Customer Service Week is a time for employers to celebrate their hard-working customer service teams—those on the frontline who are the unsung heroes of delivering a positive customer experience.
But a good customer experience isn’t as simple as it often seems. As we celebrate those who work hard to serve and support us, we’ll take a look at what it really takes to deliver incredible service and what we can do to support those who support us.
Importance of Customer Service on your Bottom Line
In 2016, 2.7 million Americans were working as customer service representatives and that number is only expected to rise, increasing the priority businesses are putting on their customer service teams. This is a smart move by businesses since a survey by Dimensional Research found that 95% of customers share bad service experiences, while only 87% of good experiences are shared. This means that bad experiences can spread like wildfire among your customers and seriously impact your bottom line. Dimensional Research also found that bad experiences impacted buying behavior for over two years after the experience.
What’s more, 62% of B2B customers increased their spend with a company based on good customer service experiences and 42% of B2C customers increased their spend with good customer service. This means your customer service representatives, who are often your frontline staff, are crucial to protecting your brand and ensuring your customers continue to seek your business for their needs. Especially as Gartner has found that it costs five times as much to attract new customers than to retain current customers. Additionally, 89% of companies see that customer experience is a key factor for driving loyalty and retention.
Share Knowledge Up, Down and Across Your Organization
First impressions are extremely powerful and can make or break a customer’s experience. And as support has moved to more automated and self-service methods, engagements and personal interactions are now more valuable than ever. Consumers often expect and demand immediate resolutions when talking with customer service representatives, and this puts a lot of pressure on frontline service providers and requires more knowledge and specialized training than even five years ago.
However, you can empower your customer service teams to meet these high expectations by providing them with necessary and updated knowledge and ongoing trainings that keep them prepared and ready to handle any service request, as the customer experience continually evolves.
Every customer or product support interaction can be a source of new knowledge and information. By capturing insights from across your organization —from your call center, to your retail stores, online activity, and product engineers and repair depots—and sharing them at all levels and in every channel, your teams will be sure to stay ahead of potential service questions and customer needs.
Additionally, as products and devices continue to become more and more complex, the service experience to support these products is also becoming more complex. What’s more, 72% of customers cite explaining issues to multiple people as a reason for a bad experience. Avoiding silos with connected and integrated support systems across business units enables service teams to be better prepared to resolve issues quickly and accurately without giving your customers the runaround.
Share Common Goals and Values
Every company has overarching business goals that may or may not be actively shared with all employees or frontline staff. Clearly sharing your business goals with your teams ensures that everyone knows what they’re working toward and further unites your teams to a common goal.
Also, setting core company values, such as accountability, integrity and customer dedication, will help frame how your customer service teams engage with each request and represent your company. This not only helps protect your brand, but gives meaning to the work your employees are doing. This is profoundly important to the ever-growing millennial workforce, with 71% of millennials who strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for, plan to stay with that company for at least another year.
Customer experience is impacting our brands now more than ever, and no stat can truly capture the effect it has on a business. A customer service team is often the first, and last, impression consumers have with your company, and their role is invaluable.
Take a moment during Customer Service Week to celebrate and thank your dedicated customer service teams, but allocate time to invest in, celebrate and thank your customer service professionals year-round because the success of your brand depends on them.
About the Author
Gary Praznik is COO of Retail and Consumer Services at iQor. Gary joined iQor in 2000 as an industry veteran with over 20 years experience in customer interaction outsourcing. During his time with iQor, he has held various executive roles in Operations and new business development, with a demonstrated track record of superior leadership, operational excellence and significant revenue growth. His overall track record has made a significant contribution in positioning the company as one of the largest BPO solution providers and has led to his current role as COO, Retail and Consumer Services. Prior to joining iQor, Gary held several positions with OSI, including SVP/General Manager of its Teleservices division and SVP of Sales/Marketing. Gary began his career in 1984 with Payco American Corporation.