Whenever organizations ask, “what does great customer service mean to you?”, I end up saying “it depends!”
And, it is true. What could be a great aspect for me can turn out to be an average aspect for others during their customer journey.
But imagine this, there is an eCommerce platform that you think of every time you want to buy essentials like groceries, veggies, and others. You know that since:
- Your deliverables reach your doorstep in no time
- Quality is what they’ll deliver
- They’ll help you in real-time to make the right purchase
- They’ll be friendly towards you no matter how frustrating your day might be
All this looks promising. However, you will end up expecting exactly the same level of service every time you buy from them.
So, one aspect that online customer service should offer you is consistency. There are various means to build consistency in customer service, but one promising platform that will deliver great customer service is live chat.
A business owner would never want their customers to think that “it takes too much time to reach a live agent”. Therefore, using live chat software for customer support is the perfect option to help your visitors reach operators instantly.
Now, this is my way of describing a great customer service. Let’s take a look at what experts have to say.
KAREN MANGIAVice President, Customer & Market Insights at Salesforce
What great Customer Service means to me is:
- Knowing what your customers care about the most
- Being proactive in providing experiences aligned with what they care about most
- Understanding how your customer defines success (whether that's a closed case, an accomplished task, or a strategic partnership)
- Delivering consistently
For me, great customer service means providing proactive support with a human touch where the visitor feels valued.Tweet this
RALF WITTGENTeam Leader: Customer Service - Experience - Success
First and foremost: delight your customers! I call this "WOW-ing" your customer. What does this mean?
(1) Do something which is entirely unexpected for the customer. In other words: it comes as a surprise!
- Keep in mind: Your customer is paying for your services. Thus, your customer is expecting, e.g. a fast resolution of support tickets, preferably during the first phone call. Instead, exceed expectations by going the extra mile for your customers, as shown in this example:
A client is looking for fresh yeast in a supermarket, but an employee tells them that yeast is unfortunately out of stock. Next, the employee asks the shopper to wait for a few minutes and goes to the bakery across the street, then returns and hands a sachet of yeast to the shopper saying "I got this from the bakery nearby. Don't worry about paying for the yeast. Enjoy baking with your kids this afternoon!".
- Guess what? This happy customer will share this outstanding experience with 10+ more people! I call this "the customer was WOW-ed"!
(2) Focus on creating value for your customer.
- Become the trusted advisor of your customer. Listen to their needs, learn about their business and industry, and understand their challenges. Find out: What does success look like for your customer? How can they use your product in the best possible way? In other words: Deliver value relentlessly to your customer.
- Translated to the example above: The shopper doesn't need to spend more time going to another supermarket and can instead return home.
(3) Be human: Despite all technology and data, people connect with people!
- Listen, show empathy, be transparent and respectful.
- Translated to the example above: the employee understood and addressed the customer's feelings of disappointment and frustration when looking for the yeast.
For me, great customer service means to do something which is entirely unexpected, creating value, and connecting with customers with a personalized approach.Tweet this
BECKY ROEMENSr. CX Consultant at TTEC Digital
- Great customer service means you are not treating the customer experience as one-size-fits-all. Each customer has their own preferences for which channels they want to interact with you on, those organizations that collect and listen to their Voice of the Customer data are ensuring they are where they need to be to support their customers best. Great customer service means predicting the customer need as well; understanding what breadcrumbs the customer has left behind as they have progressed through the customer journey is crucial to anticipate the customer need and resolve it quickly.
- Customers expect that the organizations they interact with are easy to do business with and will treat them like a human. Humanizing the customer journey and adding in personalization means you are recognizing that this individual is not only your customer, but they are a known customer, and you therefore are not asking them to repeat information you already know and using vital customer time. Anything from optimizing the authentication process to using the customer’s name correctly can indicate to them that they are an important customer to you and that they are acknowledged. When technology is leveraged appropriately, it becomes relatively easy to use customer journey data to provide this personalization and enhanced experience.
For me, Great customer service means you are not treating the customer experience as one-size-fits-all.Tweet this
DAVID RUBINSTEINVP Strategy & Customer Success| Customer Experience Visionary
- Great customer service starts with customer expectations: setting clear and accurate expectations for everything throughout the customer journey, while always, always aiming to exceed these expectations.
- A company selling a product/service has to understand and recognize these customer expectations: What should the customer expect from the purchase process, from the delivery, and the actual product that they receive.
- Than once understanding these expectations, for GREAT customer service the company should always work on exceeding these expectations in order to create that famous WOW effect.
- And to me as a customer, when engaging with anyone in the company at any point of my journey I feel that they work to exceed my expectations - that’s when I feel I’m getting a great customer service that is worth talking about.
For me, great customer service is to recognize customers’ expectations and building your services round them because it will make them feel cherished.Tweet this
JUDITH PLATZVice President, Research Customer Success & Support at Technology Services Industry Association
Great customer service is often talked about but rarely delivered. Part of the reason is that there are a lot of assumptions about what customers want; we build an inside-out strategy. Simply put we take a “we know best” mentality regarding what customers want and need from us. We do this without asking for customer input. We then build an engagement strategy based on our assumptions about the experience strategy we create.
To provide great customer service we must provide customers with support that is personalized, low on customer effort and high in value. For companies looking to provide great service, the real focus needs to be on improving the areas of poor experience and removing the roadblocks that cause high effort for customers. Customers are willing to share information regarding difficult support experiences. It is time to regularly ask where the high level of effort is, and use this information so processes can be changed, employees can be re-trained, and technology can be modified, look for the items that lower customer effort.
In order to provide great customer service, we need to provide SMART Support.
We need to make it SMART for the business and SMART for the customer. Our role, as leaders, is to weave those angles together to create the ideal customer experience.
Great customer service that is SMART for the Customer, focuses on interactions that are:
Great customer service that is SMART for the Business focuses on:
- Mobile/Digital enabled
- AI/Machine Learning
None of the elements of SMART support can be created without a strong focus on the employee experience. There is a direct and firm link between the employee experience and the customer experience. Creating a culture of customer ownership and driving the notion that every employee is critical to owning the success of the customer is more important than ever. Support service leadership will need to maintain a strong focus on employees, their engagement, their emotional connection to the company, their overall curiosity, and their drive to be engaged with customers in a meaningful way.
Service leadership needs to continue to find ways to incorporate support employees into the higher-level success of the company, and do so by creating a purposeful focus on customer success narratives as well as traditional metrics. Emphasis on automation is a significant driver for many service organizations, but continuing to focus, and in some cases re-focus, on employees is vital. It is not unusual for support to experience high attrition. A majority of the attrition is voluntary, and it’s due to monotonous tasks that are boring and lack true value. Driving high employee engagement through creation of interesting work that challenges and rewards employees is beyond necessary.
I encourage service leadership to commit to being leaders who build and continuously encourage an open environment for sharing ideas; this environment will build a culture of trust; this culture will lead to open sharing of ideas, curiosity & transformation. We must continuously reinforce our commitment to our customers and our employees. We will ideally make it easy for them to continuously renew their business and employment relationship with us, versus taking their business and their skills to a competitor that is providing a lower-effort, more satisfying experience.
For me, great customer service is to work towards building SMART support for both businesses and customers.Tweet this
RICHARD MAYNEManaging Partner at CX Innovate Pte Ltd
- For me, there is no true customer service experience without a culture that is both top down, and bottom up. Top down, in that the top management of the company needs to truly own the necessity of the customer experience and tie it in as a key metric in how they measure the business’s success. Bottom up, by making sure that the culture is there from day one, and is talked about, reinforced and inculcated daily.
- When the staff gets to see how central the customers experience is to company culture, they will act accordingly and your customers will be treated as number one. It takes a totally customer centric vision and set of values to provide the ecosystem for delightful consistency to flourish.
For me, great customer service is building a strong work culture that motivates employees to work towards building a delightful experience for customers.Tweet this
GOKHAN KARACX Manager at Enerjisa
Customer service is the most crucial part of Customer Experience. People connect or disconnect to the brand with regard to interaction with Customer service touchpoints. I divide great customer service into 2 key parts: process and people.
1. Process: According to Edwards Deming, “Bad system will beat a good person every time.”
That’s why before hiring and developing the best Customer service employees, companies should start with process and try to make it customer-oriented. Simple and easy processes will let customer representatives create better experiences. Otherwise it’s really hard to build a great Customer service.
2. People: People make difference. I divide people into 3 pillars:
- Result oriented - The first feature should be result oriented. According to many studies, customers want organizations to meet their needs and expectations first. Great Customer service should be able to meet customers’ voices and unspoken needs quickly and effectively. Therefore, customer representatives should know company processes and the service or product’s details very well they’re serving.
- High EQ - This is the way how customer service meet customers’ needs. Empathy is so vital in customer service. Customers should feel that customer representatives understand and value them. You can do it only with high EQ.
- Empowerment - Even you have the best employees, you can’t make a difference if they’re not empowered. Ritz-Carlton employees can spend up to $2000 to ensure customer experience without any approval. Companies should trust and give tools to employees for providing them create better customer experiences.
For me, great customer service is about creating better experience process and provide people a result oriented service from empowered customer representatives.Tweet this
Wrapping it Up
Great customer service can mean a lot of things to different people. However, its end result should focus on customer delight, which means:
- Providing proactive support with a human touch
- Do something which is entirely unexpected, creating value, and connecting with customers with a personalized approach
- Recognizing customer’s expectations and building your services round them
- Creating better experience process and provide people result oriented service
- Building a strong work culture that motivates the employees to work towards building a delightful experience
- Working towards building SMART support for both businesses and customers
But all these factors can help your business build a great customer service only if it is done consistently.
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