This article was originally published on “fonolo.”
Customers are increasingly demanding quality customer service. In fact, 70% of consumers will spend 13% more on companies that provide excellent service.
In early 2012, Gartner advised clients that: “the emerging need to support customers on the Internet and social media, as well as on mobile devices, was having a profound impact on future planning.”
This was a significant increase from 2010 when only 58% of consumers said they would spend 9% or more on businesses that delivered that outstanding customer service. Despite the importance of customer service many businesses do not seem to be getting the message. The same survey found that only six in every 10 consumers believe that businesses are focusing on providing great customer service.
Providing exceptional customer service does not necessarily have to involve investing millions of dollars. Here are three different ways that businesses can provide great customer service.
Adding a Human Touch
Sometimes providing exceptional customer service doesn’t require anything more than a few friendly words. In a patient satisfaction survey which compared five different hospitals in New York it was found that simply saying “enjoy your meal” after serving the patients was enough to improve customer perception of their hospital. Premium hospitals did not need to serve better food or more convenient service. Simply being friendlier was sufficient to improving the value perception of the hospital.
Making Decisions Easier
The easier it is to make a decision the more likely they are to complete a purchase and to be satisfied with that decision. That means providing the consumer with the information that they need about the product, and making the purchase as easy as possible.
One study found that businesses that measured highly on a decision simplicity index were 86% more likely to be purchased from compared to businesses with a buying process that was deemed complex. These businesses are also 90% more likely to have a customer repurchase and 115% more likely to be recommended to their friends.
A company that is very good at this is Amazon with their one click purchasing and streamlined checkout process. You can also use third party tools to drive users to action and to ensure that they complete each necessary step in their processes. WalkMe, for example, provides onscreen guidance to help customers complete their online tasks without error.
Do What’s Necessary to Make Sure the Customers Happy
The online shoe retailer Zappos operates in a highly competitive market. After all, it is providing what is essentially a commodity product. You can buy the same shoes at Zappos at many other e-commerce sites. What makes Zappos different is the customer service. They do whatever it takes to make sure that the customer is satisfied. In one case this meant that a customer service representative spent 10 hours on the phone with a single customer. It’s that kind of dedication that sets Zappos apart from its competition.
Gartner analysts also inform us that: “Customer support is reactive (i.e., it responds to customer requests or problems), as well as proactive (it anticipates the information customers need to make informed decisions and keep products and services performing to their expectations.”)
Creating exceptional customer service starts with the corporate culture. Businesses that provide great customer service focus on treating each of their customers as an individual. They take the time and energy to find unique ways to make sure that that customer is completely satisfied. With customers’ expectations for exceptional customer service higher than ever it is an investment that can pay off richly.