Time and time again, we see social media flooded with issues consumers have relating to poor service (many of these in the telco, finance, and hospitality sectors). The surge in sites like TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon and the likes, are holding businesses big and small, accountable for their service levels, as consumers openly rate all aspects of their experience. Hopefully, for consumers this may lead to businesses putting a greater emphasis on customer service – which in my opinion has really gone down hill in the past two decades.
Being a customer focused business is as crucial for a multi-national company, as it is for a local hairdresser, butcher or greengrocer, and unless you enjoy a monopoly in your industry, a poor customer experience will almost certainly be the demise of many businesses (especially small ones). At its simplest, customer service comes down to meeting and exceeding customer expectations in these three main areas:
1. Product – You are delivering the product / service you are advertising, at a competitive price
2. Systems – You have the systems / technology in place to make it easy and convenient for your customers to transact / buy
3. Staff – Your staff are the representatives of your brand, so they need to be trained to offer the level of service and experience your customers demand.
If any one of these three areas fall down, you may get them buying once, but the chance of customers coming back again, and growing into loyal advocates for your brand, are very slim. Word of mouth is everything, and providing a great customer experience will not only be shared during dinner conversations, and work coffee breaks, but with hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of friends and followers via social media. On the down side, negative experiences will also be shared with just as much gusto – if not more, so beware!
The first article below from Inside Retail looks at some companies leading the way on the customer service front, and we’d love to hear any comments on recent customer service experiences you’ve encountered (good or bad).
Article : Business Insider Australia (article on brilliant customer service from a US Based Make-Up start up.)