Customer Experience News & Trends

4 ways to make the customer experience as awesome as vacation

Can B2B and B2C customer experiences be as awesome as vacation? Yes, it’s possible to create those kinds of memorable experiences and keep customers coming back. Here’s how.

“Everything should be as seamless as possible,” says Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport, “just like you want your vacation.”

You don’t have to provide sunshine, as long as front-line employees have that kind of disposition. And you don’t have to accommodate customers’ every whim, as long as your front-line employees can take them through your processes efficiently and successfully without a hitch.

“It’s about customer service that’s memorable enough to get people talking about it,” Johnson says.

A key to providing that kind of service is maintaining consistency across channels. From there, these four keys will help your people deliver vacation-like customer experiences:

1. Be seamless

Let customers have their choice in how they contact you — much like they make daily choices on vacation itineraries. Sure, offering a broad range of communication channels — and the employees to staff them properly — can be quite an investment.

“But if you don’t keep your customers happy, it’s going to cost your company more over time to keep them at all,” Johnson said. “So you want to offer more channels.”

From phone — which still is customers’ top preference for contacting customer service — to email, chat and mobile apps, customers expect immediate or fast response times, plus the same answers and level of courtesy across all channels.

Despite customers using multiple channels, they still expect the employees they with to know about previous contacts and respond accordingly.

“Nothing should slip through the cracks,” Johnson says.

One way to prevent slips: Build systems that alert front-line employees who are working with customers if an issue is unresolved after a certain amount of time. Then make it priority to reach out to that customer in the channel he or she prefers to close unresolved issues.

2. Be friendly

It’s much easier to convey friendliness and courtesy in person than it is in written channels, such as email and chat. But it’s equally important, as customers rely more and more on those channels.

In person, you can set the tone for a friendly conversation with a smile and an extension of your arm for a handshake.

Online, a friendly tone can be set with the full answer to a question, rather than a short, scripted response. From there, Johnson suggests going above and beyond just answering questions.

“Kind of like a concierge who suggests a museum that’s near a restaurant he just directed you to,” Johnson says. “In customer service, you might say, ‘Here’s the solution … and by the way, here’s an article related to it that you might find useful.”

3. Be present

One of the best ways to make customers’ experiences memorable is to stick with them. Ideally, the person who hears the original question, issue or concern is the person who should take it to resolution.

When that’s not possible — perhaps a colleague is far more versed on a certain subject or a supervisor has the authority to handle bigger issues — employees want to stay with customers until those customers are introduced to and comfortable with the colleague.

In a “warm hand-off,” employees introduce customers and colleagues, explain the issue, what’s been done so far and what the customer expects. When the customer agrees to let the original employee go, then the hand-off can happen.

4. Be proactive

“Don’t always wait for customers to come to you with a problem,” advises Johnson. “Just like a hotel will call a guest shortly after arrival to make sure everything is OK with the room, companies want to reach out, too.”

Follow up on calls or email that were complex, emotional or confusing to make sure customers are satisfied a day after the contact. More importantly, follow up on that contact by completing any work that sill needs to be finished for the customer and explaining what will be done and when, plus what he or she can expect.

Another way to be proactive: Give customers information that will help them take the next steps in their relationship with you. For instance, American Airlines sends texts to passengers that tell them where their baggage claim, next flight or gate is located.

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