If you Love your Customer, prove it in Service excellence

love-customer-service

If you Love your Customer, prove it in Service! You need Service excellence 24/7, no matter the industry you’re in, before your Customer leaves! How? By making sure than in every stop of the Customer’s Journey you and your staff show excellence in every interaction and detail. If you are really committed to Customers (and their interests), as you’re committed to your business, then and only then you will Grow…

“If you Love your Customer, prove it in Service”

I’ve served thousands of Customers: ego-freaks, well-trained and educated, harsh and impolite, leaders and wanna-be, yesmen and top-notch initiators. In few words, I’ve seen it all. I always loved this game.

Some time ago a colleague called me a ‘chameleon’ due to my many flexible customer responses. Was one of my constant efforts, to help my teams realize that we’re there because of the customer. Everything we do should look into customer interests, desires, and wishes. Never said No? Oh yes, I did, many times, being on top of the ‘food-chain’ (in terms of know-how and thorough business analysis).

Lessons learned? The successful business owners I’ve got to partner with were infatuated primarily with the Customer policies. They were more committed to it than any manager they’ve had in the house. They were changing their routines to facilitate customer service and responses.

Unfortunately, they weren’t ever the majority. Having fought (with customers) for big portfolio campaigns, I can admit that only the 10% was really caring for the customer response. Corporate world has been taught since the 70’s that Customers should come by their side, and -why not?- follow the big corporate name no matter what.

Imagine what happens now with those 45+ years old managers in the corporate world that must transform; they can’t turn the game, nor they will facilitate necessary customer experiences as asked by the on-going Digital transformation.

A customer walks by…

Is your WiFi invitation active to drag them in, or simply asks to like your FB page? Some window screen promoting a QR code? Do you offer some ‘freebie’ to collect emails and interests for your portfolio lines; or even some promotional gig? Are you present on all web platforms, so the walking-by customer can search and reach you on any device, any OS? In any offline (trade) action do you direct publics at your online presence?

A customer walks in…

Smile? Introduction? Shaking hands? Asking in detail what is the purpose? Getting few data on the intro for your database, or at closing the sale? Who’s escorting the customer (online bot or advisor / well-trained employee in physical stores) and who measures the interaction? How much high salesman pressure does your company exercise? Do you have stories well told? Do you promote really the differentiators, or you simply blah-blah? Do you have a community of special business purpose that the Customer should be proposed with?

Customer leaves

Database? Segmentation & analytics? Learnings? Weekly coordination to share customer insights, comments, complaints? Thank you e-mail? Welcome offer (low-cost but high value)? Newsletter / E-mail marketing? If in Service after how much time you’ll call back? So many things might be unanswered by business owners that don’t have a Customer champion mentality. The risk is on the routines of the organization, the ones belonging to the 70-80’s.

Stimuli to discuss and share

Ritz-Carlton is one of those few large companies that is held to high standards from their consumers. With an almost legendary reputation for service, one has to wonder: Do they really live up to the hype? The story of Joshie the giraffe certainly presents a compelling case for “yes!”

In case you’ve never come across this fantastic tale, the story begins when customer Chris Hurn’s son left his favourite stuffed giraffe, “Joshie,” in their hotel room after a recent stay. Mr Hurn assured his distraught son that Joshie was just staying a few extra days on vacation. He then called the staff at the Ritz and relayed the story he had told his son. In an all-star effort to make everything right for their customer, the staff at the Ritz created a series of photographs that included all of the activities Joshie had been involved in during his “extended vacation.” To top it all off, the Ritz sent Hurn and his son a booklet filled with information about Joshie’s stay as well as a host of pictures showing what a good time he’d had. What a story!

(source: Huffington post)

Customers may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel

 Customer post-purchase is an opportunity

When the Customer “leaves” (off-and-online), you should make sure you have enough data and quality hints from this Customer. Data that will help you learn, think, improve and react – indicative steps are:

Learning:

  • Time for analytics
  • Time for more learning, audit, evaluations (Brands that measure and monitor viewability improved it by 27.5% in a single year)
  • Note: the old-logic was to run surveys, to reflect on what marketers are doing (the usual customer research brief “don’t show my faults…”), but today you only need to use tools (on-product, online, or in-store (ie.): RFID, tags, convertkit, promo codes, e-coupons, barcode-anything etc) that show you what’s working. Because marketing is no longer judged by how much it does, but by the actual business outcomes it produces.”

Change and improvements:

  • In your UX / website / social media / content / customer scripts
  • Front-line organization (stores / staff) training and actions
  • Overall marketing policy (price, service etc)

Activation (loyalty, repeat purchase, special offers):

  • Segmentation and tagging
  • Triggered emails
  • Site & event tracking
  • Intelligent follow-up / e-mail management (not spam / get the permission)
  • Pilot and scaling loyalty systems (all online: access, benefits, incremental volume, special pricing)
  • Content input for Own, Earned, Paid media in your external outreach (companies that produce less but strategically and insightfully placed see 15% on content engagement).

The Customer digital interactions

Don’t get fooled by the digital-something-gurus. Online presence, automation of processes, and UX is not by itself the ‘panacea’ to all. It’s not a website on its own or a commissioned call-center.

All must lead to customer service excellence, and one brand experience. Most of us prefer to speak to a real person when we call support and we cringe when someone tries to pass off an automated email as if it were personally sent. But automation and (soon) A.I. can’t replace a real person manning a help desk, phone, or live chat. We’re decades away from matching a human’s ability to perceive, judge, and react to complex situations in a caring, helpful way.

Many assume that customer service automation is about replacing, or minimizing, human-to-human interaction. The goals are:

  • ensure that customer can reach to the company 360o, by all means (SMS, email, call etc)
  • improve conversions, retention, and referrals
  • preemptively address customer concerns, reports, comments and problems
  • help customer issues get resolved at no time

End-note

Recently Vodafone reached me with an e-survey through SMS. I thought that as a great customer-centric innovation and being served through their customer app (billing, measuring service, updating for broadband cost etc) I was positively impressed.

But when I visited their retail store to ask for a possible service change, the shop staff redirected me to HQ, without being able to answer my cost-service questions. This is not a fully personalized experience, right? The innovation on the one-hand gets pilled under a bad service approach in-store.

The cost and OpEx of keeping a customer can’t be compared to a customer leaving and never returning back. So, if you really love the customer business, deliver to the service excellence 24/7, before they leave. There’s no other way.

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