Many companies heavily invested in customer service take the approach of pleasing their customers as much as possible. Indeed, it may seem that offering constant discounts, sending thank-you messages or simply being extra gracious on the phone are all key to maintaining customer loyalty. These steps may be important, but what many companies do not realize is that constantly delighting customers is not quite as critical, in the long run, as providing a consistent, effortless experience.
A Harvard research study found that exceeding customer service expectations did not result in significant loyalty gains. Rather, making sure your customers spend as little effort as possible getting what they want is key to maintaining loyalty. In other words, it pays to be consistent.
How do you deliver effortless customer service?
Avoid switching customers from channel to channel, or agent to agent. Most frustrated customers don’t want a chat response to a Tweet, for example, as this results in switching modes of communication, possibly devices (laptop to smartphone), and most likely the need to repeat information to a new person. It’s critical to respond to customers on the channel on which they contact you-and strive to make sure one agent handles a call, if possible. If it’s truly necessary to transfer the customer to another agent, the customer case should be well-documented and easily shared with the new agent.
Allow for self-service for those who prefer not to speak to agents on the phone. The younger generation in particular tends to focus on social media and the web when seeking information or help, so it’s critical to remember that self-service should be a top priority when thinking of how to please your customers.
Eliminate unnecessary steps. This ties in with the rule about not switching channels, but this also means making a content source coherent enough that a customer does not have to continue searching for more information in other places. For example, if a customer clicks on the FAQ page of a website, the answers should be comprehensive enough to give the customer the information he or she is looking for. Producing solid content on all channels and, from a technical standpoint, making it easy for customers to get information with the fewest clicks possible should be priorities for every business.
Solve the problem so it doesn’t repeat. This simply means giving your customers quality service and efficient follow-up so that they don’t keep coming back with concerns. Limiting the number of customer service representatives involved in a service case, making all communications clear but not repetitive, and following up in a timely manner are all great strategies for making the customer experience effortless.
To deliver truly effortless customer service, companies need to focus on consistency and quality. Rather than trying to impress customers at any cost, it pays in the long run to make sure customers are getting a solid, quality experience each time they need assistance.