There was a time when customer service excellence seemed to be the hallmark of a luxurious experience. Then people only used to desire such kind of experience and very few renowned big companies were capable of delivering such excellent service. Today, providing good customer service is considered a standard expectation among customers that companies have to fulfill to stay alive in the competition.
You can connect with your customers through different marketing and advertising promotions, but providing excellent customer service can only help you stand out from the crowd.
Yes, many companies trying too hard to master customer service excellence but very few brands are actually able to consistently deliver exceptional customer service over an extended period of time, “wowing” their customers in the process.
I am not trying to persuade you of the importance of customer service, rather I want to show you how you can prioritize it as per different strategies. I am writing this blog to describe various strategies and techniques for achieving excellence in customer service and how to implement them.
Let’s Define Customer Service Excellence
According to ‘Service Operations Management’ a great book by Prof Robert Johnston and Graham Clark, service excellence is not only about meeting customer expectations. Rather it’s more about delivering what you have promised to your customers and handling all the issues and problems that may arise while using your products or services.
‘So, customer service excellence is all about offering great customer support, assisting them whenever they face issues, and providing an excellent service experience.’
Can anyone define the word ‘excellence’? Well, when we are discussing customer support, we can. Customer service is all about offering assistance to customers whenever they require it. You can excel in it if you offer more personalized, engaging, and smooth service to your customers and this approach has to be constant before, during, and after every sales conversion.
As per Gartner, nearly 89% of companies are in the competition only focusing on customer service excellence. It can be the quality of your products or excellent customer support, or maybe just the way you treat your customers-all these factors together contribute to shaping customer service excellence.
Why to Offer Excellent Customer Service?
Let me give you some statistics here. Nearly 69% of customers don’t go back to a company if they have even one bad experience with that brand. You need to understand that it’s not enough to only attract customers, you have to retain them too in the long run and it can be possible only by offering excellent customer service and great experience.
If you can exceed customer expectations, you are going to get some loyal customers. They will not only stay with you but also recommend your brand to their friends and family thus becoming your brand advocates.
You can pay huge amounts to attract customers, and improve sales conversions, but trust me with service excellence you can achieve all of these at a much lesser price. It helps you to become a big differentiator among others and stay ahead of your competitors.
Trust me, you can bring life to your brand by working hard to gain customer service excellence. You need to understand the relative importance customers put on attributes that can take your business to the next level.
For example, sales, and your office ambiance may not be important to customers. They are more interested in offers, discounts, low prices, or more varieties. Similarly, instead of a beautifully designed website, by providing excellent customer service, your support team can steal the show and make a positive impression on your customers.
4 Key Benefits of Excelling in Customer Service
To drive better excellence in customer service, why not walk some extra miles to pamper your customers and make them happy? Great customer support not only maintains a long-term relationship with customers but also helps in repeat sales. Here are the top 4 advantages of customer service excellence to look into.
1. Convert Your Customers into Loyal Ones
Customers will not stick to your brand if you can’t serve them. What is the best way to make them happy? The answer will be to offer the right assistance at the right time.
If you can offer exceptional service to them, chances are high that they will gradually start believing in your brand. You will develop a strong bond with them. Your happy and satisfied customers will not only stay with you and be loyal to the brand but also refer you to their friends and family. In short, you can turn your happy customers into brand advocates.
2. Improved Brand Image
To stay alive in the long run, you have to build a positive image for your brand, and the best way to do it will be to achieve excellence in customer service.
The brand image gets affected a lot due to bad customer support and some bitter experiences of customers. Just like we remember good memories, we tend to remember bad ones too.
So, work hard to make a good impression and increase the customer acquisition rate. Trust me, it will not only boost your brand image but also help you to get additional sales.
3. Stay Ahead of Your Competitors
What is your USP? Yes, it has to be your product or service, but it may not differentiate your brand from others. But great customer service and engagement certainly can.
According to a survey of marketing leaders by Gartner, the majority of organizations (over 80%) anticipate that their main competitive advantage will come from providing a superior customer experience.
Always remember one thing, Your customer is the king and you have to make him or her feel like that only. If you can make them feel special with your great service and experience, they will definitely remember your uniqueness.
4. Increased Sales Conversions
The more you make the customers happy, the higher is the chance to get more sales from them. It’s easier to get revenues from happy customers because they already believe in your brand, have tried your products, and are ready to pay more to get more.
Loyal customers often don’t think twice about paying extra for a greater experience. Customer service excellence can make all these possible for you. Effective communication and great service always cater to customer requirements thus leading to increased sales conversions.
How to Attain Customer Service Excellence: 8-Stage Approach
While formal training may be necessary for other areas of business, by fostering a positive company culture, establishing a clear vision, and effectively communicating the mission of your company to employees you can achieve excellence in customer service.
It is not only cost-effective but also motivates your team to perform better. Now, you must be thinking about how to achieve service excellence. Read more to find out.
1. Know Your Products In and Out
Being a customer service agent, or any other person who directly handles the customers, knowing everything about the company and the products or services is a must. Achieving excellence in customer service is rooted in having a strong understanding of the products or services offered.
If you don’t have detailed knowledge, how will you suggest the right products to the customers and even solve their issues? Furthermore, gaining thorough product knowledge allows you to understand the customer requirements better, positioning you as an effective advocate for them.
So, attending regular training sessions is a must. This is the best way to provide customers with accurate solutions to their problems.
2. Treat Your Consumers as Individuals
You can achieve this by offering personalized service. Every customer is different, so do his choice and preference. You can not handle all the customers in the same way.
Live chat platforms and chatbots can help you out here. With a live chat solution, you can get details of customers like their page visits, geographical locations, chat history, etc, and, based on that, you can offer personalized assistance.
3. Don’t Keep Your Customers Waiting
Customers hate to wait in the long queue to get assistance. Understand one thing, they are already pissed off and want to talk to you for solving their issues. Keeping them waiting for long may worsen the situation. Chances are that they will never come back to you.
Customers always appreciate prompt replies. The faster you provide assistance to them, the more you will excel in providing great customer service. Though some issues may take some time to get resolved, the quicker you can resolve them the better.
There are times when agents need to manage a huge volume of customer calls. Too much manual work slows down the productivity of agents. Here you need to take help of the newest technologies like chat solutions or chatbots to handle such situations and offer great customer service.
4. Always Keep Your Promises
Please don’t make fake promises. If you promise something to your customers during a purchase, make sure you keep it.
To stand still in the long run, you have to earn the trust of customers. So, for making your brand reliable, you have to deliver everything as per your promise.
For example, during the selling process, if you promise to offer full refunds, you have to offer it. Always be transparent and don’t say ‘Yes’ to things that you can’t offer.
5. Understand What Your Customers Need
To excel in customer service, understand your customers and their requirements. For example, at what time they prefer to talk to your team, what kind of communication channel they use to get connected, what exactly they expect from your service, and so on. Based on their preferences, you can make your strategies. Ensure that you are available in all different modes of communication channels like social media, live chat, phone calls, emails, etc.
Try to always be available for customers to offer the best-in-class service, no matter when they contact you, it will be great if your team is always available to serve them.
Many times, customers seem to be unsure about their needs. Try to understand their requirements and based on that just guide them. For example, suppose a customer has saved a product in his cart. You can proactively engage with him through live chat and offer him some discounts to buy that product that has been saved in his cart for a while now.
6. Analyze Your Performance
Monitor the performance of your support team. It plays a vital role in shaping customer service excellence. Use all the data and analytics related to the performance of your support team and try to find out pain points and improvement areas.
There are many reporting and analytics tools available in the market that can give you detailed reports on agent performance, what’s working and what’s not. Here you can address any deficiencies in your customer support and continuously enhance the overall experience for your customers.
7. Always Be Proactive
Sometimes, customers may not reach you for any kind of assistance even if they face issues with your services or have some queries. They simply decide not to return to you for any kind of business and start looking for other alternatives. You can stop this if you want.
Always be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t always wait for the customers to come to you and ask for help. Rather you can also proactively engage with them and ask if they need any assistance. Its a great way to make them feel that you are always there and you do care for them.
Taking such initiative and getting in touch with the customer while he is facing some issues is a great way to make him understand that you are serious about your job and want to solve the problem as soon as possible. Maintaining this level of attentiveness is what sets a top-performing service organization apart from others.
8. Take Customer Feedback Very Seriously
When you launch a new product or service in the market, you have an idea of your customer’s requirements. You do the market research to understand who your target audience is, how to connect with them and sell your products. Till then you can only guess the advantages and flaws of your products.
Once the customers start using it, then only you get the real picture, I mean how your product is getting recognized by them, is it capable of catering to their requirements, its benefits, drawbacks, etc.
Your customers give you all this information. That’s why always take them seriously and work on further improvements. Customer feedback gives you insight into what’s working and not, and how you can improve it further.
Some Inspirational Quotes on Customer Service Excellence
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job to make the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
“If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service in a customer, you can make a fortune.” – Jim Rohn, Author, and Motivational Speaker
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald’
“The most important adage and the only adage is, the customer comes first, whatever the business, the customer comes first.” – Kerry Stokes, Chairman of the Seven Network
“Our greatest asset is the customer! Treat each customer as if they are the only one!” – Laurice Leitao, Customer Service Professional SeraCare Life Sciences
Leading Organizations in Customer Service Excellence: Lessons to Learn
Amazon, the world’s leading online retailer, boasts a formidable customer service team to support its vast customer base. Amazon is known especially for its excellent customer service in terms of speedy delivery and huge product options to choose from.
Amazon offers 2 -day delivery options across the globe and that too at low rates. Customers love Amazon for not only its huge product options but also for the ease of getting in touch with their customer support team. Be it product replacements, shipping, or delivery-related issues, the support personnel is always available to help you.
No doubt, Amazon has achieved mastery in ensuring customer satisfaction through its swift and consistent approach.
FedEx (Federal Express) is a multinational delivery services company known for its overnight shipping service. The way they connect with their customers is commendable.
FedEx transitioned to a single customer-focused newsletter, as opposed to sending multiple emails from various departments. This change was made for several reasons, including the need to provide more accurate and up-to-date information to customers.
They always offer relevant services to customers instead of regularly sending them promotional information. FedEx teams collaborate closely with external partners and stakeholders, ensuring they are kept informed and any issues are addressed promptly.
FedEx also has partnered with several shipping facility providers for eCommerce and offers a great shipping experience to all eCommerce business owners.
FedEx takes customer feedback very seriously and works on those further improvements. FedEx has also taken on a social responsibility initiative, committing to assist 50 million people by the company’s 50th anniversary. This effort is being promoted on social media through the hashtag #fedexcares.
In short, FedEx is a great example to showcase customer service excellence.
We all know about Subway. It’s a chain of fast-food restaurants in the United States that specializes in submarine sandwiches, salads, and drinks. The way it takes care of the customers, and their requirements makes all the difference.
After the increased demand and following the recent trend in the food industry, Subway has introduced breakfast spreads for the customers. Another example will be offering fresh bread made from its in-house bakery and meat, which are chemical-free and without any antibiotics.
Subway always looks into the customer needs and offers food as per their choice. In Subway stores also, the employees are kind and helpful toward customers and always ready to cater to their requirements. No doubt, Subway offers exceptional customer service on a global scale.
We all know about Buffer. It’s one of the most useful social media management platforms used by most companies. But they don’t want to limit their services only to offering useful tools. They also work hard to engage with customers. This may be the reason why their customer support team is named the “Happiness Team.”
They have two teams, one that responds to issues (Heroes and Warriors) and one that proactively reaches out to customers (Community Champion) to show support. They have created a real community apart from only providing services to customers. With real conversations, educative messages, and prompt replies, they successfully engage with their customers.
It’s true that Buffer always prioritizes customer experience above everything else.
How REVE Chat Can Help You?
REVE Chat is an omni-channel customer engagement software that helps you to offer instant assistance and personally engage with your customers on the web, mobile apps, and other channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Instagram, and Telegram.
REVE Chat offers live chat, voice, and video call facilities and lets customers get in touch with your support team whenever they need it.
Apart from live chat, REVE Chat also offers an excellent AI-powered chatbot to automate all your operations and offer instant assistance to customers just like a real human agent.
Automate Manual Tasks to Offer Faster Service
With REVE Chatbot, you can automate the whole process of customer service and many other tasks. Your chatbot can handle multiple chat requests at a time and provide instant replies to customer queries.
While REVE Chatbot can handle your customer queries, your support team can focus on other work. Thus you can offer faster customer service.
REVE Chat lets you proactively reach your customers and offer instant assistance much before they ask for it. With proactive chat, your team can personally engage with them and provide a favorable experience.
Be Where Your Customers Are
REVE Chat can be integrated with your mobile app and other channels like Facebook, Viber, Instagram, Telegram, and WhatsApp. It lets you reply to all customers’ queries on these different channels from a single dashboard.
Use Analytics to Understand How Your Team is Performing
REVE Chat’s Reporting & Analytics feature offers detailed reports on your agent activities to understand how they are performing.
The reports include your agent’s login and logout time, missed chats, transferred chats, offline messages, chat history, and much more information to get an idea of the overall performance.
By now you must have understood why and how you need to achieve customer service excellence. REVE Chat can surely help you here. It offers 14 day FREE TRIAL to try out all it’s features. So SIGN UP today and see the difference that it can bring to your business.