It’s 2012, which means; a new calendar, a new year and a new opportunity to start over…
Over the past week, I’ve seen a lot of resolutions come (and already go), but I feel that each year, we each have the opportunity to look back at what we discovered, what we learned along the way and what we can look forward to. Best of all, we have a chance to leave behind the mistakes that we’ve made.
Now, I’m not assuming everyone failed in 2011 – I’m not even assuming anyone failed, all I’m saying is with customer service – we can all always get better!
Also, let’s not forget, more and more customers are abandoning companies because of bad service. With that said, here are 7 customer service resolutions you may want to consider for the new year:
Make finding information and contacting you, as painless as possible
Today’s society is hurried. Everyone wants what they want and they want it now. When customers access a company website for customer service, they’re usually not happy, which makes the urgency even greater.
Make it easy to find answers, via a sound FAQ section with a solid search application – but don’t stop there – Make sure to give them an easy option to call, email or chat with you in case they can’t quickly find the information that they need.
Evaluate and uncomplicate your IVR (if necessary). When was the last time you assessed your IVR’s menu options to make sure they really make sense and are helping your business? Have you personally called your company to see if how the process works? Whether you answer yes or no to this question, don’t forget to look at your IVR metrics. See how many calls hit the IVR then abandon after 30, 60, 90, 120 seconds? The greater the time before abandon, the greater the chance that the customer hung up due to menu frustration?and if that’s the case – you may surely want to make a few changes.
Remember that all customers are not created equally!
It is critical to discover who your customers are and what your customers want. Most companies think they know who their customers are and what they want, but the fact is they don’t. First, because they never ask and when they do – they don’t really listen. Many capture data from loyalty programs, social media, customer feedback forms and surveys – but then do absolutely nothing with the information that they’ve gathered. I’m telling you, this information is priceless and can make or break your company.
Here are a few things every company should find out:
- Who are your customers
- Why your customers do business with you
- What they expect from you
- How they want to be treated
- What you do for them that other companies don’t (or can’t)
..and don’t forget the difficult questions:
- What could you do better?
- What would make them leave?
Once you have the answers to these questions – you can begin cashing in by doing more of the right things right – and eliminating the wrong. This will surely build loyalty and increase your bottom line.
Discover, Recognize and Reward Your Brand Advocates
First, be sure to create easy ways for your customers to offer feedback – I’m not talking about the boring surveys and analytics above – I’m talking about the impromptu “Hey, you guys rock!” kind of feedback. Be sure to offer many different ways for customers to reach out (Twitter, Facebook, Email, a special phone number, etc.). Then, after figuring out who those customers are – figure out ways for those happy customers to easily spread the word. Once they do – be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their evangelism.
Remember loyalty has to start somewhere
One common error many companies make is ignoring new customers – and only coddling the old faithful ones. Sure, new customers have yet to prove they are loyal – but if you follow through with the other resolutions, your new customers are sure to follow suit.
Have Fun and Be Flexible – at Every Level
Many of the most successful companies with the most loyal customers (think Southwest and Zappos) encourage their employees to have fun. These companies also give their employees the autonomy to be flexible in making service decisions, allowing them to be problem solvers vs. order takers. The result of this type of environment breeds happy employees – and happy employees make for happy customers.
Remember Why Customer Service is Critical to Your Organization
No matter what type of business you’re in – customer service is the most critical factor of your success. This goes for B2B companies, as well as B2C or B2B2C companies. It is important to keep reminding yourself of that, especially when you may question investing the necessary time and effort needed to truly be customer centric. By proving to your customers that you genuinely care about them – they will remain loyal to you and, in turn, will help your company to grow.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate Success
Did you make a change in your service standards that paid off? Celebrate it – shout it from the rooftop and don’t forget to thank each and every individual that was involved in that success.
By following these resolutions, you will be well on your way to keeping your customers happy, just remember to keep customer service on the top of your 2012 list!