Top stories of the Week: Four Steps to Fix Bad Customer Service and more

Hello and happy Valentine’s Day – remember to spare a little love for your customers! Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting articles this past week helping you do just that:

Four Steps to Fix Bad Customer Service.

Sometimes we overcomplicate things. Brenda Bouw writes that good customer service is giving customers what they want – not too little, not too much. Hey Southwest Airlines doesn’t offer business class, but they seem to satisfy customers.

She offers four ways of improving customer service without going overboard:

  • Keep it simple. Amazon makes it easy to do business. Make it complex and customers walk away. Fewer forms to fill out, quicker transactions, easier website please.

  • Speak the customer’s language where they’re listening. Are your customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn? Then you should be too.  And strangely, most companies don’t provide places for positive feedback. Employees love positive feedback, so make it easy to get and boost employee morale.

  • Empower the front line. Don’t make customer service people have to “check with someone first.”

  • Don’t just listen, engage. People still value the human touch. Enthusiastic salespeople gets more customers in stores.

B2B Marketers Rethinking Customer Journey.

Along with millennials, B2B customer now expect “always on” customer service and the ability to use multiple devices for customer service. And they’re rapidly adopting the same expectations for the customer experience as a 25-year old interacting with Amazon.com.

A recent report cited in Social Times of over 6,000 B2B buyers, sellers and marketers found that “28 percent of buyers polled rate their relationships with vendors as very good, and 56 percent rate them as good… only three percent of respondents believe their relationships with vendors are in decline.”

But among those who did find the relationship declining, “30 percent believed that a lack of responsiveness is the primary cause.”

Contact Centers: Your Customer Loyalty Custodian.

CustomerThink wrote recently that given the importance of digital now and in the future, companies might think it’s the only truly important channel to focus on.

Not so, according to the American Express Customer Service Barometer survey, which finds that “for issues of high complexity, the “digital first’ customer want to speak with a person who is empowered to solve their problem,” in CustomerThink’s words.

“Across all demographics,” the more complex a customer issue is, the more the customer wants to talk to a person. A person who’s empowered to solve their problem.

And that human contact is crucial: CT notes that recent research from The Temkin Group on the importance of a company’s response to a bad experience finds that “if a company’s response is considered ‘good’ by the customer there is a 33% increase in spending vs. only 2% for a response perceived as ‘bad’. If a company’s response is ‘bad’ there is 65% of decreased spending vs. 24% for a good response to a bad experience.”

Make CX a Big Differentiator.

Noted customer experience author and speaker Chip R. Bell writes in Smart Business that hey, if customer experience is a differentiator – and it is – then you should make it a big one.

Customers assume good quality at a good price these days, Bell writes, saying “They now look at the experience as the component of value that differentiates… almost 80 percent of customers decide to do business with a company based on that company’s customer experience reputation.”

And your CX competition isn’t just others in your industry: It’s Amazon.com. It’s Nordstrom’s. It’s Disney. Whenever customer get great service in one part of their lives, they think “Why can’t everybody do this?”

He offers five “loyalty drivers” customers value:

  • Include Me. “Customers care when they share,” and feel like partners.

  • Assure Me. Ensure the basics are done right. Every time.

  • Know Me. Listen to your customers. Really. Then act on it.

  • Teach Me. Things are complex, help them understand.

  • Surprise Me. How long do you think Cracker Jacks would have been around without the “free” prize?

Earning Loyalty with Chat.

Business2Community writes that while customer service is a great place to turn ordinary customers into loyal customers, live chat is a real game-changer: “Live chat has the highest customer satisfaction rates – 92% – compared to other channels, according to a study by ZenDesk.”

Contrary to assumptions that digital channels are not quite as good as delivering the customer experience as phone, B2C says web chat can be a pleasant surprise to customers.

Chat can handle complex issues, which normally need personal contact. One can multitask while on chat, and you get a written record of the exchange.

When a customer needs more than self-service, chat can be a real loyalty-builder.


That’s it for this week. Don't forget to sign up for the upcoming webinar on Wednesday, February 17, about Business Intelligence in contact centers. 

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here next Friday.

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