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5tips_build_customer_service

Author: Nico La Fiura, Project Coordinator

In many companies the concept of customer experience is brought up in the morning meetings but the matter is rarely discussed on a deeper level. People tend to think that a good product and a sunny customer service is enough. In reality, the customer experience can be an important combination of carefully planned customer oriented approaches.

The most important thing in the concept of customer experience is to build up a link of trust between your client and your brand. The development of continuous trust between your company and your older and new clients will ensure that your company will keep your clients, increasing your sales and allowing your business to grow.

  1. Find Out Whether the Customer Experience is Supporting your Business

In order to fully understand how well the customer experience functions in your company, it is necessary for you to study the way your customer service and sales branches work. Ask yourself and your organization the question: ”What is our customer experience really like?”.

Find out how your customers are being served. What are the media used to reach them? Are they reached around the clock or just during the ’conventional’ working hours? The newer generations of today have been introduced to the modern technology at an early age and therefore expect to get the service more quickly and at any time of the day.

Imagine yourself in the shoes of a potential customer of today and try to reach your company through different media channels. Ask questions, find answers to them and try buying something from your company. I believe that every company will find something to improve in their business when they really put their mind into it.

Your company needs to start visualizing the needs and goals that you try to achieve with the customer experience. Plan carefully what your ’customer experience’ should be like and change your working policies systematically to reach that goal. Remember, that every ’brand experience’ is like a two-edged sword. It can improve but also in the worst case harm your company’s credibility.

  1. Understand Who Your Customers Are

When you carefully define your buyer profile you can focus your marketing more efficiently to your clients. Creating a buyer profile will help you to ask the questions ‘What?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’.

When you start to understand the problems that your potential customers might be facing, it is easier to start to create solutions for your customers’ needs and start attracting them to your business. A useful and ensuring content will start to build up the trust between you and your client, as he/she will see you as an expert of the field and a potential solution to his/her problems. If you and your company are not yet familiar with the concept of inbound-marketing now would be a good time to do it.

Gather data from your clients on a broad scale and identify the things that seem to be working for you. What are the things that make your client find you or end up in your company’s webpage? Are there some things, which make them leave your webpage? What are the things that lead the client to order something from your company?

Ask your clients directly what they think about the services that you and your company are providing and make changes in everything that the clients find difficult. By brushing up the user-friendliness of your services based on the feedback that you get you can monitor and study the data that you have been gathering and see concrete results of improvement.

  1. Offer Added Value to Your Services

For years people have been heard speaking about added value and how it can be offered almost anywhere. But what exactly does the term ’added value’ mean? Imagine yourself buying a pair of shoes. At the counter the sales clerk is offering you an inexpensive pair of socks. Do you find that an example of ‘added value’ or just simply irritating?

Every customer defines him/herself what the concept of ’added value’ is. For some it is the good price on your product, the fact that it’s easy and quick to take into use or the experience that your product or service will make them available to enjoy. Define now, how your product or service can create added value to itself.

In the best possible case, your company will be able to have an effect on the customer’s emotions, creating a ’bond’ with your company and your client. Buying and selling is a transaction that takes place between people. A good customer service is the key to establishing a solid trust between the customer and your company.

The word of a good service can also reach your client’s personal circle of friends and other connections. We have all seen how the negative feedback spreads much faster in the social media than the positive one. When your company can create positive emotional experiences one after another, you will build your value as a brand and ensure that your clients will stay loyal for you.

  1. Real-time Service in the Right Media

In the corporate world the use of e-mails starts to become obsolete. They are often seen as an increasing burden in the job and are quickly glanced through when the time so allows. The use of e-mails works well in the internal communication but in customer service it is not good as it is often considered as a cold and an impersonal way to communicate.

When we approach corporations via e-mail many things are left to bother us: did the message go to the right person? What if the person I am trying to reach is out of office? When will they answer to my message? How can I move forward with my matter, as I don’t know when the answer to my message will come? A message sent to the wrong person will be forwarded to other people which, in the worst case, can delay receiving the answer.

However, most of the people still find the e-mail to be a more credible medium for interaction than the social media or the online chat services. However, after you have created yourself your buyer profile and know your customers, you will know which media you will need to be using to reach them. Maintaining accounts and channels in different media can bring you the added value that your clients will regard highly.

All companies do not need to adapt to and be present in every possible social medium. One channel in a social medium that is well maintained and regularly updated is better than having lots of different channels that are updated on a less frequent basis.

In today’s world the buyer holds the power completely and is able to decide what time of the day the transaction is made. They have become more aware of the power that they hold as a potential customer making it impossible for the companies to define the opening hours. In other words, if a customer wants meat on his/her bread it has to be possible for him/her to buy it around the clock the same way that the banking service must be available in the evening after the prime time television series have ended.

If your company is in the global market, is it possible for your customer to ask you everything and anytime? The online chat support is vital for your company as it allows the creation of a well-working customer support that is reachable for the customers 24/7. It will also make your company more easily approachable and making it less awkward for the customers to ask ”stupid questions” about your products and services which otherwise might result in them leaving your company’s web page. The online chat support makes your company’s customer support appear more human to the customer and allows a more intimate way of approaching. As the employee gets the opportunity to interact with the client ‘as him/herself’ it boosts their pride as a professional as well as strengthening the trust between the client and the company.

The social media channels allow the customer to easily reach your support personnel and ask them questions. The channel moderators do not need to be all-knowing experts on every detail of your company’s services. The questions can be sent forward to other employees who might possess a better knowledge on the matter. The important thing is to provide the customer with a quick response. This enhances the customer experience even if the matter could not be solved immediately.

  1. Listen to Your Staff and Instruct Them

The internal communication is often a major problem in many companies since the companies’ hierarchy is often built in a bureaucratic way. The flow of information from the executives to the customer service and vice versa is often slow which makes it impossible for your company to offer your client the real-time help that they might need. It is thus important to develop your organization’s internal communication to an excellent level.

The constant hearing and reorientation of your staff is vital for achieving good customer relations. When the staff is asked directly and sincerely about the difficult situations that they face in their job you will also receive invaluable data about the problems that the clients are facing.

The buyer’s expectations are higher than ever and at the same time the buyers acknowledge the fact that they are the ones that are actually holding the power. Negative message spreads quickly to thousands of potential customers through the digital media and can cause serious harm to your brand. Therefore, the companies must develop a strong brand for themselves through their ’customer experience’ so that they can withstand the possible negative feedback.

The whole idea of ’customer experience’ is to create unsurpassable customer satisfaction. In addition to supplying the customer with the best possible product it is important to focus on the experience of the transaction itself. The aim is that the transaction would not raise feelings of regret afterwards in the customer’s mind.

The ’customer experience’ demands regular studying and improvement of the things which do not seem to work as well as they should. As new technologies are being developed it is important to look out for new ways to improve the ’customer experience’. When you pay attention to your company’s customer experience it will lead to more satisfied clients, longer customer relationships and ultimately increasing your sales.