Customer Experience News & Trends

This is how to prove you value customers

Want customers to understand how much you value them? Forget the generic thank-you, and do this instead.

Improve customer service.

More than 75% of customers say customer service is the truest test of how much a company values them, The Aspect Consumer Experience survey found.

The best customer service starts from within an organization.

Yes, the words customers and employees exchange are important. The quality of the product or service is important. The ease and flexibility in each interaction are important.

But it’s usually the decisions made behind the scenes, well before the actual experience, that have the biggest impact on the experience. A company that creates a culture where customer care is the top priority will continually — and almost unconsciously — improve customer service.

Here are four ways to start or build a customer service revolution from within your company:

1. Make great service everyone’s priority

Great service doesn’t start or end with just the people who work with customers. Every employee needs to understand and learn customer-centric, soft skills.

Have the people who traditionally deliver customer service share tips on using a kind, attentive demeanor. Make sure that same tone is reflected in your marketing messages and general email as well.

The companies best-known for outstanding service consider the impact on customers in almost every decision. For instance, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos leaves a seat open at conference tables for “the most important person in the room — the customer.”

2. Spread the word

Employees will be able to embrace the customer-focused attitude if they know as much as possible about your customers and their needs.

Include a profile of your customer base in all new-hire training. Regularly update all employees on customer activity — if sales are up or down and what customers currently prefer or dislike. Send good and bad customer comments to all employees every week.

When the company makes changes to meet customer needs, explain what’s been done, and most importantly, why. It’s a reminder that the emphasis remains on the customer.

For instance, one of Marriott’s guiding principles is, “It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.” Housekeepers demonstrate it by checking that alarm clocks aren’t set when they set up rooms for new customers. Service pros show it by responding to customers on Twitter in real-time.

3. Share more

Even though the hard customer-centric work is done behind the scenes, put your best, personal face forward for customers. Employees who deal with customers should share their identity, if just a first name and last initial in social media. Salespeople and service pros who give customers their direct lines or email addresses build better relationships.

Information that’s valuable to customers should be just as accessible and personable. FAQs can come in all forms these days. Give customers the opportunity to find answers on social media, live chat and your website. But don’t punish them if they’d rather talk to a person. Make online information and employees equally accessible.

For instance: Hewlett-Packard recently took steps to make every element of service better. They added call center agents, got new software to help reps answer questions faster and made more information available online for customers to do their own troubleshooting. That helped HP improve customer satisfaction scores.

4. Keep training

Improving service from behind the scenes is a continual process. Refresher training on soft skills is important for all employees. Share some old tips on dealing with difficult situations.

An example: Managers at Suburban Propane in Syracuse, NY, regularly record and use customer service calls in on-going training. Employees listen for what works and what doesn’t, plus pick up new techniques to use in all situations.

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