“Customer experience” is in vogue again. Everywhere you look, there are articles and posts covering how companies can ramp up customer experience to generate more revenue.
And, to be fair, customer experience should always be in focus. As the economy swings back into hyperdrive, consumers are being bombarded with new and exciting offers – the kind that can get otherwise loyal customers to jump ship.
Retaining customers makes sound financial sense – acquiring a new one is five times more expensive than wowing an existing customer away from the noisy competitors and their splashy ads.
Hands down, the best way to retain your customers is by finding ways to make their experience with your products and services hassle-free and completely satisfying. In the world of technology, customers always remember when things go wrong.
Everyone understands that technology likes to act up from time-to-time. How many times has your laptop suddenly run out of charge right before an important presentation, or a 6-hour flight?
For telecoms, the stakes are even higher. Right before a huge pay-per-view fight, the node goes down – and everyone on the block is left without cable. Or a misguided neighbor decides to try their luck at edging their lawn – right next to where the buried cable lines are.
The way to win, in these moments, is to deliver fast, competent help. From the moment your customer service center gets the call, there’s a timer running. Your customer will judge you based on how quickly you respond. And an appointment sometime between next week and next month isn’t going to cut it.
Companies can leverage technology to deliver better experiences. For instance, FieldEngineer is one platform that tech companies are using to help shorten the gap between problem and solution. By allowing companies to access on-demand talent, with the skills and experience necessary to complete technical assignments, telecoms and other tech players are dramatically improving customer experience, without the overhead of a traditional (old school) global support team.
The ability to choose assignments dramatically improves the employee experience as well. And, it turns out, happy team members help to deliver an even better customer experience. It’s service with a smile for the digital age.
There’s a real shortage in the industry. Fifty-five percent of telecoms report that they are struggling to fill open positions. This means that customer service is directly impacted, as in-house tech teams are stretched to the breaking point.
As large firms continue to engage contract firms to help solve customer-facing issues, there are still times when the sheer need of customers facing service outages is overwhelming. Add into this a labor shortage and a disconnected customer service process, and you have a perfect storm for customer disappoints.
It’s exciting to see the gig economy expand into the tech sector. Yes, technology has always supported the gig economy – if you think Uber is a cab company, guess again. But, it’s only in recent years that the freelance marketplace is expanding into more skilled arenas – the kinds of jobs that keep the technology running and evolving.
Having platforms find ways to provide quality service contracts, on-demand talent that’s available locally on a nationwide basis, and who are fully connected to the rest of the business deserves some serious applause. For telecoms, it means a better customer experience and a real opportunity to hold the competitors at bay.
Emma Whitner Florida says there is an old saying in the real-estate industry: The three keys to success are location, location, and location. There is a similar take on the customer service world. The three keys to customer experience success are consistency, consistency and consistency.
So, let’s talk about the different ways an organization delivers a consistent experience.
There’s no denying the fact that customer service is important to a small or mid-sized business. The quality of that service will either enhance or degrade customer loyalty to your brand and your business. With the economy in recession, customers have more alternatives than ever. The business that proves to be responsive to customer questions, complaints, or other needs can gain a clear competitive advantage. That’s why it’s so important to understand how new technologies can help you anticipate customer needs, tailor business processes to best serve customers, and ultimately improve the efficiency of your business – the latter of which can keep costs down.
Customer Service Technology
There are a few major areas in which technology now is able to help provide key advantages to businesses in engendering customer loyalty by improving customer service:
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There is no greater value to any corporation than their customer service. Here are the top 5 needful customer service to be focused on:
Great customer service comes down to caring. Not only should the corporation care about the quality of their products, but should care even more-so about customer satisfaction. Companies should take the time to ensure the customer is delivered a product that works, and that the customer understands how to use and operate their product. Companies who pride themselves on great customer service take great value in creating referrals. To ensure this possibility, they make themselves available to their customers for any questions, repairs and or concerns, and if necessary offer to replace, compensate or refund what isn’t working.
Passion is the foundation of great customer service people and their organizations. Customer service is the “it” factor. It is passion which separates those individuals and organizations who excel from those who offer the customer the bare minimum to get by.
Solid communication is crucial when it comes to customer service. Communication requires effort, flexibility and a tremendous amount of patience and self-control on the part of the customer service agent. The customer, in most cases, should be treated as correct. And, customers are wrong sometimes as well.
Corporations that value customer service doesn’t just enforce procedures and shout instructions to their customers as an approach to problem-solving. It is the responsibility of each corporation to develop a culture of service and to see the undeniable value of serving those who purchase their products.
The customer who is expressing a lack of satisfaction doesn’t become a more pleasant person when met with automated systems with unreasonable hold times, and one transfer after another once they have finally gotten someone live on the phone.
There are customer service ramifications of eight commonly used words and sayings that we’ve designated as Killer Words. These eight phrases are normally used with good intentions, yet they are damaging to customer relationships. Let’s look at how we can avoid the Killer Words and see that it’s not how you perceive the phrases but how the recipient interprets them.
#1—Killer Words of Customer Service: “CALM DOWN.”
When a customer contacts you about a problem, they generally are not happy. So, it’s not a good idea to say something that might make them more unhappy. Let’s listen in on a customer phone call.
Jessica: Thanks for holding support. This is Jessica.
Customer: Yeah, your company promised me delivery on Tuesday. It’s now Friday and it’s still not here. Do you have any idea what kind of problems you’re causing me?
Jessica: Ma’am, please: Calm down!
Customer: Calm down?!? Calm down??? Don’t tell me to calm down!!! Thanks for the advice, but if your company would have done what they promised, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation!
Did you see what happened here? Instead of handling the customer’s concern immediately, Jessica chose to change the subject. Rather than dealing with the complaint, she sidetracked it into telling the customer what to do, and all of a sudden it’s an argument. The customer went from upset to furious. This can be handled much better.
Jessica: Thanks for holding. Support This is Jessica.
Customer: Yeah, your company promised me delivery on Tuesday. It’s now Friday and it’s still not here. Do you have any idea what kind of problems you’re causing me?
Jessica: My apologies. That’s got to be very frustrating. If need be, we can overnight your order so it’s there Monday. Now please tell me exactly what happened and I will get to work on fixing this.
Customer: Yes OK. Thanks. …
That was much better. Jessica apologized and focused her efforts on solving the problem and that’s what the customer wanted in the first place. Telling a customer how to act is never a good idea.
#2—Killer Words of Customer Service: “CAN I BE HONEST WITH YOU?”
Chris: Parts. This is Chris.
Customer: Yeah, Chris. This is Darius Jones. We spoke last week and you asked me to call today to arrange installation of the new pump for our hydraulic press.
Chris: Hello, Mr. Jones. Um, regarding your new pump, can I be honest with you?
Customer: No, I want you to lie to me. Yes, of course, you can be honest with me!
If ever there was a useless saying, it’s the Killer Words “can I be honest with you?” The customer assumes that you’re always going to be honest with them. They expect that. There are several variations of these words that needs to be dropped as well, such as:
Always choose correct words so that your customers can be fair and polite to you as well! If you liked this blog post, please share it with your friends! Thanks
From choosing the correct support channels to using online resources to get out of the way, to empowering teams to keep customer happiness a priority, understanding how to properly conduct online support is paramount to creating an amazing customer experience.
What follows are our best tips for improving your online service today.
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to online customer service is finding what your customers typically need from your support team.
As an example: Say you’re looking for a company to host your website. You might want to make sure they offer live chat, since you’ll want to make sure you can get an immediate response should your site go down. In that instance, you don’t want to get sent through a ticket system or to a forum.
On the flip side, great companies like Loco2 have removed their phone number from their site and still provide the exceptional customer service they’re known for — because they’re keenly aware of what their customers’ needs are.
Self-service can be an enormous benefit to your customers — not the hindrance you may perceive it to be.
One of the better examples out there can be found over at WooCommerce. The Woo team offers WordPress themes for site owners, many of these folks being beginners. If you’ve never run a website before, even on a relatively simple platform like WordPress, know that there can be myriad headaches and questions as you take your first steps.
The idea of “content as customer service” is one that many businesses can benefit from.
We’ve taken this to heart at Help Scout, taking time to create a variety of customer service resources that run the gamut of free e-books, webinars, and whitepapers that aim to help people excel in customer support. When customers ask about these sorts of topics, we have a full suite of content pieces that can help them out, instead of creating a separate reply each and every time
Do you know how long your customers wait for an initial reply? Or how long the average time to resolution is? What about how many times a customer has to go back and forth with your team before they get their questions answered to their satisfaction?
The longer you make customers wait to hear from you, the more time you give them to start exploring your competitors’ offerings. We don’t have to tell you that what gets measured gets managed — unless you’re already keeping an eagle eye on your customer service metrics, chances are there are some opportunities for optimization.
When you’re working with customers online, via email or chat, the temptation can be toward a just-the-facts-ma’am style — but a pleasant tone (or any specific tone, really) is more difficult to convey via text, where you don’t have additional signifiers like swings in vocal pitch or friendly body language.
Conveying empathy via your virtual tone is critical in online customer service. One crucial skill that goes a long way with customers is mirroring — matching their tone lets them know you’re on their side. When a customer is formal, keep your tone strictly professional. If they’re more casual, relax your tone too — it’s OK to crack a joke or include a funny GIF in your reply if the customer has sent you a queue that they have a sense of humor.
One of the biggest benefits of conducting most of your support online is definitely the flexibility, and empowering your entire team to talk with customers and handle their questions is critical if you want to turn your support from good to great.
Why take the risk of running into a customer service trainwreck? Create a customer-centric culture into your employee’s mindsets by having everyone do support. It won’t hinder their long-term company-specific skills, and it will make sure that each employee knows how to properly talk with customers.
If you’re a B2B marketer, one thing’s for sure: You have fought for the lead generation. The challenging and competing B2B aspect makes it extremely difficult to generate valuable leads.
In fact, CSO Insights found that to be the biggest challenge for sales organizations. And to top it all off, B2B lead-generation tactics evolve every year as organizations gain new penetrations that tell them what does and doesn’t work.
It’s little wonder why, then, that keeping your eyes uncovered for upcoming developments is incredibly important. For 2018, consider adapting your strategy based on the following trends.
1. Targeted and Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns
That’s a big reason for the big brands such as Amazon, GoDaddy etc to target the individuals. B2C retailers have already embraced personalization. Definitely, you’ve received personalized recommendations based on your shopping history, Google search results recommendations etc and you’ve probably received an email with personalized offers from your favorite brands. Clearly, personalization has proved its marketing effectiveness, and now it’s catching on in the B2B industry as well.
2. Social Video
Video is an ongoing trend to become an important part of B2B lead generation processes given that an increasing number of B2B customers are accepting this type of content. In fact, 70% of researchers & customers in the B2B industry watch videos throughout for a better understanding of product or services associated with their purchase journey, according to Google. And 48% of them spend at least 30 minutes watching B2B videos for their research.
3. Social Media On the Go or Live Streaming
You might have noticed that going live by the business personnel via social media channels such as FB live, Youtube r Twitter etc has become a popular trend for brands to engage customers and collect the user information via their shopping search trends/history/patterns. This trend has been now getting an attention for the B2B industry, with more and more companies streaming webinars or webcasts to generate leads and engage existing customers. Once this trend for a company becomes popular, it becomes an in-demand for the consumers as they also want to listen to the company updates and more!
4. Collaborations With Industry Players or Influencers
Influencers have taken the marketing industry to the next level. While you mostly see influencer marketing being used to promote customer products, it’s also starting to impact the B2B niche.
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Global brand strategy and experience firm Siegel+Gale completed their 7th annual Global Brand Simplicity Index study, which is designed to achieve three things:
If this was my list, I wouldn’t have included McDonald’s or KFC because of how unhealthy they are and the consequences for those who eat those brands. But I believe they made this list because of simplicity around their customer experience and cost structure, so I understand. I myself wouldn’t have included them.
I was maybe a little bit surprised that more enterprise tech companies weren’t on this list, at least near the top (the only ones here are really Google, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube), in other regions Microsoft, Facebook, and some other tech and electronic companies as GE, Samsung and Paypal and even Apple were far from the top but in the list. In this list, there’s a huge amount of food retails but that makes sense because they absolutely need to deliver great, simple humanized customer experience to get repeat business. Retailers often have it easier designing simpler experiences. But for me is a surprise to see the German chains Lidl and Aldi at the top of the list. Yes, they deliver very simple experiences, but almost without any aspect of a great customer experience here in Germany and around the globe.
Somehow we need to change the mental models of connecting enterprise technology and solutions with the word complexity. Companies like SAP, Dell-EMC, Salesforce, Microsoft, Sprinklr, Lithium, Software AG,IBM, Adobe, Tableau, Genesys, SaS Analytics, Nice Systems, and others should be regularly appearing on lists such as these, since they are trying to turn complexity in simplicity, and is not a real easy task as you may know in the enterprise technologies sectors.
Some of the bigger statistics that Siegel+Gale found are important to understanding, including:
Now, obviously different regions are used to different kinds of complexity in their products — and each country in surveys like this is unique, in terms of customer experience around services and business as a whole. Look at China as an example. A company like WeChat is a very simplified experience as a complete cockpit of the western world separated social media all conjointly. Other companies, like Huawei (building amazing things) and Alibaba, are very easy to use and understand. This is all based on persons mental models, and perception, obviously, what is easy for you doesn’t necessarily make easy for others and vice versa. We can’t generalize from one survey, no. But in almost every region on the globe, the simpler products are out-performing the more complex ones. And there are billions of dollars at stake here.
As we know from our last article, complexity should be avoided, and especially in hardware, software, tech user-centered design, customer experience, and services. In any sector, this is the key aspects of loyalty, customer success, adoption, referrals and ultimately revenue generation.
Now we know a bit more that we should avoid complexity, and we have basic statistics on how important simplicity is to a business.
To me, simplicity means a demonstration of features, functionalities, processes, governance, and design which are really necessary. They need to be there, the end user understands their role, and they make the experience better.
We also know that in some sectors complexity is part of the daily life, whether we like or not. Note Amazon’s front end interface — what you see when you order anything as a customer — looks easy and very simple for us. However in their back office, they use a series of very complex algorithms and process to make all easier for us humans, the complexity is so big in essence that enables them delivery an unique hyper-personalized experience for each of us. Amazon is focusing in provide us the right visibility, that is perceived as easy to use or I would say the essence of minimalist experience toward simplicity, even though takes a lot of human centricity design effort from their teams. The #UX and great user interfaces or (UI) design that they are developing, create this unique thing, that we all call “ The Amazon experience”, which many people around the globe think is among the best of the best, if not the top.
The simplicity or Amazon should also be found or applied to enterprise technologies for user and customers. Therefore and not by coincidence as previously mentioned SAP the big German tech giant, created a division in Berlin to solve those problems and make it simple. Simple sells, simple engage and simple, actually ensure people and companies successful outcomes and that is the way we all want to be even in complex solutions.
The simpler design, human-centric world enables us humans to engage with your enterprise technology in an easy way. So how are you planning to transform your technology in your organization to be nicer to work with?
Aspire to a non-complex world. To create the right usability and solutions for your customers that they really need, starting with it is a good point of beginning. One good example is “The e-commerce Zalando, here in Europe, they have simplified shopping to only 3 clicks almost maybe in the beginning a bit more. Both Zalando and Amazon’s intuitive user interface and experience and its speed and reliable delivery system are good examples, how to simplify in general.
How do we minimize complexity and arrive at simplicity, though?
Before we get to any specific examples, this should go without saying but it still must be repeated: you will need buy-in from the executive level to simplify your products and services. The main reason is logically budget and strategy. Without support at the budget-setting and approving level, you will encounter many challenges. This can be a challenge in different sectors that were born out of complexity. Bill McDermott, the CEO of SAP since 2010 understood that early on and as soon he becomes the CEO he also started a series of internal initiatives to make their solutions complexities, much simpler creating the simplification unit in their Berlin office.
Martin Wezowski, Chief Designer, and Innovation is leading the initiative to simplify SAP. This is a large challenge for SAP, but they are delivering and enhancing their software’s customer experience and usability at a fast pace. Some sectors have such strict rules since they began that, it’s now hard for them to offer simple solutions and transform themselves in both (B2B and B2C). Whether B2B is your sector, it’s going to be a little bit harder to get the buy-in but you will get it as you create the right approach for your leadership. The glass-half-full here is that technology often enables simplicity, and every week more human-centered designers are being trained to go and help companies with design thinking and crafting and developing better, more intuitive experiences. This is great for every sector — and remember, every sector needs simplicity in design, customer experience, and execution.
If you’re an administrator of a small or mid-size business, this is for to you. Why? Because it can assist you to make better decisions regarding your business and can also help you understand that IT outsourcing is the fresh breathing your company needs.
In the current age, there are just a few of companies that manage to survive without an IT department. Nothing comes to mind, although I’m sure they subsist. The fact is that almost every company in every work field has IT demands. The only difference may be the complexity of those needs.
So if your company also needs managed IT support or services, what are you going to do? Obviously, you will be hiring IT professionals and invest in resources and workmanship? Or choose the better solution?
1. Keep your financial estimates with you
If you are tight on budget or you are a startup and your concern with your company’s finances, you should know that this is the best option to accumulate your spending.
By choosing to outsource your IT demands you will be able to save money by paying just competitive price & one bill every month, instead of taking care of monthly employee payroll, equipment, licenses, employment costs and other expenses.
2. Focus on developing your business
Why waste your time and money by trying to be a bull of all trades?
Instead, use that time/money to improve your business with innovation, tasks and creative activities you know how to complete better than others and let others think how to do better than you.
3. Get a complete possession of the latest technology
Any business that keeps updated with the latest technology & trends, gets assure growth and success over time. We live in the age of technology, but that does not mean that adopting a technology is cheap when it comes to budget. In fact, the budget of a small or mid-size company might just be too small to manage the costs of adopting the latest technology. In that case, what’s the best option for your business? Guess? Yes, true, it’s outsourcing your headache to the company which has almost all the resources of your needs.
4. Take advantage of skills and better resources
Technology is expensive and so are the cost of hiring an IT professionals. You must need a mechanism through which you can screen the best professional for your tasks. Here comes the concept of professionalism. Professionalism comes with expertise and experience altogether. The best thing for you is to find a vendor that will provide that IT support or managed IT services your business might needs as they already have great professionals specialized on solving your specific problems.
5. Your are available for 24 hours & hence your resources
Let us understand this with a simple example. You have a website and you want to host it on your private server. Now, after successful deployment of your website, imagine there is a server crash happens. Your customers are striving & hitting their heads against the wall until you go online. In such a case, is not buying a server space from top-notch cloud hosting providers such as Amazon web services or so? All your headaches of maintenance just gone away with a simple thought? Your partner will monitor your system non-stop and will resolve fast and efficient whenever you experience malfunctions. Ideally, they will be the ones who set it up for you in the first place, so they will know exactly where to look and what to fix.
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