Customer Service Week is October 3-7, 2016
The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) has identified an area of customer service focus for each day of this important week. Below each day and topic identified by ICS, I have shared a suggested activity for your customer service Team.
Monday: Customer priorities - What are your customer needs? How have they changed?
Activity: Assign a product to each team member. Identify the typical customer for this product. How do they use this product in their daily life. How has that use changed over the last 5-10 years for this customer type?
In preparation for a presentation to a client recently, I was asked to stress proactive vs. reactive customer service. They complimented their account reps on being very good at reactive but saw the need to go to the next level and be more proactive.
What are some steps for an organization wanting to be proactive?
In a customer service study by Dimensional Research, survey participants were asked if they had seen online reviews of customer service. About two-thirds of participants reported that they did recall reading these online reviews. Review sites were the most common place to read a negative review of customer service where Facebook was the most common place to read a positive review of customer service.
Customer conflict is often generated by one of three things:
Staff needs to be trained on how to react and respond to these specific conflict areas as each demands a different strategy.
The experts at Software Advice, an online resource for customer service software buyers, recently compiled a summary of customer service certifications that can be obtained by service professionals. As is true with any profession in a highly competitive job market, certifications can give a job seeker an advantage over their competitors. More importantly, the skills the individual learns by completing the education requirements of the various organizations will help customer service professionals excel in their position and make them more valuable to the organization... and who wouldn't want that?! The certifications range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars and vary by the position and skills enhanced by the training/certification. Many companies pay for learning opportunities so it can be a no cost way for a service professional to enhance his or her professional status. For an employer, it is a path to better customer service through a more highly skilled customer service team!
The customer is always right
Smile when you talk to the customer
Don't argue with a customer
the list goes on and on . . .
Customer service would be easy if absolutes such as these were indeed true. In today's highly interactive world of customized customer service, nothing could be LESS needed than training in such fallible absolutes.
The J. D. Power Customer Service Champions report identifies key practices of brands that provide exceptional service.
A Customer Effort Impact Survey published by Avaya highlights how the amount of work a customer exerts to obtain service affects business priorities of revenue and market growth, brand loyalty and operational margins. According too Avaya, the results 'reinforce the value of a customer experience characterized by a low-effort, personalized approach to fulfill customers' needs'.
A recent Avaya study showed that 66% of customers will STOP spending money with you if your service is inconvenient.
The study further points out that what is truly at stake is the lifetime value of that customer. If a customer feels that an experience is low effort and efficient, they appreciate it. (Does anyone think about the Staples Easy Button ad here?) If all this is true, what leads to a perception of a difficult customer encounter?