Customer Service: Then and Now.
Business 10 years ago was different. Sales – You would sell a product/service to the customer using advertising channel
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Business 10 years ago was different.
Sales – You would sell a product/service to the customer using advertising channels like television commercials, newspapers, hoardings, magazines or door to door sales.
After-sales – Once the product/service is sold, the customer is handed over the customer service department for after-sales issues/concerns/queries.
Back then if any unsatisfied customer would complain to your customer service channels (email or call cent or chat) the parameters would be:
For pre-defined complaint scenarios, there were pre-defined scripts to ensure first-time resolution.
Software like Avaya and Drishti for calls and CRMs like Talisma helped generate reports which indicated the query incoming time and query resolution time. That helped monitor the average query handling time.
The cost to service a customer was calculated based on the number of agents allocated to handle the inflow viz a viz revenue generated through cross-sell/upsell. The cost also included the cost of applications purchased to record/track/handle customer queries/complaints.
When I talk about the present scenario, it’s a different ball game altogether.
Google “organic milk delivery”, it will give you the names and location of multiple companies with different prices and rating for the product. Along with the rating, it also shows the number of reviews people have posted on the website.
Sales – Customer buying decision is influenced majorly from the review and rating online. 92% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
After Sales – When they buy your product/service and if they are not satisfied, they would go to your Facebook page and post a review about the service.
That makes customer service a bigger challenge because now your customer is
- More demanding
- Well aware
- Louder about their feedback
HOW DO YOU COMPETE IN THIS NEW BATTLEFIELD?
Work on “Customer Experience”
What is Customer Experience?
I may try many places to eat but the one that I visit the most is the one where I get the best experience. It is not just about good food or the best deals or competitive prices; it is about how the staff greets me when I am visiting after a long time. How they come up with suggestions knowing my taste. How quickly they accommodate me when the place is over-crowded.
So while I have numerous options I still keep coming back to them only because of the experience that I have there.
Why work on improving Customer Experience?
A happy customer will keep coming back to you and is more likely to recommend you to others. On the other hand, it is costly to acquire new customers. Delightful customer experiences help keep your existing customers happy, ensuring you keep getting new ones too.
What happens when you invest in improving customer experience?
Impact on revenue:
67% of customers say they’ll pay more for a great experience. (Salesforce)
6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
Impact on customer retention:
5% increase in customer retention rates, increasing profits by 25% to 95%. (Bain & Company)
ACT LIKE “CUSTOMER-CENTRIC” BUSINESS
The owner needs to set a precedent. The responsibility to treat the customer as a “king” starts from the top and flows to the employee who is dealing directly with the customer.
If you consider spending on improving the customer experience as an expense and not an opportunity to grow that will reflect in the attitude of your employees towards your customers.
Delightful customer experience is neither a choice nor a ‘good to have’ factor but a key to growth.
CONSTANT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
When you order food with Swiggy, the next time you visit the app, they ask you to fill up a feedback form. The feedback form is divided into 2 parts- feedback on food and feedback on delivery. I make sure I fill the form each time (whether good or bad).
If you want to measure whether your customer is satisfied or not ask them.
The survey process can be:
Step 1: Start by identifying the parameters you want to take the feedback on.
Step 2: Form questions that are simple and straight (best to have multiple choice options).
Step 3: Identify when and how you wish to take the survey. It can be through your app post-purchase or on email post-delivery.
Step 4: Identify the tools you would be used to conduct the survey. Survey Monkey is a good platform to use because it’s user-friendly but powerful enough to help you collect and analyze data.
Step 5: You can improve your services when you know where to work. So the most critical step is to analyze the data and work on it.
Step 6: While you work on areas of improvement, it’s equally important to reward happy customers. Like Amazon has ‘prime’, you can have one for your loyal customers too.
The means to acquire customers, tools to retain customers or the channels to communicate with your customer may have changed over time. But something that has not changed is that if you do not take care of your customers, someone else will.
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