How Customer Service Builds Brand Loyalty

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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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Peggy,
    Thanks for posting. I wanted to make a comment about myth #3: The more interaction the better.

    I agree. Although the phrase"more is better,” is often used, it's not always true.

    Rather than focusing on quantity of communications, busineses should focus on quality of communications. To achieve success, one must engage each customer in a way that resonates with the unique individual.

    So, go beyond sharing the the latest and greatest products and deals, and develop content that will make the customer understand how they might benefit from the product or how the product will make their lives easier.

    It's also important to communicate with customers on their terms. We recommend asking customers:
    • What kind of information would you like to receive?
    • Do you want to receive this information via email, mail, or do you prefer to have it texted to you?
    • How often would you like to receive information?
    • What time of day do you prefer to receive communications?

    To create customer loyalty and build relationships with prospective customers, businesses need to focus on delivering communications that are personalized and relevant to the needs of each individual.

    Thanks,
    Scott Zimmerman, President, http://www.TeleVox.com

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