Top Stories of the Week: Elements of Good and Bad Customer Service and more

Welcome to Friday Five, a look back at some of the week’s more interesting articles from the world of customer service, glad you can join us:

Top Elements of Good and Bad Customer Service.

MarketingProfs has the results of a recent [24]7 survey of American consumers across demographic groups – millennials, Xers, Boomers, Greatest Generation – finding that the #1 element in what’s considered great customers service is being able to contact a company any way they way – phone, Web, chat, email, text, whatever.

Second was the ability to resolve issues without having to talk to a company rep. And third was something we don’t hear mentioned nearly often enough – a company anticipating issues when you contact them, not having to be told the “full story.”

So what’s considered bad customer service? The #1 customer service reason given for ending a business relationship was “getting trapped in automated phone self-service.” Waiting too long for help for a company rep was second, and unqualified reps, people who can’t solve the customer’s problem, was third.

What’s significant is how these results held up across ages and demographics.

How Customer Journeys Lead to Success.

Ryan Tkowski writes in Business2Community that the one essential ingredient in any successful customer experience is employee buy-in.

“Getting your employees to buy into your system will ensure quality customer service throughout each step of your customer journey,” he writes. “Without your employees sharing your mindset your customer journey will be broken.”

The connection between satisfied employees and satisfied customers is, of course, well-known. A list of the ten companies with the most satisfied employees will startlingly resemble a list of the ten companies with the most satisfied customers.

And the trick, as Tkowski says, is to empower satisfied employees to act in the best interests of the customer at every step along the customer journey: “By empowering your employees… and by training them to have the mindset to deliver ‘wow’ customer experiences ensures your are optimizing every touch point you have with your customer.”

Trust that satisfied employees will do what’s best for the customer.

Customer Experience: The New Business Battleground.

Not so “new,” maybe, but the most newly-recognized by businesses these days. Tim Clark of SAP wrote in Forbes recently that “Gartner predicts this is the year companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver.”

Maybe so – let’s hope companies see the need to retool their operations to focus around the customer experience. As Clark says, research demonstrates that “90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal,” requiring an omni-channel experience, but “54% of marketers cite not having consolidated customer view across channels as the biggest roadblock to a successful cross-channel experience.”

Clark notes that customer journey maps are a great way for your company to see itself from the customer’s point of view, and discusses focus groups, stakeholder workshops, and other ways of building accurate customer journey maps leading to satisfied customers.

The “Right” Customer Experience for Retail.

If you’re in retail you’re concerned about giving your customers the “right” customer experience. Ben Potter points to research carried out by his company, Leapfrogg Digital Marketing, finding that 53% of consumers find a “personalized shopping experience” crucial.

Doing this relies on customer intelligence, gathering and – correctly – interpreting information about your customers. Potter offers some hints:

  • Establish what you want to know about your customers and why. Not all customer information is created equal.

  • Translate data into action. If you’re going to send your customers birthday notices, great, but what do you say? What do you offer? What’s the right answer?

  • Be ready to implement change. If your technology or system doesn’t support the change, get new technology or system.

Even marginal gains in customer experience can yield rich dividends. Chances are good that you have access to the information you need to make significant changes already.

Being a B2B Customer Experience Leader.

Noted CX blogger Annette Franz Gleneicki writes in CustomerThink that the B2B experience is unfortunately underrepresented when the discussion turns to customer experience.

She references recent study findings from Accenture, finding that only 23 percent of B2B companies “achieve strong returns from their customer experience initiatives.”

She passes on three Accenture recommendations for improving the B2B CX:

  • Start from the back. The customer touchpoint is important, but no less important than what supports it from inside the organization.

  • Overinvest in traditional: “Leaders invest twice as much as their peers in offline capabilities such as contact centers, field service processes and tools, and legacy CRM systems.”

  • Overinvest in digital. CX leaders put two-thirds of their customer experience budgets to digital – augmenting the omni-channel experience, not replacing it.

That’s it for the week, hope you had a great one!

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