Active listening in customer dialogue – Shut up and listen … until it hurts
20. September 2018
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Customer Service – excellence in communication as important pillar of success in business

Customer service, is critical for your business, in today’s time. You would ask why and is it more important than the marketing of your business? The answer is, it is as important, as businesses spread and flywheel through the word-of-mouth, and if a business doesn’t give importance to its customers and offers terrible customer service, it is highly likely to lose the customer base that it acquired at the beginning of the startup process. It is as important as customer acquisition, and you’d probably need fewer resources and funds allocation for remarkable customer service.

All you need is a well-trained team of individuals; customer representatives that understand the core and ideology of your business and are capable of providing best solutions to your customers.

Customer Service Communication - Current Trend News from Gartner

According to this press release, Gartner says that by 2020 25 % of Customer Service Operations will use virtual customer service assistants, from less than 2% back in 2017.

Where do businesses go wrong when providing customer service?

Businesses often do not take into account the importance of customer service, and how it is the main area of direct connection between the customers and your business. Even if you acquired customers with great growth hacking and performance marketing techniques, you’d need to retain your customers, win their trust, they should feel your business is accessible and understand their problems, and you are ready to help. If they feel your team is distant, not understanding their needs, and not giving adequate answers to product queries, they’d move to the next company and next product.

It is highly important to respect your customers and earn a reputation, and you’d get it back with tremendous appreciation and new customers, recommended by your happy customers. Customer retention is what makes your business fly high, so if you’re not able to master that, there is no future for your business. Businesses also go wrong when they are trying to project an image they are not, for example, you can never win an argument with a customer, the customer is always right, and it is very important to respond to them politely, rather being argumentative, and defending the failure of your services.

It is very important for your customer service representatives to understand that they don’t need to prove anything or win an argument, rather be accommodating towards the customers. Another issue new companies have, which is not replying back to customer queries inadequate time, either have a small team or highly incompetent team, or the business hasn’t invested at all in customer service. If you have nothing to tell your customers, they won’t ask. Every customer is different, lend an ear and hear them out. It is no surprise that many businesses have lost revenues due to poor customer service. An estimate shows that in 2018 alone, businesses have lost up to $75 Billion due to poor customer service.

This is quite eye-opening, as the times are changing, customers are becoming more interactive and want answers quickly, and solutions immediately. Often when the customer service quality is too high, customers are willing to pay a high price for the same product/ service. 67% of customers have become “switchers”, who would switch any company due to poor customer service.

Often customers complain about the following aspects:

  • Customers don’t like the attitude or behavior of the customer service department and don’t feel appreciated or respected enough.
  • Customers are given answers by a robotic help chat, and they are unable to speak to a real person representing the company.
  • The customer service is unaware of or have zero knowledge regarding information on all company products.
  • Customers have to access multiple numbers and are hung up for longer periods, and have to wait for an answer.
  • There is no reply from the customer service email or text channel for more than 24 hours.

What are the customer service best practices in 2019?

As the dynamics are changing, people don’t want an automated or robotic answer to their queries, rather they are looking for understanding and an emotional response from the customer service rep. 86% of customers suggest that they would do business again with the same company if they feel a connection with the customer service agent. Therefore, it writes off any type of service that is cold, rude or unaware. This also applies to the staff you have at your retail store or any other shop, if the staff is disinterested, lazy and rude, no one would like to come back to that store, again.

Here you find the most important customer service best practices:

  • Businesses have to be customer oriented; an increase in customer retention to 5% increases profits up to 25%. Responding to customers quickly, in a timely manner and with the adequate response is important.
  • The one who wins the satisfaction and trust of a customer wins the game; never refuse, deny or say “No” to your customer. And don’t try to win an argument, as previously stated.
  • A customer service hack is to always call back and provide immediate assistance to an unhappy customer, and bring all your resources on board to salvage the situation.
  • If your customer is expecting a callback or reply to an email, reply to them in a timely fashion, with an adequate response. Give a head up, and assure them that you are working on their problem.
  • Customer service isn’t one size fits all, customers have a lot of awareness and intelligence these days - don’t give them copy-pasted replies.
  • Be best at communication, there is no purpose of a customer representative if he/she can’t speak the language of your customers, fluently.
  • The best customer service practice would be honoring your customers, and making them feel special and taken care of.
  • Customer service team should be well-informed and updated on all the product changes and promotions.

Customer Service Facts and Figures you should be aware of

There are quite some statistics that prove the importance of good customer service.

Valuing time

According to Forrester, the majority (two out of three) of adults sense that valuing their time is most important. Here a business can do a lot to provide them with good customer experience.

Machine vs Human

According to Harris Interactive, 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. That means, if you offer some sort of live service (e.g., chat or phone), it’s important to get customers to a live person in less than two minutes. Otherwise, it will create frustration that can lead to a seriously unhappy customer.

What can businesses learn from customer service best practices?

Businesses have to emphasize on customer service and allocate funds on hiring and training the customer service team; the best customer service practice could be being patient and listening to the customers. We have mentioned earlier, all successful businesses are customer service oriented. Bigger corporations have aced their customer service technique to another level. In a recent survey, Amazon was number one in customer service in the UK, retail store John Lewis ranked number one in best customer representative ethics. Amazon has a rank of number 4th in American customer service index ACSI, and it shows a customer satisfaction of 84%.

Amazon previously scored a 90% in ACSI few years back, which is the largest score produced by any firm. Their customer service ethics revolve around satisfaction of the customers, efficient delivery, and great value of services. New and emerging businesses can learn a lot from Amazon’s customer oriented business model. There are bigger companies, who are not doing it right, telecommunication companies, like Sprint and T-Mobile are doing very well in customer satisfaction score, but AT&T isn’t doing, so well. T-Mobile’s CEO exclaims it’s all due to listening to the customers, their problems, and providing them with the best coverage and rates.

Businesses should learn that through customer service, you are building a brand and creating awareness and trust, retaining customers, as noted above, is very important. When your customers are happy, they refer other customers, this was monumental in Lyft’s and Dropbox’s success. 77% of customers are likely to share good experiences with their friends and colleagues. Word-of-mouth is the cheapest and most effective type of advertising. Customer lifetime value is highly likely to increase with good customer service. The customer insights and interactions should be taken seriously, and used to improve the brand.

Tech giant, Google has a great customer service ranking; in 2015 they were ranked 90% in customer experiences, which is the highest for any tech company. The company focused exclusively on customer service best practice; doubled its team and introduced innovative features, such as live video chat with a customer service rep. Google has consecutively for the coming years been best at customer service. Apple, also has a great customer service ranking, like Google, Apple’s products have a global outreach, and living up to the expectations of customers globally, is not an easy deal. Apple has a fantastic genius bar, the customer service is known to fix all the problems, related to hardware, software; you name it and they have the solution.

These are exemplary displays of customer service strategies by world’s best companies, startups and emerging businesses can take a leaf from the book, and start from baseline. Being true, honest and reliable to your customers is very important, if you are able to win their trust, connect with them emotionally, they will stick by you, no matter what. Happy and satisfied customers will also bring in new customers for your business, by referring other people. If you have a competent customer service team, or just one or two great representatives, you will always have an edge and stay ahead from the competition.

Rest assured, happy customers bring lifetime value, increase customer retention score, and are your allies in the ultimate success of your business.

How well does Your Customer service perform?

Are you curious about how your customers value your company’s customer service? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and learn how we might help.
André Wehr
André Wehr
Customer communication on the phone is an essential part of generating customer-focused traction for Your business. Especially when scalable, customer dialog on the phone is a game changer.

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