Customer service is a vital part of any business but as the economic environment deteriorates, many companies are trying to reduce their costs. Whilst we all aspire to offer the all-singing all-dancing service, the reality is that sometimes it makes sense to keep the spend under control. As such we thought it would be useful to put together our take on what the customer service key fundamentals are. Focusing on these will help deliver great customer experience whilst saving some of the pennies. So here are our three customer service essentials
Find out what your customers value the most
This may sound obvious but do you really know which elements of your customer proposition are the most important. What would be the impact if you withdrew some of them or if you added another feature? The ultimate objective should not be to deliver less to customers but to deliver more of what they actually want. Just as an illustration, at the checkout stage, you could offer a ‘customer service treat’ which would be EITHER free gift wrapping OR express delivery OR a voucher towards their next purchase. The customer is offered a choice; your service is valued and focused.
Create and operate your feedback loops
Again a pretty obvious one but are you doing it systematically. What are the opportunities for customer service interactions? The ambition is to eliminate the cause of complaints, yet encourage people to make complaints if they are justified. Conversely, assuming that the service is impeccable is there a way to encourage positive feedback. Demonstrating to customers that you are responding and acting on what they have told you is the best way to demonstrate customer service and will attract tremendous loyalty.
Nothing stands still. In order to maintain a good level of customer service, you need to figure out emerging trends and monitor your competition so that you are not at risk of being wiped out because of an innovation or a change that you are not prepared for. These could impact your business dramatically and result in a rapid deterioration of your customer service. For example we see an emerging trend where the role of social media sites and brick and mortar shops is changing: customers increasingly want to shop through the social media sites but would like to have access to the shops to socialise. Have you heard it from your customers?
We think that a focus on a handful of customer service essentials will do wonder for you. But, businesses have different imperatives so if you feel that your customer service essentials are different from the three that we have listed here, please leave a comment below to share your set of three with all our readers.
This post was prepared by the team at Very Good Service. Verygoodservice.com brings together companies which have won awards for their products and services or have gained recognition for the quality of their service through top social media channels. You can find them on Twitter @verygoodservice and Facebook