What does good customer service mean to you?
To me, it’s getting fast help from a friendly agent when I need it. It’s self-service tools that let me dig around for answers, without having to call you. (While I’m sure your team is lovely, I’m an introvert who’s fine over here hiding behind my keyboard when given the option).
Good customer service means having tracking info at my fingertips so I can watch out for my shipments. It means little moments of joy and appreciation from brands I love.
And though not all your customers are just like me, one fact holds true: The service you deliver can make or break your customer loyalty. In fact, 93% of customers make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.
So as you think through your service strategy for 2021 and beyond, we’re here to answer the question “What does good customer service mean?” We’re offering up three universal ways you can deliver good customer service, no matter the customers you serve.
1. Think like your customer
There’s a disconnect between companies who think they’re delivering excellent service and customers who are actually happy with the service they get. The reality is, only 18% of customers are happy with the experience they get from brands.
You’ve gotta face the facts: Good customer service might mean something totally different to you and to your customers.
So, to deliver service that meets your customers’ forever-growing expectations, our friend and customer service expert Laura Sikorski says you have to get into their heads. What matters most to your customers when they reach out for help? Does your data show that CSAT scores skyrocket after a fast interaction? Or, do your metrics tell you that long wait times are offset by an agent who solves a problem on the first contact?
Use your contact center metrics, context from CSAT surveys, and interviews to learn what matters most to your customers. Laura’s top advice? Sit down in 1:1s with your agents and ask them questions about your customers. Your agents interact with customers every day, so they absorb tons of info on what customers love, what frustrates them, and even what sends them running for the door.
Here are a few questions Laura suggests asking your agents to better understand your customers:
- What do our customers like about us?
- What do they not like about us?
- Do they find anything confusing in their experience?
- What do they like, dislike, or find confusing about our Website?
- What can we improve?
2. Follow the golden rule of customer service
Good customer service means living by the golden rule: Your customer experience will never exceed your agent experience.
Your agents toggle between an average of 8.6 different tools, have 23 interactions with their peers, and handle 130.5 different support interactions. All in a single day. (And then the next day. And the next.)
Meanwhile, ops leaders continue to raise the bar on performance expectations. Every time your team crushes one goal, the threshold for excellence rises. Leaders push teams to be more productive and more efficient. They add more tools to the mix without thinking through the impact another new tool (and learning curve) will have on agents.
The golden rule tells us you can’t sustain good customer service if your agents are overworked and overwhelmed. And since 73% of customers fall in love with a brand because of the friendly service they get, it’s good business sense to fix agent brain drain.
Align your technology, your processes, and your people. Choose technology & create policies that benefit your team. And, focus on coaching and agent development. Gartner research proves it’ll pay off with better productivity, lower attrition, higher CSAT and less customer effort.
3. Compare your customer service to the brands you love
Look beyond your direct competition when you create your customer service and CX strategy. To your customers, good customer service might mean mimicking the experience of their favorite hotel or eCommerce platform.
“What is your competition doing, or better yet, what are other industries doing from a technology perspective?”– Laura Sikorski
When today’s customers have an easy, intuitive experience with one company, their expectations grow. They don’t care that your industry is old school or that you can’t get buy in to adopt new technology. Now, no matter what they’re shopping for, customers expect the same level of service they get from their smart speaker that instantly orders a new pair of socks.
And with cloud technology supporting easier transitions, it’s simple for your customers to hop from one competitor to the next if they aren’t happy. Some 70% of direct consumers and 82% of B2B buyers said technology makes it easier than ever to take their business to a new company. That means if you don’t deliver a top-notch experience, your customers know they can find a company that will.