Customer Service Isn’t Dead: How to do it Right & Companies Already There

With the proliferation of self-serve channels like knowledge bases , it’s easy to believe that quality customer service is no longer as important in the digital age. The opposite couldn’t be more true.

Deciding what business areas to devote your time and finances to is growing in difficulty as businesses become more complex. Customer service needs to remain near the top of your priority list because of the great amount of competition in the market and how fast news can spread on social media.

Why is customer service important?

Business is so much more than just the product you’re selling. With many oversaturated markets, customers are able to find a replacement product with a quick Google search. Additionally, 67% of consumers cite bad experiences as a reason for churn, so customer service is crucial to retention. It’s important to focus on the experience that you provide your customers online and offline – from your  landing page experience to the customer experience when resolving queries..

The impact of customer service

Customer service can positively or negatively impact your business significantly. Notorious for offering a bad client experience? You can bet your current and potential customers are likely to choose your competitor. Review sites and social media make it easy for bad news to spread quickly if your business isn’t performing well. On the other hand, providing a positive customer experience can lead to positive reviews and allow you to stand out from your competitors.  Customer service and experience is a bigger differentiator in today’s market than price is.

Consumer trust & brand loyalty

Customers are likely to remember their experience if it’s notably positive or negative. Therefore, focusing on giving a positive customer service experience can help you rise above the crowd and increase the trust that consumers have in your brand. Going out of the way for your clients shows that you care about them and they are valued for more than just their sale.

A positive customer experience can help develop relationships between brands and customers. This engagement can help foster brand loyalty and discourage shoppers from seeking out alternatives. Customer retention is crucial to your business. Not only is it easier to rely on your existing customer base, but acquiring a new customer costs 5 times more than retaining a current one.

Word-of-mouth advertising

The best way to spend your advertising dollars is to not have to spend them. Yes, that may seem obvious, but customer service is an untraditional form of marketing that can help your business. People love receiving recommendations from friends, family, or even review sites – proving that word of mouth advertising truly can’t be beat. In fact, 74% of buyers surveyed by email identify word-of-mouth influencing their purchasing decisions.

By providing exceptional customer service, you’ll set your business up for success for bringing in referrals from your existing client base. Word-of-mouth can also help boost brand awareness. When someone has a great experience with your brand, they can spread the news within their network. This will expand the reach of your brand and increase the potential for conversion. Be careful, bad customer service can also have the same effect but in a negative fashion.

Employee satisfaction

Transforming your employees from providing average to outstanding customer service might be a bit of a challenge. There are some important customer service skills needed to stand out such as a willingness to go the extra mile and a positive attitude.  You’ll have to provide training on the new standards and determine how new procedures will be carried out. However, your employee satisfaction is likely to increase once customer service becomes a pillar of your organization’s culture, which can have an impact on new hire retention. They’ll value that you prioritize your customers and offer solutions to problems that arise. Happier employees can lead to a lower level of employee turnover as well.

Fallout prevention

Problems occur in all businesses no matter the size- it’s inevitable. The impact of these issues is influenced by the plan you have for dealing with the aftermath. You should always be prepared with a plan, but having a culture of terrific customer service can help minimize problems that arise. Positive customer service will lead to satisfied customers. Happy customers are more likely to accept your mistakes since they’re aware this is not the norm.

Customer service goes beyond just fixing problems. It’s crucial to allow customers to air their concerns and feedback. Complaining customers care about your business enough to let you know how they feel. When they feel valued, they’ll feel more connected to the brand and more willing to accept mistakes. Brands can manage and facilitate customer feedback by having an online reputation management plan and frequently asking for feedback through one of the many survey feedback tools.

Companies doing it right

Determining where your company should set the standard for customer service isn’t the easiest decision. There are the companies that do the bare minimum and there are the ones that go above and beyond. Stories that are astounding often make the news, such as the time Zappos’  Steven Weinstein stayed on the line with a customer for over 10 hours. This strategy works for some businesses and not others, but there are a few businesses to look at and emulate their customer service culture.

Glossier

Beauty startup, Glossier, has made a clear impact in changing how consumers purchase beauty products. Their impact doesn’t stop at their products, they’ve also implemented a customer-service driven culture through their customer experience team, the gTeam, which is a part of their marketing team.  The goal of the team is to provide phenomenal service while still humanizing their brand. Since they are in constant contact with customers, they’re often the first ones to test products to help identify customer needs or concerns.

Netflix

Netflix’s approach to customer service as straightforward as other brands. The online streaming giant may seem to just be a hosting site of original and licensed media. However, on any Netflix interface, there are a multitude of thematic playlists. These are curated by Netflix to help provide its users with a simple experience of choosing what to stream next. Netflix could, like other streaming platforms, simply list all of its titles under different categories, but this personalization helps Netflix stand out in an overcrowded market.

Apple

Apple has worked to change the way consumers use technology in their everyday life. They’ve worked hard to market their products as necessary and hard to live without – the prominence of the iPhone is undeniable. When thinking of Apple, it’s unlikely that their customer service comes to mind. Apple has established a large physical presence through stores where they offer their services. Additionally, they provide classes to help enrich the knowledge of their users and serve as a hub that people can come to without making a purchase. Apple could easily slide under the radar and not work for their customers, yet, as a market leader, it still works hard to appease everyone in their store.

The bottom line

Improving your customer service experience is one of the easiest things to improve for your organization and has a low cost associated with it. Do some damage control of the current state of your customer service and identify all areas in the customer journey where customer service can be delivered. Creating a culture of customer service for your organization needs to be spear-headed by leadership, but as it trickles down through your organization, the impact that it will have on your clients will be outstanding. Customer service is long from dead, and in the digital age, is continuing to grow in importance.

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About Anastasia Masters

Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2.com. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago's different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0.