Your customers’ expectations for service are changing. They now expect to request and receive help via multiple channels including phone, email, instant message and mobile. They want to be able to ask questions, be fully informed on status, and achieve a resolution – 24/7, and on any device. Your challenge – and that of your organization – is to meet the growing demands of hyperconscious, hyper-connected customers. That means customer service operations must provide accessibility and transparency for customers in an environment that is highly productive and growth friendly, but cost manageable.
The basics of customer service are known throughout the industry, yet often overlooked. As Jennifer Lescallet, Senior Director of North America Service & Support, Affymetrix said at WBR’s Field Service USA conference, “The customer, after all, is the reason we are all here. We need to get ‘back to the basics’ when it comes to customer experience.”
Make it Simple
To please your customers, you must make the process really easy for them. “We find that the more you can reduce the effort that a customer has to go through, the more loyal they are, and the happier they are,” said Bob Feiner, VP, Global Deployment and Field Services, Dell Inc. “This could be as simple as the ability to order parts. If you know what part you need to fix your laptop, you don’t want to have to go through the process of talking to somebody on the phone or through different channel; you just want to have the ability to order it. We’re enabling that. I think people see the benefit of self-service and there’s a benefit to us as well – and that is a happier customer with lower contact costs and higher degree of loyalty.” “Another aspect of a successful relationship between the supplier and the customer relates to driving value. In this avenue, you are saying ‘I am going to help you get more enjoyment from the product you’ve purchased or say, in the case of electricity, help you use the product in the most efficient way possible.”
London Hydro aims to help customers not only with products, but also with understanding how to conserve energy, how to use energy more efficiently, and how to get the most value for the dollar. “It really comes down to the value proposition,” Ken Walsh, Vice President of Engineering & Operations. If you provide a service and the customer believes that they’re getting the best value from it, that’s key in unlocking their loyalty.”
Savvy company executives know that some of their greatest and most enduring assets are the relationships they form with their customers.
What’s the true value of customer loyalty? The “smart companies,” industry executives agree, are the ones that focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty and then realize that revenue is a result of that.
Consider this: According to a report released by MIT entitled, “How to Drive Customer Satisfaction,” a small increase in customer loyalty can make a big difference regarding a company’s profits and its bottom line. McDonald’s, for example, calculated back in the ‘90s that one additional visit per week by “heavy users” would boost annual sales by more than $10 billion dollars.
Understanding customer needs and tailoring programs throughout the customer lifecycle fosters strategic relationships. Similarly, companies are not only able to predict, but prevent customer attrition by interpreting and acting on the voice of the customer, which reduces erosion to the bottom line while simultaneously deepening existing relationships with the customer. Thus, by using these strategies, it better positions the company for accelerated growth during improved economic times.