Customer service is the act of taking care of the customer’s needs by providing and delivering professional, helpful, high-quality service and assistance before, during, and after the customer’s requirements are met. Customer service is meeting the needs and desires of any customer.
And so, today’s customer is like that fearsome critic: clued-up, savvy, with high expectations and no patience for time-wasters. This is because technology has handed them an unprecedented power to dictate the rules – comparison apps, review sites and the endless transparency of the internet leaves the ball very much in their court.
These will help you:
- Every interaction should be treated like a deal-clinching pitch.
- Be accommodating and respectful.
- Show genuine interest.
- Say, “Thank you.”
- Follow through with what you say you will do.
- Use social media as a customer service tool.
- Listen to what your customers are saying about you online, then respond to the praises and complaints using the right tone.
- Make great customer service an engrained part of your business.
- Done right, customer service can become your competitive advantage and your game-changer.
- Customer service pays its dues tenfold, by bringing people back and fueling long-term happiness.
Today’s customers know what extraordinary customer experience feels like. They don’t just compare service within industries; they compare service across the board. And so, they expect everyone to deliver the same immediacy, convenience, and personalisation they receive from their best brands. It’s high stakes!
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Well done is better than well said’’ and this is true in the context of customer management and service. Your customers respond better to what you do for them rather than what you say you’re going to do, and this is exactly why outstanding customer service needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
Even if your business does nothing else right, you need to nail customer service. This matters now more than ever. According to a survey from Temkin group, 86% of customers who rate a company’s customer service as “excellent” will repurchase from that company. It’s also worth noting that 77% of consumers who have excellent customer service interactions say they’re likely to recommend the brand to others, while only 7% of those who have poor experiences will.
From an acquisition standpoint, this data is huge. If your service is currently lacking, stepping it up could make a huge difference in how willing your customers are to spread the word about your business. And considering that those recommendations have the potential to translate into sales, it is clear that customer service can have a significant impact on your ability to reach your marketing goals.
Your customers will not compare their fast-food experience only to other fast-food experiences, they will compare their fast-food experience to their best experiences with their favourite network operator or favourite airline. The question will be, “If they can do it, why can’t you?” and really, why can’t you?
We invest way more trying to win over new customers than we do in keeping our existing ones happy — despite all the evidence showing that it should be the other way round.
Customer service can be your most powerful marketing weapon — if you know how to sharpen it. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money. Ask yourself “What is the average in my industry, and how can I consistently do better?’’ You don’t need to go to extraordinary measures to provide extraordinary customer support; you just need to consistently exceed expectations.
Reasons why customer service is the new marketing
Customer service pays for itself
It is natural to feel reluctant about investing heavily in customer service, as it can feel like a black hole in a company’s finances, burning cash at light-speed without a palpable return. That is why many companies respond to financial pressure by slashing the customer service budget first. It is winning new customers that will bring in the most revenue, right? The alternative? Think of customer service as a form of marketing, an investment that will pay for itself over time – not an expense that needs to be slashed.
A case in point here is Slack which was criticised widely for having five times more support staff than sales reps – yet it took them just over a year to move from launch to a $1 billion valuation.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is such a customer service advocate that each of its employees is authorised to spend $2,000 per day to improve guests’ experiences.
All these companies pay out for customer service because they believe that it pays off. And it does.
The bottom line? Customer service pays its dues tenfold, by bringing people back and fueling long-term happiness.
Customer service is affordable
Does your company have the funds needed to deliver outstanding customer service? It almost certainly does. As counter-intuitive as it seems, being cost-effective and investing in customer service aren’t mutually exclusive.
Take it from customer service aficionados, Amazon, the most valuable company in the world today. Jeff Bezos is renowned for obsessing about customer satisfaction, demanding that his employees chase solutions and prioritising immediacy. For him, If it benefits the customer, keep it; If it doesn’t, cut it.
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Customers do not care about expensive tools to calculate vanity metrics, or shiny offices, or ping pong tables, or if your HQ is in a major city. They do care about dealing with a happy, committed team. If you think creatively, there are plenty of tactics to keep costs low while maintaining high standards in customer service.
Good customer service helps your company grow
How big does your customer support team need to be? No two companies are the same, so there’s no set playbook. That said, bigger isn’t always better.
And here’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t start scaling your team until you’ve got your values and customer culture firmly in place. When you first start a company and have only a couple of people handling customer requests, it’s much easier to communicate values and be customer-centric. It’s when you start scaling that your customer vision is at risk of being diluted, which is why it needs to be air-tight before you start hiring.