Feelings have a critical role in the way customers are influenced. And David Freemantle knows about feelings and emotion. Have you noticed how important customer service and customer experience have become to your marketing? Particularly with your ability to influence customers to talk about your business? Feelings are at the heart of this important influencer. And the nextgen customer service rules will only heighten this transition.
How often, as a customer, do you experience WOW customer service … the type that you normally can’t imagine? Average or less customer service seems like the norm in many industries. In some it’s so common that when we provide great service, we yield customers who feel like they’ve won the lottery, if only for a moment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Customer service tips are not rocket science.
Many organizations have big challenges that can be obstacles to providing great customer service. But so do many other companies that find ways to provide the wow attention getter. They choose to overcome their challenges and they take care of their customers very well.
Before we continue, let me ask you a question.
What works best for customer service in your business? We would love to hear what it was. Would you do us a favor and post it in the comments section below? It would be greatly appreciated by us and our readers.
The ultimate goal of all the points I list below is this: eliminate the fluff from your marketing strategy, and focus only on the things that work.
And they make a point to do it consistently.
We often get a questions and comments on customer service tips from clients and people commenting on our blog. Many relate to customer service actions that are reminders of what we already know (but we occasionally forget). These are bid enablers of customer service. They usually won’t create WOW service on their own, but their absence is noted by customers and makes excellent customer service just good or less.
As we work with companies to help them in improving customer service, some things stand out. These are things a lot of small businesses don’t do consistently. Yet if they did they’d find the quality of their customer service would improve and their customer loyalty would increase.
Here are ten things any company can do for improving the customer service they’re providing. I know many companies already do some or all of these things. And for those that do, it shows. They are the organizations people rave about. They are the service superstars.
We all know not every customer request is easy or possible to fulfill. But rather than tell them “no”, try to find other ways to help them get what they want.
Nextgen … THE new marketing
In today’s culture of the customer centered service, a company’s service and customer experience design is the most important marketing asset. This is particularly true in word of mouth marketing, where the goal is to get customers telling others all about you. It is that word of mouth that makes service so valuable.
The lesson here is that a listening strategy focused on customer sentiment should always be on, 24x7x365. It never ends. The important point is to make sure customers can get hold of you when they need to.
And that you can contact them when you need to. And you indeed need to when they are having a problem, venting frustration, or simply call out for help.
As an example, my wife and I recently visited a small restaurant where the owner’s picture was on the wall with a simple statement that if any customers had an issue to please call him directly on his cell (with the cell phone number listed).
Next generation customer service … everyone is a participant
The paradox of customer service is that the lower you go down the business totem pole, the more impactful and critical customer service becomes. In a business, everyone represents the business for the customer. As far as the customer is concerned, these employees represent the only window into or out of the business.
This is why Zappos describes themselves as a service company that happens to sell shoes. It is as simple as that.
Customers not all equal
All customers deserve to be treated well, shown respect, and given appropriate attention and support.
However, that being said different levels of customers deserve different levels of treatment, support, and effort. In other words all customers are not equal and should not be treated as such.
Customer service should not necessarily be any different from ‘serving customers’. Solving problems is always important, but helping customers improve their experience or lives is just as compelling.
Being more proactive and productive with time spent with customers in the name of the game. Be more specific, suggesting ideas of value from which you and your customers will benefit.
Learn to keep your thoughts from a customer’s perspective and always anticipate what could happen next. Anticipating beats reacting every time doesn’t it?
Nextgen … feedback loop utilization
Feedback loops need to be explicitly defined, active, direct, and effective at improving your service. When it is done well it highlights a business that desires to be truly in touch with its customer base.
Real time? Maybe just near time. But response time is critical for today’s ever engaged employee. How are you measuring up? Hopefully you are keeping track of results in this area.
Top notch memory
Service is not just a campaign, it is a major commitment. And of course this commitment is growing in importance every day. This commitment is the foundation for everything related to customers and customer trust. Without the trust we build, a business can’t hope to be successful.
We need to visibly demonstrate customer commitments in practice and action. Customers have long memories. We need to show them we do too.
Closed communication loop
An active and engaged closed communications loop is built on an active listening program. This listening is essential to identify service opportunities, spot problems before they are problems. This creates the ability to surprise and delight consumers by making an unexpected response.
What your customer perceives about your company is what determines whether they will stay with you. And their perception is built one contact at a time. Even one bad experience can taint their perception of you. So make sure every contact they have is a great one. Create customer evangelists by caring about your customers and showing it with everything you do.
Need some help in building better customer service for your customers? Have you noticed the growing importance from customer service you provide, especially for your marketing? Creative ideas to help enhance your word of mouth marketing?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your customer service improvement and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas for your service to customers.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on customer service from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:
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