Let's take a look at some of the best customer service news and articles of the week:
Two Little-Known Elements of Great Customer Service.
Micah Solomon brings his usual sharp eye to describing two elements found in most successful customer service, but which are rarely described:
Customer service as theatrical performance. Hey, customer service is a real-time performance including actors, props, pacing, lighting and dialogue, right? Remember: Acting is not fakery. Give genuine service. Be authentically good.
Customer service requires improvisation. Sometimes you just have to go off-script to please a customer – “accepting and responding appropriately to the unpredictable new inputs that every customer will bring to the situation.” Finding the right balance between canned script and spontaneous ad libbing is an art form.
Above all, Solomon writes, “Preparation carries the day – even when you’re improvising. The more customer service training you’ve had, the more role-plays you’ve been through, the better that you know your product and service,” the better you’ll be. After all, your business is but a stage...
Five Steps to Boosting Customer Loyalty.
Interviewed in Retail Customer Experience, Kevin Cochrane, CMO of digital experience management player Jahia, previously VP of marketing for Adobe, offered five thoughts on how to improve customer loyalty:
Implement a strategy customers can control. Gentle “push” marketing lets customers “pull” what interests them. Give them a chance.
Gather in-the-moment data. Personify customers by putting them – anonymously – in customer segments.
Stay personal. Each touchpoint along the customer journey needs to be personalized based on real-time intelligence. This means saving and using only information that is valuable for both the business and consumer – previous choices and preferences, for example.
Provide consistent experiences. Top of mind should be things like getting the right content to mobile sites and ease of use.
Be transparent. Let customers know what information you have about them. They’re people, not monetized data points. Openness fosters trust and loyalty.
Luxury Retailers Suffer Most From Bad CX.
Business Insider notes that when customers are unhappy with service, “luxury retailers are hit hardest.”
Why would that be? Expectations. Let’s face it, a jacket’s a jacket. Splashing out a lot more money for a Ralph Lauren, or other luxury-branded jacket, you expect more than just a jacket. You expect a lavish shopping experience – to be treated like how you suppose big spenders are / should be treated.
And luxury customers don’t appreciate having their expectations unmet: “48% of luxury consumers who have a poor customer service experience demand either an apology, a refund, coupons, or some other incentive to return to the brand. And an additional 13% of customers would not accept any of these and would simply refuse to shop with that particular brand again.”
And luxury retailers are happy to oblige, since “The top 10% of U.S. household earners (those taking home $120,000 or more annually) account for approximately half of all consumer expenditures.”
Improving B2B Sales By Owning the Customer Journey.
Kelly Smith Dotson writes on Chief Marketer that since customers these days use the Internet much more before contacting a vendor’s sales team, it’s difficult for a company’s marketing and sales teams to stay on the same page.
This is because B2B customers who view marketing materials online frequently find that after the first part of their customer journey has been so guided by the marketing department, there’s a disconnect in the experience.
Dotson gives three advantages of marketers taking full ownership of the customer journey:
Message consistency. Sales reps need to fully understand the steps a customer has already taken.
Marketing accountability. Marketing can be measured by customer acquisition metrics more readily.
Less finger-pointing. “Collaboration breeds profitability.” And reducing dissension is always to the good.
Want a Customer Experience Revolution?
B2C has a good article on recent research from Leader Networks and CMX Media showing that companies who emphasize “customer satisfaction” as a major driver for their online communities generally find success with them.
Successful organizations set up online communities as a “single point of learning for customers,” not merely as a cost-saving measure, although they are those as well.
“You can only reduce costs to a certain degree, you can use communities to fuel innovation that drives new revenue,” the article notes. “Aligning the community with the goals of the business is the key to success.”
“Customer relationships are the foundation of every organization’s success,” B2C writes, adding that organizations are “relying less on community as a support engine and cost-reduction strategy, and are viewing top-line business growth as a primary reason to build a branded community.”
That’s it for this week, hope you had a great week and a relaxing Easter weekend.