Matthew Dixon says that traditional thoughts around customer service may be wrong. That instead of being about going to lengths to create customer loyalty, customer service should instead be more about preventing frustration and delay
Companies tend to vastly underestimate the value of merely meeting customer expectations. Many people are happy when they just get what they want. If there is a problem, fix it quickly and easily. Companies also tend to vastly overestimate the returns from exceeding customer expectations. The extra resources spent exceeding customer expectations often bring almost no financial return.
There is no correlation between how a customer rates a company on a customer service satisfaction survey and their future customer loyalty.
Customer service interactions are four times more likely to drive disloyalty than loyalty. This is different from a product experience. People are far more likely to speak to others about a positive experience with a product than if they had a positive customer service interaction. The key then is to please people with your products, not customer service.
The key to reducing customer disloyalty is reducing their effort. Little things like having to contact the company more than once, treating the customer like a number, and having to bounce around trying to solve problems are ways that customers are forced to put in more effort and therefore increase the chance they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Moving forward we have four more principles that will help create a better customer service interaction:
Make it easy for people who want to use self-service channels to use them, while also making it easy for those who wish to speak to a person to do so. The key to a good self-service channel is to make it clear and functional enough that those who use it, don’t feel the need to then call in.
When people end up calling your company, the goal is to solve their entire issue on the first call. However, you don’t want to overwhelm the customer, so aim to solve most immediate issues and those adjacent to them. Another tip is that if an issue is too complex it may be better to follow up in writing instead of attempting to solve the problem and frustrating the customer.
What matters most is the customers’ perception of effort. This is necessarily about being nice. It is more about creating an experience which causes the customer to have a positive response to their interaction. Some ways to generate this positive experience is to frame the conversation about what you can do instead of what you can’t do. Additionally, tailor the customer service interaction around the type of customer your interacting with to ensure a better customer experience.
To create an environment which leads customer service reps to more successful interactions there are a few things which can be done. First, display trust in your representatives. Trust them to do the right things in their interactions. Second, create a culture in which reps understand the company’s outlook and goals. And third, have a strong support group for your representatives. This will give them a chance to communicate with fellow reps and share what works and what doesn’t.