I’ve been starting to wonder about gifts in the last few days. Not as a result of all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday hoopla but gifts for another set of occasions ……gifts for my nieces’ and god-daughter’s upcoming birthdays, another for a good friend’s upcoming 40th as well as gifts for friends and family for Christmas.
Now, given that I’ve been thinking about gifts, I also started to wonder more broadly about what constitutes a ‘good gift’. Personally, I would suggest that a ‘good gift’ is something that is thoughtful, is helpful, is meaningful and is valuable to the receiver in the context of their own life. And, if a gift fits that description, they are not only good gifts, they are the best type of gifts.
So, could we apply that to customer service and customer experience and ask …..what would be the best sort of gift that a company could give to it’s customers?
Many people, if asked this question, might suggest money back or a discount or a free gift or something like that. But, would they be ‘good gifts’? Yes, we all like free stuff or something for nothing from time to time. But, would customers really value those things, find them meaningful and would they be considered helpful to them and their lives?
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I’m not sure that they would.
However, a recent European study by Qualtrics and Engage Business Media could provide some clues as to what customers might consider ‘good gifts’ or the best type of gifts. The study, which used nationally representative samples of customers across 6 European countries (France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom), set out to explore customer experience trends and what customers considered the most important issues that they were facing.
The study identified the following as the three most important issues in the minds of customers across Europe:
- 82% of customers believe that it is very important to be able to trust organisations with their data;
- 78% of customers believe that having easy access to an organisation’s phone number is very or extremely important; and
- 77% of customers consider it very important or extremely important that when they contact a firm that their query is resolved first time.
As a result, the study’s results suggest that the three best gifts that a company could give to its customers right now would be:
- The gift of confidence – the confidence that comes from knowing, understanding and trusting that a company values them, will look after their data and won’t exploit it;
- The gift of phone service – where despite the drive towards self-service and reducing the cost to serve, companies provide phone based customer service as they recognise that customers still want to be able to quickly and easily talk to someone when they have a problem that they cannot (re)solve themselves; and
- The gift of ease – where companies invest in the people, process and technology that makes it easy for customers and ensures that they are able to fix customers problems first time, every time.
All of those sound like great gifts and ones that many, if not all, customers would really value and would be happy to receive.
But, imagine if you worked out how to give your customers not just one but all of these gifts? Imagine how your customers would feel, how your service and overall experience would improve and the sort of goodwill it would generate?
These gifts would then, without a doubt, end up being the gifts that really do keep on giving.