“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends”- Walt Disney
Wowing your customers does not end when you become successful and the quote by the man himself, says it all. As you begin to enjoy the limelight, everything you do is clearly visible and hence subject to fierce scrutiny. So wow customer service is not just a marketing gimmick, but should be a way of life if you are to succeed and remain successful. Your company will grab attention and literally snatch customers from competition when everything about your company spells a focus on wowing your customer. It builds trust and friendly relations and we all know that working with friends is always easier and puts one in a comfort zone. As the quote suggests, happy customers will be more than willing to be your brand ambassadors thereby advocating your brand to others. Irrespective on how much you time and money you spend on marketing and advertising, using all the possible channels, your best bet will be word of mouth speaking well of your superlative customer service. This will be the clincher, the differentiator between success and failure. All businesses that have become great and our benchmarks are known most importantly for their keen interest in customer needs and a single minded approach to serving wow customer service. They have mastered the art of anticipating customer needs and going over and above them. This passion, unfeigned interest and ‘thinking out of the box’ together make the seemingly impossible, task of pleasing customers long term, possible.
Do you know the image that forms in your customer’s mind when he or she hears the term ‘customer service’ with regard to your company? Is it an imagery of a smiling and enthusiastic member of your organization or a sullen and shoddy response from a bored individual? Ask your customers how they feel because more often than not angry customers never give feedback. They just leave. And guess what – “One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” – Jim Rohn. Unfortunately, customers remember every detail of badly rendered customer service. They vow never to come back, when the WOW in your customer service disappears. Why risk it when all it takes in treating a customer as your own and taking good care of him or her?
Wow customer service is perceived as an indispensable gift by customers and is the reason that they will want to continue doing business with you. The marketplace will never stop buzzing with new and improved technology and offerings and neither will the fierce battle for leadership cease. The only way then left to stay ahead is to wow your customers and make them snatch their friends away from competition and get them to you. Making your customers feel wanted and special are just those ‘little things’ that will get you a loyal customer base. The reverse of this will find you losing customers faster than you can think. Shoddy customer service is by far the biggest reason why customers take away their business. Poor product quality or complicated billing are reasons too, but not as damaging as poor customer service. What’s worse, that sometimes the company that has delivered this kind of service, does little or nothing towards service recovery. Poor service and indifference – the perfect recipe for failure!
So what can you do to achieve the level of Customer Service that is Wow? There are no absolutes and each company must decide where they lack and which strengths to leverage.
– Customers do not have the time or the inclination to bother with what your company does internally. All they want to see are products or services that suit them and address their needs. Most importantly a customer service that is at par with the best. Companies therefore, must orient allthey deliver from a customer centric standpoint. There may be times, when the customer’s ire is unreasonable either because they didn’t understand the points of an agreement or unaware of the standard processing time. In such cases too, companies must deliver and understand the reason for the customer’s behavior. Tough or simple? Depends on how you look at it!
– You are in business because of your customers. It therefore makes a lot of sense to respect and value the customer. Extend your customer service levels so that a customer feels this respect and value and can have trust that you will do all it takes to save his or her time and money.
– Deliver on promises and exceed the commitments you make. Surprise them by over-delivering – this cements the trust they will have in you. Be open, honest and transparent and take onus for every action that your company takes. Your customer service team must be available to them as per their convenience.
– Truly know your customer. Instruct your customer service staff to refer to each customer by their name and remember a few small personal details about them. It is a little step, but works well to wow customers. Remembering to send cards or flowers on their special occasions also tells the customer that you are committed to making them stay with you. Every wow experience will add up to customer loyalty.
– Regularly ask for feedback and allow your customers to use any channel available to provide that feedback. Making it convenient for them to tell you how they feel will speak volumes of your great customer service. Use the data received and implement what you can. Be transparent and publish reports on the changes you have made to support them.
– Make any wrong a right immediately. If an inadvertent error does cause a lapse or breakdown in service, remedy it instantly. Apologize to the customer and explain the causes for the lapse and inform him or her of the actions taken to get things back on track. Service recovery is a great way towards wowing your customers and building trust.
– Ensure that your customer service team has extensive knowledge on the product or service offered by you. Allow them time to constantly update themselves on new or re-launched products or service. This way they would be better equipped to handle customer queries leaving the customer satisfied with the response. Make sure that your customer service team is also able to recognize problems and have the courage to highlight them. Even a seemingly tiny problem has the potential to blow out of proportion and so must be addressed immediately.
– The customer service teams will sometimes need to face the ire of unsatisfied customers. They must be trained to view this anger objectively and not take it personally. Customers are usually angry at the company’s offerings or with customer service as a whole. They do not hold any personal grudges and great customer service demands that the customer is patiently listened to even in the highly emotionally charged state.
– Empower your customer service teams to make decisions on behalf of the company. Being too rigid by placing rule shackles, will clearly show in the way your employees deliver service. Take feedback and ask for ideas to improve your customer service from the teams in question. You will be surprised with the innovative and clearly defined ideas that you receive from them. After all, they are the ones dealing with this for 8-10 hours a day, six days a week. The ideas that get implemented should be rewarded. When your employees see that their hard-work is paying off, they will strive harder to deliver Wow Customer Service.
– Consistently provide training to your customer service staff to ensure that they can cut down on wait time a customer experiences. Speed of information, resolution and timely reverting are all examples of great customer service. Training also helps in creating empathy in your customer service staff. When they can ‘feel’ the inconvenience the customer is experiencing, they will be more inclined to provide faster and more effective service. Customers can easily differentiate between actual and feigned empathy. Keep it real.
Achieve Wow Customer Service through constant improvements by innovation and creativity. Customers want things to be easy for them and are unlikely to put spokes in the wheel just to test you. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel you just need to focus on how it will work best for your customers.