Get Moving – Customers Expect Speedy Service

Technology and digitization has made the ‘virtual world’ move fast. Companies that have aligned their customer service with this dizzying pace have been and will continue to attract potential customers and retain the business of current ones. Speedy service in fact is now becoming a distinctive feature for any company. There is no dearth of studies, research and statistics proving that customers prefer companies which serve them with what they want and with speed. Such companies are more stable and have a better chance of moving up both in terms of profitability and reputation. Companies that are solely focused on their products and sales will find it very tough to keep pace with the companies that offer speedy service and are driven by the customer’s needs and expectations. This does not mean that product quality and marketing tactics are not important – they are crucial for a rewarding and worthwhile business. However, given the customer expectations and demands, companies that can provide stellar customer service consistently are the ones that leave a mark and attract maximum customers. Great customer service is about speedy service, pre-empting customer needs and personalizing offerings that will suit a target audience.

In everyday life we know that if there is a certain quality in the products or things we can get, no one will settle for less. The same is with the customer-business relationship. With so many products, services, companies and easy accessibility to all customers are now unwilling to settle for less. They expect speedy service, great products and efficiency and would even pay more if they were receiving it all. For companies to provide speedy service, they must have a response system that works – well-trained staff, meticulously arranged and useable customer data and Omni-channel capability. These companies will use technology to their advantage and introduce sustainable services that up the speed quotient – online chats, self-service portals and a team of professionals ready to respond to customers via the ubiquitous social media. All these efforts will let customers know that you hold them in esteem, value their business and are committed to serving them well. Out of the many ways to serve customers, we are focusing here on speedy service.

Frenetic business environment has made customers want everything and want it now. Every response time that does not match their idea of speed will be considered slow and below standard. Customers are an impatient lot especially now when they know how ‘valuable and important’ they are to any business. The external circumstances coupled with the need for a fast pace has made speedy service a distinguishing feature and companies that can provide it are finding favour with customers. Companies must have a grip on vital market information, customer data and must have the capability to use all of this to walk ahead of customers. Before customers ask, they should be able to provide it. The fact is the best offerings are of little value if customer service is not speedy and effective. Speedy service has its benefits apart from frustrating customers.

– We know that despite best efforts there would be times when there will be reason for customers to complain and be annoyed. Speedy service with effective resolutions will ensure that the angry customer does not post negative comments or talk ill of your company. We all know how damaging even one such comment can be – especially the ones that go on the internet. Everyone can see these comments, including customers that you could want to go after in the future. Make an angry customer smile through speedy service and you will turn them into a long standing positive customer.

– Loyal customers sometimes are also the most neglected since companies tend to take them for granted. It is no longer wise to do this. Keep loyal customers loyal by effectively and speedily resolving their issues and providing answers to all their queries. Loyal customers expect and deserve to feel valued, special and appreciated for contributing to your company. Retaining customers, especially loyal and profitable ones, is crucial for companies and is also less costly with less effort than attracting new ones.

– As your company’s reputation enhances and positive word spreads, it will act as a strong magnet and attract many more prospects for business. Your satisfied and loyal customers will provide sterling testaments of your company’s service, eliminating the need to incur costs or exert extra effort to acquiring these new customers. Most of your work will already be done for you – your speedy service and reliability will have paved the way for more business.

There is no doubt that keeping pace with the kind of service customers expect is hard work and it is a while before your company begins to see any real benefits. However for any aspect of business to work for you including speedy service, companies must be able to do and not do some things.

– Start with laying down clear expectations and managing them with customers. Don’t make false claims just to sell and then be unable to deliver. If your companies service level agreement states that customers can expect a response within 24 hours, this must be true for all channels and also response must happen before 24 hours. Remember not to commit something like 2 hours if your company is not equipped to do it. Of course online chats and phone calls must be responded to ‘now’ – that’s how customers like it.

– If you have not been able to live up to your timelines, quit making excuses. Rather own up and deliver an unfeigned and prompt apology for messing up. If you are attempting to make speedy service your USP, then excuses and let ups are certainly not the way to go.

– Invest in software and technology that will allow better responses, collecting and collation of customer data, user-friendly systems and help with ensuring that no query, complaint or data falls through the cracks and customers receive the speedy service they so admire.

– Have a robust and well-trained frontline team who not only can understand the customers but over time are able to anticipate the customer’s needs and pass on this vital information to the company. The teams must be adept at handling customers via social media and all the channels through which your company services them. Ensure that these teams are empowered and have the leeway to execute decisions that will benefit the customer and be feasible for the company. They must be well equipped with office facilities, updated technology, training and be well compensated.

– Remember to always communicate with customers via the channel they prefer. Also weigh the pros and cons of each communication channel for your company before connecting with a customer. From the customer’s perspective too, the channel chosen must be effective and provide speedy service – if a customer has a system breakdown, calling up the customer to troubleshoot would be the most ideal method.

– All companies are or should be aware of which times of the day, days of the week and periods of the year are the busiest. Festivals and new launches for example can raise the number of customer calls, queries, complaints, purchases and returns. Re-aligning your staff and resources to handle these surges will ensure that there are no back logs and each customer receives effective and speedy service.

Speedy service must not be viewed as a burden but rather an investment that will lead to increased profitability, enhanced reputation, customer brand advocates and an overall environment that will attract the best talent in the market. It’s a choice you make.

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