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Good customer service is common sense

To deliver the best, go back to the basics By Daniela Guido Corporate Communicator

This e-book´s mission is to demystify the complexity of customer service, as well as humanize the consumer.

Stop what you are doing and let´s talk

How many articles and books have you read about best practices in customer service? How much time and litres of coffee does your department use per month debating about how to fully please your consumers? I bet you cannot answer these questions correctly without taking a deep breath, squeezing your memory and making some phone calls to double check. But it should not be that exhausting to realize how to deliver excellent customer service. Now it is time to stop with the endless-caffeine-filled meetings. The brilliant idea you are waiting for will not come from your department because your clients are keeping it hostage. Does the word hostage sound theatrical? Let me illustrate this apparent nonsensical idea. If an investigator is working to catch an abductor, one of the options to succeed is to find an informer and negotiate the conditions. This snitch would ask for something in exchange, “In order for me to hand over the address to where they are keeping the kidnapped, you must give me money and....” If we translate this situation to your relationship with your customers, the scenario does not change significantly. You are the investigator, trying to have access to precious information to market a best selling product. From the client perspective, the “negotiation” may sound like this: “In order for me to buy more from you, recommend your product to my friends and never leave your company, you must listen to my complaints, be aware of my needs and deliver more then I expect.” They will keep the secret to your success hostage until you pay attention to their requirements.

This means that the first step to guaranteeing the best service is understanding your market and then negotiate with your client directly. To comprehend, you have to start a dialog by listening. And to negotiate, you have to have something to give back, which should be incomparable customer experience. Does this make sense to you now? No matter what your answer is, let´s continue talking...

What is a customer?

If you are familiar with the Voice of the Customer industry, I am sure that at some point in your career you have heard the statement, “the key to delivering good service is to listen to your client.” Although it may sound like a cliché, it is absolutely true. Listening and continuing to listen will provide you with rich information to make your clients happy. But, before explaining how to listen to your clients, let me ask you, what exactly is a customer?

Customers are you and me. We consume everything we have in life. Every step we make, we use money. From the first tea we drink in the morning, until the alarm we set before going to bed, every detail of our life has been bought. “The Consumers” is not a foreign concept or a mysterious group of people. They are mommies and daddies, grandmas and grandpas. Sometimes they get angry, cry, laugh, get hurt or fired. Customers care about themselves and only themselves. They don’t care about your sales, promotions or coupons. They want what they want and feel that poor service is a personal attack. As human beings, their emotional reaction towards bad service is an automatic one. If you are mistreated, you defend yourself, don’t you? Be prepared to approach them.

Don´t interrupt your customers, let them approach you

So you are the Marketing Manager. You are in charge of producing an image that sells. A brand that is recognized and adored. Admit, you want people to admire your company and fall for every statement you make. Or maybe you are a Call Center Director. Your responsibility is to ensure that your employees give the feedback you believe is the best. No, no, wait a minute. You are the head of the PR department. Your goal is to get media visibility, either mainstream or on social platforms. The idea is that by following your message, consumers will turn into fans and queue to buy your latest item for consumption.

That is all wrong. In order to sell, you have to forget about what you think is satisfying. It is not about you, it is about what you can do for the end user. The major responsibility now is to guarantee that your idea solves problems. Investing in your concept is certain to change people’s lives. The feeling that your product provides is contagious. People buy, people want to buy more, want to talk to you and share your incredible idea with friends and family. Customer service is common sense. It is not about keeping the end users on a short leash. You want your product to deliver a delightful experience.

Customer experience

Ah, good experiences. These memorable moments that we never forget. That trip to the Bahamas on my yacht, the Ferrari I bought last year and the summer house my father gave to me for my birthday. Wait a minute, these experiences are not real, only in my dreams. If you think that good experiences are exclusively about expensive accomplishments, you are missing the point, as I just did. It can be an amusing lunch with a friend, a simple “congratulations!� for your hard work or that lovely employee at the supermarket that is always making sure you find what you are looking for. Good customer experience is about the feeling, the sentiment your company brings to end users’ lives. It is not only about good prices and politeness, but enjoyment and trust. If I call a bank, I expect to receive feedback that makes me feel secure that my money is in good hands. When I think about choosing an insurance company, I want to believe that they care about my life. I would never continue with an energy provider that dismisses my emails, even though they have the lowest prices.

My point is, you cannot control brand perception, but yes it is possible to steer it by delivering contentment. As simple as it sounds. This is because customer service is not about messaging or sales propositions. And companies should not engage as marketers. If the customer experience is good, it makes it possible for companies to raise prices without much protest. On the other hand, unhappy customers that are left unheard, are always expecting to pay less and maintain the relationship with corporations by threatening to leave. Consumers want the maximum value rather than lowest price. That is the reason why a decent experience is the opportunity to increase customer loyalty.

The new attitude of loyal customer

Another point that you have to pay attention to when listening to your market is to bare in mind that customers shopping attitude and behavior changes periodically. It depends on the economy, social trends, and the like. We are witnessing a media transformation, making powerful social channels of communications easy to use, free and globally accessible. Ordinary people now have a voice and the chance to express their concerns, share thoughts, make their points and engage on international platforms 24/7. It is time for companies to be more attentive to customers´ complaints and give instant feedback through all touch points, such as phone, email and letters. Participation is no longer an option. If you do not resolve their problems, understand that your brand is in danger of being subjected to debate on Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube, not to mention hundreds of similar sites.

After several decades of outbound marketing, consumers are tired. Exhausted from receiving weekly brochures through the door from a delivery guy that they have never seen. They are irritated by the commercial that interrupts the soap opera right before that awaited kiss between the heroes. Annoyed by the abusive sales phone calls in the middle of a cosy dinner with friends. We do not need a survey or an expert to tell us that consumers have no patience whatsoever. They have never had, it is true. But now with the open access to mass communication and the expressive amount of corporate touch-points, new behaviours have arisen: Short-term relationship with brands with no bad conscience; No immediate emotional attachment; Difficulty to forgive; Believe it or not, they are spreading good experiences, rewarding good service;

All customers might express some of these behaviours during the buying process. Be prepared for extremes.

A survey, In Customers Are People, shows, that 70% of the customers buying decisions are based on how they feel they are being treated.

Another survey shows, that 69% of the customers say, that emotions count for more than half of the total buying experience

• A good customer experience is told to 8 others • A bad customer experience is told to 22 others • It takes 10 good experiences to make up for one bad

A survey conducted in Denmark, where the customers were asked if they would change suppliers if they had a bad customer experience, showed, that • 32% would change immediately, • 67% would change if it happened again • 1% would not change

92% of all customer interactions happen via the phone 80 -90% transactions completed 84% view speech as equal to, or better than Web

85% of consumers are dissatisfied with their phone experience

68% of customers will switch brands based on a poor service experience

Around 90% of unhappy customers will not buy again from a company that disappointed them

Do you know who your customer is? A dissatisfied customer can be difficult to digest. If you are beating yourself up by asking: “What have I done this time? Why are my customers never happy? What do they want from me?” Stop torturing yourself. You certainly do not have any intention to hurt your customers’ feelings, but if you don’t know them, you will probably deliver an excellent product that is not needed.

What you DO have to torture yourself to find out is: Your customers’ needs – Some companies are listening, others paying attention, others conversing. Be ahead of your market by getting as much customer feedback as you can to understand what they are looking for. Surprise them. Your customers’ experiences – Your customer service is the differentiator, not based entirely on your product. Investigate the sensation your brand provokes in order to deliver constructive and desirable emotions. People are loyal to people. It is the emotion that makes them stay or leave you. Your customers’ expectations - To un-tap what your customer expects from you is an intuitive task. Only elaborated surveys can detect the level of expectations. By using experienced survey developers, you can answer the question: “what leads customers to perceive an experience as superior?” What is the behavior you expect from them – Before marketing, ask yourself, “what do you want people to believe?” Define the attitude you want to develop before trying to create it. Understand how you want buyers to engage with your concept to get the Return on Behavior®, that will lead your company to the forefront. Determine your level of engagement – Being a spectator will not take your company anywhere. Conversations are taking place with or without you. Pay attention. To get the level of engagement you need, understand that participation is marketing. Companies have to be part of the customers’ lives because if you resolve a person’ s problem, this individual can later help another with that feedback. You then become part of their circle of friends and family.

TeleFaction helps companies create positive customer experiences TeleFaction provides companies with the opportunity to increase customer loyalty and additional sales by analyzing gathered knowledge from their customers’ feedback.

TeleFaction is a Danish owned organization that works with the patented concept Return on Behavior. Our team of experts within Voice of the Customer uses adaptable technology to gather data on your customers’ level of satisfaction at all contact points. These measurements are used to understand the clients´ needs in order for you to create positive customer service that guarantees retention. As a result, your company can also increase employee engagement and sales efficiency.

Good Customer Service is common sense  

To deliver the best, go back to the basics

Good Customer Service is common sense  

To deliver the best, go back to the basics