According to a recent survey regarding the customer experience, 76 percent of customers see customer service as the true test of value. About 70 percent of clients say they do not forgive a bad service experience, leaving a low client forgiveness rate following a negative experience. The high-cost associated with losing a loyal customer is causing companies to realize that optimizing customer service is a critical priority. In order to keep their customer base loyal and happy, companies are investing in opportunities that ensure delivery of a consistently positive customer experience. As a result, these firms are receiving a high, measurable return on their customer service investments.
We have summarized below the four highest priority initiatives that companies are investing in to enhance their customer service experience:
- Meet the Customer Where They Are: The average customer today will interact with the customer service departments of the firms that serve them approximately 65 times a year. They know good customer service from bad with a large sample size. We are beyond the days where a one-customer service phone line will suffice to meet customer needs. Today’s customer service experience is omni-channel. Multiple phone numbers, email addresses, social media, mobile applications and online chat all are possibilities for how customers reach companies for support. Learn which channels are most desired by your customer base and support those channels well. Having too few, overcrowded channels is as unhelpful as too many understaffed channels. Having a self-service option will benefit your team, as many users prefer to resolve their problems on their own, only spending time to reach out to customer service with larger concerns.
- Proactive vs Reactive: In the past, categorized as the norm, customers only reached out when they had an issue. The customer service agent would jump on the concern, work to resolve it and part ways from the customer until the next issue. While this practice may still assist when it comes to one-off issues, it won’t guarantee long-term loyalty from customers. Today, being proactive will garner more long-term support. Follow-up with customers following their purchases and interactions to see how they can further assist. Stay on the customer’s mind, whether through marketing automation or phone calls; for the next time they may need your assistance.
- Customer-Centric: It is so easy for companies to make decisions based on the company’s best interest for next steps. However, in order to move forward with a loyal following, it is imperative to consider what is instead in the customer’s best interest. The customer’s choices should guide your company, as without their continued interest, there would be no profit. At every level of the company, make decisions based on what the customer would most like to see. This will not only help to unify the levels of leadership, but also lessen silos between departments since the common goal will guide all actions. Specifically, with customer service, it is not about finishing an interaction the quickest, but finishing an interaction with a satisfied customer. The goal is loyalty and customer advocacy.
- Invest in Technology: There is no better way to stay organized and better understand your customer than investing in a customer service technology, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM will connect all customer-interacting departments including sales marketing and customer support together. When all your customer data is right in front of you, your customer service team can provide optimal service with their history visible throughout the interactions. When your agents know the customer history, they can better serve the customer and troubleshoot what may not have been attempted in the past. A well-informed agent with the tools in hand for immediate resolution is a more effective customer support. The result will be problems immediately addressed, and appreciate and loyal clients.
Put your best foot forward when interacting with your customers to further grow their loyalty and relationship to your company. As your team considers how to best align with your customer base, look to technology investments and understand customer motives to make purposeful decisions.
About the Author:
TopLine Strategies delivers the complete integration and development of sales, marketing and customer service technologies that enable corporate clientele to improve revenue streams and strengthen customer interactions. Our project management and consulting is designed to achieve timely delivery, 100 percent user adoption of the technologies we implement and deliver measurable returns on investments for our clients.