An excellent customer service not only fulfils the requirement of the customers, it goes beyond. It's perhaps the smartest way to stand out of the crowd of other companies and traders selling products and services.
It is well accepted that, outstanding customer service increases value, retains customers, prevents business failure and does a lot more. It creates endorsement as well. Customer satisfaction helps to build customer loyalty and the value of a loyal customer is ten times more than the first timers. Statistically, 97 per cent of customers will tell others about very good or excellent customer service experiences.
In the age of digital market, this has become more critical. Online reviews can reach to thousands of customers within a second. There are plenty of examples of organisations in the global market who were forced to shut down their businesses due to their poor customer services. Unhappy customers love to turn around. That's why businesses should pay utmost attention to customer service.
A clear difference exists between typical customer service and outstanding customer service. There are four easy, simple techniques which can be followed by an organisation to stand out of the crowd of service-providers.
First and foremost is to engage with the customer in a unique manner. What most customer representatives do: they treat all the customers in the same way, while disregarding the type and problem of the customer. Most of them start a conversation with- "Thanks for being with us. How may I help you today?" An extraordinary customer service focused team will handle it differently. They will not say something from their memories or that which is scripted. They will analyse the customer's type, personality and context and use this analysis to provide the best solution to the customer.
The second detail would be to successfully pinpoint the problem. Most representatives stick to their prescribed checklists and steps. They do not want to get out of it. They do not focus on what actions customers have already taken to solve the problem. For example, in case of gadgets or internet services, when a customer or subscriber calls the customer call centre to report a network problem, the most common feedback is: "Please switch off and then switch on your device to fix this problem".
If the client answers that he/she has already tried it, then the recommendation will most likely be: "Please try it one more time." On the other hand, exceptional customer service providers will listen to a customer thoroughly. They will focus on the actions that the customer has already taken and provide solutions accordingly. These service providers are likely to advise: "As you have already tried this way, let's try something else now".
Third, the outstanding service provider will offer a solution and not an alternative. Customers feel pleased when they receive a solution. Often customer service representatives tend to confuse customers by offering too many options rather than solutions. A creative representative, however, demonstrates all options as well as to provide the very best, easiest and fastest possible solution.
Last but not the least, superior customer service resolves issues differently. When an ordinary customer service provider solves only the problem that the customer has called about, a quality customer service, on the other hand, anticipates and resolves additional potential problems. Traditional representatives ask, "Have I solved your issues today?" whereas, brilliant representatives will go further by saying, "A few of our customers faced a related problem. Let me give you the solutions, so that, you don't need to call us back if you face this".
Little initiatives can create a big impact. Once an organisation has fixed their target, it must become more aggressive about ensuring the perfect fit. Focusing on customer service and customer experience is more crucial now than ever before.
If an organisation provides the wrong service and a customer has a bad experience, the words of disapproval will move as fast as a rocket. A few poor incidents can destroy a brand forever while a few great experiences can place a brand in the elite club of products and brands.
Annur Islam Sifat is a Masters' student of International Business at the Macquarie University