Halloween is here and we’re hurtling into the final, hectic two months of 2019. So take five minutes to consider a few simple Customer Experience tricks (and treats) you could put in place now to make your customers love you even more in 2020!
Don’t scare off your customers
Do your customers know that contacting you will be a frictionless, straightforward process? Or do they dread having to get in touch? Self-service certainly has its place in any customer service strategy, but sometimes when their issues are emotional or complex, customers just need to speak to a fellow human. So even if you put self-service channels front and centre, make sure you don’t bury your contact number or live chat option three levels deep in your help pages; don’t use an overly-complicated IVR labyrinth at the front end of your contact centre; and don’t keep customers on hold forever while you investigate their issue – offer to call them back! Being accessible to your customers over the channels of their choosing is the first step towards a good experience.
Hand out treats from time to time
Making customers feel special is an art that the very best brands have perfected. Their customers not only love the product, they feel smart for having chosen the brand, enjoy interacting with people who work for the company, and most of all feel like they belong and are wanted. Even in the most prosaic of B2B markets, you can inculcate some of this in your customers simply by being nice. Surprise them occasionally by reaching out with a gift, special offer, or just a courtesy call out of the blue to check everything is all right (GoDaddy does this very well). While you don’t want to spook customers by being invasive, annoying or needy, a well-designed proactive outreach program can reap huge dividends in terms of increased loyalty, satisfaction and repeat business.
Don’t wear masks
Your company has its own unique culture and your brand should also have its own voice, so let these shine through in all your communications. This voice should be present in your website copy, printed materials, chatbot and IVR scripts, and email communications with customers. Customer service agents too should reflect the brand in their tone of voice and the language they use. Customers value authenticity and can spot a phony a mile away, so don’t try to be something you are not. Unless your brand is way out there, it’s usually best to encourage agents to talk naturally and banish jargon; in short, to just be themselves.
Use zombies wisely
The onward march of technological automation in almost every industry is – hopefully – going to bring great benefits to humanity. By freeing us all up from tedious, repetitive tasks we are going to be able to focus more of our time and effort on rewarding and challenging pursuits, or so the story goes. The important point is that ‘zombies’ – like chatbots, virtual agents, intelligent assistants, and other AI-powered systems – are good for some things, not so much for others. In a customer service environment, they are great for solving process-related issues, like checking a balance, sending a form, processing an order, and so forth. For more complex interactions you are mostly going to need humans who know how to empathise, manage emotions, and solve problems using intuition and common sense.
Appease angry spirits
No matter how attentive and careful you are, sometimes things do go wrong and customers have bad experiences, either with your products or your service. Whether it’s your fault, a supplier or partner’s fault, or the customer’s fault does not really matter. Dissatisfaction needs to be jumped on and managed as a priority. Ideally your monitoring and analytics can highlight issues before they even happen, meaning you can solve them proactively. When you do have a complaint, however, the organisation must swing into action to solve it quickly and painlessly. The most important first step is to show the customer you have heard and are taking action. Research shows that complaints handled correctly are one of the biggest boosts to customer satisfaction and loyalty, so treat them as an opportunity.