Sep 15 in Customer Experience Written by: Heather Rast
More chances to serve customers in the information revolution
Wikipedia defines customer service as follows:
The provision of service before, during and after a purchase.
Takeaways: One – Customers are gathering intel about your brand before you even have an opportunity to “sell” them. Two – Every aspect of your brand (including business processes) that surrounds them during the sales process matters. Three – Customers file mental score cards about your brand that matter…sometimes much later. And in the digital age, sometimes at scale.
Surprise and delight
“Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”
Takeaways: One – Attributes of service should be dovetailed with each milestone of the conversion funnel/decision cycle; there are tactics and even processes appropriate for each progressive layer. Align your brand message with relevant consumer tasks. Two – Service overlays or boosts satisfaction. Therefore, customer satisfaction is derived from met rational and emotional needs, creating an environment for trust and affinity. Two – Service is about holistically addressing and even anticipating triggers along the decision path. Answering before asked, giving before needed, introducing other to add more value than expected.
Service isn’t overhead. It’s the cost of doing business
“Online customers are literally invisible to you (and you to them), so it’s easy to shortchange them emotionally. But this lack of visual and tactile presence makes it even more crucial to create a sense of personal, human-to-human connection in the online arena.”
Takeaways: One – Just like email can omit tone, inflection, and body language (often leading to misunderstandings), eCommerce transactions and self-serve info search omit the human element, the personal touch, the concierge level of attention to detail. Like the mint on your pillow, you can certainly live without it, but boy do you take notice when its there, a sweet surprise. Two – The nature of online platforms and task completion can be very sterile, for reasons of utility, personal security, and more.
That means more than ever – as the web is the first destination for product research and a growing slice of retail spend, you’re relying on your brand to carry a lot of weight in the spaces where prospects and customers spend time. Are your brand messages woven consistently throughout each channel, to provide optimal brand experience (and customer service) where other inputs (touch, taste, smell) don’t exist?
Not a drop in the bucket
In their book Rules to Break and Laws to Follow, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. write:
“Customers have memories. They will remember you, whether you remember them or not.” Further, “customer trust can be destroyed at once by a major service problem, or it can be undermined one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence.”
Takeaways: One – brand promise still matters, even in the information revolution. Two – everyone spending their money wants to feel like they matter, that they count and are appreciated for having made the ‘right’ brand selection.
Give ‘em more than what they ask for and you’ll be repaid ten fold.