When was the last time you had a terrible customer service experience? How about a great one? Chances are the former is much easier to recall, and you’re not alone in feeling that way.
Unfortunately, traditional customer service models are designed around these negative experiences – the only time a customer hears from customer service is after he’s called in to cite a problem or issue he’s having with the product or service.
A Persistent Problem
Fixing the outdated customer service model is critical. More than three-quarters of customers have abandoned a transaction due to a negative experience with customer service, and a majority of Americans would stray from their typical brands or companies in favor of an option providing better service.
In a misguided effort to combat churn, companies of all sizes spend a fortune on high-tech call centers designed to simplify the service process and minimize frustrating wait times — methods that rarely deliver the intended result.
Instead of merely addressing the outlet for negative customer interactions, they should approach the service process as an end-to-end experience, seamlessly integrated into all aspects of customer engagement.
Fixing customer problems in a timely fashion is great, but a complete customer experience involves a more in-depth approach. These are just a few of the ways you can integrate customer service throughout your business.
1. Humanize Your Company
Just as you don’t want to reach an automated messaging system when you call with a problem, nobody wants to interact with a vague corporate entity. Whether you have one employee or a thousand, humanize your business by adding faces that represent your brand.
Start a company blog with a different employee contributor each week, or if you’re a local business, demonstrate that you’re involved in the community and various outreach programs. Social media is also an excellent opportunity for interacting with customers, from fans and followers to those needing assistance.
2. Personalize Messaging
Part of being human is connecting with other people on an individual level. Personalizing your messaging goes a long way toward making your customers feel like they’re part of the family. Don’t stop at putting their first name in your email newsletter templates — send them information on products or services based on their needs and interests.
In today’s data-rich world, there’s no excuse for sending customers irrelevant communications. According to a study by Janrain, 74% of customers become frustrated when shown irrelevant content — it’s bad customer service. Get something like their political affiliation wrong, and you might not see them again.
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