September 25, 2015
Weekly Review: Success, Summer and Service
Happy Friday! Here’s our five picks for the best customer service, customer experience and mobile articles of the week, in no particular order.
Customer service isn’t just a department—it’s a set of values that are shared between executives, agents, and everyone in between. You can’t provide great customer service if you’re not getting any support for it from within the company, a point Jodi Beuder aptly makes. In her article, she outlines that customer success requires not just agent buy-in, but buy-in from everyone, to be truly successful.
If you think of the organization as an ecosystem, it’s easier to visualize how every employee and department lends itself to the whole. There is a symbiotic relationship between departments, and it’s not just customer-facing employees who are responsible for customer success. If you want to take customer success seriously within your organization, you need to look beyond customer-facing agents and employees and bring each employee onboard. When it comes to customer care, every employee matters.
Agents may be the ones delivering great customer service, but if they don’t have support from within the organization, they won’t be empowered to deliver that great service.
As much as we might hate to admit it, summer is over, and winter is coming. But while we bask in the last few days of summer rays, let’s take a look back at how customer service and customer experience heated up this summer. Mila D’Antonio of 1to1 Media reviews the hot and not-so-hot customer experiences customers faced this summer, with varying degrees of success. What caught our eye was this example from Frontier Airlines:
For decades, travelers have been able to count on a toll-free customer-service phone number to contact their airlines. Earlier this summer, Frontier Airlines eliminated its toll-free 800 number, citing a $2 million per year savings.
While Frontier is potentially making a tech-savvy play to engage more with customers on digital channels, axing of one of the most powerful communication channels out there has us (and probably other customers) a little hot and bothered.
People – Never Underestimate How Important They Are in the World of Customer Experience by Ian Golding, CCXP
Today’s customer service is becoming increasingly automated—by 2020, Gartner predicts that 85% of customer service interactions will be managed without a human. Still, there’s something to be said for a human touch in customer service, because while some customers may not want it, others will. In a recent article, customer experience expert Ian Golding highlights the fact that although we may want things faster and easier with technology, we can’t overlook the human experience.
I strongly believe that if your people understand how it FEELS to be a customer, then their ability to empathise with any situation is amplified. People are SO important in delivering great Customer Experiences – in fact, even if your customer journey is not as good as it could be, the brilliance of customer focused; switched on; connected people, can make the difference between a great experience and one that fails to meet your expectations.
Good customer service comes from meeting your customers’ needs when and how they want them. While that might sometimes be through automation, there still needs to be a fundamental understanding of what the customer will experience.
Good customer service isn’t just about the technology used to create an awesome experience: it’s also about the people who provide the experience. But building the right kind of company culture has to be addressed early on, else you risk not being able to provide a great customer experience. So says GM of Desk.com Leyla Seka in a recent article, where she outlines five ways to create an awesome company culture. One of those ways is to make your people your priority.
Your employees will never be able to deliver stellar service to your customers if they don’t feel valued themselves. You can set the tone by making all people a priority — customers, vendors, employees, and the community around you. There are lots of ways that you can make individuals feel special, and help them get to know each other better. Many companies have cross-departmental lunches or dinners so they can get to know the people down the hall. Others ask employees to share fun facts at their team meetings, or put together a softball or kickball team. These activities help employees to know each other as people, not just as cogs in the machine. The result? They’re much less likely to think of our customers as cogs too.
Customers are people, and so are your employees. Foster a culture that values treating everyone right, and you’ll deliver great employee and customer experiences.
We use the words “customer service” and “customer experience” frequently, but it’s important to take to consider what each of these actually mean. For starters, is customer experience only limited to the service process, or is a part of the entire customer journey? Kveta Vostra breaks it down her most recent blog post, taking the definitions back to basics.
The basics are, well, basic: “Customer service” is what you do for your customer. Smile at them, help them find what they’re looking for, answer their questions, ring up the sale, wave goodbye, take their call to solve a problem later. “Customer experience” is how your customers feel and think about your company as a result of the interactions they have with you from their initial need identification to all interactions to beyond.
So while customer service is primarily about what happens during a service interaction, customer experience is what the customer experiences during that service interaction and beyond. Both are different but equally important parts of the customer journey.
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December 18, 2023