The world of consumerism is changing. Find out what you can do to combat the challenges associated with customer service in April’s X5 CROPS Report.
This month’s feature article is: The Customer Service Evolution (listed below).
A major aspect of managing risk is ensuring you are delivering on your promises. Are you monitoring your quality of customer service through satisfaction surveys? An overall awareness about your service quality will help ensure you are effectively managing company risk and setting your business up for success.
Customer service roadblocks arise when your service delivery does not coincide with your customers’ expectations. If an issue arises, who is responsible? Are all incidents treated equally? Developing processes to effectively manage customer experiences will ensure you are capable of operating efficiently and will reduce customer mismanagement.
Ensuring your employees are capable of effectively delivering your company’s goods or services is a must. Do employees have the proper skills and abilities to fulfill their job requirements? Have they received customer service training or have proficient competencies such as communication, listening and conflict management? Investing in your key personnel will help you effectively interact and engage with your current or prospective clients.
To state the obvious: sales do not exist without customers. Fulfilling (or exceeding) customer expectations is a sure-fire way to procure repeat business and referrals. Is customer service built into your sales model? Using positive customer experiences to generate new business is an effective company growth tool.
Feature Article: The Customer Service Evolution.
The world of consumerism has changed. Gone are the days of small mom and pop shops. Today we have big box retailers, multinationals, self-service machines and call centres. Our changing marketplace has led to a dramatic decrease in the quality of customer service we experience.
I recently watched a CBC Doc Zone episode titled ‘Customer (Dis)Service’ that shed light on the rapidly evolving world of customer service. As I watched the show, I reflected on numerous customer service experiences I’ve had – the good, the bad and even ugly. As a consumer, it all boiled down to my relationship with those companies. Did they see me as a valued customer or just a dollar sign?
It is easier said than done to create a good (or even great) customer service experience. Taking customers for granted is one of the biggest mistakes a business can make. The connection that is established with the customer is the most important relationship for any business. Without your customers you are nothing. Bottom line. Here are a few elements that if executed can help you put your customers first!
1. First Impressions are Key. It is said that people make judgments about others in less than 3 seconds. 3 Seconds! Talk about tight timelines. It is important that whoever greets and interacts with your customers first is the right person. How you introduce your business to your potential client is critical. What image are you portraying? What information are you sharing? Your business’ first impression, whether accurate or not, could make or break your company’s success.
2. Create a Connection. People are connectors. We like to build relationships with other people. As a business, it is vital that you establish a connection with your customers from the beginning. This is when acknowledgement means the most. Are you listening to your clients? Do you understand them? Are you appreciating them? Create the personalized customer service experience people are looking for and you will have fostered an honest connection people will want to talk about.
3. Admit to Your Mistakes. The best way to win over your customers is to respond efficiently and effectively to a problem or complaint. It is cliché to say the customer is always right, but in some ways that popular phrase rings true. Be mindful and aware of your customer engagements and work to mitigate issues before it is too late. Remedying issues in a hassle-free manner will set you apart in the marketplace.
4. Understand Consumer Power. The Internet and social media have changed the way consumer experiences are shared. Consumers now have the power to ‘fight back’ with viral communication when they encounter bad customer service. Do not fall victim to corporate ignorance or apathy. Consumers are holding businesses accountable for their actions (or inactions) and bad news travels fast! Be proactive and give them positive experiences to share.
5. Exceed their Expectations. Here’s a challenge for you: think of your best customer service experience. What did that person/company do? How did they make you feel? I’m going to hazard a few guesses: Your expectations were probably exceeded. They probably went out of their way to make you feel special, welcomed, and appreciated. You were confident about your purchase without a hint of buyer’s remorse. What did this overall experience create? Loyalty. Exceeding expectations leads to repeat business, positive word of mouth and customers for life. Making your customers feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ on the inside will keep them coming back.
Be mindful of the customer service evolution. Help your customers be confident in their purchasing decisions and in your company’s abilities. Take care of your customers and make customer service your competitive advantage.
Here’s to your business success!!
X5 recently added “Become a Customer Service Star” to our workshop portfolio. Ask us for more details and how this may be helpful in your workplace!