Why Amazing Customer Service Should Be Your #1 Priority
Good customer service began in 1000 BC when merchants became an important part of society. Since then, customer service has evolved tremendously with new technologies. Companies that didn’t adapt and provide good customer service have almost always seen a negative impact. Companies who do provide superior customer service, however, continued to thrive.
For any business, good customer service means more money, repeat customers, and an outstanding reputation. On the other hand, customers receive expected outcomes, support, and an excellent overall customer experience.
Today, good customer service isn’t going to cut it. There are millions of companies offering “good” service. What will make customers think “WOW”, and gain your brand loyalty, and many other benefits is amazing customer service.
We’ve created this guide with examples to help you create an excellent customer service strategy, boost your bottom line, and, most importantly, make customers happy.
Let’s get started!
Why Should Customer Service be a #1 Priority?
Businesses spend so much on marketing to attract new customers. And frankly, those efforts go to waste if the business has poor customer service.
Did you know that US businesses lose more than $62 billion per year due to poor customer service? And that 51% of customers won’t return after a bad experience?
Customers are the heart of every company’s success. Without them, well, you can imagine what would happen — businesses wouldn’t make any sales, and commerce, in general, wouldn’t exist.
7 out of 10 US consumers say they spend more money with businesses that provide great customer service. By increasing customer service even moderately, a company with $1 billion in annual revenue can generate $823 million in additional revenue in three years.
Here are some other ways that happy customers help businesses:
Good Customer Service is Free marketing
90% of people are more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.
Have you ever finished an experience and went on to tell your friends and family all about it? Each person you told tells two more people, and those people tell more people. This is word of mouth marketing (WOMM). It’s extremely effective and one of the most trusted channels, playing a huge part in decision making.
If customers like your services, they’ll be itching to share their experience with people in their circle.
Another way customers give you free marketing is by leaving online reviews.
Whether it’s on Facebook, Google, or your website, reviews act as a form of social proof.
Don’t know what social proof means? Here’s a definition:
Reviews don’t go ignored. A whopping 97% of people read reviews for local businesses before making a buying decision. 93% of the people who read reviews make a purchase.
Many customers feel compelled to leave a review after a positive experience. To encourage more reviews, you can ask for them on receipts, through emails, and in person.
Repeat customers increase your business’ profitability. They’re not only going to spend at your business more often, they’ll also become your best marketers. They also play a big part in representing your company’s image. If they’re proud of you, they’ll speak highly of you on your behalf.
Focusing on customer retention is a key step to getting the most out of your repeat customers.
Here are a few easy tips on how to keep retaining customers that you can start today:
- Let customers know what they’re doing for you.
- Write old customers handwritten appreciation notes.
- Keep special occasions in mind.
- Pass on information to keep them informed of business changes.
All in all, retaining customers is pretty simple. It’s about putting in a little extra effort that will give you a big return.
Honest and quality feedback
Your loyal customers want to see you succeed. That’s why they’ll always point out when something is wrong.
Maybe your checkout page has a glitch, your new product has some serious defects, or your customer received the wrong order more than once.
Whatever the problem is, you can’t afford not to listen to your customers. You know your product or service by heart, and it’s been discussed by you and your team thousands of times. Unfortunately, that’s why imperfections often go missed.
Customers are a fresh set of eyes and perspective that can give insight to problems your team may not be able to identify.
Stand tall among competitors
Brands who fail to create positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty will experience high customer turnover and lower brand engagement.
In an age where companies are having a tougher time creating separation among their competitors on product alone, your customer experience aspect is key to standing out.
However, before planning your strategy at all, you must set customer service goals. Goals will act as the backbone of your customer service strategy, and without them, you won’t know how to measure your success.
Learn how to set your goals below.
Setting Customer Service Goals
Teams who are on the same page work better together. Setting appropriate goals will allow you to:
- Change gears quickly if something isn’t working. If you monitor your goals and see that things are not advancing as they should be, you’ll know to reassess your product/service, company, or team.
- Build teamwork. When the entire team is striving for the same goal, work gets done more efficiently.
Here at Ditto Transcripts, our goal is never to hear from our clients. Or at least very little.
Wait that doesn’t sound right!?
It’s not because we don’t like our clients or don’t want them to contact us. It’s because if we don’t hear from them, nothing is wrong and everything is going smoothly.
Your goal can be something as simple. Here are some common customer service goals among companies:
- Respond to all messages and keep response times under 2 hours on a monthly basis.
- Maintain an even level of support via phone, text, email, and live chat.
- The number of repeat customer service calls (within one month) to be reduced by 10% by [ x date].
- All new service agents should score at least 80% in their post-training evaluation tests within the next 6 months.
- The first contact resolution (FCR) rate should be improved by 10% by [x date].
- Every customer who has contacted customer service has received a follow-up email, after their issue resolution, summarizing their problem, how it was fixed, and who their customer service agent performed.
And the list goes on. Ultimately, teams that set goals tend to improve much faster than teams who don’t. Customer service goals will help bring your company’s customer experience to the next level.
Customer Experience Strategy (With Examples!)
In the next part of this article, we’ll go over what a rocking customer service strategy is made of and examples of what we do at Ditto Transcripts to reach our customer service goals.
Responsiveness is key
Smartphones and WiFi make it possible for businesses worldwide to respond to customer service inquiries promptly. Even the busiest corporate executives should glance at their phones every so often. Inc. Magazine suggests, “A good practice is to simply scan through the emails you have received in the last 24 hours before you shut down for the day to make sure you didn’t miss something.”
There’s nothing more frustrating to a client than being put on hold to talk to someone about an urgent matter. This is especially so when they are waiting for something that puts their life or someone else’s life on hold.
For example, in the legal transcription services industry, waiting on a transcript from a court hearing can make a judge upset with unexpected delays, and can delay trials.
It’s been said time and time again that you have 5 minutes to respond to new customer inquiries. If you don’t reply within the first 5-minutes of them contacting you in a competitive industry, you’ll be lucky if you’re the first business to answer their inquiry.
The race is worth participating. 78% of leads buy from the first company that responds to them.
What if the customer contacts you at 11 pm?
It’s up to you to respond or not. I’ve taken phone calls late on a Friday night because I know my customer needs something urgently. It also depends on your industry. Businesses that sell products (garden stores, electronics stores, etc.) can usually get by answering in the early morning. However, companies that work closely with clients like transportation services, transcription services, and healthcare services should answer ASAP.
Of course, being attentive to customer calls in your time off isn’t ideal for work-life balance. Your health and well-being come first. Having said that, you should attend to what you can handle and don’t stress yourself too much. Most of the urgent requests can be dealt with ahead of time if you have forward thinking clients and employees who know how to plan ahead. We do this by having great relationships with our clients and they know they can lean on us in tough times if need be. It’s a common respect we both have for each other, and our clients are totally on board with it because we’ve created that with them over the months and years they have been customers of ours.
Keeping Customers Up to Date With Their Industry
Industries are always changing, and relying on someone to keep you up to date can be very valuable for your customers Chron explains, “Learning about new industry regulations and changes in practices can help you offer your clients alternate ways to accomplish their goals, often before they’ve even begun to consider the need to enact changes.”
As a transcription business ourselves, we’re involved in various industries. The law enforcement and medical sectors have fast-changing CJIS and HIPAA regulations that we need to be aware of constantly. By staying on top of the changes, we keep our clients in the loop as well. Knowing any issues our client is about to face gives us a jump start to creating a long-term plan to avoid any delays.
Meet the Customer’s Deadlines
This may sound like a no-brainer, and it plays a huge role in customer experience and satisfaction. It’s especially critical when your customers have tight schedules to abide by. If they are waiting a day or more to hear back from you, you’ve missed out on the opportunity to put their mind at ease letting them know you received their work. This would be a critical mistake in our book and would not be allowed to happen again.
Never compromise quality to meet deadlines. I’m not saying you should miss the deadline to ensure complete quality either. Try to find a middle point where you can provide both.
If you’re struggling to meet the deadlines and are still providing excellent quality or vice versa, you may need more staff or a more efficient team.
Train your staff on ideal project expectations and make sure to include quality and timeliness in your customer service goals, so everyone knows how important it is to the company.
Ditto Transcripts allows customers to choose their deadlines based on rates.
This way, customers are aware of the kinds of deadlines we can meet. We even offer same-day transcription services for a different rate. If the customer wants this option, they call us or we call them to discuss their deadline and the price. However, we will never agree to a deadline we can’t meet.
Accepting deadlines you can’t meet or that compromise your service quality is like cutting your own head off. Before taking a deadline, make sure you evaluate the following:
- Do you have enough available staff?
- Are you aware of big events that might interrupt your services?
- How big is the customer’s project? Could it maybe require extra work?
Setting realistic deadlines with your customers creates customer trust. If you can’t meet deadlines, you can rest assured your customers will go elsewhere.
Personalized Customer Service
Personalized customer service goes above and beyond satisfying customers’ needs. It gives them a reason other than your product to praise your brand. It represents the difference between a customer completing a transaction, then forgetting about you and becoming one of the best customers you’ll ever have.
It’s not just a few customers that love personalized service. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when the brand offers personalized service.
Truly delivering personalized customer service is a tall order indeed. It entails making the customer feel like they are dealing with a company that treats them well and adds value to their life, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it. You must get personal, know the customer’s history, and meet their specific expectations.
Here are some of the ways we personalize our service:
- We say their name – In emails and on the phone.
- Recognize and appreciate loyal customers – Thank them for returning
- Reward customers for valued feedback – Send them a gift card
- Create a customer loyalty program – Discounts on future purchases
- Be attentive to specific needs – Provide service on the weekends
- Put the spotlight on customers – Tell others about their company
One of the ways Ditto Transcripts offers unparalleled personalized service is that every customer is matched to a transcription team lead who specializes in their industry. Customers get to express their specifications and needs to the person who will be transcribing for them. That way, nothing gets out of our hands.
Remember, good customer service isn’t going to cut it. You must go above and beyond and offer an amazing customer experience as often as possible. Take the points in this blog and get your customer service strategy together! Customer experience and service is the best way your brand can stand out from the competition. And it’s simple: make your customers feel special. Customers are why you’re in business in the first place.