Is Customer Service Dead Nowadays?
Having a cup of coffee is my morning ritual whenever I am back in the office. But what would you do if the coffee you paid for is just not how you like it? The Espresso shot is too weak; there’s too much milk frothing in your café latte; it’s too hot or it’s only lukewarm? Then you started to hesitate whether to approach the barista to tell them about your drink, but fear to be treated like you are such an unreasonable customer… Having the thought of talking to the many baristas and their supervisors will only spoil your day. Then you just walk out of the café, looking at your cup of coffee miserably.
So where has all the good old customer service gone nowadays? What has gone wrong with the customer service we once knew?
Fulfilled clients are loyal customers. Keep returning customer with impeccable customer experience shows you put their needs as priority, and see substantial profit gain to your business. It makes perfect sense to keep your existing customer rather than seeking out for new ones. Besides that, it is always easier to sell to your repeat customer than to those who without having had any knowledge about your product or services.
As I always admire how the famous franchised coffee company from Seattle, Starbucks Corporation, they have the most customer centric training program for all their new recruits, just to make sure that every customer they have will walk out with a personalized “Starbucks Experience”!
So, what creates an amazingly great customer service? Let’s ponder the following fundamentals to providing great customer service.
1. Practicing good interpersonal skills
The magic words “Please” and “Thank you” are words we were taught since we were young. Even we know what are they for, a lot of us are using them reluctantly a lot of times. Even there are moments that there is nothing that you can do for a customer, showing them respect and kindness can get you a long way. Because most customer service reps don't take the time to speak courteously, this can put you ahead from your competitors.
2. Well-designed customer service training for your front liners
Good customer service training is crucial! Employers need to ensure that constant trainings on handling customer for their agents are in place. Equipping them with good interpersonal skills, empathy, and patience can benefit the organization in the long run. A sound product knowledge of your company is equally important, as well as having a good professional conduct at the work place. All components works hand in hand in order to provide an effective customer handling techniques.
3. Listening for Understanding
Active listening is another important skill all customer service agents should have. We should be listening more than we are speaking when facing with customers. However, just by listening is not good enough. We need to make sure that we understand what our customers are asking for. One of the best ways to do this is by asking lots of open-ended questions and keep clarifying what your customers been telling you to ensure full understanding.
4. Being Empathetic
Empathy… the ultimate sensing skill in customer service everyone is talking about! But what is empathy? It is simply as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary. Having empathy ties into listening for understanding as mentioned above, because how can you truly comprehend others if you don't understand what they are trying to tell you? You need to care about the problems customers present to you then you take positive action to help them out.
5. Maintain as little touchpoint as possible in customer interactions
A 2013 report from the Harvard Business Review suggests that minimizing the number of touchpoints or different contacts involved in a single customer's interaction with the company improves satisfaction and loyalty, as fewer transitions between customer service providers allow fewer chances for error. In addition to that, the study emphasizes, each touchpoint in the customer chain in problem solving must be held accountable for the outcome of the customer's entire interaction.
6. Poor follow through
It’s a bad practise when a customer service agent promised to call back to check on the completion of an issue but fail to do so. Nothing is more frustrating than lack of follow-up when customer is hoping to have an issue resolved.
7. Zero accountability
In many cases, when you need to resolve an issue of a customer, but praying that someone else will take ownership for your concern. Solving a customer issue may involve various skill levels, well placed business process and authority to get the best solution. Wouldn’t it be great if one customer service agent could see and take care of reporting progress from the beginning to the end? This also will let the customer only talk to only one agent rather than repeating the issue over and over.
8. Inadequate problem solving skills
Being creative and thinking out of the box are key skills to root out causes and to identifying the best solution to customer issue. Bear in mind that in order to aid customer service agent to help resolve customer issue, employers need to simplify puzzling organization constraints so that making the right choice in resolving an issue will be such a walk in the park!
9. A business culture which customer centric is not the focal point
The management plays in important role in reflecting how they place customer service attitude outwardly. This will surely be passed onto all its employees, resulting in a weighty effect on how well your customers are treated. If a company is built with a culture that values the customer experience, all its front liners will fall in line ensuring each customer a delightful customer journey!
The above reasons show us why customer service is vital, and should very much be “alive” to the overall health of your business. It takes so little effort to have effective, friendly customer service, and the benefits are numerous. With a little extra effort, your business can soon be reaping the benefits of top-notch customer service.
“82% felt that their service provider could have done something to prevent them from switching.” (Accenture)
“62% of customer service organizations view customer experience as a competitive differentiator.” (Deloitte)