Creating an Exceptional Customer Service ExperiencePosted: 08/10/2015 12:00am
In 1909 Harry Gordon Selfridge coined the phrase “the customer is always right” and from that point on most of us have had that mantra drilled into our heads at various stages of our careers. While that message remains relevant in many situations today, it has evolved considerably to now include a range of services that extend beyond the original one-on-one customer support model. Customer support is no longer confined to direct contact with your customer; it has expanded to include a more personalized service and has additionally spread to include an online presence as well.
In the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report it was found that 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. With the economy being in such a poor state, this means that providing a positive customer service experience is even more crucial to keeping your customers engaged and your bottom line from being negatively impacted.
Types of Support
While it is slightly outdated to still go into a store front for customer service, it is not completely uncommon. Traditional retail companies such as Nordstrom hold outstanding customer service as one of their primary success criteria and pride themselves on their commitment to creating a world class in-store experience for customers. Generally though, most consumers favor online or phone/email sources of for support purely out of convenience. However, even the in-store customer service has adapted to this inefficiency and now certain companies will come to you. GeekSquad is a very obvious example of this. Their service platform extends to coming to your home or office to resolve your technical issues. This frees up consumer time by eliminating the need to travel half way across the city to have your computer looked at. By providing alternative solutions to your customer (that fits their schedules and needs) your company can expect higher customer service ratings and positive results if done correctly.
(Mostly) gone are the days when you have to wait in a queue for minutes or even hours to speak with an agent only to have them transfer you to the ‘correct department’ to start the process over again; 56% of respondents in a study done by Econsultancy, state that a key element of a great online customer experience is ‘getting my issue resolved in a single interaction’. In addition, in the last year, 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration because they could not talk to a real person (American Express Survey, 2011). So what is an easy solution? Eliminate unnecessary barriers between you and your customers. This has also led to a new type of phone service. Several companies are adopting a call back service that provides customers with the option to receive a phone call back when their wait in the queue is up. This reduces the time and frustration spent waiting for a resolution and adds to the customer experience.
If done properly, email can also be an efficient and effective tool for resolving customer support issues. For example, when a customer calls or emails in to the Cortex Support Desk they are given a Case Number to reference should their issue need to be escalated and cannot be handled immediately. By providing a means of tracking the support issue, you give the customer control of their problem. They’re no longer at the mercy of an automated response system that doesn’t provide an acceptable resolution. However, it is still up to your support staff to deliver a timely response with full and accurate information. This is the most critical factor of an email response system.
The 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer showed that consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences, and this number increases as you factor in the speed and expanse of the internet, social media sites, etc. This is particularly evident on travel sites. Websites such as Trip Advisor, Oyster, and Virtual Tourist (along with hundreds of independent travel blogs) provide a wealth of information to consumers that your business can’t necessarily control. However, a lot of these sites do provide a means of communication back to the customer (in the form of replies to comments, email response, etc.). The ability to provide a tailored response to your customers can mean the difference of a repeat customer or not. Responding to customer concerns or complaints as soon as possible can show your consumer how much their business means to you.
The development of the Live Chat tool has even further changed the customer support landscape. 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase (Econsultancy Blog). By providing upfront accessibility to your support team, the potential for consumers to buy your product online (and even have simple questions answered) increases exponentially, however a quick and positive experience is key.
Proactive Customer Service
Instead of using a reactionary approach, provide the customers with as much information or support tools as you can upfront. Cortex provides webinars and various other training resources to customers to encourage self-learning. It’s also helpful for companies to remember common questions and have the solutions to these questions posted in a high traffic area. As long as this information is easily accessible to your customers, calls or emails into your support staff could be reduced.
Here are a few facts to remember when building your customer support strategy:
- Build a strategy that puts customer experience first. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey).
- By creating a positive experience your business can increase customer retention and build positive brand association/loyalty. A 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of the company. (Bain & Co).
- Listen to repeat issues and be proactive in resolving those issues. “When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.”- Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business
It’s inevitable for customers to have more questions or require assistance during their lifecycle with your company. Your best strategy for creating a repeat customer is to provide the best and most positive experience you can. Using as many channels as you can to monitor and mold a positive customer experience can turn your customers into recurring revenue.