Is Yours Really Awesome?
How do you deliver an incredibly awesome customer experience and know it’s received by your clients as such? This is a question I ask myself as a consultant. It leads to additional questions.
Am I satisfied with being a vendor who does what many others do—competitive on price yet relationally irrelevant?
If yes is your response, “You’re in a race to the bottom,” says Anthony Carrano of ZFactor Group. 1 If your answer is, “No,” then the next question lays the foundation for moving up the continuum from being a mere vendor to becoming an irreplaceable asset.
What must I understand about my customer’s perception of value?
Many support calls to the contrary, your customers don’t necessarily feel valued when they’re met with a canned, “I’m so sorry to hear that,” reply. While some things are common to all customer service, you can’t assume one answer serves all.
Your customer’s perception of what superior customer service looks like is best understood when you take the time to know your customer. When you provide B2B services, customer service expectations may contrast significantly with B2C customer service. For example, the value of your customer service could be measured by a bank or retailer by how rapidly you identify why transactions are dropping, or by how rarely support calls are needed.
For many businesses, the speed with which you can resolve their issues is mission critical. Your excellent customer service could be your ability to implement a plan that blocks the onset of more mission crippling events than your competitor. You raise the bar for every business providing the same service.
A consumer may be far more concerned with how you handle returns or repairs.
Both customers may evaluate your customer service negatively if the time to reach a person is excessive or you can’t solve their problem during their first call.
How Do I Lay the Foundation for Awesome Customer Service?
Consider these 10 leading reasons customers complain:
- You didn’t keep promises—late delivery, misrepresentation of quality, etc.
- It’s difficult to reach a real person either by phone or chat.
- The person customers finally reach has to transfer them to someone else.
- They are treated rudely.
- They aren’t listened to.
- Their issue isn’t resolved.
Laying out a plan to prevent these problems is foundational. Then you are ready to ask the next question.
How do I measure my customer service accurately?
If there’s a gap between what you believe is awesome customer service and customer perception, you want to identify it and put the remedy into action quickly.
Some of the best ways to measure how you are doing are actually relatively simple.
- Survey your customers. Ask customers to participate in post-support surveys. Invite their input through email. Let them know you’ll be calling them to follow up on how well the support went.
- Capture data from all your customer feedback channels—phone support, email, social media, text, chat sessions. This means letting customers know you record calls. It includes measuring time from contact to connection. It means reading or listening. It could include analytics tools.
- Categorize interactions by area of business affected. For example, some feedback may give insights into customer attrition, while other pieces of captured information may reveal where you’re failing to meet service goals.
What do I do with the information I gather?
Use captured data to improve your product or service! Your customers are the ones who use your products. They’re the ones best qualified to tell you how well they work or where you could make improvements. Those phone calls, emails and chat sessions are filled with important information—not just customer service insights but overall customer experience insights.
Also use your captured data to improve training. Uncover areas where interactions could be improved by listening to recorded calls, or reading chat transcripts and emails. Individualize training so each support member becomes a stronger asset to the company.
Invest in developing expertise. Really awesome customer service springs from a foundation of truly understanding your product or service and your customer. Using this knowledge to craft an experience for your customer that’s targeted and feels personal is an investment toward achieving recognition for incredibly awesome customer service.
Read 5 Ways to Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do by Paul Schoemaker. This article published on Inc.com provides additional insights into how to better meet your customer’s needs.