You don’t need an MBA to understand that keeping existing clients is less expensive than attracting new ones. While the Harvard Business Review tells us it’s five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one, there’s something logically intuitive that tells us that customer loyalty just makes sound business sense. And yet, so many companies today are not living up to their lip service when it comes to customer service. After all, customer service isn’t just the agent on the other end of a phone call or a chatbot. True customer service is much broader, encompassing an organization’s process, philosophy, structure and execution.
Qualities of successful programs
Fast Company outlined some of the top qualities of successful customer service programs. Listen more than you talk. Build in an overarching approach to customer service throughout the company. Commit to cyclical customer feedback to perfect the customer experience. Remember, customers are investments, not costs, and understanding that is a key tenet of a customer-centric philosophy.
Examples of successful customer service programs
We’re all consumers, both in our home and work lives, and it’s easy to remember some of the positive and negative customer experiences we’ve had. In fact, it is likely those experiences define how we think of various brands and whether we choose to do business with them. Inc. magazine took a more objective approach. It singled out Apple, Amazon, Costco and Salesforce as four companies with successful customer service programs. The common theme? The customer experience lies at the heart of daily operations.
For instance, take Amazon’s practice of replacing lost packages. With the average online transaction hovering around $82, absorbing that kind of a loss might seem like a losing strategy. But Amazon takes the long view. It understands that the customer lifetime value (CLV) of a happy customer will pay greater dividends in the long run. When you consider that the average Amazon shopper spends between $700-1,300 annually, the total CLV is not something the company is willing to easily dismiss. Turns out, that $82 compensation is money well spent.
Improving your customer service process
The manager of your customer service team is a central piece in your overall customer experience puzzle. This person not only needs to have the managerial know-how, but they also should embody the traits of a successful customer service agent.
The next time you are hiring for a new customer service manager, think of a person who has the capacity to attract and train agents that are personable, empathetic and have thick skin. It’s never easy to be on the receiving end of a customer service issue, so having agents who are trained to work through issues pragmatically and coolly will not only get issues resolved, but will get them resolved in a human, genuine way.
Beyond your personal interactions with customers, some of the most successful customer service processes are built around the needs and wants of the consumer – not the capabilities of the organization. If your organization is looking to revisit its customer service process, consider integrating a singular tool that can be used in a variety of customer service applications – from remediation to everyday delight. Our MotivEngine tool allows organizations to customize solutions and engage with customers quickly and efficiently. It’s a built in way to reward, incentivize and compensate customers at a moment’s notice.
To see MotivEngine in action, click on the image below to download our overview.
If you found this article interesting, check out this blog article about organizations giving their customers the power of choice within the customer service process.