15 Customer Service Psychology Tips to Master. Let’s Go!

15 Customer Service Psychology Tips to Master. Let’s Go!

Customer service is much more than a purchase and an exchange of pleasantries. What makes or breaks a relationship is customer service psychology at play there.

When you understand the psychology is when you achieve customer satisfaction.

Your goal is for every customer to leave your place of business, feeling positive about the service they receive. But, no matter how hard you try, there are still times when this is not the case.

If you don’t have the right information, it makes providing excellent customer support and service even more difficult to do.

You want to create positive customer experiences rather than having most days feeling too much like an emotional roller coaster. How you respond to situations and behavior are major factors that can contribute to the type of customer service you provide.

It may be difficult to see now, but sometimes, the customer’s behavior is a direct reflection of your own. After all, you want to take the time you and your customers spend together to be enjoyable moments and not negative ones.

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What is Customer Service Psychology?

Customer service psychology requires you to understand the range of customer behaviors and emotions to serve them better.

It can be difficult at times to understand emotions as they can be a bit tricky. They can change at any moment and in a split second.

If you do not know how to handle these types of situations, your customers will leave unhappy with their experience and may never return. This can become costly over time. Losing relationships also means a loss in sales and thus, higher churn.

Whether it be in person or on social media, keep each customer connection positive. Learning the psychology of customer service and how to manage emotions, will help your business thrive even further.

Managing Emotions in Customer Service

There’s a great deal of value in knowing the different types of emotions you may face daily.

Although not all customers are the same, there are specific “triggers” that can cause the same reaction in most people.

To make sure you don’t unnecessarily trigger negative responses, you need to use the power of psychological behavior.

It’s essential that every person who works in customer service understands that emotions are what dictate our decisions.

When a customer comes into your business, their first impression of you matters. Every customer service interaction and touchpoint also matters. Recognize that the actions you take or do not take, speaks volumes to customers.

Treat your customer as if were thy self. It may sound a little Shakespearean, but the truth still resonates.

Tap into that cognitive bias

If your first action were to take personal responsibility for the customer’s problem and making it your duty to present a solution, customers would respond differently.

Psychologically, you are making them aware that they are essential to your business while at the same time, meeting their needs. Essentially, you become their customer service expert, which can create a halo effect.

This effect is a type of cognitive bias. It’s when the overall impression of a person or business influences how they feel and think about their character. Thus, you want people to have a positive impression of you. To do this, you’ll need a firm understanding of emotions, customer behaviors, and how to provide great customer service.

Your customer service agents need to be effective in taking on a positive and dedicated attitude.

For this to happen, you and your team need to first learn about emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it Important in Customer Service?

A simple Google search provides a definition of emotional intelligence. It’s the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Most customer service representatives will already be highly familiar with some of the most critical customer service skills:

  • Patience
  • Attentiveness
  • Clear communication
  • Product knowledge
  • Use of positive language
  • Time management
  • Read customers behaviors
  • A calming presence
  • Empathy
  • Tenacity

Although this is only a shortlist of essential customer service skills, it’s evident, the majority of them require some “emotion management.

If there is a lack of knowledge or understanding about Emotional Intelligence, it’s almost impossible to possess these skills, as most are directly related to it.

With that said, if you choose to grow your knowledge and strengthen your skills, the higher your emotional intelligence will be, but to make this happen does require a lot of effort.

Positive and negative emotions are often a reaction of needs, either being or not being fulfilled or met.

A Theory of Human Motivation

To better understand what those “needs” are and how to address them, let’s turn to a theory in psychology, which was proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943, called, “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

The connection is that most people’s motivation comes from what they “need” and depending on how it’s received is what will determine their emotional response.

If you can control your own emotions in light of others and do so reasonably, then your emotional intelligence is highly developed.

For a more in-depth view of Abraham Maslow’s theory, let’s look at Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.”

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

To recognize people’s “needs” is the best way to learn how to manage emotions; thus, you can become a master at customer service psychology.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is in the shape of a pyramid with the primary needs at the bottom.

At the top of the pyramid, is where the need for self-actualization and transcendence is located.

Maslow believed that an individual’s most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs.

Today, the theory has been modified. People prefer to think of these levels as “continuously overlapping each other.”

Hierarchy Pyramid

Diagram showing Maslow's Hierarchy

(Top of the pyramid)

  • Self-actualization (To realize one’s full potential)
  • Esteem – (Respect and admiration) – Basic Need
  • Love/belonging (Comprises of caring, compassion, empathy, acceptance and approval, attention, and affection) – Basic Need
  • Safety (Well-being, protection, and security.) – Basic Need
  • Psychological (Mental and emotional state of a person/What affects the mind) – Basic Need

(Bottom of the pyramid)

The bottom four parts of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs.” These are esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs.

If these “deficiency needs” are not met, except for “Psychological,” it will cause an individual to feel anxious and tense, even without giving off signs they are experiencing these feelings.

This pyramid can be applied directly to customer service psychology in terms of customer “needs.”

It’s essential to recognize what an individual is potentially going through when experiencing customer service and how to manage outcomes better.

For example, it’s only reasonable that a customer stresses out when you don’t meet a deadline. In the pyramid, the second part addresses the basic need for “Safety.”

If complications do arise during the buyer’s journey, the customer may become overwhelmed with worry that delays could cost their purchase to be lost or broken.

Now, let’s take a look at 15 tips to help you get better at customer service with Maslow’s Hierarchy Pyramid in mind.

15 Customer Service Psychology Tips Based on EI

1) Show Customers They Matter

At the top of the pyramid, you may notice how it becomes less about survival and more about the ego and self. All individuals desire to be accepted and valued by others (Esteem).

As part of your daily decision making, choose to give each customer your undivided attention and an earnest attempt to solve their concerns. If you do not know something, tell them, but follow up with, “I will find out.”

Make each customer service interaction count.

Illustration showing ebook 1

Top resource: Making Customers Matter EBook

2) Answer Every Query

When you respond to all queries made by customers, you show them a willingness to resolve any issues and answer any questions. (Safety)

This is an excellent way to build trust, loyalty, and to gain their honesty.

Just say, “I would be happy to help you with this” as soon as you receive a customer query.

Refrain from babbling or trying to “wing it” to prevent negative experiences from happening.

Be transparent with what you know and eager to find out what you do not know. Actively listen to your customers needs to resolve them quickly and efficiently. This applies to both online and offline customer interactions.

Illustration showing ebook 2

Top resource: What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint EBook

3) Answer Politely and Clearly

What you say is just as important as how quickly you say it. Use positive phrases and terms when responding and conversing with customers. Show them the respect they deserve. (Esteem)

Avoid using negative words like, “I do not know, Nope, Calm down.” Use the art of communication to connect with people. Choose your words wisely.

Illustration showing ebook 3

Top resource: Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service EBook

4) Respond Quickly

When you respond to customer comments, questions, queries, and reviews, quickly, you show them that you care. (Love/belonging)

Not only do you care about their time, but about providing the information or attention, they requested or required.

If you take too long, people will become unhappy, and it could cost you a customer. Respond promptly, do not keep them waiting.

Illustration showing ebook 4

Top resource: The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social

5) Provide Availability

Showing customers you are available to them via multiple channels, makes them feel a sense of belonging. When you provide the attention they want, when they want it, it creates a happy customer. (Love/belonging)

If you are unavailable, it can have a lasting impact not just on customer experience but your company’s bottom line.

Do not say, “It’s not during office hours” to your customers. Tell them you are always “here” to help them. If you do not, they will go to someone available.

Illustration showing ebook 5

Top resource: Competing for Customers: Why Delivering Business Outcomes is Critical in the Customer First Revolution Ebook

6) Identify Customer Needs

Identify what your customers need from you through keyword research, social listening, analytics, and focus groups. (Esteem)

When you can meet or exceed a customer’s expectation without them even telling you what they are, you present to them an exceptional experience.

Listen to your customers and refrain from repeatedly asking them, “What do you want?” Show that you respect them by taking the time and using insights to “get to know them.”

Illustration showing ebook 6

Top resource: Customer Obsessed: A Whole Company Approach to Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences Audiobook

7) Resolve All Issues During the First Interaction

First impressions are vital to every business. If a problem comes up, and you don’t take action to try and resolve it, customers will leave. They have not built trust with you, and loyalty does not exist yet. Show them respect by taking their issues seriously (Esteem)

Show them you are their support team and will work hard to resolve all their issues the first time.

Don’t blatantly treat new customers different from existing ones, either. If you do, it will be much harder to turn a new customer into a loyal one.

Illustration showing ebook 7

Top resource: Business Etiquette: Adding the Polish That Builds Profits Audiobook

8) Deliver Emotion

Give customers ways for them to express or feel emotions. Use humor, intelligent questions, or nostalgia to steer their mind towards a particular direction. (Psychological)

When you offer relevant and emotional content or conversations, you open the doors for the customer to connect with you. They will associate the good feelings with experiences they have with you, thus, making them want to come back again.

Do not share irrelevant information. What you share needs to be relevant to your work, the products, or services offered.

Refrain from sharing negative emotions or items that can be associated with sadness, anger, or negativity.

Keep the environment and interaction positive.

Illustration showing ebook 8

Top resource: The Customer Service Solution: Managing Emotions, Trust, and Control to Win Your Customer’s Business Ebook

9) Exhibit a High Level of Reliability

When customers know you will be there for them and they can rely on you, they feel a sense of security. They will feel like you will not let them down.

As the old saying goes, “Do as you say and mean what you do.” Let them know they can trust you, and a healthy relationship will form.

Illustration showing ebook 9

Top resource: Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships Audiobook

10) Offer Convenience

Being mindful of customer’s time shows you care. Giving customer convenience in every way possible is considerate, and customers love it. (Love/belonging)

Ask customers if they’d like home delivery. If this is a service you offer, it saves customers time and the need to travel.

Think of how to make their lives easier, without taking shortcuts or lessening quality.

Illustration showing ebook 10

Top resource: The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty Ebook

11) Keep Promises and Fulfill Commitments

Never over promise or under deliver. When you promise your customers something, stick to it. If for any reason, something changes, be respectful, and inform the customer straight away.

Illustration showing ebook 11

Top resource: because I said I would.  Ebook

12) Show Empathy

Presenting customers with an understanding of how they are feeling in any given situation shows you care. Convey to your customers, “I’d be frustrated, too.” in times when it’s needed. (Love/belonging)

Refrain from being “cold” and robot-like. It can turn angry customers to irate ones, quickly.

Show humanity and that you genuinely care.

Illustration showing ebook 12

Top resource: This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See Audiobook

13) Check In with Customers and Follow Up

Ask customers, “Are you finding everything okay?” Asking questions, like this one, lets customers know you respect them. You want them not to waste their time searching for items they are finding difficult to locate. (Esteem)

Just a few words can show a willingness to help. Do not ignore their confused looks and puzzled expressions. Extend a hand and help.

Customer service should also go beyond the sale. Follow-up with customers who recently bought a car from you or purchased the Internet service you offer.

Let them know that their happiness with your products and services matter to your small business.

Illustration showing ebook 13

Top resource: Selling the Hug Your Customers Way: The Proven Process for Becoming a Passionate and Successful Salesperson For Life Audiobook

14) View Customer Complaints as Opportunities

It’s a fact, not every customer will be satisfied with the service you provide, even if you feel you did your best. There are also customers who complain about their experience, but many more who don’t.

When a customer expresses their dissatisfaction, your response needs to be, “I really appreciate you letting us know.” Change their feelings by changing their mind. (Psychological)

Don’t become upset or get angry. Some tend to portray a psychological phenomenon called the Online Disinhibition Effect. This is when you go online without your name and photo visibly attached to your profile and let your anger loose.

For some reason, human beings feel like the online world offers some form of identity protection, even when they cognitively know this is not the case.

So, what happens?

You let your inhibitions and self-boundaries go. You end up responding in ways you would never do if you were in person.

Illustration showing ebook 14

Top resource: A Complaint Is a Gift: Recovering Customer Loyalty When Things Go Wrong, Edition 2 Ebook

15) Show Gratitude

Nothing says you care for your customers more than giving them a simple, “Thank you.”

Whether you thank them for a recent purchase or show appreciation for choosing you, you will make them feel good.

Do not take your customers for granted. Tell them that you care and thank them for choosing you and your business.

Illustration showing ebook 15

Top resource: The Thank You Economy Ebook

Related: 12 Customer Service Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020

Author:

Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter – he’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy and loves making music to stay turbocharged. To get in touch, follow him on LinkedIn.

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    5 WAYS TO DELIVER EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

    5 WAYS TO DELIVER EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

    Good customer serviceWhen was the last time you provided good customer service?

    Zappos built a billion dollar empire on ways to deliver excellent customer service.

    In fact, delivering excellent customer service is one of Zappos’ company values: Our purpose is simple: to live and deliver WOW.”

    And while there are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, there are very few positive stories.

    Whether you provide customer service by phone, emaillive chat or social media, we’ve gathered some of our favorite stories online and share our thoughts on what makes them so good.

    What is good customer service?

    Here’s 5 stories to inspire you and your team to provide professional and high-quality customer service.

    5 good customer service examples to provide great service

    Here are five ways to stand out from the crowd to help you deliver excellent customer service.

    Let’s get started!

    1. Respond as quickly as possible

    One of the biggest factors in good customer service is speed, especially when a client is requesting something that’s time sensitive.

    Several years ago, STELLAService conducted a response time report and found that the average email response time for the top 100 retail companies was 17 hours. Today, it’s not much better as own customer service study found that the average response time is 12 hours.

    average customer service response times

    While Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration. Make sure you don’t leave customers waiting.

    A great example of this is when Lexus recalled a series of Lexus ES 350 sedans and asked car owners to visit a dealership to bring their cars in. Instead of having to sit in a waiting room watching their cars being worked on, their customers were given a brand new Lexus instead.

    2. Know your customers

    Great interactions begin with knowing your customers wants and needs. Customers love personalization. Get to know your customers, remember their names and previous conversations. If needed, make a note of what was discussed previously so you can refer to it the next time you meet.

    In January 2020, Starbucks launched their “Every name’s a story” campaign focusing on improving relationships with their customers. The award winning campaign promotes inclusivity, recognition and acceptance at Starbucks stores across the world. The video, a focal point of the campaign, has generated more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.

    3. Fix your mistakes

    Not taking responsibility of your mistakes is a sure fire way to getting a bad reputation. Transparency is important in business and customer service is no different. Always strive for a high quality output as it shows you have a high level of standards.

    An Amazon customer ordered a new PlayStation for his son for Christmas. When the shipping company delivered the parcel, the customer was away and had a neighbor sign for the package. The neighbor left the package outside the customer’s house and unfortunately, it soon disappeared. When the customer realized what had happened, he was left in complete shock!

    Even though Amazon was not to blame for this mistake, they were quick to resolve this by not only sending a new PlayStation in time for Christmas, but did not charge for the extra shipping.

    The Customer Success team at Amazon showed great empathy here towards the customer. Rather than sticking to their refund policy, then chose to do good. And that’s what matters most.

    4. Listen to your customers

    Listening to your customers will not only result in an indebted and happy customer, it can also go a long way in terms of keeping yourself on their radar for future business.

    A three year old named Lily Robinson wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery store, a letter asking why ‘tiger bread was called tiger bread and not giraffe bread?’. Lily was clearly onto something, as the bread really does look like a giraffe print!

    In most cases, these types of suggestions are met with a simple “Thank you”.

    But, to Lily’s surprise, Chris King, the customer service manager of Sainsbury’s responded with “I think renaming it to giraffe bread is a brilliant idea!”. Several months later, the bread was renamed to giraffe bread.

    Listen to your customers

    How’s that for appreciating your customers?

    5. Think long term – A customer is for life

    Think long term when dealing with customers. By keeping customers happy, they will be loyal and through word of mouth, will do the marketing for you. In fact, according to author Pete Blackshaw, a satisfied customer tells at least three friends (whereas an angry customer tells 3,000!)

    Peter Shankman, author and business consultant, was ready to board a flight before tweeting “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”.

    Personalized customer service

    A fun attempt at humor, right?

    Peter admitted he was joking. He never expected anything after he sent that Tweet…

    But, as soon as Peter landed, a gentleman wearing a tuxedo was holding a bag that contained a porterhouse steak, shrimp, potatoes, napkins and silverware. Knowing that Peter was a regular customer and having tracked down his arrival details, Morton’s traveled more than 23 miles to deliver his food and with – one of the greatest customer service stories of all time.

    Would you travel 23 miles to provide one of the most legendary stories on customer service?

    I know I would.

    How important is it to deliver excellent customer service?

    Customer service has an impact on both existing customers and potential customers. A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. And as each Facebook profile has an average of 155 friends, one negative experience can quickly reach thousands!

    However, there is great value in ensuring you deliver a positive customer service.

    A RightNow Technologies Customer Experience Report

     found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73% of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand. Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.

    Customer service benefits

    3 ways to improve customer service

    If you want to improve relationships with your customers start by making small changes to your customer service.

    No matter how great your business is or how talented your team may be, customers will always remember the interactions they have with your company. 

    Here are a few customer service tips to deliver a better customer experience:

    Improve customer service

    1. Deliver contextual-based support

    When customer service teams have a 360-degree view of a customer’s needs are better at finding opportunities to improve customer experience. 

    In Microsoft’s report on the State of Global Customer Support

    , more than 75% of consumers expect customer service reps to have visibility into previous interactions and purchases.

    Yet, nearly half say agents almost never or only occasionally have the context they need to most effectively and efficiently solve their issue.

    Customers feel frustrated whenever they have to repeat themselves or believe that customer service lacks the knowledge about their issue. By unifying customer information with a CRM, customer service reps gain the context and ability to resolve inquiries in a single interaction. 

    2. Innovate the customer journey

    Customer experience has become the driving force that determines whether a customer will stay or abandon your business. However, the methods of delivering a memorable customer experience has changed over the years.

    Back in 2013, Walker Information surveyed more than 300 customer experience professionals from large B2B companies to gain insights on future trends for customers in 2020.

    While email was the most common communication channel (77%) with customers, they predicted that online communities (68%), social media (63%), and corporate websites (61%) would come to dominate the way customers interact with companies. 

    Were they right?

    Sprout Social’s report shows that 88% of marketers understand the importance of customer service appearing on social media with nearly 45% of consumers surveyed saying they have reached out to a company on social media

    While this is just one sample of the evolution of customer support, companies must innovate their customer journeys to adapt to today’s technology, platforms, and demands. 

    3. Invest in human and automated service channels

    Losing loyal customers is detrimental to every company’s bottomline.

    In CallMiner’s 2020 Churn Index Report, 43.3 billion people are switching companies and 88.3 million are considering to switch for reasons that could have been avoided. That’s more than $35.3 billion in lost revenue due to unplanned churn.

    Companies that fail to invest in a combination of human and automated self-service channels are missing opportunities to create loyal, satisfied customers. 

    Automated self-service channels, such as a knowledge base, offer customers with the ability to solve issues on their own. 

    However, if they can’t find the information that they need, that’s when human service channels, such as real time chat, serve to complement customer support and address issues quickly before frustrations escalate.

    Conclusion

    Business should be built around how to deliver excellent customer service. It’s easy to forget its importance when you are building your brand’s web presence and marketing your website. But, these five examples above have stood the test of time and provide truly excellent customer service.

    Do you have any stories of a company that deliver excellent customer service?

    Please let us know in the comments section below.

    P.S. One of the best ways to deliver excellent customer service is to provide fast customer support. Download our free customer service templates.

    Author:

    Steven MacDonald

    Steven MacDonald

    Steven Macdonald is a digital marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia. Since working with SuperOffice, he has led the growth of the blog from 0 to 3 million visits per year. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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      Video Engagement for Customer Service: Dos and Don’ts

      Video Engagement for Customer Service: Dos and Don’ts

      Amazon® Mayday™ has popularized video help, but what are the best practices for success?

      If you watch primetime TV in the UK, you’re more than likely to know Amy. She’s friendly, knowledgeable, has a soft Irish accent, and is always available to help. In a series of Amazon Kindle™ ads, we see Amy help out a busy family man and stop him from looking like a technology ignoramus when his trendy friends are over to watch the footie.

      Amy is, of course, a call center agent available to video chat at the click of a button. Amazon calls this service Mayday, and has embedded it into the latest Kindle offering. The Mayday ad campaign has started to move video customer service from niche to mainstream. As businesses look to create the “wow” effect in customer experiences through video, what are the emerging best practices for success?

      To video or not to video

      The first step is to decide if video engagement is right for your specific business. Several factors such as your target customers’ digital maturity, what your competitors are doing, the types of products you sell, the services you provide, use cases specific to your business, industry regulations, and your company’s emphasis on customer engagement as a competitive differentiator should all be taken into account as you make this decision.

      When to video

      It’s important to identify video use cases that are compelling from the standpoint of experience for the customer and value for your business. Here are a few examples (there are many more).

      Insurance: Video chatting two-way with the customer to quickly and efficiently assess damage to an auto or other property in the claims fulfillment process

      Retail: Show merchandise to an online shopper and answer questions to accelerate a purchase

      Hi-Tech: Show a customer how to fix a problem with a device

      Healthcare: Video chat with the patient for remote diagnosis and prescription, showing what to do and how

      Video knowledge

      In addition to enriching interactions, video can also enhance your knowledgebase content. Video knowledge can be embedded in knowledgebase articles or published as end-to-end videos. The key for ROI is to make it findable in search as well as navigable to the relevant part of the video, and leverage it across customer touchpoints. An example of video knowledge is “how to” videos that are especially popular in industries such as high-tech, home appliance, consumer electronics, miscellaneous manufacturing, utilities, healthcare and telecom. Note that there might be industry-specific aspects of video engagement that you should be aware of around privacy, security and regulatory compliance.

      From video to “superchat

      Thanks to Gen D (digital generation), the explosion of communication devices and the Siri effect, consumers now demand multimodal chatting, where they can “auto chat” (with a virtual assistant), text chat, video chat, click to call and cobrowse—all in the same interaction with seamless transition across these modes. The simultaneous use of multiple chat modes (e.g., talking on the phone while cobrowsing at the same time) takes these experiences to the next level. One could call this “multimodal chat” or “superchat.”

      Digital customers want to do more on the web with cobrowse, including form-filling, which was traditionally done in retail locations, for example, a bank or the neighborhood insurance agent’s office. At the same time, they want control over what the contact center agents can see and do, as they interact. For instance, they don’t want the agent to see private information like their credit card or social security numbers while filling out a form, and they want to complete transactions themselves rather than having the agent click the “submit” button. In order to enable these kinds of real-time collaborative experiences while also integrating with traditional interaction channels, businesses need “superchat” built on a unified customer engagement platform—Gartner calls it the “customer engagement hub”. An insurance client in the US was able to improve online acquisition and customer onboarding by 200% with superchat!

      No video silo

      When customers went social, many businesses rushed to follow with siloed social products that were not integrated with other interaction channels across rules, interactions, workflow, knowledge, analytics or administration. This resulted in more customer frustration, damaging the brand’s social equity, while driving up Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

      Who “videos”?

      With video, your brand is on “candid camera”! Make sure that video service representatives project your brand personality and values.

      Video chat for customer serviceAgent hiring and training becomes even more important in this case. Moreover, the surroundings of the agent should reflect your brand as well; this means making sure that not only the physical environment of the contact center is aligned with your brand but also the surroundings of work-at-home or outsourced agents! Distractions around the agent’s work area (e.g., people walking around) should be minimized or eliminated for a good customer experience.

      Final word

      The Mayday buzz affords a great opportunity for organizations to tap into the growing adoption of video chat but in order to truly elevate the customer experience, businesses should integrate video chat into a holistic “superchat” or collaboration experience, all as an integral part of a unified omnichannel engagement strategy across touchpoints.

      Author:

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        SIX TIPS TO CREATING BETTER CUSTOMER LOYALTY

        SIX TIPS TO CREATING BETTER CUSTOMER LOYALTY

        Post summary:

        • The cost of selling to existing customers
        • What keeps customer loyal?
        • 6 free customer loyalty tips

        The cost of keeping an existing customer is around five to ten times less than the cost of acquiring a new one. Economically, this makes sense, but how do you improve customer retention and increase profitability?

        The answer is to create better customer loyalty.

        All customers, no matter the business, continuously compare on price, service and quality before they pull the trigger and make a purchase. In fact, research says that on average, a buyer will visit at least three websites before making purchase.

        And once they’ve become a customer, they’re still out there validating that they’ve made the right decision by browsing through the social web and visiting customer review sites.

        Keeping customers makes good business sense, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Customer loyalty is more than just your average, run-of-the-mill customer marketing tactics – We are talking about creating an attitude and a behavior which makes a customer favor your brand over another, whether it’s due to satisfaction, convenience or performance, or just being more comfortable with your brand.

        And to help you achieve this level of loyalty, we have just launched a new white paper “Six Tips to Creating Better Customer Loyalty”.

        In this free white paper, we will explain why customer loyalty is critical to the growth of your business and provide you with six tips to creating loyal customers.

        Click here to download our Six Tips to Creating Better Customer Loyalty >>

        Conclusion

        Customer loyalty is more than a one-off incentive customer program or freebie, it’s a long term commitment to customer satisfaction. It’s time to re-think how you engage and interact with your customers.

        Do you have any tips on how to create better customer loyalty? Let us know in the comments below.

        PS: If you haven’t done so already, we would really appreciate it if you could download and read the Customer Loyalty white paper and then share it with your colleagues and social network. It’s as easy as clicking on the social icons below.

        How to increase and get better customer loyalty

        Author:

        SuperOffice

        About Steven MacDonald

        Steven MacDonald

        Steven Macdonald is a digital marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia. Since working with SuperOffice, he has led the growth of the blog from 0 to 3 million visits per year. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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          7 Things You Need to Know About Selling Services

          7 Things You Need to Know About Selling Services

          7 Things You Need to Know About Selling Services

          Let’s start with a question.

          Does your business provide a service, rather than a physical product?

          If so, you probably understand the challenges of getting prospects to see the value in what you offer. After all, it’s not always easy to explain the features and benefits of something that the prospect can’t see, right?

          Well, what I’m going to say might be a bit hard to believe.

          Selling intangible products isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. No really, it isn’t! If you use the right methods, you can get your prospects to see the value in what you offer.

          This post will help you sell more effectively if you have a service-based business. When you put these tips into action, you will notice that your prospects are far more open to becoming your clients.

          What’s the Issue?

          The reason selling intangible services can be tough is because you don’t have an actual product that the customer can see. You can’t really show them how it works. Its features and benefits aren’t as easy to see.

          This means that you need to be able to paint a picture that can get the prospect to see how your service will benefit them. That’s not easy. It’s like trying to describe what an Ewok is to someone who’s never seen Star Wars. You might be explaining it the right way, but you can’t be sure that the other person knows what you’re talking about.

          Yes, I did just use a Star Wars reference.

          The key to selling services is to focus on demonstrating that you understand your prospect’s problems. You also need to demonstrate that you know how to solve them.



          Tips for Selling Services

          Be the Product

          If you’re running a service-based business, YOU are the product. That means you need to sell yourself just as much as you’re selling your service. You have your own features and benefits, don’t you?

          If you want prospects to become clients, you have to get them to view you as someone who is reliable and trustworthy. You need to get them to like you.

          You probably already know this, but people buy from those they know, like, and trust. It’s important that you work hard to build a strong connection with your prospects.

          Before trying to sell, you should develop a relationship first. Build some rapport. Let them get to know you. The better you are at building rapport, the more you will increase your chances of closing more deals.

          Understand Your Prospect’s Needs

          Because you are the product, you have to know how to position yourself the right way. This means getting your customer to see you as their resource. You need them to see that you’re the one who can solve their problems.

          If you’re going to solve their problems, you have to demonstrate that you understand what their problems are. You have to ask effective questions that allow you to get to know them as well as you can.

          The awesome thing about asking great questions is that it doesn’t just allow you to get to know your prospect, it also helps you form a better connection. As your prospect tells you about herself, she will start to trust you more. It’s because you’re taking a genuine interest in her needs and wants.

          Focus On the Outcomes

          In the end, your prospect doesn’t care about the service you offer. They care about how it’s going to help them. They care about what’s going to happen after they hire you. You need to focus on outcomes.

          Convincing your prospect to become a client means showing what life will be like after they start using your services. You have to get them to see how much easier things will be when you’re working for them.

          Here’s an example.

          Let’s say you’re a leadership consultant. You help companies make their leaders more effective. If you’re looking to gain your prospect’s business, you’re not going to spend a lot of time talking about the things you’re going to do. You’re going to talk about how much more efficient their teams are going to be. You’re going to talk about how much they will increase their revenue as a result.

          That’s what your prospects need to know.

          Focus On Feelings

          Feelings are important. Why? Because emotion is what fuels most of our decision making. It’s true. We tend to make our decisions based on how we feel.

          According to sales expert Jeffery Gitomer,

          “The head is attached to the price, the heart is attached to the wallet. If you jerk on the heartstrings, the wallet comes popping out of the back pocket.”

          If you can appeal to the emotions of your prospect, you will win the sale. This goes for any type of influence. In order to get people to take action, you have to get them to feel something.

          Of course, in order to appeal to their emotions, you need to know what they want to feel. You need to know what they are passionate about. And you need to bring it up in the conversation.

          You also need to know how to make your prospect feel comfortable, They want to feel safe with the idea of doing business with you. When they feel a sense of security, it will make them feel better about becoming your client.

          Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t appeal to logic. You still need to give logical reasons for why your service is right for your prospect.

          Lastly, you can’t be afraid to show emotion yourself. No, I’m not saying you have to give a long passionate speech with a John Williams musical score behind you.

          I’m just saying that it’s a good idea to show your prospects that you’re passionate about what you do. They need to know how much you love helping people like them. This type of emotion is what people can connect to.

          Use Social Proof

          Since you’re selling something that can’t be seen or touched, you need to find other ways to get your prospect to see the value in your offering. You must prove to them that you are worth the investment.

          You need social proof.

          In his book, “Influence: Science and Practice,” Robert Cialdini discusses the fact that people are more likely to take a particular action if they know that a lot of other people have taken it as well. If you can show your prospect that others have used your services and gained a benefit because of it, you will greatly increase your chances of earning their business.


          There are a couple ways you can do this.

          Storytelling is highly effective in this regard. You should always have a few stories at your disposal. These should be stories about how you were able to help other customers who are similar to your prospect. Tell them about specific problems you were able to solve. It’s an effective way to give a concrete example of what you can do for your prospect.

          Of course, testimonials are also helpful. What better way to sell your services than to have your previous customers sell them for you?

          Tony Pour, founder of SellMax found that using this method of social proof has helped his business immensely.

          “Since we don’t sell actual products, we have to work hard to put our customers at ease. On our website, we have testimonials from previous customers who have used our services. This shows our prospects that we can deliver on our promises.”

          When you’re marketing your service, always include a few testimonial statements from your satisfied customers. When prospects see these, it will put them more at ease. If your service worked for your previous customers, it should work for your prospects too, right?

          Build a Brand That Differentiates Your Company

          Building a strong brand is crucial to the success of any company, but it’s especially important to service-based companies. Again, since your prospect can’t actually see your offering, they need something to connect to on a deeper level.

          That’s what a strong brand can do for your business.

          Your brand is what will distinguish you from your competition. It gives your prospects a reason to choose you over the other companies in your industry.

          Branding is about defining who your company is, and what it stands for. It’s massively important that you understand this. If you don’t define yourself, others will do it for you, and this won’t always work in your favor.

          So what is a brand?

          Jeff Bezos gives the best definition:

          “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

          Determine what it is you want to be known for. Figure what you want others to say about you when you’re not in the room.

          Here’s an important point to remember. Branding isn’t about the “what.” It’s about the “why.” Your brand is about why you do what you do. Simon Sinek says in his famous TED Talk that you have to focus on doing business with those who believe what you believe. Your beliefs are your brand.

          Successful branding is about perspective. It’s your unique brand perspective that is going to make you stand out from the crowd. Find out what your unique brand perspective is, and work hard to communicate it to your audience. It’ll give you a way to connect with those you want to serve.

          Conclusion

          Selling intangible products doesn’t have to be too difficult. As you can see, most of it is about selling who you are. The great thing about this is that you’re already unique. There’s nobody else who is exactly like you.

          When you are your authentic self, and you know how to get your prospects to like and trust you, it will become much easier to close more deals. Using the tips given in this post, you can build yourself into a product that people are excited about buying.

          Author:

          Small Business Trends

          by Jeff Charles

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          An Article on Customer Experience That Actually Makes Sense

          An Article on Customer Experience That Actually Makes Sense

          Customer experience (CX) actually simplified. Here you’ll find straightforward answers to the most popular questions on the CX space.

          This article is inspired by our own frustrations with getting to know the CX space. We too had to plunge into this mysterious world and learn to navigate it. Heck, we’re still learning. My point is, we know what it’s like to spend weeks, months even, looking for clarity on the right CX approach to only end up more confused by the endless information that’s out there on the topic.

          Think of this content piece as the starting line of your CX journey—here you’ll find straightforward answers to the most popular questions. You’ll get clarity on the different components of this space, without getting lost in the details. (We publish new resources on the regular, so stay in the loop by signing up for our CX newsletter.)   

          Our industry has done a fairly poor job explaining this new space. We want to fix that. So hold on to your hats—you might actually learn something about CX today.

          What is customer experience?

          This one’s easy.

          Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company.

          What is great customer experience?

          This one is not so easy to define. In fact, you’ll find many articles dance around this question. We’ll go into more detail below as to why, but for now, here is our definition:

          Great customer experience means meeting or exceeding the expectations of your customer during all interactions with your company.

          Yes, you can steal that definition. We won’t mind.  

          Why is customer experience important?

          The short answer: Customer experience determines whether your organization succeeds or fails.

          Think about the last time you had a great experience with a brand.

          Now think about the last time you had a really bad experience with a brand.  

          If you’re like most, you probably had a much easier time recalling a poor experience than a good one. That’s because a bad customer experience interrupts our day. We don’t expect it as consumers—we anticipate that brands will always meet our needs and wants. So when bad customer experiences happen, the news of it spreads on social channels and by word-of-mouth.

          On the other hand, if customers feel they have a good relationship with your brand, they’ll stick around. Satisfied customers don’t look elsewhere for services or products, and they will surely miss you if one day you suddenly disappear. In other words, delivering great customer experience makes you irreplaceable. And being irreplaceable helps your company’s bottom line.

          If you’re more of a facts person, here are some selling points:

          • Poor customer experience is costing U.S. companies $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable churn. (CallMiner)    

          • 73% of U.S. customers say CX is the key factor in their purchasing decision. (PwC)

          • 95% of customers have taken action as a result of one bad experience. (Zendesk)  

          Why do companies struggle to meet customer expectations?

          Various elements are needed to deliver great customer experiences (which we will go over in future articles), but the one that most companies seem to forget the most is an individual’s perception. It’s the element that is most personal and difficult to pinpoint. That’s because perception is often based on emotion and differs from person to person.

          An Article On Customer Experience That Actually Makes Sense 3

          Two customers can view the same experience in completely different ways due to many factors that influence their interpretation of events—their upbringing, cultural background, motivations, and much more.

          That’s why most companies struggle to meet the expectations of their customers. But once you understand this, the solution to delivering great customer experience is simple: relationship building. This means building trust with your customer, understanding their needs, and adapting to nurture that bond.

          In other words, treat your customer like a person and not a persona. (Yes, it’s cheesy but very true).

          What is customer experience management (CXM)?  

          This term is often used interchangeably with customer experience program. That’s because, at least to us, it is the same thing. To be clear, we’ll be using CX program in this article.

          Also, if you see this term on a CX solution’s website, you’ll find that its definition varies. That’s because companies define great CXM by the type of solution(s) they can provide. You can’t blame them for it, but it’s good to be aware of it. 

          Anyway, we took the complexities out and came up with our own simple (and unbiased) definition for CXM:  

          Customer experience management (CXM) is the process of designing and optimizing customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations.

          What this actually looks like will vary by company, but the goal of CXM is always to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and brand advocacy while cutting costs.

          For CXM to be successful, you need two components: real-time feedback (across the entire customer journey) and data analytics to close the gap between what customers expect and their perception of the experience that is currently being delivered.

          What are the customer experience maturity levels?  

          Before you launch a CX program, you’ve got to know which CX maturity level stage you’re currently in. Similar to other topics in the CX space, you’ll find different interpretations of CX maturity levels based on the source. However, below is the most commonly used scale: 

          Stage 1—Ignore: Your company doesn’t view CX as a crucial competitive differentiator.

          Stage 2—Explore: Executives in your company are keen on understanding how CX can improve your business. They start investigating what the organization needs to do to improve its customer experience.

          Stage 3—Mobilize: Executives are on board with improving experience and begin to build a CX coalition team. At this level, you’re also working on developing a customer experience strategy.

          Stage 4—Operationalize: You begin to re-design your company’s operational processes based on customer insight and other customer experience metrics. At this stage, the cross-functional CX coalition team is also working on engaging the entire workforce in the strategy.

          Stage 5—Align: Being customer-centric is the norm in your company at this stage. You’ve set structures in place to reinforce and maintain this CX priority. You do this through the hiring process, performance management, and incentives. Overall, your CX program is performing well, but you’re still running into some bumps on the road. 

          Stage 6—Embed: Your company is delivering great customer experiences. This is possible because CX has been integrated into everyday decisions and practices. This is the North Star for CX professionals. 

          What are the four pillars of a successful CX program?   

          How do you keep your CX program from crumbling down? There are four pillars that serve as the stabilizing foundation of any customer experience program:  

          • Purposeful leadership: Leaders within a company need to be aligned on the importance of CX and must agree on the proposed strategy. This means they operate consistently based on a clear set of values, holding themselves and their teams accountable for their particular ownership of the customer experience. 

          • Employee engagement: Employees have to be fluent in the company’s CX goal and strategy. They’re also empowered with the necessary tools and encouraged to actively contribute to the customer experience.

          • Customer-centric culture: Your company’s brand values must align with putting the customer’s needs first and fostering customer sympathy. And your programs and processes should reinforce customer connectedness.

          • Customer insight: Customer data should be captured across the entire journey to identify trends, issues, and take action in real time. Those insights must then be immersed across the organization, activating all teams to improve customer experience.

          How do you launch a CX program?    

          Here’s the thing, there isn’t a secret formula that every company can implement and suddenly, poof! You’re delivering great customer experiences.

          CX programs will vary by industry and particular business goals. However, there are four components that are not negotiable. Before we get to those, I want to be sure the following points are very clear:

          • A customer experience program lays out the plan to produce great customer experiences across the entire customer journey.

          • The goal of a CX program is to identify and analyze key CX improvement opportunities and establish long-term customer loyalty.

          • In order for the program to work, the entire organization must be on board.

          Now on to the really important stuff—here are the four necessary components to launching a CX program:  

          • Voice of the Customer (VoC): A Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, also known as customer voice and Voice of Customer, captures, analyzes and reports on all feedback (expectations, likes, and dislikes of your customers) associated with your brand. Basically, it gives you real-time insight into your customers’ experiences. From this feedback, you can identify trends and opportunities to improve customer experience. The VoC is the heartbeat of any customer experience program. That’s because the way a company gathers and responds to customer feedback reflects the CX maturity of the organization.

          • Customer journey map: A customer journey map summarizes the key interactions that a customer experiences with your brand. When it’s developed right and optimized, any employee should be able to understand the key touchpoints in the customer’s journey and what is related to their particular role in the CX program. This map will help you align your experience strategy across your company and identify areas of improvement.

          • CX leadership coalition: The VoC program and customer map fuel a company’s customer experience program, while the employees are the engine—they take this data and act on it. Regardless of your company size, there must be a cross-functional group of leaders assigned the task to ensure your CX program is implemented properly. In order to be successful, this coalition should represent every major customer experience touchpoint across the customer journey.

          • Employee experience: Happy employees cultivate happy customers. Your employees should not only have a customer-centric mentality, but they should also believe in the brand that they represent. A big part of providing a positive work environment is providing the tools to empower employees to do their job well. As it relates to your customer experience strategy, it means streamlining customer insight across the organization, providing the right technology, and ensuring every employee can confidently talk to your CX program.

          How do you measure the success of your CX program?  

          This question deserves a lot of consideration and time to properly answer. We promise we will show this topic more love in future content pieces (sign up for our CX newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it), but here we’ll stick to the basics.  

          First, you need to create a CX metrics program. It will vary by company, but here are the five steps that we recommend for all companies to evaluate the success of their program over time:

          1. Decide on a primary CX metric that will be used to measure the overall customer experience performance across your organization.  

          2. Set realistic goals of your key CX metric based on how it relates to business results.  

          3. Identify the key drivers (interactions, customer journey touchpoints, etc.) that make the most impact on your main CX metric.  

          4. Establish metrics to evaluate how well the organization performs on those key drivers.

          5. Turn your metrics into actionable results—put in place a CX strategy plan for employees across the organization to make improvements based on your CX metrics.

          How do you measure the Voice of the Customer (VoC)?

          An Article On Customer Experience That Actually Makes Sense 2

          Voice of the Customer deserves its own section in this article. We’ll say it again: it’s the heartbeat of any customer experience program. We’re not being cheesy here. Think about it—without customer feedback, you won’t know where to begin to improve your customer experience.

          For a VoC program to work, you must identify the most important metrics to measure. There is an array of metrics to choose from, but three that you will see come up time and time again are Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

          These metrics are measured in a survey format and they’re referred to as structured feedback because you’re proactively using them to retrieve customer data.

          We promise to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use each of these metrics in future content, but for now, here’s a very high-level view:

          • NPS is a great metric to measure long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s the big picture metric of customer experience.  

          • CSAT is used to measure the customer satisfaction of a specific interaction or event. It’s a short-term satisfaction metric for customer experience. Check out our free interactive CSAT calculator to measure your Customer Satisfaction Score and its impact on ROI. You’ll get custom recommendations based on your score! 

          • CES is used to measure the level of effort that a customer experiences when they interact with your brand. It’s a transactional, short-term metric for customer experience.

          While surveys are key to any VoC program, they shouldn’t be your only source of truth. You need to also create listening paths that tap into unstructured feedback. This includes feedback from all client-facing channels, such as call centers, social media, events, etc.

          The customer’s voice from these different channels should be centralized into one Voice of the Customer dashboard accessible to all employees. That way you’re supporting the cross-functional alignment of your CX strategy.  

          How do you demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) for your CX program?  

          Demonstrating economic value for a customer experience program will vary by industry and individual company. But there are two major benefits that any CX leader can demonstrate:

          1. Increase in revenue.

          2. Reduced costs. 

          You can prove an increase in revenue through customer retention and sales optimization. 

          • Customer retention: It’s easier to sell to existing customers than generating new business. And focusing on retaining existing customers is smart given that loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones. So, to prove that customer retention improves the bottom line, you have to first set up a solid customer feedback program (in other words, a VoC program). This means listening to customers across the key journey touchpoints to understand what behaviors, outcomes, and interactions are making the biggest financial impact on your organization. Once you’ve identified these opportunities, you take action. This could mean reducing customer wait time for speaking with a support agent, improving the product or website UX to remove pain points, etc. Over time, you’ll be able to identify trends and predict what the customer will do next, which will amplify your financial impact.

          • Sales optimization: Identifying areas of improvement for the sales team can also lead to an increase in revenue. As a CX leader, you should analyze the current selling process and determine what is driving customer spend–it could be as simple as a sales associate taking more time to get to know the prospective customer during their initial interaction. When it comes to upselling and cross-selling, you can increase revenue by identifying the most satisfied customers–through customer feedback–and targeting them the most.

          You can reduce costs by acquiring new customers through referrals and serving existing ones. 

          • Acquiring new customers through referrals: Loyal customers can become brand advocates. And brand advocates are four times more likely to refer your product or service to friends and family. This means that increasing customer referrals will reduce the effort and cost for marketing and sales to acquire new customers. In other words, a great CX program can lower acquisition costs.

          • Serving existing customers: If you don’t have the right CX program in place, supporting existing customers will not be cheap. If you get the experience right the first time around, you’ll be able to reduce support time, increase success rates for solving issues, and reduce the third-party tech-service need. In short, you’ll be improving efficiency across all existing customer interactions.

          In conclusion, we hope you’re less confused now

          Customer experience is a complex space with many facets. However, with time and the right information, you’ll find clarity. We hope this article helped answer some of your questions on customer experience.

          But seriously, let us know if you think we’ve held up to our end of the bargain here—after all, this content is for you. Give it to us straight.

          Author:

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            WHERE DO YOUR SALES COME FROM?

            WHERE DO YOUR SALES COME FROM?

            Where Do Your Sales Come From?

            Leaders love to talk about revenue streams by showing graphs and charts  with the breakdown of sales categories. It is important to know the percentage of sales generated by products or services and to monitor trends, especially growth and decline of your business revenue.

            However, there is one critical component that every business has in common, which is never discussed. 100% of your sales come from one place. Your customer! When you look at it that way, it sheds a stronger light on why companies need to put more  emphasis on building an incredible consistent customer experience that becomes your number one competitive advantage and helps make price irrelevant.

            What is Your Company’s Biggest Expense?

            Another major focus of executive leaders is analyzing the company’s P&L to determine where the company is over spending, being wasteful, and how to reduce expenses to drive more profit to the bottom line. However, the company’s biggest expense does not show on your P&L. At least not directly, it is hidden. There is no line item for poor customer service but nothing may have a greater impact on your bottom line than dissatisfied  customers. It can dramatically cause loss of sales, decline of company reputation, lack of new customers/referrals, an increase in returns & refunds, increased discounting, more service recovery, higher advertising expense, lower morale, higher turnover, increase in hiring, and more training, which further perpetuates a poor customer experience. It is imperative that every person in your company understands that your biggest expense is dissatisfied customers.

            Author:

            The DiJulius Group

             

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            How Better Customer Service Leads to Better Sales

            How Better Customer Service Leads to Better Sales

            Improving_Customer_Experience

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              Would You Do Business With You?

              Would You Do Business With You?

              (Eric is a friend and strategic partner. This article was recently published in Customer Service Management)

              If more company presidents and their senior managers asked themselves this question with the customers’ view in mind, many would answer “probably not.” The reason? Customer service.

              Much has been said, done and written about customer service during the last decade. Millions of dollars have been spent on programs, training and systems. However, the results have been disproportionate and often outright disappointing. In a recent issue of Fast Company, the cover story declared “Betrayed ! The biggest lie in business is ‘the customer is in charge’… How could an idea so right go so wrong?” But surely, you may say, every company wants to delight its customers. That may be true, but while bold promises have been made, bad results have been the reality. The issue is not that service is poor, but that the promised and necessary great service is harder than ever to deliver!

              Michael Hepworth, in a Canadian Marketing Association publication, provides some facts in support of the Fast Company report :

              • The American Customer Satisfaction Index (University of Michigan Business School) stood at 74 in 1994, dipped to 71 in 1997 and has only slowly re c o v e red to 73 in 2000.
              • Only one in three customers who have a problem and contact the respective organization for help are satisfied with the response they get. Customers who contact an organization for help and are dissatisfied with the response are 30 to 40% more likely to take their business elsewhere.
              • The average North American company has 11% of its re venue at risk as a result of customer problems and how they a re handled.
              • $1 spent on advertising yields less than $5 in incremental revenue, but that same $1 spent on improving customer service can yield more than $60 in incremental revenue . And the need for customer service in the new economy is as great as in the old:
              • 75% of all e-shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is actually completed. Nine out of 10 shoppers who abandoned their carts did so because of a lack of customer service.
              • 72% of respondents said that customer service is critical in shopping satisfaction, yet less than 1% of all e-commerce Web sites offer live customer assistance.
              • Up to 30% of Internet users re q u i re human intervention before purchasing on the We b .

              So what are companies doing to resolve this issue? Today too many company leaders spend their time and resources looking for magical technology solutions. I call this “The Great System Seduction.” Since we live in an age of “real time” and “1-to-1 marketing,” the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems business is burgeoning . However, a good system does not equal good service. The European Centre for Customer Strategy predicts that future CRM effectiveness will be assessed less through hard measures and more through the stories people tell about a company. This means companies must give the customer distinctive service experiences so they will become advocates, telling stories to their friends and colleagues.

              Only if your people are ‘turned on’ will you generate such legends!

              The disappointing reality is that the human element is frequently overlooked at the expense of the systems challenges. Enduring and real customer service success requires a passion for people—both employees and customers. Author Jim Clemmer observes, “Too many managers treat ‘their people’ as assets with skin wrapped a round them.”

              Debra Fields, president of the highly successful Mrs. Fields Cookies, expresses the flip side: “Customer service does not come from a manual or a system… It comes from the heart. When it comes to taking care of the customer you can never do too much and … there is no wrong way if it comes from the heart!” In other words, we need a balance between managing things from the head and leading people from the heart.

              While rational strategy is essential, emotional intelligence accounts for as much as 70% of the personal and organizational success factor. The fundamental problem is that most business leaders are not “pathological” about customer service and do not believe passionately in it as a key differentiator. One of my clients (a president who used the word “pathological” in his communications and speeches about customer service) was successful in making service excellence happen and royally reaped the commercial benefits. He did not just make the rational strategy case for it, but he lived it from his hear . Unfortunately there are too few leaders like that. For many, the distance between head and heart is far greater than the typical 16 inches… and therein lies the root cause of customers’ continuing disappointment with the service they receive .

              But if the customer is king, why are so many companies still behaving like republicans instead of royalists? There is often misalignment between the people and the systems in place to manage them.

              The challenge for today’s business leaders is to put their people front and center; to pursue

              short – term results while continuously aligning  technology, work processes and structure a round the people to enable them to become customer-focused in all aspects of operation. After all, a sharper customer focus means a sharper competitive edge.

              There are two lessons in this:

              1. More organizations need to think longer and harder about the people factor in customer service,

              and

              1. They must also pay fanatical attention to managing each customer touch-point. This is serious and hard work. Being “pathological” about customer service demands passion fro m leaders. They must be pre pared to walk the talk, be patient, pay attention to customer detail, and constantly work on people-and customer-focused alignments. Only then, when they have become “pathological” about customer service, will business leaders truly be able to say “Everyone wants to do business with me.”

              Author:

              Customer Service Skills Certification Training | The Training Bank

              by Eric Fraterman

              Eric specializes in customer-focus consulting. He helps clients achieve increased customer-focus and operational effectiveness by ensuring that externally the voice of the customer is captured and is effectively deployed intern ally, so that business operations, people and supporting processes work together to deliver customer-value. The resultant improved customer service, strengthened customer loyalty, organizational alignment and increased employee commitment give clients a sharper competitive edge.

              If you would like to contact Eric, just let us know or if you would like more information on how we can help you to sharpen your customer focus, please explore our website or give us a call. – Ray Miller – Managing Partner, The Training Bank

               

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                5 Real Estate Customer Service Strategies You Can Focus on Now

                5 Real Estate Customer Service Strategies You Can Focus on Now

                While there are many variables that impact the acquisition of new clients as a Realtor®, keeping the clients you currently have happy must be a priority. Doing so will heighten your chance that they return to you for their next real estate transaction and will help create a healthy client ecosystem as you continue to grow. This all comes down to having exceptional customer service. Serving your clients well will help to set you apart from the competition and may even earn you some referrals along the way.

                According to a 2018 report from the National Association of Realtors®, 74% of buyers said they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others, and 69% of sellers said they would definitely use the same agent again. This shows that good work is often rewarded with repeat business. To ensure that your customers aren’t among the 26-31% looking for a new agent the next time around, we have outlined five customer-service strategies to implement now to make your client’s experience with you extraordinary.

                Listen and Prioritize

                Not all clients are the same – especially when it comes to buyers. Take time to listen intently to what they are looking for in a new home and determine what are the “must-haves”, “nice-to-haves”, and “can’t haves” (if any). Not only will this will help you narrow down potential properties for your client, but the client will feel acknowledged when their voice is heard and put at the forefront of the search process.

                That being said, you may also have clients that don’t have a clear vision of what they want. Asking more questions on their personal preferences, their lifestyle, and their values can help you provide customized recommendations and examples to your clients. This also reinforces the feeling that you are expressly there for them and their needs and are keeping their best interests in mind.

                Own Your Expertise

                Remember, you are the expert here. Your clients will come to you with a wide range of comfort levels and knowledge regarding the real estate business and how it works – but most of their information will be anecdotal. You are the engine that will bring your client’s vision to life and keep the process on a productive path.

                You understand the market, its tendencies, and trends more than most, regardless of how much time a client spends browsing listings online. Your experience is an invaluable resource, and sharing your insight is customer service at its finest. Even if a client is fairly familiar with the area, they will need expert guidance on the logistical side of things like handling negotiations, navigating through the piles of contracts and paperwork, and avoiding any potential pitfalls that may present themselves. If you haven’t already, start building up your network of trusted resources who may be able to help your client, such as lenders, inspectors, contractors, cleaning services, painters, and more.

                Communication

                One of the best ways to deliver great customer service is through consistent and ongoing communication with your clients. In the thick of things you may be reaching out to them several times a day, so it is best to understand and respect both how (phone, text, email, etc.) and when they want to be contacted. How they want to be contacted may vary depending on the time of day as well, especially if they work full-time and aren’t always available to chat between specific hours.

                Effective communication with clients can be a bit of a balancing act of ensuring that your client is informed but also has the right direction and guidance to act on whatever decisions need to be made at that time. When appropriate, you should provide recommendations based on your experience. If the ball is more in your court, communicate regularly on the work you are doing and the progress that is being made. Being proactive and providing customized attention to your clients demonstrates your willingness to go above and beyond.

                Show That You Care

                For our clients, most real estate transactions carry some emotional significance. Buying or selling a home is a milestone moment that you as a real estate agent have guided them through. Be sure to take a step back from the business side of things to embrace the celebration of being done with the process. A personal gesture to show gratitude for your client goes a long way and closes this phase of your relationship on a high note.

                Some ideas:

                • Thank You Card: Wish them well with a handwritten card that thanks them for their business and congratulates them on their new home or sale.
                • Closing Gift: Get them something to remember you by. This could be something they need for the house or simply a bottle of champagne.
                • Housewarming Party: Offer to host a party for their close friends and family where you provide the drinks and snacks.

                Staying in Touch

                Since the real estate business is built on a foundation of solid relationships, the customer service shouldn’t end when the transaction is finished. Instead, you should find opportunities to stay top-of-mind with your former clients and be available to them as a resource should they ever want to sell their home or explore the market’s available inventory at any given time.

                Consider birthdays or the anniversary of your client’s transaction as great times to get back in touch if it has been a while since you last talked.

                Do your best to get a sense of how they are enjoying their new home, if there have been any major life changes for them (like getting married or having kids), and assess if their housing needs are changing in any way.

                This personal connection is of the utmost importance for being a trusted source for their real-estate needs whenever they are ready to get started again.

                Conclusion

                A good real estate agent must be fully committed to serving their customers in ways that are uniquely beneficial to them. Getting to know your clients on a personal level, responding directly to their needs, and anticipating ways to make their life easier while working with you will always leave a lasting impression!

                Author:

                The Real Estate Business School 

                by  

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