Customer Success; the new customer service
ROCCO is already hearing from MNOs all over the world about their Customer Services experiences with Vendors in our annual Customer Service Research. MNO’s can join the discussion on Customer service by completing our 3 minute survey. Key words MNOs used to talk about customer service so far this year are “Wow Factor”, “Language Barrier”, “Deadlines”, “Scandinavia” and “United States”.
Today, ROCCO’s Senior Consultant in Strategy Operations, Nicola, coming from a diverse and challenging career in International Retail tells us from her experience the most important factors every Vendor in the Roaming and Interconnect space can learn about Customer Service.
‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning’- Bill Gates
This morning I wrote my fourth ‘e-rage’ to the customer services department of my smart watch maker, the charger had stopped working some time ago rendering it not so smart after all. What I thought was a simple complaint 2 months ago, had turned into a high-spirited rally of back and forth exchanges of blame. It occurred to me as I prepared to return their latest shot and try to score the all-important break point, that this was not the way I should be made to feel as a customer! I had bought the product in good faith and now, somehow, the accusations were that I was in the wrong? Game, set, match to Customer service.
‘Thank your customer for complaining and mean it, most will never bother to complain they will just leave and buy from your competitors.’ Ben Ridler (Results.com)
Customer service has always been a big part of my life from my first retail Saturday job at 14, to managing a £30 million turnover business at 41. I have read the ‘One minute manager’, ‘Who moved my cheese’, ‘Be our guest’. I have trained managers all over the world from Mexico to Japan on every aspect of strategic customer service, developing customer loyalty through brand insistence, even daily smile practise. Still, the fundamental basics are always the same, irrelevant of culture, language barriers or business; be sincere and use integrity, but most importantly; use a complaint as your best opportunity to turn dissatisfied customers into loyal promotors; customer success.
‘Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel’ McKinsey
I’ve often heard businesses complain how society demands more nowadays, market places are saturated, brands are becoming dispensable, you need more than a USP to stand out today and customer retention is a real struggle, yet many companies do not invest in their customer facing employees. The very definition of Customer service according to Wikipedia;
‘is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. The perception of success is dependent on employees, in this sense an organisation that values good customer service may spend more money in training employees than the average organisation’
Understandably many companies invest in and put an emphasis on getting the ‘before and during’ right to make the sale, but all too often they dismiss getting the ‘after’ right to make a loyal customer, and there lies the primary difference in effective customer service. According to the US ‘Office of Consumer Affairs’ the average loyal customer is worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
So therefore why do so many businesses fail to see the importance of customer success long after the sale is made? Because they are so focussed on making the next sale they do not see the value in an obligation? Or perhaps because they are too busy firefighting, focusing on damage limitation, with over 1 million people posting tweets about customer service every week, 80% of which are negative (Touch Agency) and many of these companies are only ever a mouse click away from a competitor.
‘the top two reasons for customer loss is if a customer feels they were poorly treated and/or failure to solve a problem’ Customer Experience Impact Report produced by Oracle
There’s not a day goes by in an average consumer’s life when they do not interact with subliminal customer service in some form; it’s how you were served your flat white, the automated donotreply@ email, the call centre that handled the query, the text that tells you your parcel is on its way, how your train ticket was checked, how you were handed your newspaper, it is mechanical. Surprising really in a world that is claiming to be so mindful, that it is only when a customer experience stops being purely transactional and begins being personal, that a sense of entitlement is awakened and the realisation is confirmed that Yes, actually, we do deserve to be treated individually and simply because we are a customer with a heightened expectation, and a mouse we can click.
Next week: What’s trending in customer service for 2017?