Karen Freeman, Patrick Spenner, and Anna Bird bring up Three Myths About What Customers Want in the HBR Blog Network. These myths are based on information from their recent consumer study. While the article is directed toward marketers, there are important lessons for customer service managers as well.
Myth #1: Most consumers want to have relationships with your brand.
It turns out only 23% of consumers in the study want to have a relationship with a brand
Myth #2: Interactions build relationships.
64% of consumers in the study said, no. Interactions don’t build relationships; shared values do. For example, Patagonia develops brand loyalty among a certain group of consumers because of their shared commitment to the enviornment.
Myth #3: The more interaction the better.
Again, not true. The study found no correlation between the number of emails sent to customers and the likelihood they will complete a purchase, make a repeat purchase, or recommend the brand. In fact, in this age of cognitive overload, what the company perceives as helpful information quickly becomes information overload for the consumer.
So what can be done? This is where the customer service and support departments come into play. According to the authors, “Instead of relentlessly demanding more consumer attention, treat the attention you do win as precious.”
To do this, be sure your customer service reps use world-class customer service skills from the moment the call comes into your center. Listen to calls. Do your reps:
- Open the call in a warm, friendly manner
- Use strategic questioning skills to understand customers’ questions
- Present benefits to callers for taking a particular course of action
- Use positive language, telling callers what they can do for them rather than what they can’t
- Have in-depth knowledge of your products and procedures, and access to a knowledge base so they can solve customers’ issues on the first call
- Tell callers what to expect next to eliminate callbacks
- Close the call in a way that adds value and makes customers happy they called
If not, then an investment in customer service training will pay off many times over. Think of the money your marketing department spends attempting to engage customers in a meaningful dialogue. Once they get a customer to engage, be sure your customer service department is treating them as the precious customers they are.