The last few years have presented businesses with many challenges to overcome. It is not surprising then that delivering quality customer service has been the main focus for companies worldwide.
After all, ensuring long-term success depends on a company's ability to retain and develop a loyal customer base. This is what can make all the difference between your business and competitors.
So, how do you go about delivering excellent customer service? You need to learn how to gain the trust of your customers and re-think how you view customer service. The traditional mentality is to view it as a cost center. In reality, though, you should look at your customer service department as an opportunity center.
69% of Americans would recommend a company to others if they’ve experienced a great service. Therefore, it does pay to invest in your customer service delivery to make sure it is up to the standards customers expect.
For this reason, we wanted to cover this topic in our latest article. We wanted to structure it as a guide to our suggestion of five customer service principles you should abide by.
What Is Customer Service and Why Is It Still Needed?
We wanted to start our guide into the world of customer service with a clear-cut definition and explain why it is still important to give it the attention it deserves.
You could sum up customer service as an ensemble of all customer interactions between a customer support team and your existing and potential consumers. Most companies regard it as a critical factor in achieving customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat business.
Even with all the technological advancements of today, from automated self-service options to detailed FAQs, businesses still view one-on-one customer interaction as essential in terms of gaining a competitive advantage.
Take Amazon for example. This retail giant has done everything possible to automate its vast and complex operation. You might say that automation is fundamental if you need to deliver over 4.2 billion packages to customers.
Despite all this, Amazon still has its 24 hours customer service by phone in addition to its online and live chat services. Amazon’s mindset, therefore, strengthens the idea that even though companies want and need efficiency in terms of their operations, more often than not, a good customer service contact can be the deciding factor between losing or retaining a customer.
With the basics covered, let’s switch gears and have a look at what we think are key customer service principles a company should pay attention to.
The first concept in our principles of service guide is all about consistency. The message here is simple yet crucially important — a good customer service experience on one channel is not enough. Customers expect consistent service delivery across all the channels your company might have. From inbound and outbound calls to product research and check-out experience. Consistency is the name of the game here.
Up to 73% of customers are more than happy to consider switching brands if they do not receive a consistent experience across different channels. Therefore, it does pay to keep an eye out for this if you want to have great customer service.
The most common factors affecting consistency are:
Outbound and inbound customer interaction strategies are not aligned with the same objectives.
No clear processes when it comes to a customer’s history with a business.
Improper management of customer inquiries no matter the channel used.
Collabo XD’s Solution to Customer Service Consistency
We believe that an easy and insightful way to achieve consistency across the board is to actually get into your customers’ shoes and look at your operation from their point of view.
By doing so, you will get to experience firsthand how your company approaches a customer. Once you have these insights, it will much easier to design your customer service strategy to account for all your customers’ pain points.
To help you fully understand the journey of your customers through your business, we have designed comprehensive journey mapping training workshops. These are geared toward helping anyone no matter their level master journey mapping.
We also tailor the duration of these workshops according to your requirements. They can be structured in either half day, one day, or two days of training.
The next stop in our customer service principles guide is all about being proactive when it comes to solving customers’ issues. What does being proactive actually mean?
Well, it means to have your customer service delivery so in tune with the needs of your customers that you actually predict future pain points. Proactive customer service can be informing customers about new products or services that you think they’d like, informing them about potential defects to your products, or rewarding them with an unasked-for loyalty bonus.
It goes without saying that the main benefit of taking a proactive stance when it comes to your service delivery is that you get to meet future customer expectations before they even realize they have them. It is not surprising then that 68% of customers view proactive companies more favorably.
It is in our nature not to want to ask for help from someone. Our first instinct is to try and sort out the issue on our own. In circumstances when we do need to ask for help, we do so hesitantly and more often than not we feel that we no longer have control over the situation.
This rings true for your customers as well. For this reason, it is recommended to include empowerment as part of your customer experience. Feeling that they have some control over the way a problem is handled and are kept in the loop will make the entire journey more enjoyable. It is all about customer autonomy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. It is an easy way to give your customers a sense of power. They’ll appreciate that you do not shy away from a potentially bad review and shows that you are accountable for your actions.
Moreover, being transparent and accessible are easy ways to earn some empowerment brownie points. In general, customers like to be able to easily contact and find out everything about a company before they make even one action.
Effective Customer Service Delivery Is a Team Effort
In the competitive business world of today, being able to deliver customer service that delights and retains customers is definitely a team effort.
The whole business, not just the customer service department, needs to get behind the strategy for customer service delivery. Everyone in a company should understand the basics of the organization’s customer service mantra.
If you ask successful startups how they’ve ensured customer success, they would all say that it is down to everyone in the business being on the frontlines at least once. By doing so, it is much easier to make sure teams are aligned around customers and maintain service levels when things get busy.
Another approach to get everyone on board is to take part in one of our Design Thinking Workshops. This concept has been gaining momentum over the years with companies like Apple, Google, and GE all using the design thinking approach to problem-solving.
What sets it apart from other techniques is its human-centered design. We have created half-day or full-day training workshops aimed at teaching everything there is to know about this innovative and creative problem-solving approach.
The Power of Empathy
What is the main reason customers use a company’s customer service line anyway? More often than not is to solve a problem they have. This can happen at any point of a customer lifecycle.
The key here is to show customers that their reason for contacting a customer service department is important and that the main focus is finding a solution to their problem. In other words, show empathy and listen closely to what customers have to say.
If you place emotions aside and really dig deep at the root of the problem, chances are most customers will respond positively and leave the conversation feeling like they’ve been understood and like they’ve received good service.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about what we think are core customer service principles companies should follow.
What we talked about is not rocket science. These are straightforward concepts but often forgotten. If you implement them in your company culture, customers will more than likely thank you for it and reward you through great customer feedback.
Our Journey Mapping Training and Design Thinking Workshops can provide you with the best start to your customer service re-design. These workshops are tailor-made to suit your needs and help you get to the bottom of your customers’ pain points.
If you’d like to see these processes in action, you can have a look at the work we carried out for IUPUI (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis). Find out all about how we helped create a campus more in tune with the needs of its students.
Get in touch with us today and let’s see how we can help you shake things up when it comes to your customer service.