Before you can leverage customer service as a marketing strategy, it’s crucial to get a grasp on what top-notch customer relations means. But it’s even more important, critically so, to understand what drives customers away.
In a nutshell, stellar customer service means making every aspect of the customer’s experience, a positive encounter every time, by meeting, and if at all possible, exceeding their expectations via friendly, knowledgeable, reliable information and timely assistance. The key words being friendly, knowledgeable, reliable, and timely + every time = positive experience.
So, what is it that drives customers crazy and turns the hoped-for pleasant experience into one that leaves potential or existing clients pulling out their hair or beating their head against the wall? Let’s focus on a couple of common complaints.
- Being kept on hold too long. Consumers will wait for an average of eleven minutes before hanging up. And each of those sixty-second increments increases the customer’s frustration level. In the end, if they wasted valuable time on hold and still have no resolution, expect tempers to flare.
- High on the list of grievances is the time it takes to reach a real person. More on that below.
- Being transferred due to the rep’s inability to answer questions is another critical In fact, not being transferred ranks as the second most crucial factor in stellar customer support.
Each of these scenarios is perceived by the consumer as a glaring lack of concern for the customer’s time, adding fuel to the fire of the MIA “real person” issue.
It’s true that much of customer service lends itself to automation, but the resulting service isn’t necessarily viewed as a win-win from the customer angle. While management applauds the fact that fewer customer service representatives are needed, the consumer seethes at what feels like an endless string of “press 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .” commands. In fact, 75% of consumers feel it takes too long to reach a live person. Ouch.
Simple questions answered swiftly by the automated systems makes everyone’s life easier. But for more complex situations or for those who have a strong affinity for “live” customer service, strive to get customers to a living, breathing person in less than two minutes.
As a bonus, businesses that make a concentrated effort to improve their customer experience reap the reward of increased employee engagement rates, by an average of 20%, which makes total sense. It’s a bum deal to work every day with customers who are hot under the collar due to poor customer service but, oh so much more pleasant to work around happy clients.
Stellar customer service can and should be top-of-mind in every marketing conversation.
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