I recently read the article; Surprise! Customer Service Doesn’t Need To Be Delightful – Just Effective written by Kate Leggett. It’s about a study done by Forrester Data on what successful customer service is. They found that valuing the customer’s time is the single most important factor that customer service representatives should focus on. More importantly, giving customers efficient, relevant, accurate, and complete answers to their questions is what customers want so they don’t feel as if they are wasting their time. In general, customers have very minimal tolerance for difficult and/or long service interactions. Gartner adds a nice statistic to that: Failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers.
I really liked Leggett’s post because it was able to outline the hidden characteristics of great customer service and offered data from consumers and their thoughts on successful customer service. I believe that this article is extremely informative and important for customer service managers and representatives to read because it will help customer service representatives reduce customer’s impatience and increase productivity. Following the four steps on offering effortless customer service can do this as well as the statistics presented on what customers believe is excellent customer service.
Leggett discusses feedback given by consumers, which is extremely important. Understanding what consumers specifically want will help your company improve immensely. A lot of the findings from the data surprised me, specifically; both older and younger customers are intolerant to friction in service interactions.
When it comes to meeting all consumers’ individual needs, what most customer service representatives don’t realize is that older customers are as intolerant to hostility in service interaction as the younger customers. Both types of customers are impatient and do not appreciate long customer service communications. U.S. senior online consumers are less likely to purchase online than younger online consumers. However, 71% of U.S. online consumers ages 69+ have made an online retail purchase in the past three months.
As a younger consumer, one would think that they have more patience than an older consumer; or vise a versa. However, after reading further, it makes sense. Technology is so advanced these days that everyone is using it. This also contributes to older consumers doing the same things as younger consumers i.e.: purchasing items or seeking customer service via the Internet. As well as a consumer is a consumer; they all want the same things.
Caterpillar, maker of heavy industrial machines takes it a step further: Once you begin to get feedback from your customers, do something with it. Make follow-up calls or visits to disappointed customers, just to get additional information about their specific problems or concerns. Customers are pleasantly surprised that someone read their responses and are elated that someone is following-up with them.
Leggett’s post also describes four steps to assist customer relation’s managers on offering effortless customer service. These four steps include; guide customers through the paths of lowest effort, create your organization to support cross-channel communication, standardize the service experience across all communication channels, and encourage agents to offer customers full support.
The trend will be changing however as Gartner quotes that: By 2015, 50% of online customer self-service search activities will be done by virtual agents.
Overall, this is a good read – it gave a lot of insight on increasing your company’s custom service assistances. At first, one would think they have to be superior or extraordinary to succeed and impress customers. However little do they know they just need to offer value to the customers own personal time which will make them the extraordinary customer service representative they should always strive to be.