No matter your role in the organization you are responsible for Customer Service. Why? Because customer service is not only about serving external customers, it is about serving internal customers, employees. What is felt by an external customer is a reflection of what is happening inside of the organization with internal customers. If your employees are unhappy, your external customers will likely feel it in the ways of unmet expectations, mistakes, and unhappy customer service representatives. If you do not create a strong brand experience for your internal customers, external customers will not have a good brand experience.
An American Express survey found that 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. This statistic is important considering the cost to acquire a new customer. In addition, a Walker Study found that by year 2020 customer experience will be a key brand differentiator, ahead of both price and product. As you are preparing your annual customer service strategies, here are some things to consider.
- Focus on recognition. Live Person’s Connecting with Consumers Report found that 81% of employees said they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. Which means the motivation for an employee to deliver great customer service all starts with you. If you do not have one already, consider creating a recognition strategy. It could be as simple as taking them to lunch or writing a handwritten note recognizing their efforts. These small acts will be seen on your bottom line.
- Make it easier for your external customers. According to Harvard Business Review, the most important factor in a customer’s loyalty is reducing customer efforts. Identify ways that you can utilize automation and self-service to help your customer save time and energy. Ask “what ways can we make the experience easier for the customer?” If you make it easier for your customer, brand loyalty will increase.
- Create a loyalty program. This approach can be done for both internal and external customers. For internal customers, think of ways to reward their loyalty beyond money. Award loyalty and performance by offering perks and time off. For external customers, create a loyalty program that they actually want to participate in. According to Annex Cloud, 54% of customers would consider increasing the amount of business they do with the company for loyalty rewards. Survey your customers to find what rewards are important to them and design a program that will encourage them to spend more with you. The more you invest in building loyalty, the better for retaining both internal and external customers.
- Practice empathy and being authentic. Transparency and empathy create trust with internal and external customers alike. The more they trust and believe in you and your organization, the more likely they will continue to work for and do business with you. Customer service is a people business, manage it appropriately.