Customer Service Myths – busted

Is there a specific definition of customer service? Can you define it? More often than not when this question is asked, the response is either vague, disjointed or just a long pause. Most people think they know and can define customer service but fall short when actually asked. If customer service were to be defined it would probably be – A level of service that has great products, competitive pricing, convenience of usage, quick responses, trust, personalization, accurate and transparent information and employees who are skilled and empathetic. It is about delivering as you promise. The premise of customer service is, that no customer experience or interaction is considered complete till they receive service that is so good that it makes them want to come back and do business with you.

Apart from internal challenges, companies are constantly battling off competitors that are increasing with the onslaught of the internet. Customers have information that is accurate and available 24X7, at their disposal. They are unlikely to be fooled or be satisfied easily. To add to this challenge is the face of social media that allows discussions and views to be out in the open with everyone on social media across the world able to view them. As if all these factors were not enough, there are a number of customer service myths that act as stumbling blocks in achieving customer loyalty and in turn also have a negative impact on your company’s financial success.
Myth1 – Hiring more employees will help to better your customer service

Customer service is not about quantity it is about quality even with lesser numbers. A large number of inefficient employees who have no passion or empathy will do nothing to raise your customer service levels. It is not about hiring more, but hiring the people with the right attitude and characteristics. These employees will serve your customers better.

Myth2 – Increasing employee salaries will get them to work better
Money may keep the employees in the company but will not change skills, behaviors and attitudes. If the increases happen because they have to but a deserving employee does not receive public recognition, they will most likely leave. Reinforcing positive behavior through recognition and praise is a better way to motivate employees than just hiking up salaries.

Myth3 – All customer service employees feel empowered and motivated
This is just so absurd. Unless there is proper training and a culture of empowerment, it will be just an assumption that all employees feel empowered. The timid kind will never feel that way since the risk of making a mistake or being severely reprimanded would be high. No one wants to scolded or told they are not good enough. So employees would rather just do the minimum required than stick their head out and risk being hit. There are some wily managers that keep their teams suppressed simply because they are afraid of being outnumbered by empowered employees who may take their position.

Empowered employees are those that know what it takes to get customers happy and will do it without fear. Ensure that your company encourages this and reiterates it through messages and training.

Myth4 – All employees especially your customer service teams understand what customer service is and how vital it is to the success of a business
Unless the culture of the company amply reflects this it will not be ingrained in every employee. They must have the training and technological tools to know what customer service entails and how to use them. Coaching and monitoring is also required along with praise for the employee who exhibits this even in parts. Constant reinforcement through these methods will lead the employees to understand the importance of customer service and deliver high standards of it consistently. The time, money and effort put in to teaching these skills and helping employees imbibe customer service principles, will be far surpassed by the benefits and profits your company makes through happy and loyal customers.

Myth5 – Satisfied customers will be loyal
There is absolutely no guarantee. We read in an earlier exposition, that customer loyalty is time taking and involves concerted effort. A satisfied customer is just one who feels that your service is working fine for the time but will not hesitate to move business if they get better service elsewhere. There have been reports of how despite ticking off the ‘very satisfied’ box in a customer service survey, the customers have deflected soon after. Customer loyalty only happens when customers move from being just satisfied to completely wowed, repeatedly and in such a way that they are willing to talk about your company. When the decide to become brand advocates, they will remain loyal because it also means that they are putting themselves up to be noticed with regard to your company. They will not want to appear fickle by praising your service one day and deflecting the next.

Myth6 – Focusing on the future to create customer loyalty helps
How is that possible? No one can predict the future and so whatever a company does must be in the present. Great customer service with every interaction will keep customers with you and will give you the time to prove that you are trustworthy. It is only with time that this trust will translate to a life time customer. Keeping your customers with you is also cost effective and saves a lot of effort and struggle to get new ones. Let customers decide when they want to be loyal. Your customer service should be constantly ready and willing to solve their problems and win their trust and that will be the first step towards winning.

Myth7 – Customers will complain when they have a problem
The research and reports show that less than 25% customers complain when faced with a problem. The remaining do not bother but will definitely let others know about the bad experience they had with the company. The reason customers do not complain is because they have perceived that the company will be too preoccupied to sort out their problem or the complaint process is complicated and difficult. Such customers won’t complain, they will just leave and never return to do business. They however have the potential to tarnish a company’s reputation by speaking badly of it and also posting negative remarks on social media sites.

Myth8 – Customers are no longer interested in live chat and interactions
This is so untrue. Despite self-help sites and social media pages becoming popular, customers still want that human touch. They still feel more comfortable in actually being in conversation with a live agent. It also saves time and effort as in most cases the agent would be equipped to manage the complaint or issue while interacting with the customer providing a greater sense of trust and confidence in the customer.

Myth9 – Investing in marketing, promotions and advertising is more beneficial than investing in customer service
Really?! The best way to grow your business is to build on the current customers and make them talk well about you and help get more customers for you. It is a known fact that attracting new customers is a more expensive and laborious task. When customers are the ones to grow your bottom line then how is less important to invest in customer service that will have a direct impact? Equip your teams with the necessary tools and training to increase customer happiness.

There are many more myths, we are sure, about customer service and it is for companies to see what works best for them. However, the one common factor remains true for all companies is that exceptional customer service will eventually help the company become and remain successful. Just like every other subject, all may not completely agree that the so called myths mentioned here are actually myths. That is a given, however, what cannot be refuted is that these are thought provoking and will set you thinking about the real meaning of your company’s customer service.

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