7 Ways to Deliver Awesome Customer Service & Build Loyal Advocates

How can some companies deliver awesome customer service while others get it so totally wrong?!

I want to share a personal story of disinterested client support with you this week. From it, I have drawn seven learnings for everyone wanting to deliver awesome customer service and build loyal advocates.

Let me start by saying that it still puzzles me why any organisation would have trouble offering superior customer service when there are so many great examples they merely have to copy. (JetBlue, Sainsbury’s, Amazon, Zappos) In fact, Mark Earls wrote a great book on exactly this topic, called Copy, Copy, Copy which I highly recommend.

This story is just one example of how some companies still struggle to accept that the customer is right, even when they’re wrong! Not that I was wrong in this case (at least I don’t think so, but I’ll let you be the judge of that).

However, the company concerned certainly gave me the impression that they believed I might have been trying to cheat them with the information I provided in my emails. They were never satisfied with what I sent, even when it was what THEY had specifically requested!

Perhaps they were just dragging out the process hoping not to have to “pay up”. You can see for yourself below, or just jump to the seven learnings at the end of the post so that you can avoid making the same mistakes yourself.

 

Background

Many years ago I bought a TomTom guidance system to help me navigate the streets of American cities.

I love to drive and feel just as much at home on a 26-lane Los Angeles highway as the two-lane Swiss autoroute system. (If you’re interested in which Californian road is 26 lanes wide, it’s the I-5/I-405 interchange.) However, after making many impromptu visits to unplanned US destinations I decided it was time to get a mobile GPS to use in my rental cars.

A few years on, I thought that it could also help me in Europe, even Switzerland, when trying to locate a new client or contact. (My car at the time was almost fifteen years old  and wasn’t equipped with a GPS!) I, therefore, added Europe to my online account, since my model couldn’t keep both in memory at the same time!

Last May I replaced the European maps with my American ones as I was visiting Florida that month. When I tried to reinstall the European maps in September, they had somehow disappeared from my account. I contacted TomTom customer service to ask how I could get my maps back and this is how our conversation went over the pursuing three months – with their worst English mistakes removed or corrected for better comprehension, but their own font bolding left in. (!)

 

The Exchange with TomTom

Me: Hi there, I contacted you in May about changing from European to US maps. I now want to change back and the maps are no longer Click to continue reading

The New Qualities for Customer Service Excellence

The covid pandemic clearly highlighted those companies that truly care about their customers and which provide customer service excellence.

If a company claims to be customer centric, they must not just talk the talk, but walk the talk too. The pandemic gave many people more time to review from whom they bought and what services they were getting in return.

A few years ago I was prompted to question my own purchase decision of cable services from the Swiss company UPC-Cablecom. It had been known to have a  long-term deficit in customer service excellence versus its main competitor Swisscom. And as recent PWC research shows, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Swisscom has made customer service their MSP (main selling point or value proposition) and they were renowned for putting their customers first. UPC-Cablecom, on the other hand, had until then, been trying to win customers through non-stop promotions and aggressive price cutting. In today’s connected world, especially where the internet is concerned, dissatisfied customers will be quickly heard – across the net.

Back to the incident that prompted this post. After a few days of being ignored by UPC-Cablecom – my perception at least, because my emails and phone calls were not being answered – I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I resorted to Twitter.

More than five years ago, Twitter was first referred to as today’s customer service centre. Social media usually guarantees a quick response, since contacting customer services through the usual channels often results in no reaction for hours if not days.

[bctt tweet=”Social media usually guarantees a quick response, since contacting customer services through the usual channels often results in no reaction for hours if not days. #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerCare #CallCentre #CRM #CEX” username=”Denysech”]

 

What makes a great customer care centre?

Customers these days expect a response in minutes or hours rather than days. Research shows that nearly half of all customers (46%) expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours, and 12% expect a response within 15 minutes or less. And yet the average time to respond to customer service requests is currently 12 hours and 10 minutes! How do your own customer service response times compare? As you enjoy my blog posts I assume they are significantly better.

Most call centres are a frustrating, if sometimes necessary, experience for (often dissatisfied) customers to endure. In many cases, they are automated, with a long and complex self-selection process of button pushing to arrive at the department one needs – if you’re lucky that is!

But too often the result of all that effort is just a recording telling you to call back later as the department needed is not open at the moment, or that the collaborators are currently busy and to please stay on the line.

We are next subjected to music supposedly designed to calm our nerves, interspersed with messages suggesting alternative solutions to waiting in line. Go to the website to … Click to continue reading

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