Treat others how you’d want to be treated. Yes, it’s the golden rule we all learned as children, but it’s also the basic premise of great customer service.
And customer service is key to growing your business: Research reported by Harvard Business Review found that customers who had the best experiences with a company spent 140% more than those who had the worst experiences. HBR also found that great customer service leads to reduced business costs because happy customers were less likely to return items or file complaints.
But quantifying good customer service can be difficult. What is it that customers are looking for when it comes to customer experience, especially when it comes to online and phone transactions? If you’re looking to improve your customer experience, start by evaluating a few important areas:
Be fast and convenient.
The people you serve are busy. They don’t want to spend time sifting through levels of service and explaining their problem over and over again. They want to hit one contact point and get their problem solved.
Offer omnichannel options.
Not everyone will approach your company the same way, so you need to provide customers with a variety of ways to interact with you. However, each one of those contact points needs to give customers the same great experience and the same consistent message.
Don’t underestimate the importance of an omnichannel presence. According to a report by Aberdeen, strong omni-channel support resulted in 89% customer retention and a 9.5% year-over-year increase in revenues.
Robert Wollan, senior managing director of Advanced Customer Strategy for Accenture Strategy points out:
“Companies wrongly assume that their digital-only customers are their most profitable, and that customer service is a cost. Consequently, they over-invest in digital technologies and channels and lose their most profitable customers – multi-channel customers – who want experiences that cover both digital and traditional channels.”
Personalize your interactions.
Although more and more interactions with customers are automated, it doesn’t mean they have to be impersonal. Find ways to personalize even automated replies—like using technology that allows for a customer’s name to be used, for example.
Survey platform provider Retently makes one suggestion:
“Don’t fall into the trap of using plain auto-replies. Make them more interesting and engaging by adding some personality to the mix. Instead of having the subject line be, ‘We received your support request,’ make it more friendly, like ‘Hi – thanks for getting in touch. We’re on it.’
Offer self-help options.
More and more customers are interested in just getting things done themselves, at the time they want to do it. Try to set up processes that allow customers to serve themselves 24/7.
A Zendesk survey found that 53% of survey respondents thought, “it is important for them to resolve their own product/service problems rather than rely on customer service representatives.”
Don’t lose the human touch.
While many tasks can be done in a self-serve capacity, some issues require human contact.
“Companies have lost sight of the importance of human interaction and often make it too difficult for consumers to get the right level of help and service that they need,” says Accenture’s Wollan.
Make sure those human interactions are the best reflection of your company’s values. Provide your customer service representatives with the resources and freedom they need to be able to solve the customer’s problem without having to hand them over to someone else.
Leverage technology to provide the best possible experience.
The best customer service provides both personal and efficient service, and the latest customer service technology can help you provide both. A well-developed customer service system will provide your CSRs with access to other departments and the information they need to solve problems quickly, no matter if the contact point is via phone, email, text or website. That access will enable agents to get the information they need to solve the customer’s problem correctly the first time—to more easily hit those FCR goals. And that same technology can provide a seamless experience from the customer’s point of view.
As a Premier Partner of ServiceNow, we love the platform to support your customer service needs. The ServiceNow customer service management system provides you with the ability to create self-service options, connects customer service reps with other departments, and lets you analyze trends and monitor products and services to identify issues before they become problems.
ServiceNow also offers the capability to create custom apps, which means your CSM system can be tailored to how you do business.
It all comes back to the Golden Rule.
In the end, though, it all boils down to how you treat your customers. Multiple contact points, personalized service and self-help options mean nothing if your customers don’t feel valued. No amount of technology can replace treating your customers like you would want to be treated.
Sometimes the simplest solution is still the best one.
Travis Goodsell is director of solutions delivery and ServiceNow expert at Veracity Consulting, a tech consulting team of trusted advisors, ready to deliver unique solutions to the toughest business challenges of commercial and federal clients across the U.S. Learn more at VeracityIT.com, and share your thoughts on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter @engageveracity.