Creating Killer Customer Service 101
Traditionally, companies have treated customer service as a source of cost, even if it is also viewed as a necessary one. The thinking around this topic has made it clear why that is, and on a level it does make sense: Customer service involves dealing with customers when something unexpected has happened, and usually it is because they expect the company to do something to make it right. Obviously, this almost always involves some cost, but what killer customer service departments realize is that those costs are actually opportunities to court future business, build brand reputation, and create word-of-mouth advertising.
There is a reason that word-of-mouth is viewed as such a desirable end goal in any advertising strategy. People trust the judgments of other people they know, and they listen more to their friends and neighbors than they do to the media around them. On top of that, messaging that spreads through regular interpersonal communication has a better chance of reaching the kind of people that other marketing and advertising strategies simply can’t reach. One of the biggest benefits of developing a killer customer service strategy is that you are building positive experiences in the minds of your customers, and people share their positive experiences. You can take this further by ensuring that your killer strategies are designed to stand above and beyond customer expectations, to make sure that they are noteworthy enough to build conversation around.
Building a killer word-of-mouth campaign with empowered customer service representatives is just the first step to branding your company through its reputation. To further build brand reputation, you will also need to create a distinct and noteworthy approach to that service. Looking at successful examples from major brands with strong reputations like Apple yields a few common strategies they all use:
-Guidelines and policies instead of hard-and-fast rules
-Incentivizing the position
-Empowering employee decision-making
-Prioritizing the customer’s experience over short-term costs
The last point is the key, and it needs to drive a business’s approach to the other items on the list. The kinds of new business that this approach builds are incremental, gradual, and long-term. This means that often, individual customer service events will appear costly. What is important to remember is that a satisfied customer will not only spread the word of your killer customer service techniques, that customer will also be more likely to remain loyal, providing you with more business over the coming years.
Setting guidelines that are meant to steer employees toward a few supportive and well-designed strategies for resolving customer concerns is another key part of any killer service strategy. This does two things:
-It gets your employees freed up to go off-script without pulling in management, allowing them to solve problems more quickly, getting more done with a smaller staff.
-It also provides them with support and training that shows them best practices that have been proven to work, giving them the scaffolding they need to make effective decisions when they do go off-script.
Last but not least, these strategies will only work if your employees live up to the expectations customers will have. That means killer customer service requires retention, as well as a good talent base. You want to make sure your service representatives are the best, brightest problem solvers you can put on the job. That means investing in raising wages in the position, so that your expectations for performance and responsibility are mirrored by the kinds of benefits that attract the best transfers from across your company and the brightest outside applicants when you recruit.
Killer Long-Term Business Strategies
All of this adds up to a killer long-term effect: The retention of customers, along with the increased efficiency in the service department and the new customers brought in by a strong reputation for quality and for treating the customer well, all of it adds up to a gradual but real form of growth that can be coupled to shorter-term marketing strategies to ensure that explosions in growth have less of an ïechoï effect because more customers stay with your company. The end result is a source of profit that might be hard to quantify, but that also makes its effect felt in a less turbulent business cycle and better resilience against competitors.
In the end, the benefits to the company are really what make these killer customer service strategiesïthey create a winning situation all around. To learn more about killer strategies for developing your company’s growth through recruitment, check out more of the resources here on Mighty Recruiter.