To CAN, servicing smart means helping create a smart customer experience. Its not just us though. More and more companies are realizing customers value a great customer experience and that they are no longer making decisions based solely on “is it cheap?”.
To succeed in this new world, companies have to do things to make their company stand out. They have to make their company the one that customers want to do business with again and again. A good place to get started improving your customer experience is creating a set of standards for your customer service.
What does it take to have a “great customer experience”?
1. Interactions: Customers want to talk to a real person. The definiton of that has changed in the last few years. It used to be just by phone. Now it can be by chat as well. The key is that I can talk to a real person and get an answer right now!
Improving your customer experience is about getting the right people to the right people as quickly as possible. At larger companies this requires using phone prompts (IVR) to match the right customer service representatives with the right answers as quickly as possible. While customers understand the importance of phone prompts, too many prompts frustrate clients and lead to the wrong outcomes. You need to be purposeful in setting up your phone prompts.
From my experience I appreciate if there is one prompt. I will put up with two prompts. However, if there are more than two, I will push “0” until someone answers. I understand prompts are necessary to funnel people to the correct place. However, companies that improperly use prompts or use too many prompts lose my loyalty, engagement and eventually my business.
Also, phone prompts should not prevent possible brand interactions or sales opportunities. Many companies use their automated phone prompts to answer simple questions, such as mailing addresses and hours. This is the same as customers popping into a store to use the bathroom. If no one interacts with them, they will use the bathroom and leave. However, if your environment and employees create the right experience most people will buy something or at least return to purchase something later. Avoiding being inconvenienced by customers and potential customers prevents brand interactions and sales opportunities. Companies that do this are missing an opportunities to improve their customer experience. They are missing the opportunity to cross sell, up sell, and give them a dose of your brand.
2. Knowledge: Now, I understand there are places that I shop that I only expect employees to have basic knowledge. I don’t expect someone in the electronics department at Walmart to know how to go from digital output to optical. However, I expect them to know where things are and how to find them on their website if they don’t carry them in the store. Other places like Best Buy, I expect to have knowledgeable technicians who are more than willing to help me find and buy the items I need for my newest purchase. Based on Best Buy’s brand I expect the “geeks” to know about the technology they sell and service. If they dont know a super weird or hard question, they fail to fulfill their brand promise. This erodes their customer experience. My expectation, if I played “stump the geek” would be that the Best Buy technician would win every time. See Apple Stores.
The point is, I expect workers to have a basic knowledge of your store, basic knowledge of what I am trying to do, and someone in the store that knows 99% of everything. This means you have to train the majority of employees and employ at least one expert, a “mega-mind” that employees can learn from if a customer stumps them.
Understand this: If you cannot hire and have at least one “mega-mind”, what is the point of employees. I can design an app to be my personal assistant as I walk through a store to handle most of my questions. Come to think of it, isn’t that the Amazon app?
3. Manners. How hard is it to say thank you, please, to listen, to treat me like a person who is spending hard earned cash at your store. The store down the street does what you do as well. I could just as easily do my shopping there and will next time if your lowsy, uneducated, uncaring employee blows me off one more time.
4. Training. I also expect there to be training. Training is not the same as knowledge or Manners although this is how you get them to do both of those things. Training, on the other hand, has to do with how the process works, what is next, how problems are solved, when shipments come in, how the business works. At a minimum employees should be able to find the right answers.
5. Insight. Scaling personal remembrance. This one is new. Very soon, most customers will expect you to understand customer trending. I already am surprised when I go to a sandwhich shop and you don’t know what I have ordered in the past and have no recommendations as to what I want. Two stories. I ordered pizza from Godfathers last week. Upon giving my phone number the guy on the phone said, “would you like the usual Mr. Watson?”. Not knowing I had a usual, he went on to tell me exactally what I had ordered the last two times. I said yes and paid. The fact it made it into this article means they did it right. Story #2. Jefferson went to Wohlners Grocery and checked out with a four pack of local soda. The person behind the counter asked if he was going to drink one now, he could swap one of the warm four pack with a cold one from the deli. Insight into how he was going to use the product lead to someone coming back to the office and telling us all about the service there.
I can’t help you with the first 4. You have to have a culture of wanting to be better at running a business and simply wont put up with bad contact, lack of knowledge, poor manners, and no training. These things take dedication and hiring the right type of people. Insight is scalable. You may not be able to do the things Wohlners does (although, really, how hard is it to take 2 seconds to understand how people use your products), but Godfather’s pizza is just a prediction engine attached to a CRM system. Understanding trending and patterns in your sales and service is actually inexpensive and simple to implement. We do it every day for people so they can complete their list of the 5 best things to have a great customer experience, have customer insight. Service Smart is just one of the ways you and your business can Work Smart.