Companies lose billions of dollars to poor customer service every year. Inadequacies in customer service are a drain on the bottom line; one that great organizations cannot afford to overlook. Any value chain begins with the customer, and logic dictates that companies should lookout for the best interests of the source of their earnings. Yet, industrial history is riddled with stories of companies losing in the long run that later ended up as interesting case studies for business schools.
Creating good customer service that is effective and improves your brand image is not rocket science. It is just common sense and a little understanding of the creation and flow of value in your supply chain. Neglecting the very source of your revenue is akin to shredding your balance sheet. The fact that good customer service is an exception rather than the rule, speaks of a future in which many companies won't thrive, let alone survive. So what can you do differently, that sets your customer service a cut above the rest? Let's understand it in more depth.
Features of excellent customer service built around the value chain
Like you can gauge the quality of food served at a restaurant from the décor, customers can anticipate the quality of your product or business from the customer service. Customer Service is a crucial, and often the only interface, a company has with its customers. The quality of your customer service becomes the face of your brand, and in business, you don't want to lose your face! So, let's look at how you can avoid losing face and build trust and brand image through Customer Service.
Understanding customer needs
Business is a game of understanding your customers. A business that understands its customers, becomes successful. Stating such an obvious truth here would be unnecessary if organizations had a constant, perpetual reminder of why they exist in the first place, which is to serve a customer's need in the market. Yet, the sheer number of companies that lose their focus on the customer-centricity of their business is baffling.
The only way to consistently keep the cash inflow is to maintain market share and customer goodwill. Understanding your customer needs is vital for success. Understanding customers through various means like customer feedback surveys, after-sales follow-up, market studies, competitor analysis, etc., is insightful. Acting on the insights gained from market studies or customer feedback improves your product or service. Poor redressal to customer grievances and lack of empathizing with the customer's problems cause shifts in customer loyalty. A customer who has burnt his fingers with your business will never return to you. Period!
Improving customer outreach
Organizations that consider customers as an extension of themselves provide quality customer service. It requires a shift in psychology from a short-term, profit-oriented culture to a long-term, sustainable, customer-centric culture. Just like you wish to stay connected to your friends and family, customers would like to have multipoint connectivity with your business.
Thankfully, there are so many modes of communication available to improve your customer connectivity like WhatsApp, helpline numbers, call centers, chatbots, emails, SMS, and the list goes on. Being available on multiple channels to receive customer service requests and address them quickly improves customer trust and brand image. It is crucial that your business ensures effectiveness and consistency in customer service across all these communication channels. Limiting the number of communication channels with your customers to only a few is a folly and a sure-fire way to hand over your customers to the competition.
Streamlining customer service
Customers like to feel important and taken care of in all aspects of their interaction with your business – be it before making a purchase, during the purchase, or after-sales service. Streamlining customer service is a great way to make them feel important and understood. Think about it – Do you know any customer who would like their request to get stuck in an endless queue of chaos that goes from one person to the next, but never get resolved? No!
Streamlining customer service is an excellent opportunity for the business as it saves customer service costs and improves efficiency, leading to a win-win situation. You can achieve a streamlined workflow by deploying automation applications that manage and route customer requests, keep records of customers to personalize their service, alert and notify delays and overdue requests, and eliminate bottlenecks. Investing in a customer service application is also a great way to inherit a scalable solution that provides insights into customer behavior and trends. Frequent problems and common complaints point to a deeper root cause. Analyzing the root cause often leads to product or service improvements.
Building a customer-centric culture
A customer-centric work culture puts the customer in the spotlight and builds a value stream around them. It goes beyond fancy mission statements and pasting clips of company values on your noticeboard. It starts with your employees and their treatment within the organization. Employee goodwill automatically gets transferred to their work and through them, to the customers.
Like any organizational initiative, the drive must come from the top management. Employees and businesses are only a reflection of the values upheld by the management. Building a customer-centric approach is not just a good-to-have project, but also vital for sustainable business. Management meetings and board-room discussions should have the customers as the focal point of decisions and policy framing. There is no better business strategy than creating customer goodwill. It's as simple as it gets.
The quest to build a great customer service that works in synergy with your overall business strategy is a difficult task. But as they say, Rome was not built in a day. As daunting as it may sound, the underlying principles are basic and rooted in common sense! If you can pull it off, you have already won half the battle of building a sustainable business.
At Wolken, we offer customer service solutions founded on these basic principles that seek to address customer needs and achieve the best in customer service. We work with several reputed brands across the globe and have helped our customers get ahead of the game. We are committed to our mission of achieving excellence in customer service. Get in touch with our team to explore working with us.