This Customer Service Week, here are my learnings for delivering an awesome customer experience
In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected world, ensuring that your business is delivering an exceptional, memorable, experience every time a client or customer interacts with the organisation is vital. And whilst the use of AI across customer touchpoints is on the rise – and certainly has an important role to play in handling routine customer queries – I’m a firm believer that a human-centric approach is paramount. After all, people buy from – and choose to stick with – people they trust. But what are the vital ingredients that must be in place for your customer experience to surprise and delight? This week many businesses around the world are celebrating Customer Service Week, and I’m happy to share the customer experience principles we live by here at Expereo . . .
Remember that customer service is a public sport!
Customer service isn’t about you, it’s about your customers! After all, the only person who can say whether you’re delivering a great service or experience (or not!) is your customer. So start by listening to what they have to say. That means really listening. It’s not just about sending them a feedback form once the deal’s been signed, you need to make regularly listening to your customers’ feedback a habit. Ensure that you’re able to adapt or tweak your communications and/or processes to respond to what your customers are saying in a meaningful way. That way, you’ll be building strong, long-term relationships based on loyalty and trust.
Embed customer-service behaviours across your business
Delivering exceptional customer service must be something that every single member of your team is 100% behind, which means that everyone must be singing from the same song sheet when it comes to the standards of service that you want your customers to experience. To ensure this happens, take the time to identify the mindset and behaviours that you want your people to demonstrate during every customer interaction. Think about how you want your customers to feel when they engage with your people. Listened to? Understood? Confident? Relaxed? Then land on the behaviours that will enable these outcomes to become reality and embed them across the team, so that everybody knows what’s expected of them. When you tie in a reward and recognition programme that’s aligned to the behaviours, it’s win win win – for the customer, for the individual who’s acting in the right way, and for your business as a whole. For example, our recently launched “Expereo Customer Heroes” programme, articulates what great customer service looks and feels like, and sets out the core behaviours and beliefs that we expect from our people who are involved in service delivery and customer support. It includes training and resources to ensure that our people have everything they need to be successful when it comes to delivering an outstanding customer experience. We’re going to be celebrating successes together and recognising those people who’ve received great feedback from our customers regularly. Happy people deliver a happy experience!
Use technology effectively
I’ve already mentioned the rise of AI in a customer service context, and we’ve all experienced ‘chatbots’ on websites and apps which have been designed to answer simple questions so that we can get on with our day quicker. But AI should never be a replacement for human-to-human interaction with your customers, rather an enhancement to service interactions with your customers. Even when you’re trying to deliver a single, cohesive experience for customers around the world, it’s important to acknowledge the authenticity and diversity of your people. You don’t want to create an army of human ‘customer service robots’ who can’t tap into individual skills and characteristics to solve client challenges. But technology can be a great enabler of bringing dispersed global teams together and galvanising people behind your customer service strategy and framework. Technology can also support any training and upskilling requirements you may have. And of course, AI and automation can free up your service delivery and support teams so that they can be present when customers need to speak to - or meet with - a member of the team in person.
As members of the Institute of Customer Service, we continue to invest in empowering and enabling our people to achieve success when it comes to delivering an exceptional customer experience. We not only take every opportunity we can to celebrate our amazing customers, but we’re also keen to share the benefits that having an effective customer service framework in place brings to our business. After all, our customers have their own clients and customers too - and we love working shoulder-to-shoulder with them to help them achieve their own sustainable, long-term growth ambitions.
My final words of advice are to keep listening to your customers and, crucially, to ensure that your organisation’s customer service behaviours are so embedded that they become ‘business as usual’ – that’s when Customer Heros are created and the customer experience surprise and delight really happens!