51% of UK customers would happily pay more for a product or service if it meant they received a better level of customer service! That’s according to a new report from virtual assistant company Ava. Interestingly, it’s different between genders – 64% of men said they would pay more compared to only 36% of women.
When asked what were the most annoying things when it came to customer service, it was the usual culprits:
- Waiting too long on the phone – 33%
- Unhelpful staff – 29%
- Lack of online information – 21%
- Poor email responses – 11%
- Poor responses to social media enquiries – 6%
Again, there’s a difference with different types of customers. 20% of 18-35 year old customers rated ‘poor responses to social media enquiries’ as their number one gripe!
So, what does it mean for your business? What can you do about it? Well, I think you should ‘Think in 3D‘! That means taking a ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different‘ approach! How? Well, 3D Businesses work extremely hard to Create Delighted And Devoted Customers (It’s Characteristic #3 Of The 7 Characteristics Of Dramatically and Demonstrably Different Businesses) How do these 3D Businesses do it? Well, there are no ‘magical answers’, but here are 10 things we see them do… consistently…
So, here are 10 things for you to consider…..
1. Be Quick…
Ensure your speed of response to enquiries, queries and complaints consistently ‘surprises’ your customers’ (positively obviously!!!)
2. Be ‘Easy’…
That means being ‘easy to buy from’ and ‘easy to do business with’ in everything you do – both online and offline. This is not just at ‘the sales end’ of the business, it’s everywhere – even the accounts department! (Hey, this is ‘Dramatically Different‘ stuff!)
3. Exceed Your Customers’ Expectations…
Go that ‘extra mile’ to ‘exceed’ your customers’ expectations and ‘delight’ them. Not ‘buy one, get 10 free’, but genuine, ‘spontaneous’ personalised customer experiences. (By the way, you can actually plan ‘spontaneity’!). (Download the free e-book Customer Delight As Competitive Advantage here).
By exceeding your customers’ expectations you raise the bar (which is a good thing!). So, work hard consistently to deliver against those raised expectations and keep raising them!
5. Deal With Disappointment…
Things go wrong in all businesses (even 3D ones!), and ensure you and your people can proactively and consistently spot and Deal With Customer Disappointment. Ever had that situation where a customer hasn’t been happy about something, but the way you’ve dealt with their ‘Disappointment’ actually ‘delights’ them? That’s what this is about – in fact, a real measure of the strength of the relationships you have with your customers is how big a ‘c*@k up’ can you make and still keep them? (I’m not advocating testing this by the way!).
6. Empower Your People…
Encourage and empower your people to act spontaneously and take responsibility to exceed their customers’ expectations. (Health warning: ‘Empowerment’ is not just one of those ‘management speak’ buzzwords, but it’s about giving people permission and authority to deliver outstanding customer experiences – every member of staff at Ritz Carlton Hotels are ‘empowered’ to spend up to $2.000 to resolve a customer’s problem without talking to a manager! Here’s a great example of how they did it!
7. Equip Your People…
As well as giving them the ‘authority’, ensure that your people are equipped with the attitudes, skills, and tools to do the job. Train them, support them, and encourage and help them to get better – Check out how Southwest Airlines do that here.
8. Spot And Remove ‘Blockages’…
Proactively review all your customer ‘touch-points’ and eliminate ‘blockages’ or ‘hold ups’ that irritate or annoy your customers. We call it ‘standing in your own queues’ – when was the last time you rang up your own business, visited and tested your own website as a customer, listened to your ‘out of office’ or answer-phone message? Here’s a simple toolkit to help you do it!
Ensure that your people are recognised and rewarded for exceeding customer expectations not just for achieving sales targets. Do not limit this only to front line customer facing staff, but include and encourage everyone in the business – it’s about recognising ‘internal customers’ and the contribution that every individual can and does have an impact on your customers!
10. Embed Customer Thinking In EVERYTHING You Do…
Customers should be an integral part of everything you do and on the agenda in all internal communications, team meetings and discussions. Highlight great examples, share customer feedback, encourage problem solving and ideas to improve the customer experience – and keep doing it!
So, how do you measure up against these 10 things? What do your people think? More importantly, what do your customers think?
Why not ask them? That’s what 3D Businesses do!