Customer Experience News & Trends

Stop working so hard to gain customer loyalty: Average efforts are enough

Good news: Good service is good enough. 

Most organizations aim to exceed customer expectations. It’s a worthy a goal, but not a practical one.

Customer loyalty increases when their expectations are met – and it doesn’t change when expectations are exceeded, according to research from Gartner.

Almost 90% of companies believe that delighting customers will lead to even higher levels of loyalty.

Turns out, customers intent to buy and spend more and spread a positive word-of-mouth – signs of loyalty – aren’t significantly different if they got what they expected or if they got more than what they expected.

“Most companies underestimate the value of simply meeting customer expectations and overestimate the value of exceeding them,” researchers said. “Customers simply want their questions answered or their products fixed so they can go back to their lives. They enjoy a delightful experience in the moment but quickly forget it and do not factor it into future decisions.”

Does this mean exceptional service is overrated? Not exactly.

Extra-mile efforts are optimal as long as they’re practical: They can’t unnecessarily eat away at resources such as company finances and service pros’ time.

Pave an easy path

Rather than shoot for exceptional service some of the time, researchers said the path to the highest level of customer service is paved with ease.

Make it easier for customers to get help. Here’s how:

  1. Limit options. Some companies believe customers want – and they must offer – more choices for getting help. But Gartner researchers found more choices actually increase customer frustration and effort. Make it easy to find and access a limited number of channels that you have the resources to support quickly and effectively.
  2. Solve the next problem. Customers say only 40% of their issues are solved in one contact. Companies believe almost 80% are. The disparity often comes when customers feel their second contact was related to the first: An issue wasn’t fixed or escalated because it wasn’t directly addressed the first time. So service pros need to be equipped to answer the “next step issues” for the most common main issues.
  3. Manage the experience. Frontline customer service pros can do a few things to make customers feel their experiences are even more effortless than they are:
  • Use positive language whether you speak or write to customers.
  • Position yourself as an advocate. Tell customers, “I’m here to help you with this.”
  • Describe alternative solutions so customers can see the benefits of their choice through comparison.

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