Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko
“This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back.” – Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
It is irrefutable that customer service is a vital part of any industry and that customers want that something extra. They expect the highest quality of customer service and demand a quick turnaround and responsiveness to address their needs. Customers have set the standards for response times and it is the job of companies to keep up. They refuse to wait for more than a couple of hours to have their need responded to. Regardless of the channel they use to contact the company. A study conducted by Oracle in 2012, revealed that, via social media, the maximum that customers were willing to wait for is 2 hours. If they make the effort to call, chat online or meet a representative, the expectation for a resolution rose to immediate. Tall orders!
Companies, therefore, have realized that they must buckle up and enhance responsiveness to customers if they are to even survive. Even customers who reach a point of mild dissatisfaction have the potential to damage the reputation of the company in question. By either talking about the shoddy service or lack of responsiveness. Those who feel like they have been snubbed or disregarded can cause major upheavals for a company by venting on social media. They make this disservice known to countless people. Very damaging, almost irreversible! However, companies can use interactive decision trees to provide training to customer service on enhancing responsiveness.
How to enhance responsiveness
By enhanced responsiveness in customer service, a company can save valuable resources. It can also save its reputation which has taken years to build. Respond to customers before they perceive they’ve waited far too long and have wasted precious time with your company. Fast turnaround and immediate responsiveness sometimes tend to get ignored, given there are a number of constraints in doing so. However, a concerted effort from every member of the company ensures that the expected levels of responsiveness in customer service are provided.
Recognize what the customer expects
Taking cognizance of the fact that customers expect a certain level of customer service. Customers are unwilling to accept slow responsiveness to their needs. As top leaders, there are many pressing and vital operational issues that need fixing or debating. Therefore, the realm of customer service is sometimes ignored and even compromised. However, it’s ironic that the very reason, for which the operational issues need to be sorted, is being relegated to the back.
Leaders must know what the customers want. How well, the company is responding to those needs, and why enhancing responsiveness in customer service is important. Be aware of the kind of service you are providing to the customer. Visit your website and check whether it is easily negotiable. Are FAQs up-to-date, and does the website have all the relevant information for troubleshooting? Make sure you understand how customers perceive your services.
Improve your customer service
It is only through awareness that you are able to make even small, but critical improvements to your customer service. If you were a customer, would you be pleased with the customer service and the response time? Viewing your company through the eyes of the customer will increase awareness and get you better returns in terms of profit, growth, and customer loyalty.
Customers only want to see results. They are not and cannot be concerned with what problems assail you internally. Providing excuses for slow responses amounts to shoddy customer service, which is detrimental.
Track customer communication
Use technology to your advantage to track and tabulate customer communication. Do not leave anything to chance or your memory. Systematically organizing everything allows anyone within the team to retrieve the information when required. It speeds up the response time and provides accurate records for the future as well.
Provide an automated holding response to any communication. It serves to ease the anxiety a customer may have with regard to their query. They are more willing to wait if they received some kind of response rather than none at all.
Provide response on all channels
Customers will communicate via any channel available and one that is most convenient for them. It makes sense to segment your customer service teams. They should monitor all channels and provide a quick response via the same channel. Covering all grounds lets the customer know that you value their time. It shows your commitment to being the best business support they can ever have.
Analyze peak communication time and calls
There would be times of the day when the number of queries, calls, and communication from customers, peak. Analyze and monitor this closely. Ensure that the number of customer service representatives on duty is highest during these hours. Avoid scheduling training programs and meetings during these peak hours. More hands on deck translate to more queries answered in less amount of time – enhancing responsiveness to customers.
Monitor customer service teams
Coach and monitor your customer service teams for honesty, integrity, and transparency in all interactions. Customers are smart enough to see through lies and are completely unforgiving when they realize they are being deceived. There is no remedy that could make this right since the customer will lose trust in your company and exit.
Train and coach customer service teams
Responsiveness in customer service is an attitude that can be taught. Provide training and coaching programs for your customer service staff. They need to ‘learn’ responsiveness and how to better the response times with each interaction. Effective listening, remaining calm and courteous under pressure, communicating, and having a head for problem resolution are attributes inculcated through training. A well-trained and highly skilled customer service representative is more capable of providing quick and effective responses and tailor-made solutions.
Benefits of Enhancing customer responsiveness
A company must remember at all times that it is vital to enhance responsiveness in the customer service provided. Customers demand it and will not settle for less. They are willing to pay more for your offering if it is coupled with excellent customer service. As a company, you should ensure that you meet your customer’s needs at the time they want with courtesy and honesty. More than the customer, your company will benefit from matching the customer’s expectations.
You need a paradigm shift in the outlook and attitude of top management. The investment they make in the realm of customer service will come back to them manifold. Only when customers perceive value in the association are they willing to invest. Enhancing customer service levels through whatever means possible, seems like a really small price to pay for customer loyalty. Responsiveness to queries and customer focus is all it takes to get customers on your side for a long time. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are good business sense.
Customers tolerate some human errors
Customers are tolerant of human errors, like a dropped call, a defective product, or late delivery to name some. But when a company fails to respond immediately and resolve these issues, customers move towards being irate. Being aware of your company’s limitations and strengths will help you put together more robust processes. It enhances responsiveness to customer queries.
Focus outward toward moving from reactive customer service to proactive customized service. When you truly understand your customer it is easier to anticipate requirements. You can forecast needs and provide solutions even before the customer actually articulates the need. This kind of approach will wow your customers. It cuts down the amount of response time if you had waited for the customer to place a request. If your company has inculcated a culture of customer focus, every query or complaint is visible from their point of view. It makes you more agile in reacting to them.
Should companies enhance Responsiveness?
A vocal customer who stays is way better than a silent one who just leaves. The customer who makes their displeasure known is actually affording you an opportunity to improve and correct the wrong. It also prevents you from making the same error again. In fact, it helps to enhance responsiveness, should a similar issue surface in the future. Enhance responsiveness by building confidence in each person through training and proper coaching and by building awareness of your company’s capabilities. In addition, have the commitment to face the ever-changing and increasing obstacles that may lie in the path of the company’s success.