It’s no doubt that customer service plays an integral part in the way a brand is perceived by the customers. When it comes to customer service, oftentimes brands are not praised or made aware of the good experiences they provide to customers. However, a brand will always hear about the negative experiences their customers have had.
According to TechCrunch, 82% of customers have stopped doing business with an organization due to a poor customer service experience. Customers are no longer tolerating the bad experiences they are having with a brand – and they shouldn’t be expected to. For a brand to continually grow, they need to create positive experiences for their customers. When someone has a good experience with your brand, the likelihood that they share that with their friends and family is very high. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and FREE marketing tools that a brand can utilize, but that isn’t going to be an option for you if the experience that your consumers are having is negative.
Salesforce ran a study and found that 1/3 of consumers believe businesses are paying less attention to good customer service. Only 7% said that their experience with a brand exceeds their expectations. An incredibly low bar has been set on customer service experiences, so if your brand puts in the work to create unforgettable (positive) experiences, you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors. When there is a gap in the expectations that consumers have for brands – there is an incredible opportunity.
What’s Considered Exceptional?
Nearly any brand can achieve standard, generic customer service, but not a lot of brands go out of their way to serve the customers beyond what they expected. In order to create an exceptional experience, you need to possess these qualities:
- • Empathy
- • Generosity
- • Solution-Driven
- • Timeliness
- • Unpredictability
Customer service goes beyond having a smile and fixing problems with their items or goods. It’s about surprising your customer and doing things that they never would have expected. The bare-minimum that most buyers consider in a brand-customer relationship is the helpful and knowledgeable staff, quality products, and timely responses. If you can surprise and delight your customers with unpredicted strategies, you’ll see resounding success.
Zappos is known to have amazing customer service experiences. For example:
- In 2011, Zappos sent flowers to a woman who ordered six different pairs of shoes in various sizes. Her feet had been damaged by harsh medical treatments and she didn’t know which would be the best for her.
- A few years ago, Zappos overnighted a free pair of shoes to the best man in a wedding after he arrived shoeless on the weekend of the wedding.
Being able to think outside the box and develop strategies that constantly surprise your customers is how your brand will continue to stand out and beat the competition.
Experience vs. Service
The type of service that a customer receives from a brand is oftentimes directly related to the type of experience they will have. These two ideas are similar and the quality of one will determine the other. For example, if a customer has a rude employee and isn’t treated properly, you can assume that they would have had a bad brand experience due to the poor customer service.
Customer service is the assistance provided to a customer before and after they make a purchase through your brand. Over the past several years, customer service expectations have grown and a large portion of customers expect high-quality customer service. Thanks to advancements in technology, customers have a variety of different ways to get into contact with customer service representatives of their favorite brands. Email, text messaging, live chat, chatbots, and social media allow customers to get assistance 24/7/365. For a customer, this ease of access is great, but it can become a challenge for many brands. Customer service is more than a conversation with your customers, it’s an essential part of the overall experience with your brand.
In order to provide the best customer service, here are some things you should incorporate:
- • Prioritize convenience: Being able to offer 24/7 customer support will allow you to expand into a larger customer base. Experiment with using intelligent bots that respond to frequently asked questions and a live chat with a knowledgeable staff member.
- • Develop a delivery flowchart: Map out the process customers will take from start to finish. When you have a clearly defined path that customers will take, you can easily determine where things are going wrong.
- • Personalize: When you’re speaking with your customers, use their names or personal identifiers so you can build a personal connection with them. Build a brand voice through social media and utilize it across all channels of marketing.
- • Listen: The best way to find out what your customers want from a brand is to listen to what they are telling you. Actively listen to complaints, compliments, and praises across all your channels of social media. Understanding what your customers want will allow you to make the necessary changes in order to stand out among your competitors.
Customer experience refers to the journey that a customer has with a brand. This includes all the interactions someone has with your brand. From browsing the website to interacting with staff and ultimately purchasing a product, the experience that someone has will determine if they shop your brand in the future. A recent study found that 86% of customers are likely to pay more for a better customer experience. Also, customers who have had a good overall customer experience are four times more likely to repurchase and recommend your brand to a friend or family member.
Brands like the Ritz-Carlton are known for their exceptional customer experiences and it’s why people are willing to pay a high premium to stay at their hotels. Other brands such as Apple, Starbucks, and Disney have all created exceptional customer experiences and it’s why they have gathered a cult-like following.
To create an amazing customer experience, you should consider these things:
- • Reduce Steps: The fewer steps that someone has to take to complete a purchase on your site or in-store, the better. The attention span of a customer is decreasing every year, so your service needs to be quick and seamless. Reducing the steps and making the process faster doesn’t mean you can decrease the quality of service. It’s possible to have high-quality service at an exceptionally fast pace.
- • Create Consistent Branding: By having consistent branding across all of your platforms, your customers will know that no matter where they are in the process, they will receive the same top-notch experience. If your brand has multiple locations, make sure each and every location has the same brand voice so customers can easily identify you wherever they go.
- • Monitor Data: Constantly measure your customer satisfaction and conversion rates to see how you’re stacking up against the competitors. Send out surveys at the end of your purchase cycle to gain feedback on your performance. If you find your brand is lacking in a certain area, focus all your resources on making that area flawless. Constantly checking, researching, and developing new strategies will allow your brand to continually create exceptional customer experiences.
How Can TM Help?
Customer experience is more than cookie-cutter approaches to solving a consumer’s problem. It’s about thinking outside the box, beating all customer expectations, and doing things that others are not. At Transformation Marketing, our team will help you find ways to stand out and streamline your customer experience process. Oftentimes, getting an outside perspective on your processes helps you find areas that are lacking.
Contact us today and let’s talk about what we can do for you.