Customer service should be at the heart of every organisation. But clearly this is not the case for all businesses if the 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index is anything to go by. According to the survey, 58 per cent of people surveyed feel under-appreciated by the companies they do business with.
For any business, the main goal is growth and customers are at the heart of this. The best way to retain and gain customers is by ensuring that they have great experiences when working with a company. This loyal customer base is the fuel for increased development and investment but can also bring in new business leads through word of mouth.
According to the Aspect Survey, 49 per cent of consumers have stopped doing business with at least one company in the last 12 months due to poor customer service. In an age where competition is at its greatest, losing customers just isn’t an option and differentiating a business from other competitors can be tricky. One way to set apart an organisation is to guarantee that customer experience is exceptional.
What does good customer service look like?
When done properly good service can improve a customer’s experience exponentially by making them feel valued, appreciated and important. It leaves them reluctant to look for alternatives, as they feel invested in the relationship. In addition to mitigating any issues that may arise, exceptional proactive guidance and expertise can be a major differentiator between a business and its rivals.
In our own industry – we are a managed hosting provider – the technology implemented is paramount to a business running smoothly, so it is always a top priority. However, the truth of the matter is that customers don’t always see the cutting edge technology in person. Instead, they see technical support teams offering advice and support at all times. Both elements have to work as well as each other, neither the technology or the service can do the job on their own or in isolation.
How to implement good customer service
There are three elements that provide a really good basis for exceptional customer service.
Know your customer
In order to offer clients the best service possible, it is vital to know everything about their business, their needs and what they want to achieve from using a service or product. This will allow for predictive planning and development of innovative solutions for their business.
Understand the pressures they are under, their priorities and the extent to which they may need your help when the pressure is on. This kind of detailed knowledge can help enormously in improving service precision and response times.
Be there for them
In the technology industry, it is important that a member of the technical services team is available out of hours. Just because the clock reached 5.30pm doesn’t mean things turn off overnight. Instead, a member of staff needs to be deployed at all times in case of any issues – after all, the Internet doesn’t sleep.
Though not all businesses need to be available 24/7, it is important that customers can contact someone in the event of an issue – nothing is worse than waiting on hold for 45 minutes on a lunch break because the customer services desk closes at 5pm and you aren’t able to call after work.
Be willing to go that extra mile
If customer service is a differentiator, why not hammer that message home to your clients? Going above and beyond to give your customers a positive experience will never be a bad idea and can solidify a new business relationship. This will help to grow a business, as current customers still feel as important as new ones and new customers can see that the business is a cut above the rest.
Customer service should never make clients feel under-appreciated or unimportant, but there is no doubt that customer service is quite often left behind when it comes to business priorities. However, by investing time and thought into this area of a business, it can both maintain stability and stimulate growth as current and prospective customers feel valued, appreciated and heard, at all times.
Jon Lucas is co-founder and director at Hyve Managed Hosting