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What's Behind a Great Customer Experience? 10 Factors that Lead to Happy Customers

By Special Guest
Tim Pickard, SVP Marketing, NewVoiceMedia
July 14, 2015

There’s no denying it – happy customers are worth more money. And it’s really not surprising, as anger or disappointment rarely leads to a spending spree.

From the fact that U.S. businesses lose $41bn a year from poor customer service to a HBR study showing that customers who had the best past experiences with a brand spent 140 percent more compared with those who had the poorest past experiences, it’s clear good customer service is crucial.

The consequences of getting customer service wrong are huge – but getting it right can boost your sales dramatically.

So, what’s behind a great customer experience? Well, a good price alone won’t lead to a happy customer. Here are ten factors that create happy customers:

1. Multi-channel service

We live in an age of multiple screens fighting for our attention – as we flit from the TV to our tablet, to our mobile, multi-screen-multi-tasking has become the norm.

The same applies to shopping and customer service. 60 percent of customers change their contact channel depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

If a customer is mid-way through a TV program, chances are they’ll open live chat instead of calling your contact center. The various channels should be there to give consumers choice and convenience – however, all of this is lost if businesses can’t track conversations across multiple channels.

Each channel should be one part of the same conversation – and not a separate entity. Get this right and your shoppers will love the convenience of your customer service.

2.  VIP treatment

Why does American Express refer to its customers as “members”? Well, there’s a lot of power in labeling customers as anything “special” or “VIP”.

It’s human nature to enjoy feeling part of something exclusive – or to feel like you’re getting a better deal or service than others.

From loyalty programs to the kind of customer service you offer, there are plenty of ways to make your customers feel special. Simply acknowledging that they’re a highly valued, loyal customer when they call can be effective.

ContactWorld for Service allows you to route calls based on Salesforce data – which means you can prioritize VIP customers. 

3. Convenience

When it comes to the business-to-consumer relationship, it’s the business that should be doing all the work.

It should be really easy for a customer to not only buy from you – but to get in touch as well. If you make your customers jump through too many hoops, they may just give up and switch to a competitor who makes their life simpler.

And convenience not only means that it’s easy for shoppers to get through to your team, but that your team are available when it’s convenient for them to get in touch.

The rise of social media customer service has only increased the push towards convenience. Social networks don’t shut down when it gets to 5.30pm – in fact, they come alive.

Cultural shifts like this lead to consumers expecting longer opening hours from businesses – and as a result, a more convenient service.

4.   The personal touch

No one wants to be treated like a number. This customer may be call #67 of the day with an account #334498, but that’s certainly not how they see themselves. Whether you have four or four million customers, you need to treat each one like an individual.

When a customer gets in touch, they expect your agents to remember who they are, when they last got in touch and why they last got in touch. And with the right CRM, there’s no reason why this information shouldn’t be at your fingertips.

But many businesses get this wrong, with 89 percent of shoppers saying that having to repeat information was their #1 frustration about customer service.

5.  Speedy and efficient service

A speedy response has always been a part of good customer service, but what’s interesting is the definition of what is “speedy” keeps getting smaller.

An “always on” mobile and social media culture has effectively sped up the time that customers expect a response. This is particularly true for social media service where 53% of customers who ask a brand a question on Twitter expect a response within one hour.

But the principle applies to all channels – shoppers expect a quick response and you shouldn’t leave customers waiting in limbo.

6.  Friendly and helpful customer service team

You can’t underestimate the principles of good, old-fashioned customer service. Even if you offer a personalized, multi-channel and convenient service, if the person on the other end of the phone isn’t friendly, all this extra effort is wasted.

Ensure your team are not only well-trained, but motivated with the shared goal of delivering excellent customer service.

7.  Social service

Social customer service may not account for a big portion of customer service interactions (yet), but failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15 percent increase in the churn rate.

Social networks can clearly have a big impact on how customers see your brand. Shoppers not only have heightened expectations when it comes to social media service, but if you get it wrong, your mistakes are out there for all to see.

8.  Listening to your customers

It may seem obvious, but one of the main principles of customer service is to listen to your customers. Too often, customer service agents start talking and businesses start acting, before they’ve properly listened to what their customers want.

While an unhappy customer indicates that something has gone wrong, it’s also an opportunity to learn more about your business.

After all, it’s better they called and complained than silently switched to a competitor.

Ensure your customer service team is integrated with the rest of your business, so that other departments can learn from their insights and you can start modeling your strategy on your customers.

9.  Going the extra mile

“Always give people more than what they expect to get” is a simple but powerful quote by Nelson Boswell, which could be easily applied to any area of life.

The key here is in the surprise element of getting more than you expected. For instance, imagine you expected to get a free mug, but you actually got a free mug and a 20% off coupon.

And then imagine you expected to get the voucher and the mug from the beginning. The second scenario just isn’t as exciting – because you got what you were expecting.

Happy customers are those that got more than what they expected – in terms of product or service.

10.  Saying “thank you”

No matter how big a business gets, it’s important never to lose the little personal touches.

Happy customers are those who feel appreciated. Ensure that showing your customers some appreciation is part of your strategy – whether this is rewards, “thank you” emails or follow-up calls.

No one factor in isolation works – for instance, you can’t go the extra mile if you’re not listening to what your customers want – and you can’t deliver personalized service with an unfriendly service team.

But together, all these tactics are the ingredients to creating happy customers. What do you think is behind a great customer experience? Share your thoughts below.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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