When it comes to the reasons people choose, and in many cases show great loyalty to a company, they are myriad.
From the quality of the products to the price points, the accessibility of a service to the consistency of what the consumer may receive, among many other things, people will often take time to make a decision and then stick with it. Loyalty is an important buzz word for companies looking to ensure their revenue streams and expand their offerings, so nurturing that is a priority.
Naturally, any such consumer loyalty can be fickle if things change, or new competitors enter the market, but one thing that often arises is the customer service provided. Indeed, it can, at least for some, alter the way a customer sees a company, but is it really a make-or-break issue more than anything else? Well, put it this way, the number of complaints that are related to customer service issues are often quite high. With companies keen to cement their reputation for supplying top class service, these complaints should be, and usually are, taken most seriously.
Whether it’s the time it takes to get through to a customer service centre, the knowledge of the agent, the ability to resolve an issue without escalation, or even where that call centre is located, these things seem to matter to the customer who is, of course, always right. But ensuring that every facet of customer service is perfect is difficult, much like predicting Elon Musk’s business decisions.
Why A Customer First Approach Means Service with A Smile
One of the major elements of customer service is the people who work within these departments. It could be a customer call centre, where calls are now routinely recorded for quality and training, it could be a physical location in a store, it could be an online chat representative, or it could be a blend of each of these options. Whatever it is, it is critical that the customer knows they can both access that service promptly and conveniently, but also that the service they receive is given positively and respectfully.
Some people say you can hear someone smile as they talk on the phone, and that first impression, as well as the ultimate resolution that comes from the call, matters. Naturally, this works both ways, and being polite to any customer service representative is equally important, but the nature of the service is absolutely paramount. Driving business is not just about selling a product or service, it is about engaging with the customer beyond the sale, nurturing the B2C relationship and hopefully creating the loyalty to which we referred earlier in this article. It may sound cliched, but service with a smile can go a long way to making a customer feel appreciated, listened to, and valued, something which can secure continued consumer and company loyalty.
Let’s be honest, many people dread calling customer service helplines, or having to queue to speak to customer service in a store, but this makes the pleasant, capable, knowledgeable and dedicated customer service representative all the more important and valuable.
So, what is the way to drive business with happy reps? Part of the issue is hiring, and how HR can ensure the right people are at the end of the phone, on the online chat, or stood in the store for that role.
Prioritising Customer Retention Through Customer Service Superiority
From having a rigorous interviewing and screening process to delivering top class training, when the right people, those who genuinely want to help, are in a customer service role, it makes all the difference. Quite often, when the call or chat is about a problem or issue with a product or service, the attitude of the person dealing with it, and how it is resolved, can dulcify angry or frustrated clients, and reassure them.
In turn, this can mean a loyal customer is kept, even when they phoned with the intention of complaining and perhaps terminating a contract or demanding a refund for a product. When it comes to top priorities for companies, whether it’s an internet provider, a healthcare service, or a mobile phone company, customer retention ranks highly. After all, fiscal projections and bottom lines are driven by revenue, and the more of that that is guaranteed, the better.
Ultimately, many consumers will talk about the customer service they receive, and often, the worse it is, the more likely they are to make that known. Conversely, word of mouth recommendations fuelled by superior customer service are equally important, with companies such as energy and utility firms often talked about in terms of their customer service. Put simply, a superb customer service experience cannot just drive customer acquisition as well as customer retention, it can and does create excellent reputations, something that companies also love to have. So yes, customer service really can change customer preferences, making it an important arrow in any corporate quiver.