As businesses try to rapidly reinvent themselves and rush blindly headfirst into the online platforms, I hear a great deal about technology, and transactions, and revenues, and logistics. However, the topic that is painfully absent is talking about the customer. What about the customer experience? What about great customer service? What about existing solely for the single purpose to ‘serve‘ the customer.
Most online providers have absolutely forgotten a long time ago that they exist only to serve their customers. By doing so, they also serve themselves.
Making the customers happy and treating them with respect and with a superior level of care is vital to success. Especially now in the online world.
Do you know that delivering superior customer service is actually cheaper than customer acquisition? An increase in customer retention of merely 5% can equate to an increase in profit of 25%. This is because repeat customers are more likely to spend more with your brand – 67% more, to be exact – which then results in your business having to spend less on operating costs.
Do you realize that customer service represents your brand image, mission, and values. You may have an idea of what your brand represents. However, your customers cannot get into your head. They will make assumptions based on your social media presence, advertisements, content, and other external marketing. Your customer service team, however, is your connection to your customers. Thus, that team has the responsibility of representing your brand to them.
Without your customer service team, you have no means of direct communication. Due to this, your customer service team is essential in relaying to customers what you want your brand image to be. They can help influence customers and convince them of your strengths over competitors.
Do you know that happy customer service employees will create happy customers. No employee is going to enjoy coming into work if they feel under-appreciated compared to employees on other teams. The same goes for your customer service team. After all, 87% of employees who are happy with their jobs are willing to work extremely hard for their business’s customers.
It is true that happy customers will refer others. And, when your customers are happier, they are more likely to spread the goodness to friends, family, and coworkers. In fact, 77% of customers have shared positive brand experiences with others. Think about it: if you have a stunning experience with a brand, you are probably going to rave about it to your friends over dinner later that night. It is natural; you want your close ones to commit to a brand that you trust.
Customers are willing to pay more to companies who offer better customer service. 50% of customers increase their purchasing with a brand after a positive customer service experience. In fact, 86% of customers would pay up to 25% more to get a better customer service experience. Clearly, customer service matters so much to customers that they would literally pay more to interact with a brand that does it well.
These are statistics that cannot be ignored. In an era where companies are learning to prioritize customer service, any company that does not do so will crash and burn.
Customers are influenced by even a single experience; one positive experience could be the deciding factor for them to stick to a brand, whereas one negative one could send them running to a competitor.
So, well there are many issues to consider when transforming your business and a myriad of technological issues to prepare for, the basics of servicing your customers must still be the number one priority. Sadly, many companies fail to appreciate the true value of superior customer service. This issue is so fundamental to a business’ success, it is difficult to comprehend why so many businesses get it all so terribly wrong.
Business is here only to serve its customers! I cannot mark that point enough! The customers are not an inconvenience or a disruption to your work – they are your work. The customers are the blood that pumps your company’s heart. Your front-line workers are the conduit from where great customer service flows. No artificial intelligence bot can replace that personal relationship. People matter. Service matters. As you rush to transform your company, never forget that you are here to serve.
Oh yes, during this pandemic, most businesses have forgotten how important the telephone is too. Answer your incoming calls. Do not let even one inbound caller default to an auto-attendant or voice mail. During these difficult times, many customers, including me have been trapped in auto-attendant hell. The return of the switchboard operator is now upon us. Heck, even my car dealership gets this point and they answer on the first ring too. When they answer, they say, “How may I help you?” That is wonderful, refreshing, and rare. They will keep my business due to this smart customer service action alone.
Amaresan, S. (2020). 10 Undeniable Reasons Customer Service Is Important to Your Business. Hubspot, Inc. Retrieved on June 2, 2020 from, https://blog.hubspot.com/service/importance-customer-service
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.
He is a business and technology consultant. He offers his services on a contracting basis. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.