Customer Service is Everything.
Customer Service is Everything.
Customer Service is Everything.

How many times have we been told this in some way, shape or form in our lifetime? Probably a lot. And yet, why is it still a problem? Why do we still have issues with being mindful of how we treat others? Why is it that we get so caught up on the negatives that are going on around us, that we forget about the customer? How do we fix it? What is the solution to be able to provide exceptional customer service everyday?

Customer service matters for the same reason business etiquette does: you don’t want to upset those whom you deal with. Just one bad experience can taint a customer’s entire relationship with an organization. For example, if an online retailer doesn’t answer your repeated emails concerning a misplaced order, you’ll likely seek out a different business to buy from in the future. This example can be compounded if an organization’s entire staff has poor customer service. Imagine a restaurant full of visibly unhappy waiters. Probably not somewhere you’d enjoy eating, right?

When thinking about customer service, it’s usually helpful to examine the perspective of the customer. The customer’s experience should be delightful in the best scenario and painless in the worst. While you can’t always guarantee a great experience—especially when the customer arrives to an interaction angry—you should always strive to leave the customer feeling satisfied in the end. This sentiment should be internalized by your organization and be visible in the culture. Customers want to deal with businesses that care about their happiness, and there are figures to prove it.

Noteworthy Stats

The level of service provided to customers influences their relationship with companies, according to a study by Salesforce. Not surprisingly, low-quality or mediocre customer service puts an organization at a severe disadvantage with customers. Below are some of the most significant findings from the research.

Customers Want More

Customers are constantly seeking new ways to be engaged by the companies that they do business with. Tailored experiences are now expected, to the point where 64 percent of customers say they want personalized offers from businesses. What’s more, 75 percent say they expect a “consistent” experience when dealing with a company.

Plenty of Options

If customers aren’t satisfied with your organization’s service quality, they’ll happily take their business elsewhere. Over half of customers say they’ll probably change brands if a business doesn’t personalize their experience. And, with a virtually infinite number of online retailers, 70 percent of customers say they can easily make their purchases online with a more favorable company. In fact, if you aren’t servicing customers online, you’re already behind—the majority of customers (77 percent) report avoiding physical stores altogether.

Employee Factor

Customers expect to speak with a knowledgeable representative whenever they have an issue. This means customers expect service at any time, day or night, according to 75 percent of customers. Moreover, 68 percent of customers expect to speak with an employee representative who understands and cares about their needs. Additionally, an immediate turnoff for customers is having more knowledge than the employee with whom they are interacting.

5 Customer Service Best Practices

HR plays a significant role in setting an organization up for having quality customer service, but there is more to it than hiring promising candidates. Below are some best practices to consider when examining your own customer service initiatives, based on an article published by Forbes.

1. Service is Top-down

A culture of customer service must come from management before anywhere else. Without management’s buy-in, an organization cannot hope to offer quality customer service. Whoever’s in charge must embody a helpful spirit and strive to achieve customer goals. Modeling this spirit will be critical for influencing the rest of the organization to act similarly.

2. Consistency Matters

Depending on your business, customers may expect to deal with the same representatives whenever they reach out about an issue. That relationship can prove invaluable to customers, especially when they feel understood by the representatives. Even if your workforce turns over too frequently for this scenario, customers still expect everyone they work with to be well-educated in customer service. Customers should have a consistent experience between the representatives they work with. While it is unrealistic to believe all employees have the same technical skills, they should all display the same level of service when dealing with customers.

3. Never Too Big or Small

Customers want to feel uniquely appreciated by the businesses they patronize. And when customers have issues, they expect those businesses to fix them quickly. With this in mind, it’s crucial to treat every customer as if they are the most important person of the day. A customer’s issue matters to them, so it should matter to the customer service representative too—no matter how complicated or trivial it may be.

4. Training is Key

It’s important that all customer service representatives are well-trained. There is no reason a customer should have to speak with another representative to resolve a single issue. This means employees should complete mandatory training and be tested on those skills. Consider having a range of courses that cover a breadth of customer service topics. Alongside the curriculum, consider placing employees in tiers based on the courses they complete, with those completing the most courses going in the highest tier.

5. If You See Something, Say Something

A common pitfall for new employees is learning a new skill improperly and never being taught out of the habit. For instance, absentmindedly forgetting to include specific case details when working with a customer. Managers should be trained to recognize common errors and swiftly correct employees when they make a mistake. Nipping the incorrect behavior in the bud early will save your organization from fixing the problems later.

Okay great, thanks for the advice!

Hold up! You are probably thinking that those stats and best practices are great, but they are not going to fix a person or their personality. Correct, it won’t. You can’t change who people are, but you can create some ways to make a change or help with coming up with a solution to be able to provide excellent customer service.

For any business folks reading this, our Employee Benefits Department has more helpful ways to work through customer service issues within your organization, click here to contact them today!

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