Companies always want to boost customer experiences. Better customer experiences means higher customer loyalty, and better sales. Customer service representatives get overwhelmed with the wealth of information available to them There’s a whole Internet of Things out there. There’s so much knowledge to be had and so many people offering it. What is the ‘right’ advice? Where do you get it? Once you get it, how do you make sense of it?
Let’s break all this information down to the basics:
This is about clarity and connectivity.
People don’t like being confused; they want to understanding:
- What you’re offering
- Where they can find it
- When they can expect it
- How it will arrive
- Why they should use your company
In general, people crave simplicity: we don’t like to be forced out of our comfort zones. This is particularly true of people today: Millennials are more likely to check out what they want and whether they’ll buy it online than coming into a shop. By the time they set foot on an actual sales floor, 60% of them already know what they’re going to buy.
This connectivity comes from the clarity of your service or product, as it is presented to prospective customers. As a result, it’s not a bad idea to let the customer set the pace and choose how they’d like to be connected with you. For example, Millennials may prefer to connect to your product/service via social media platforms like Facebook or Snapchat, while an older generation would rather receive an email or even a phone call.
More than that, however, is the connection we forge as human beings: do you smile when I walk in to have my car serviced, for example? What sort of smile? What is your body language communicating to me, your customer? Do I feel welcome?
Good communication forges a bridge of understanding between people. This will allow both parties to avoid pitfalls like misunderstandings, badly explained expectations or desires, and a breakdown in the relationship. Communication is all about building trust and relationships, after all, and great communication will boost customer experiences to no end.
Consistency and cohesion.
According to Google, ‘cohesion’ means:
‘…the action or fact of forming a united whole.’ [Source]
Customers are individuals, but a customer service team? They should be of one mind and one bo —er… nevermind, too creepy. Your customer-facing front line needs to be a team! This is the first step to great consistency, and through that to customer loyalty.
Google defines ‘consistency’ as follows:
‘…conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.’ [Source]
Now, conformity gets a bad rap, so we’ll just avoid that word. Let’s focus on the section about ‘logic, accuracy or fairness’.
For example, imagine you’re travelling abroad. You’re in a strange city, you don’t know how anything works, maybe the language is even different. Then you spot a Starbucks. You go in, you order, you pay, you wait, then you grab your caffeine and go. No drama, no panic – you knew exactly how it worked. Why? Because Starbucks, like so many global franchises, has mastered consistency. Their style of service is the same, whether you’re in New York, Hong Kong, or Sydney. That’s comforting because it means you’re always at home.
Small business with only one location aren’t exempt from this concept. A customer should be able to receive the same style – and hopefully good level – of service every time they purchase a product or utilize a service from that company, whether it’s today, in a year, online or offline.
Last, but not least, and arguable more important than communication and consistency: commitment.
What’s that quote? Something about not bothering to get into the ring unless you plan on fighting? That.
Establishing trust is not something that happens over night, and any commitment to such a relationship will shine through! It’s important to look at any customer service strategy as a long term investment, one that is going to require time, people, effort and finances. No one’s asking you to marry your customer, but if you’re looking to boost customer experiences, you’re going to have to go all in as a company. Half measures will not do it.
This will also help build your capability, supporting your authority on your chosen subject matter(s), thus making you and your brand more trustworthy in the eyes of current and future prospects.
What to take away to boost customer experiences…
There are several big aspects of customer service you’re not allowed to miss, not if you’re really looking to boost your customer service experiences. There are also plenty of smaller ones; the important thing is to remember that many of the ‘small’ ones often fall under the ‘big’ ones. Next time you find yourself stressing out about the latest article talking about how you’re not communicating enough, or your not doing enough of something else — think about, maybe you’re already doing it, a little bit.
All three of the things – communication, consistency, commitment – are vital skills for good customer service. And remember:
Good customer service will boost customer experiences.