October 6, 2015
What’s the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In
What’s the best way to improve customer service?
It’s a great question, and perhaps one of the most difficult to figure out. That’s why we asked 63 industry experts for their take on the best way to improve customer service. When we took a look at all the answers, we found that the most frequently suggestion to customer service was to improve the employee experience.
Each expert provided us with thoughtful, well-reason insight, and we would like to express our profound thanks to each of them for contributing to this report. Following is a summary of the answers that they provided. If you’d like to see their full remarks, you can download the report here.
The best way for a company to improve their customer service is surprisingly simple: Every employee needs to understand that they’re all responsible for the customer experience.
The number one way for a company to improve their customer service is to clearly define what customer service is for the company. That is where it all starts; at the top with leadership defining the customer service vision.
The #1 way to improve customer service is to trust customers and build their trust in you. If you treat them all as potential bad apples, they will give their loyalty to businesses who appreciate them.
The #1 way to improve your customer service is to first CARE for your employees: Communicate. Appreciate. Recognize. Empower. Truly CARE for your employees and they will do the same for your customers.
The first step to improving customer service is a walk through the customer’s journey. Walk yourself through the same steps the customer would take to get help from your company. Run through the many scenarios.
First of all, you have to recognize the fact that customers hate to wait. And they really only want two things: a speedy response, and accuracy in the answer.
Customer service is in most cases the safety net for mediocre responses and services, so my advice is to improve your product/service. When you market, design and execute right, your customers will very rarely need to contact customer service.
No matter how large or small your company, have every department at the start of its shift spend ten minutes–no more than ten minutes–discussing one of your service values.
The #1 way for any company to improve customer service is to define what great service looks like. Without this definition, you’ll wander around aimlessly.
Ask employees, individually, this question: “Would you describe for me, from your perspective, what you do and what your job entails?” By having this conversation with their employees, supervisors can create the awareness needed for employees to be intentional about providing exceptional customer service.
Rather than planning and forecasting to delight customers and make their experience easier, companies take efficiency to preposterous levels. If we genuinely focus on improving customer service (over costs) it will happen.
It’s a fact that employee experience drives the customer experience. If your employees aren’t happy and engaged, it will be very difficult for them to delight your customers and to deliver the experience that you expect them to.
The #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is: “Respond to customers with a human voice and not a bot – you decide if you want to call, type, chat, or send a care package – and you’ll get a more loyal customer.
Companies wanting to improve customer service must focus on making meaningful, human connections with their customers and must constantly work to equip those serving the customers with the tools and training necessary to solve problems.
The entire company, from the C-suite all the way down to the newest frontline employee, must understand how world-class customer service looks, acts and feels like.
Make it a practice of regularly talking to the front line about what they believe matters most to customers. The more you listen and act on their insights, the more they will learn making them increasingly more astute.
The quality of your customer service, and the level of your organization’s customer service, comes down to one thing and one thing only: the Service Aptitude of every employee you have. Service Aptitude is a person’s ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations, regardless of the circumstances.
Customer service is about people and relationships. We are all in the PR business, people and relationships, every single person in your organization should have one common goal: Make the customer happy.
We must be ready to offer an excellent level of customer service across all channels, at any time. Companies must now look to proactively monitor, analyse and engage across all digital channels!
The number one way for any organization to improve their customer service is to make it a cultural priority. Having a mission and vision that align with your customers’ needs, and keeping those priorities at the forefront of your processes, reinforce purpose.
Do it right consistently. Reliable and responsive customer service creates value and deepens the customer relationship. Great customer service means competent employees delivering the basics consistently.
In order to improve your service you require the best possible understanding of your customers’ wants and needs – and how well you are presently meeting these requirements.
Any company can improve their Customer service by changing the way they view spending on contact center employees. Invest more in your employees who service Customers and your Customers will reward the cost with more loyalty and repeat business.
Erica Strother Marois
You can’t deliver great customer service without empowered employees. If you expect your employees to treat your customers with respect, then you must start by treating your employees with respect.
The #1 way to improve your customer service comes down to 1 word: Priorities. Every service organization has the opportunity to prioritize the quality of experience, cost, risk, and time. When you choose quality of experience first everything else falls in line – Culture, Talent, Training, Technology choices, Process, and Customer Centric Metrics/KPIs.
Consider your customers; what do you want them to be saying about their experiences with you, your product and your team? From this work you will have your model of excellence.
In mapping out your customer service experience, identify who your customers are, then focus in particular on those individuals who face the greatest challenges on their customer service journey.
In our imperfect world, wide gaps exist between expectations and reality. So the #1 way for any company to improve customer service is to bridge these chasms. It stands to reason then that the #1 way to improve the customer experience is to close the gaps before they become customer service calls/complaints.
The #1 way for any company to improve their service is to hard wire consistency into their operation and execute the basics flawlessly. That is price of entry today. If that does not happen, your customers will not give you the opportunity to delight them.
Interaction by interaction, your customer-facing services provide immediate visibility on the effectiveness of the organization’s products, services and processes. When captured and shared, this intelligence can boost R&D and help every part of the organization improve.
The best way for any business to improve their Customer service quickly is to focus on the basics. A consistently great product, a warm welcome, and a heartfelt thank you will absolutely drive satisfaction and loyalty.
The #1 way for a company to improve its customer service is to take a fresh look at its customers and the experience being provided to them.
But an occasional presentation on customer service is like an occasional visit to LA Fitness. It’s a nice gesture but even if you spend a full day pumping iron and doing yoga stretches, if you only go once or twice a year you will not see any positive results. For customer service to improve it must become a part of the culture, a part of our daily routine…
Any organization can improve the Customer Service by improving their customer centricity. It isn’t just about the call center or customer service department, but every department in the organization.
Make providing an awesome customer experience a company-wide endeavor – not just something your support team manages. Everyone from your office administrator to your CEO should understand how they individually affect the customer experience.
By putting themselves in the customer’s shoes, showing some humanity and compassion, they will build relationships that will last, trust that matters and loyalty that is the envy of the competition.
Make every business decision through the lens of asking yourselves, “does this improve customers’ lives?” or “does this improve employees’ lives?”
Typically solving customer issues are a pain-point for staff. To solve this, change the company culture by making every employees KPIs connected to customer satisfaction.
It’s simple, really, though not easy: Make up your mind to improve customer service. Once you really do that, you will hire the right customer service people, train them properly, measure the right things (satisfaction, repeat business), and get better at listening to customers.
[Customer service] is now about all the touchpoints along the journey starting at a time before there is even a transaction to through and including product use – the duration of the company/customer relationship. This is not about technology.
I believe that the #1 way to improve customer service is to invest in knowledge management for web self service and agent assisted service. This allows customers to get effortless answers to their questions.
The #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is to empower, engage and nurture their employees. An empowered, engaged and nurtured employee is passionate about and committed to the company, the vision, and most importantly, the customer.
Train employees in customer service skills! Offer post-new hire customer service training to all Agents – both new and veteran.
Invest the time into having bi-monthly meetings to review, engage in customer service drills, have some fun and use that time to also identify team members who have excelled and celebrate them.
Dr. Joseph Michelli
Nail the basics – drive product knowledge throughout your organization, fix processes that create pain for your customers, design service processes such that customers get their needs met the first time, and “make it right” for affected customers when you inevitably have a breakdown.
What’s the #1 way for any company to improve their customer service? Advocate. Understand WHY they are your customers, and then advocate for them in every meeting, during every design session, and each time you innovate.
What customers care about today is authenticity and effort – be your human self, not a robot, and show the customer that you’re genuinely trying to find a solution, not just telling them why you’d love to help but can’t.
Dan Moriarty is the Director of Social Strategy & Activation at Hyatt Hotels, as well as the co-host of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @iamdanmoriarty or visit https://soundcloud.com/focus-on-customer-service.
The #1 way to improve service in any organization is to map the customer journey and take all necessary steps to consistently meet and exceed customer expectations on that journey.
Give your customer the option to reach you via their preferred communication platform. Perceptions of a brand occur daily in our online world. Be first to reach out and act on any customer interaction.
The route to being the best: listen to customers, identify the top irritants, remove them, listen again, identify the top things that matter to them as experiences, embed them, repeat the cycle, [and] each time get closer to it being a real-time response.
Make it easy for your customers to interact with you! Acknowledge and embrace the fact that customers have different needs and will use different channels to either self-serve or ask for help.
The most important way to improve customer service? Cultivate true empathy for the customer and let that empathy flow through all your interactions. See your world through your customer’s eyes.
Since your employees are customers too, although not necessarily of your company, they have their own customer service experiences. Facilitate a conversation with your employees and ask them to share some of their great customer service experiences.
The last few years has seen the continued decentralisation of the traditional service model in favour of one that is increasingly cognitive, mobile and highly contextual; social has been a catalyst for this shift. For customer-activated enterprises the challenge is not just how to adapt to this change, but how to adapt to it, at speed.
If your business can conquer all three of these channels – self, responsive, and live service – you will truly have reached customer service nirvana.
The #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is to listen (more) intently to customers who have an issue, a question or positive feedback. There’s a difference between hearing and listening.
The best way for a company to improve its customer service is by taking a walk in the customer’s shoes. We make too many assumptions about what our customers want and how they interpret the things we present to them.
Tema Frank is a customer experience & usability expert, podcast host, Author, international speaker, and the CEO of Frank Reactions. Follow her on Twitter at @temafrank, or visit https://frankreactions.com.
Customer Service starts with understanding limitations. Cheap, petty customers will come and go, but to sustain loyalty, helping customer know the limits of support and the reasonable explanations for those limits, build an emotional partnership.
Really get to know your customers. Once you know your customers then you can create your customer experiences that focus on the three elements of service: results-focused processes, empowered service agents, and data-driven technology.
Empower, educate and support your employees so they can successfully carry out the mission (on-going training, emphasis on employee satisfaction, and efficient agent desktops and contact center technology).
The most important thing a company can do to improve their service short term, is to properly evaluate, hire, and adequately train staff. This is something any company can start doing now!
If you want to improve service, one of the most important things you can do is improve your contact center culture by creating a learning culture, one that will lower attrition and lead to more engaged reps.
Randy Rubingh is the author of Call Center Rocket Science: 110 Tips to Creating a World Class Customer Service Organization. Follow him on Twitter at @rrubingh, or visit www.callcenterrocketscience.com.
The #1 way to improve customer service is to know your customers so well that you can pre-empt their service needs. The future of customer service isn’t finding new ways to engage your agents or reduce average handle time- it’s using data to predict what each individual customer needs before they even realize it.
If you’d like to see the experts’ full remarks, download the full report here. Again, we would like to express our profound thanks to each of them for contributing to this report.
Happy Customer Service Week!
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