Digital Age Customer Service: Six Essential Tips for Success
Presently, technology has allowed for customers all across the world to be connected through countless mediums of communication, be it text messaging, e-mail, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype, FaceTime etc. Knowing this, companies have become increasingly tech-savvy with their communication process in order to better connect with customers. Therefore, as a company, it is important to ask, how can we improve our customer experience process?
With more competition than ever, your customer’s experience, whether it be online or at a brick and mortar, is more important than ever before. If a customer has a bad experience they can easily vent to the world through Facebook, Twitter and other social forms. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, news of bad customer service reaches more ears than praise for good customer service.
One of the most important goals identified for achieving company success is to create raving customers; fanatics about your company. These satisfied customers will provide word-of-mouth marketing for your company, both in person and online. Carefully review your customers' experiences with your company. Here are six tips for providing superior customer service:
1. Treat every customer like they are your number one customer
Make the interaction as personalized as possible when taking care of their issues. Be sure to let the customer know when you are speaking with supervisors or going the extra mile to resolve their issue. Make them feel special, but mean it. Honesty and transparency will earn lasting trust with your customer. According to the Touch Agency, over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature. Here are two scenarios in which companies used Twitter to post responses:
Teenager, Adam Greenwood was in a Virgin Trains restroom in transit from Euston to Glasgow and realized that he was out of toilet paper. Instantly, he took to Twitter to voice his complaint. Amazingly, Virgin was prompt to respond to his tweet and accommodated him with toilet paper as fast as they could. This scenario demonstrates quick responsiveness leading to the ultimate customer service experience.
During the 2014 World Cup, Uruguay star striker made headlines again for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the middle of a game. Following that incident, PUMA took to Twitter saying, “Players, look damn good in those PUMA jerseys. Hard to resist taking a bite.” So by saying this, was Puma promoting cannibalism? To the public, it sounded distasteful and from a company perspective, did not make sense since Puma supplies the uniforms to Suarez and the Uruguayan team.
2. Respect your customers and be patient with them
There will be times when a customer is having a bad day or may be frustrated about something unrelated. Prepare your representatives for dealing with this sort of behavior by having tips or protocol that can be used for neutralizing a situation. Rudeness from an employee to a customer can be detrimental to your company’s image in the Digital Age. Lauren Freedman once said, “Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.” Practice patience and coolness under pressure to deal with problem customers. Then, when you resolve their issues or attempt to, they will appreciate the interaction and have positive things to say about your company.
3. Be clever in your marketing
Because of how immersed our society is with innovation and technology, people love out-of-the-box marketing. Earlier this month, our company performed a stunt outside of Big 4 accounting firm, KPMG, in Philadelphia. Interns handed out over 300 handheld Monroe 240Z calculators with coupons to be used for purchases on Monroe-Systems.com. The company received positive responses from calculator recipients who then spread the good word about Monroe and our products. Surprising people with free product (no strings attached) will definitely give your company a positive image and invite customers to purchase from you in the future. But, you don’t have to give product away. Anything you can do that inspires a positive emotion will break through white noise. Be memorable.
4. Alert customers when big changes are coming
Few things are as detrimental to the customer’s experience as unexpected changes to a company’s products, services or website. When introducing a new product that is intended to replace an old one, make the transition known well in advance. Customers expect consistency and any changes need to be clearly communicated. Call them, email them, provide detailed instructions of new features, offer workshops, or create YouTube videos. If you’re changing products or services, GoToMeeting is a great videoconferencing tool for presentations. Through this you can walk through the changes and address their questions quickly and efficiently.
5. Be consistent
Most people would agree that having a headache is annoying. Similarly, your customers get annoyed when inconsistency surrounds things ranging from social media to customer service. Build consistency throughout your company, it will bolster the customer relationship. Have clearly defined processes and timelines. Customers will develop expectations based on their experiences with your company. They’ll love being in the loop with your company. Having consistency will assist you with retaining customers and continued growth.
6. Thank them for their business
This one should be a no-brainer, customers love to feel appreciated.
Make your thank-you’s as personal as possible. Based on the findings of ContactPoint Client Research, employees only ask for the customer’s name 21% of the time. Personalize your communications by using their name rather than “valued customer” when addressing them. Incorporate specific services or products into your follow-ups to make sure the client is properly reminded of why you’re contacting them. Handwritten notes have often been replaced by email, so the added touch of a handwritten note will help you create a memorable thank you. If possible, take the time to write your customers, they will appreciate you taking time out of your day to write them and will surely consider doing more business with you in the future.