Everyone uses customer service. Although it’s easy to be upset with the bad customer service, getting good customer service isn’t as easy as you think.
“Average hold time is XX minutes…please hold, your call is important to us.”
“We’re experiencing high volumes of customer inquiries. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.”
We’ve all been there. Just when we need them the most, good customer service seems be missing, absent, nowhere to be seen. We’ve all contacted organizations for customer service only to receive a robotic, sterile, generic voice responding with the usual “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do”.
How Customer Service Works
No business sets out to do this to their customers, so why does it happen. Good customer service is hard to manage. It seems easy to throw a bunch of people in a room and say “serve customers!”, then stand back and expect magical customer relationships to develop. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Good customer service beings with caring, compassion, and a willingness to serve
From our earliest days, we’re all taught manners. Taught to be kind. Taught to be nice. Taught to be good. Some of the simplest lessons I teach my kids are the foundation of what makes up good customer service. The technologies, tools, and metrics for the customer service call center are important. But metrics don’t convert customers. Technology can’t deliver good customer service, people do.
Make the most of each customer service interaction
Customers use their own hard earned money to pay you for products and services. Or sometimes it’s their company’s money (which they are responsible for by the way). Customers expect you to stand by what you offer in return. Quality, responsiveness, support. All of them are expected and when customers don’t get them you’re telling customers you don’t care. You might as well be sending an invitation for your customers to try a competitor instead.
Each customer interaction, every customer touch point is an opportunity to impress. It’s an opportunity to show you care. It’s a chance to show customers they really matter. Things will go wrong, life isn’t perfect and business is part of life. When things go wrong, customer service is should be there to rescue the customer relationship. When thing break down, don’t work, or underperform, you have the opportunity to use customer service to set things right. When you do, customers reward you with massive customer loyalty.
85% of customers who quit working with a business say they would have remained if the business had acted differently to prevent them from switching.
85% of customers who quit working with a company because of bad service, reported that they would have stayed if the customer had worked to resolve their concern. The problem is that we’ve set such a bad track record for even trying to resolve customer concerns that only about 25% of customers today even try to get their issue resolved. We can and have to do better, much, much better.
Develop the structure and processes where good customer service can happen
Hiring the right type of people, capable of delivering good customer service is part of it, but it’s not sustainable and isn’t the answer. You have to focus on changing everything about you, your teams, and your entire organization. Top to bottom, bottom to top, and everything in the middle.
Good customer service takes:
- Clear organization vision, mission, and customer-centric focused culture.
- Defined processes, capabilities, and efficiencies built around serving customers.
- Transparency and access to information to make more informed and effective customer decisions leading to results.
- Unified sales, services, marketing, and operations departments that work together to deliver a consistent customer experience.
- Decision-making ability by staff members to immediately resolve the most serious customer issues before they become full blown PR nightmares.
Define good customer service, focus on the keys to good customer service, measure people on providing good customer service.
It’s not an individual effort. But working together with your people, you can have good customer service and deliver the kind of service actions that creates long-term customer loyalty and success.