8 reasons why customer service should be prompt and professional
In a highly competitive environment, you literally have to fight for the customer. And when you get it – do your best not to lose him or her. Why? Because it is thanks to the clients that your business makes sense and has a chance to survive.
The customer service department is the first line of contact between the client and the company. Its organization and way of performing duties influences the perception of the company by the client and determines whether the client will want to stay with the company for longer. That is why customer service should be the apple of every company's eye. Its role must be viewed from a much broader perspective. It's not just tedious phone calls anymore. Yes, they can happen. However, the most important task is to make the client happy and build a long-term relationship. Having in mind the above, effectiveness of customer service should be analyzed on an ongoing basis, and in the case of identifying any shortcomings, corrective steps should be undertaken without notice.
Good customer service
Before we answer the questions related to the title of this article, let's take a closer look at what good customer service really is and what customer service skills should be.
The task of the customer service department is to meet customer expectations on the full path of the purchasing process, and in many cases also later. Dedicated employees should be ready to support the customer in the process of making a purchase decision (e.g. in the case of any doubts about which version of the product or service to choose), during the transaction (e.g. if there are any payment difficulties), as well as in handling possible complaints or returns. How to do it right? Here are some tips.
The excellent customer service and its representatives should be:
- accessible – the client must be able to identify contact details quickly and help must be available without undue delay no matter whether the contact is made via phone, live chat or in person
- prepared – customer service representative must have excellent knowledge about the products and services
- quick – the client values time the most and wants to solve the problem as quickly as possible
- empathetic – each client is different and requires an individual approach, it is worth showing empathy, listening to the specific needs and search for adjusted solutions
- kind - it doesn't need explanation, does it?
Customer service skills
Taking into account the scale of potential problems and the variety of clients, it is not easy to guarantee good customer service. It requires building teams with the appropriate skills.
The perfect customer service representative is first of all communicative, kind and patient. He/she must be able to listen and act under time pressure, be proactive, enthusiastic and resistant to stress. He/she should be familiar with the processes in the company as well as the offer of products and services. It doesn't mean that he/she has to know everything - it's rather about being able to quickly identify the answer for the client's problem by using internal knowledge management tools.
The employees, with their behavior and attitude, must be able to create positive customer experience and build customer satisfaction. Must be able to act promptly and professionally. Let's take a look at what exactly does this affect!
Excellent customer service - 8 reasons why
1: Customer satisfaction
Customer service is important because it enables building long-lasting and correct relations with the client. It strengthens the feeling of satisfaction. Use of an individual approach means that the customer does not feel like part of a mass machine which strengthens the relationship with the company. It is common that customers prefer to work with a business that they've had a great experience with before rather than search for a new provider of products or services. And this does not apply only to transactions where everything went perfectly. According to Salesforce, 78% of consumers are willing to re-establish cooperation with the company after a mishap if the company proves to have excellent customer service.
If you manage to build customer satisfaction, the chances that the client will return in the future increase. What will happen if you don't? According to the report „The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagement” prepared by Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company, low level of customer service causes enormous losses in companies, reaching even USD 338.5 billion a year! The average value of each lost customer is estimated at the level of USD 243 per year. Can you afford it?
2: Competitive advantage
Why customers choose competition? 68% of respondents of the study „The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagement” indicate that the main reason is the poor quality of customer service. Creating positive customer service experience discourages people from switching to competition. They are more likely to stay with a brand that gives them satisfactory care and necessary support; with a brand that builds trust and its customer care is not limited with any barriers (for example in terms of the availability and transparency of the terms of the transaction). To summarize it shortly - if you don't take care of your customer, the competition will do.
3: Existing customers vs new clients' acquisition
Based on annual survey conducted by Esteban Kolsky - the founder and principal of thinkJar (a Customer Strategy consulting and think tank organization that advises companies to embrace customer experience), it's six to seven times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Following the scheme: get a client, complete the transaction, forget it, is the worst path you can choose. According to sales and management specialists, maintaining a relationship with the current customer should be done with no less commitment and effort than in gaining a new one. It's cheaper and more productive. By building a community of satisfied customers, you increase your chances that they will recommend your products to others. So it is an investment that has a chance to pay off.
4: Brand recognition
According to "The Microsoft 2017 State of Global Customer Service survey", 96% of consumers claim that customer service is an important factor in building their loyalty to a brand. So good customer service should be a part of marketing activity as it will work for your brand perception.
Building an image of the company that cares for positive customer experience and is close to the customers' needs has a potential to become one of the purchasing factors. The clients are more willing to reach for products and services offered by a company that will assist them in case any problems arise. But it cannot be limited to marketing declarations only. Support teams have to work to implement these assumptions into reality.
5: Word-of-mouth marketing
The are many channels you can choose to let the client know about your product or service. Starting from a website, through social media, influencers, desktop advertisements and many more. They are becoming more and more expensive and their effectiveness is not always satisfactory.
What you can not buy is a piece of true advice from a friend. You cannot buy it but you can earn it thanks to offering good customer support. If you consistently care about the satisfaction of your customers, you can be sure that they will recommend you to their friends, and to their friends, etc.
6: Development opportunities
Effective customer service has the power to go beyond your business and customer base. A good reputation can act as a magnet attracting other companies and building partnerships. Customer support says a lot about the company and its values. It builds trust and hope for mutual benefits.
7: Effectiveness of operation
If you offer good customer service, you limit potential problems that can occur in other areas of the company. The satisfied client does not make complaints, does not call the manager to lament about poor service, does not post a negative opinion about the company on the Internet. It means that people from legal, sales or marketing departments can focus on their job rather than putting out fires. And this, in turn, translates into time and financial efficiency of the company's operations.
8: Success in sales
Last but not least! The icing on the cake! All efforts put in ensuring excellent customer service will pay off in the form of the above listed benefits which all lead to generating sales.
It's good to perceive success in sales in long-term perspective. Is concluding a transaction with a client a success? In a way, yes. But if your strategy is to stay in the market for longer, the success will be not the client itself, but the customer that returns to your brand.
Once you have satisfied customers, you will generate sales and your company will grow. According to to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rate by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. Therefore, customer service should be a part of the company's strategy and philosophy. It's an obligatory element of building long-term competitive advantage.
Customer service is king!
Let's conclude this article with a famous quote of Warren Buffett: „It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently”.
So? If you want to grow your business in the long term, don't treat your client as a passerby. Take care of the customer satisfaction and the customer experiences. It's the best thing you can do to make your company grow. Start with setting a strategy in the area of customer care, securing support teams and training customer service representatives. And remember: „Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” (Bill Gates). So listen carefully to your client's feedback and implement improvements on a regular basis. Shortly you will gain great customer(s) who will become the ambassadors of your brand.