Monday, September 19, 2011

Is Your Customer Service a Game Changer or Just Keeping You in the Game?

All companies would love to be able to say they are a game changer. Whether it is
with their service, brand or innovation, few companies really can claim such a grand
statement. Some of the few can, include Ritz Carlton, Southwest Airlines, Target,
Starbucks and Apple. My experience tells me more companies are just trying to stay
in the game because for them to change does not seem to be a reality.

Do this to keep up with the best:

1. Be easy to find. Is your 800 number visible on the front page of your website?
Stop hiding the number. Forrester Research shows customers still want to talk to
you. In a recent study customers were asked, “Which method do you prefer to use
when interacting with customer service?” The response showed 79% preferred
the phone and email came in at 33%. Customers still want a real person in a call

2. Let your people be “real”. Give them power to build a relationship. Scripts
are old school. Hire and train well so you can trust your team to talk
to the customer.

3. Appear seamless. Customers do not want to repeat themselves. Have data
systems that allow the next employee or department to be aware of the customer’s
situation and conversation. I am amazed at how many organizations have not
cleaned up their act on this issue.

4. Create access at the customer’s preferred contact point. Social media,
email, live chat, call center, web self serve, automated phone system, video –
all options must be available and you must be able to track their usage history
to win their loyalty. All these interaction points have a great chance to frustrate
the customer. Make certain you create a winning experience instead.

5. Deliver on your promise. Is it that difficult to callback and follow through as
promised? Your brand is at risk when you do not deliver. It is too easy for
customers to broadcast their dissatisfaction quickly. The negative comments gain
traction fast as others start to pile on their input. Don’t let your lack of reliability
and responsiveness allow this to happen.

What will you do today to make certain your customer service is keeping you in the
game? Be better, think differently, innovate your service delivery and you might have
a chance at changing the game.

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