Last updated: Better than good: Making customer service the best-ever experience

Better than good: Making customer service the best-ever experience

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Customer service is central to a brand’s promise to its customers: we’ll be there when you need us. Fulfilling this promise is what changes an experience from good to great, and the service process is the machinery that makes this happen.

It’s the gateway to increasing customer loyalty, as well as an opportunity to take your relationship with a customer from transactional to top notch. Yet, too often, this doesn’t happen.

How many times have you called customer service and been asked to wait a minute because “the system’s a bit slow today”? The wait is actually the agent is desperately switching between applications to find the right information. The system isn’t slow; it’s just not very good.

It’s a classic example of a customer service operation ill-equipped to give customers a great experience. If the agent struggles to find the most basic information, how are they going to solve the problem?

When they contact an organization, customers want help fast. It’s in this moment that a brand can take the customer’s experience from good to memorable – for all the right reasons.

Pleasant surprises = happy customers 

If you want to make people happy, you need to appeal to their emotions. A customer calling service may well be angry, disappointed, or confused. The brand’s job is to turn a negative into a positive by solving their problem.

If they’re fed up and annoyed because your product has let them down, make it right. And make them happy.

Service is often the first point of human contact between a customer and a brand. We research and buy online, and delivery is carried out by a third party. It’s usually only when the customer needs help that they’re going to speak to a human.

Use that human contact to surprise a customer with a wholly positive experience. If that first point of contact is always aimed at solving the problem, you’re elevating the experience from “we sell you things” to “we help make your life easier.”

Customer service is a series of opportunities to improve your relationship with customers. It’s a chance to convert a customer with a problem to a customer who tells everyone what a great experience they had. If they buy something and it works, that’s good. If they buy something, it breaks and the company fixes it quickly with no inconvenience to them, that’s great.

A good example is Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe BV. By implementing a cloud-based service management solution with an integrated knowledge base, Goodyear service agents can resolve service tickets 10% faster through real-time monitoring of response-handling and issue resolution. Also, with automated logging and sending of emails, they ensure that 100% of customer inquiries receive a response within 24 hours.

The self-service option for problem solving 

Unless they absolutely must, no one wants to call customer service. Especially if it’s for a problem with a simple fix, like a missing manual. You want to download a copy, not call a number. For small issues with quick fixes, people want the autonomy to solve on their own.

A customer’s No. 1 priority is to get the issue solved. How it gets solved is a means to an end, and if that’s self-service, then that’s what organizations need to provide.

Brands often see their relationship with customers through the lens of the customer journey, when they should be looking at it from a service perspective. Customers want self-service, so give it to them. Make it easier for them to solve problems, not harder, and they’ll appreciate it.

For instance, Moen, one of North America’s leading faucet brands, was able to move away from cumbersome paper-based processes by digitizing its customer service function, allowing the team to improve and speed call handling while adding a convenient self-service digital knowledge base to help customers help themselves.

Designed for the customer, not the brand

It’s amazing just how many organizations’ service operations aren’t built around the concept of how to help the customer, how they want to interact, and what’s easiest for them. Instead, they’re built around the organization’s internal structures and processes, which are rarely conducive to a smooth, hassle-free experience for the customer.

Take interactive voice response (IVR) systems, for example. Press one for accounts, two for finance, three for sales and so on may be a logical presentation of how the company is structured, but it’s not much use to a customer looking for advice on how to set up their new lawnmower. Customers won’t necessarily know who they need to speak to. They just want to speak to someone.

You’re effectively exposing your inner workings to the customer, who doesn’t want to know about them. Too often these systems are built to reflect what the company looks like on the inside, not how a customer needs to approach it from the outside.

Yet IVR can be extremely useful: banks use them to add security by calling a customer to verify a transaction, making a complex security procedure quick and easy. Deploy the technology to help the customer, not the organization.

Service needs to be at the heart of the business

New brands and businesses get it, and they’ll develop service processes from the customer’s point of view, not theirs. It’s obviously harder for established organizations to change multiple legacy systems across different lines of business, with the added complication of different teams working in silos.

Customers expect customer service to work for them, not the brand. They engage with your organization because it offers a product or service they want, but that isn’t the only value you can provide. The rise of recurring revenue streams in every industry, with its associated prolonged customer/brand contact, has moved service from its position as the department that deals with cross customers to a central pillar of the business.

It secures the next revenue stream and delivers on the brand promise because memorable, stand-out service is the differentiator between an average experience and a great one.

The future of sales and service, today.
(So you can keep your customers tomorrow.)
Learn more HERE.

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