including initial contact all the way to the final sale and beyond. You may have the best R&D with an exceptional product to boot, but all this won’t matter if your customer service is unreliable, unhelpful, or just plain hard to get in touch with. People will hear about it, and you will lose customers gradually.
The definition of modern customer service has changed. Customers expect service that is fast, in real time and ‘always on’ so to speak. Statistics show that over 70% of today’s customers expect companies to respond to queries and interact with them in real time. Another element of modern customer service that’s hard to miss is personalization. Customers want services that cater to their specific needs. In fact, over 65% of customers say they switch brands if they feel treated like a number or statistic as opposed to an individual.
In addition to uniquely personalized engagement, today’s range of customers insist on the importance of interconnected processes. If customer retention and loyalty are among your top accountable metrics, you simply can’t underrate the importance of connecting service touch points. Lastly, customers now want proactive service; especially when it comes to offering resolutions before issues even occur. For instance, some companies send delay notifications long before the arrival window to avoid angering customers. 59% of customers expect most companies will soon anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions, especially with all the AI currently in use.
How Do You Measure Customer Service?
In the past when customer service was just limited to the call center, it was viewed as a necessary expense with focus on keeping costs low. But with their pivot to a source of revenue and driver of loyalty, customer service teams are finding new ways of measuring success.
Sure, tried and true KPIs like average handling time and case volume won’t be going away anytime soon. But there are new metrics and performance measures that account for a broader customer experience being tracked. The top metrics for modern service teams include employee experience (75%), Average handle time (70%) and customer satisfaction or net promoter score (80%).
How Businesses Can Improve Customer Service
As customers navigate your stores, will they be able to get a clear understanding of when and how discounts are applied? Can they easily get information on returns and delivery timeframes? If not, then you could be sacrificing your own sales. Research here shows that almost 50% of customers will abandon their transaction if they can’t get a clear and easy answer. Same goes for fine print, no return policies and other important details. These need to be made clear before the purchase to minimize surprises for both parties.
You Can Never be Too Helpful
In today’s age of e-commerce, plenty of companies make the cardinal sin of letting shoppers fend for themselves with the only source of help being self service resources. While today’s buyer might be independent, not everyone is equally tech savvy or always in the mood to carry out light research.
Sometimes, your customers don’t want to be bothered figuring out things; they’d prefer to get a quick and straight answer from someone. According to eConsultancy over 80% of online shoppers require a certain degree of customer support. Whether it’s speaking to support or over an email, most customers prefer human interaction so they can get all their questions in and conclude their purchase on the spot. Make this possible by using things like easy access emails, 24/7 toll free numbers, and live chat which has been proven to reduce abandonment rates.
Trust – Build it and They Will Come (Back)
If your customer support team always answers calls by the first ring, shoots from the hip in matters pertaining pertinent purchase information and is always up for providing personalized experiences, then you’re moving in the right direction in terms of building trust.
Sure, your products and services will initially attract the customers, and maybe even make them come back again with a friend. But the only thing that will consistently entice your customers back is a sense of trust and the knowledge that they will always have a good, obstacle free customer experience all the time. The key is to provide what they want, when they need it and even before they expect it. This sense of truest will no doubt evolve into invaluable customer loyalty.
As we wind up, it’s clear that companies are responsible for defining their own brand promises. Likewise, the quality of their product will go a long way towards ensuring competitive success. However, it’s time we realized just how much is at stake when it comes to the delivery of good customer service. It’s only by providing great customer experiences that your business can build a broad, loyal and happy client base. You can find out more ways to deliver good customer service in our article here.
Would you like to know your customers needs, expectations and behavior patterns? Veloxy inbox and Veloxy Mobile can help you make the most out of Salesforce by helping you keep track of your customers’ activities and get forecasts that will help improve the overall experience of your services.