For a brand to achieve success, it must close the gap between customer expectations and experiences. All too often, brands speak of being customer-centric in their approach but fail to implement practices that actually satisfy their customers’ needs. The best customer service is effortless and offers a personal touch, and brands that follow these principles gain a considerable advantage over their competitors who fail to do so. Here are five obstacles that might be preventing your company from achieving true customer service success.
Does your company know what your customers really want? While you may feel that a newly unveiled product is exciting or that a new technology will revolutionize your service, what matters most is what your customers feel about these things. Take the time to analyze customers’ behaviors and determine what they want most from your brand, and do not hesitate to ask them directly. Ensure that a new technology is actually making your customers’ lives easier, and verify that they can reach you how and when they prefer. Failing to understand their expectations prevents your company from building a customer-centric culture that wins loyalty.
Many brands fall into the trap of offering inconsistent information and experiences. For example, a brand website may advertise a promotional event, whereas the social media channels may not disclose this information. Similarly, unclear brand policies may lead to confusion and frustration among customers. If vague information costs customers money and time, they will certainly leave your brand. Lastly, employees who offer contradictory information can cause serious harm to your brand. They must be well-trained and kept up to date about all policies so as to relay consistent information. The bottom line is that customers need to trust you, and clarity is key to earning this trust.
Nowadays, every brand must employ an omnichannel approach for optimum customer engagement. The trouble is that many companies offer weak omnichannel experiences and fail to offer extra support on channels which are the most in demand. For example, your customers might prefer to contact you via social media more than email. However, if your customer service agents are not quick to respond on these channels, you are not meeting customer expectations and likely losing customers as a result. In addition, customers need to be able to move from one touchpoint to another seamlessly. Be sure to offer prompt service on all channels, and identify those that may need more agents.
To earn an honest reputation, your company must always deliver on its promises. For example, if you tell customers that they have 30 days to return a product at no additional cost to them, they should be able to trust this information. If a customer service agent promises a callback at a certain time, the call should be punctual. Be careful not to promise more than you can deliver or too little to begin with—both approaches will turn off customers. Instead, focus on delivering exactly what you have conveyed, and then make efforts to go the extra mile when the opportunity arises.
To offer the best customer service, look at all data and feedback. Social listening tools, call transcripts, and even customer reviews found on the web can provide valuable insights. In addition, KPIs such as call abandonment rates, average handling time, and first contact resolution reveal important information about the efficiency of your customer service agents. Lastly, remember to solicit the feedback of both customers and employees. Surveys and focus groups are excellent for gaining precise information about your customers’ feelings. Likewise, employee feedback—especially from service agents—is essential to understanding what customers want and how best to deliver service.Customer service success depends on your company’s ability to ask thoughtful questions and look at every aspect of your service on a micro level. By listening carefully to your customers and engaging them in a meaningful and honest manner, your company will earn their trust and gain success.
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