Have you ever thought about the difference between good customer service and excellent customer service? Most of us would agree that there is a difference, but does it really matter? According to a recent survey cited on customerthink.com, 86% of buyers said they will pay more for a better customer service experience. And 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
Providing good service will allow an organization to survive. But a commitment to excellent customer service goes beyond surviving – to building customer loyalty to create a healthy, thriving future.
True excellence is marked by an excellent customer experience (CX). The focus on providing excellent customer service encapsulates a simple, three-prong model.
Be Prepared. Being ready to serve the customer is the very foundation for excellence. If buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, then it behooves organizations to spend some time getting to know their customers…what they value and what influences them, and ultimately, being proactive in anticipating their needs and problems.
In his book, Five Most Important Questions, Peter Drucker reminds us that our customers are never static. They are constantly changing, as well as their needs, wants, and expectations. Do the research and use customer analytics that make sense, not just satisfaction scores which only show customer satisfaction from the past.
Be Passionate. Being passionate encompasses taking the expertise (knowledge, skills, and abilities) of individuals in the organization and using it to create a shared-learning organization. It is an organization in which customer service representatives (CSR’s) become experts, knowing their products and services, and how to do the ordinary, extraordinarily well.
In one study focusing on customer service loyalty, Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that 24% of repeat customer complaints stemmed from an emotional disconnect between the customer and the CSR. Specifically, this means the customer did not trust the answer given to them and/or they thought that the CSR was hiding something.
In order to meet customers’ constantly changing expectations and to provide an excellent CX, our representatives must be armed with interpersonal skills, training and a comprehensive knowledge which will allow them to respond more accurately and articulately, and to quickly find better solutions. Competence increases the customer’s confidence in the CSR and in the organization.
Be the Hero. Being the hero stems from the philosophy that every customer desires and deserves to be treated with respect and care. Unfortunately, many organization miss the mark with this one! As representatives of an organization, we have the opportunity to make life better, easier, more convenient, and/or to create value in our customers’ lives through the products, services, and exchanges we offer.
According to the HBR article, the number one most important factor in customer loyalty is reducing customer effort. Long wait times, cumbersome paperwork, having to make repeated calls to solve a problem, or having to use multiple channels to get information are all frustrating to a customer. Organizations need to remove obstacles and get rid of things that make it hard for customers.
Being the hero not only involves removing obstacles but also taking every opportunity to add good stuff to the CX. Customers want quick, convenient transactions and products that are true to what is claimed. They want trustworthy representatives who can engage competently and respectfully whenever needed. The success of the CX is tied to the emotions of the experience. Help customers to feel important and valued, and let them know you care and appreciate their business. In doing so, they will walk away wanting to come back for more.
Dixon, Matthew, Karen Freeman, and Nicolas Toman. Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers, Harvard Business Review
Drucker, Peter. Five Most Important Questions: Enduring Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, Wiley.
Jaiswal, Vivek. 8 Customer Experience Myths Busted, customerthink.com.