Happiness Is Just A Start: Four Additional Benefits Of Excellent Customer Service
The immediate benefit of excellent customer service is obvious: the customer receiving it is happy. On a case by case basis this could mean a purchase is made, an extra service is booked, or a return is reconsidered. These are all desired outcomes, to be sure, but with truly excellent customer service there are additional big-picture benefits to be had. Here are four examples of those broad benefits, and how to achieve them.
Excellent customer service is a brand differentiator
Pop quiz: does Zappos.com offer the highest quality shoes? The best prices? Shoes you can’t find anywhere else? The answer to all of those questions is, well, who knows. None of those things are what they’re known for. Instead, Zappos is legendary for the amazing customer experience they provide. Their customer service employees have the green light to do everything from mailing out free replacements for defective products, to sending flowers over to customers having a tough time. Thanks to these extra-mile gestures, Zappos.com hardly even has to advertise in the traditional sense of the word – they’re just firmly associated with an excellent customer experience.
How to achieve it: As leading digital customer service solutions provider Nanorep says in their guide to the benefits of customer service, it’s all about that word-of-mouth marketing – inspiring customers to share positive feedback and make recommendations. This can either occur organically on social media thanks to consistently good service or those something-special Zappos-style gestures, or by encouraging reviews from satisfied customers, perhaps using incentives such as discounts or prize-drawings.
Excellent customer service inspires trust
Thanks to the rise of ecommerce, there are untold millions of consumers considering purchases from websites they’ve never heard of every single day. For as popular as online shopping is, however, there are still significant stumbling blocks standing between smaller, lesser-known websites and purchases from new customers. If something seems the tiniest bit off, there’s no way a credit card number is going to be input, not with more seemingly trustworthy sites just a click away.
Great customer service is something that instantly increases the trustworthiness of a brand. To win over new customers, organizations need to leave no customer service question unanswered. If a potential customer needs information, information they must have.
How to achieve it: With self-service tools that provide instant information or instant interactions. A dynamic FAQ that addresses common questions about ordering, shipping and returns is a good starting point, as is an AI-powered chat bot that can immediately connect with a customer to converse naturally and provide key information, even helping to complete transactions.
Excellent customer service leads to increased customer retention
Finding new customers and capturing sales from them is a costly and complicated business, and while great customer service will certainly help, organizations also need to place a major emphasis on retaining current customers and maximizing their customer lifetime value.
One of the most oft-cited and important statistics when it comes to customer loyalty is this one from a Gartner Group study: 80% of a business’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its current customers. Another important statistic in regards to inspiring that customer loyalty is that according to Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index, an emotional connection between customer and brand is a stronger driver of loyalty than even ease and effectiveness.
How to achieve it: Customer relationship management software. This software not only automatically tracks virtually every single aspect of the customer-company relationship, but it also allows employees to easily enter – and access – customer information. This allows customer service employees to reach out to high value clients and ask how a product is performing, to send a special discount in celebration of a birthday, to touch base with a customer that hasn’t made a purchase in a while, or to simply interact with familiarity when a customer gets in touch.
All of these gestures illustrate to customers that they are valued and respected by the brand, which helps to strengthen the emotional connection between the brand and customer, thereby increasing customer loyalty and retention.
Excellent customer service can strengthen an entire organization
The business strategy du jour is, without a doubt, the customer-centric approach. This approach positions customer experience as the biggest factor in a company’s success, and makes a great customer experience the number one priority across every department.
To achieve customer centricity, an organization needs all departments to be working closely with customer service. Not only does this lead to an optimal customer experience, but it also enables the customer service department to significantly impact other departments by, for instance, providing marketing with the front-line information from customers necessary for crafting better overall marketing messages, or providing research and development with crucial feedback on successes and pain points as gleaned from customer service interactions.
How to achieve it: The holistic overhaul required to have a truly customer-centric approach will make use of different types of analytics, tools and technology, but it really all boils down to one basic thing: cooperation. All departments in an organization need to be willing to work together, sharing ideas and important feedback and information. Businesses that want to take advantage of everything the customer service department has to offer need to schedule regular meetings between departments, and make a point to harvest this valuable information.
The fine details of the big picture
When companies think of big picture improvements or benefits, they often think of significant or sweeping changes, product overhauls or entire relaunches. With an emphasis on excellent customer service and an optimal customer experience, however, these big benefits can be achieved one single customer interaction at a time. Keeping customers happy is about so much more than simply keeping customers happy.