Entries Tagged as 'Tips for Better Customer Service'

Why Your Customer Service Should Influence Customer Engagement

I hope you enjoy this guest post from Monika Götzmann of Miller Heiman Group.

Why Your Customer Service Should Influence Customer Engagement – by Monika Götzmann

Engaged customers are extremely valuable, and can be described as those who have a personal connection to a brand. Research from Rosetta found that engaged customers spend 60 percent more per transaction, while they are also three times more likely to recommend a product to a friend, according to the Harvard Business Review.

In the past, customer engagement was primarily generated through marketing and sales “touchpoints.” However, in the current business climate, the best way to influence customer engagement may be through investing in customer service training and ensuring you deliver a continuously great customer experience.

Modern Customer Cynicism

Studies show that customers are more cynical than ever before. They are more likely to see through advertising claims, less likely to respond to offers and increasingly rely on the opinions of friends. Indeed, Smart Insights found that only 18.31 percent of marketing emails are opened and the average click-through rate is just 2.06 percent.

In addition, the internet and the inter-connected nature of the modern age has meant that customers now expect to be able to form deeper, more meaningful relationships with companies. This is where customer service plays a role, because most of the meaningful interactions customers have will be with customer service staff.

Delivering Great Customer Service

An American Express study found that 59 percent of customers would try a new brand if it meant they would receive a better service experience. This highlights the importance of delivering great customer service and in particular, customer service courses should emphasize product knowledge, friendliness and personalization.

Meanwhile, multiple surveys have shown that long delays in being able to get in touch with a customer service agent is a top source of frustration and a major obstacle to engagement. Customers want a human touch. They want to be able to speak to a real person, who listens, addresses their concerns and tries to provide them with solutions.

Effective Use of Social Media

One of the best ways to influence engagement via customer service is through the use of social media platforms as fast response channels to speed up the customer query process. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide an opportunity for brands to make more personal connections, although customers have high expectations, demand quick responses and want companies to go the extra mile. It is best practice to ensure customers are notified directly on the platform’s main page how fast they can expect responses and if the customer service team can only respond during business hours for instance.

“The rise of the social web has led to a fundamental shift in the way businesses of all sizes engage with their customers,” says Wendy Lea from Inc.com. “Companies that engage with their customers via social media have more loyal customers. Better yet, customers who engage with a brands online report spending 20% to 40% more.” However, brands must carefully choose which social media platforms they wish to have a presence on as “being everywhere” is not best practice. Knowing where the majority of your audience is on social media is key in order to decide on the best platforms, and setting up a comprehensive engagement and customer service response plan.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in providing exceptional customer service training courses and helps organizations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training.


Getting Customers to Love You – The Power of Presence

How To Make Sure Your Organization Is Always “Best In Show”

“In the Moment” for Customer Service


In the Moment

The only way that we can consistently delight our customers is if we are truly present for them – truly “in the moment.” If we’re not in the moment, we miss the visual, verbal, or even written clues customers are constantly giving us, and we end up processing customers through our systems. And no matter how well our systems are designed, most customers HATE feeling processed. They want to feel important, listened to, and respected. They want to feel valued. Valued customers come back; processed customers merely tolerate our organization until something better comes along. And something better almost always comes along.

Falling into robotic, transaction-like service is easy when we’re not present. A recent example with a flight attendant innocently, but hilariously, demonstrated what not being in the moment looks like and sounds like. She was walking down the aisle of the plane handing out peanuts and other snacks. Of course her next duty was to walk back down the aisle picking up trash. Unfortunately she accidentally combined the scripts. Instead of saying, “Would you like a snack?” later followed by, “Can I pick up any trash?” she mindlessly asked, “Would you like any trash?” as she handed out the snacks. I heard her say this to about ten passengers until she reached me. Everyone looked confused, but no one said anything. With a chuckle I said, “I don’t want any trash, but I WILL have a Kit Kat bar.” She froze for a moment, then burst out laughing and whispered to me, “Have I been saying that to everyone?” I gently told her she had indeed said it to everyone.

We’ve all been guilty of not being present for our customers. Our minds drift to something other than the customer we’re dealing with. We could be thinking about the next thing we need to do, or a problem we’re having, or our plans for the weekend, or the ten thousand other things that go through our minds every day. Each time our mind drifts away from our customer, we risk treating that customer as a task to be completed and not as an opportunity to create a positive customer experience.

One simple strategy for setting the stage for being present is holding morning or shift huddles. How we start the day (or the shift) effects everything to follow. So, why not make sure things start off right? A 5-10 minute team huddle can include:

  • A positive service story from the previous day.
  • An example of one employee setting up another for success in a customer situation.
  • A positive customer letter.
  • A motivational quote.
  • Reinforcement of an organizational value.
  • The “customer service objective of the day.”

The idea is to get everyone in the right mood for being present for customers; to be in the moment so that they can delight customers.

But what if you’re an individual in an organization and your company or department doesn’t have morning huddles? Well, you can suggest starting them and even volunteer to lead them. But you don’t have to wait for anyone else to do anything. You can start your own day or shift off right by reflecting on any of the items mentioned above. One software help desk employee said that she puts a Post It note on the side of her computer screen every day with her “focus thought of the day.” It might be the word “Listen,” or “Smile,” or “Compassion.” The point is that her word of the day keeps her present and in the moment for her customers. This idea might sound simplistic, but I would say it isn’t simplistic, it’s simple, which is why it works.

Something to think about: Are you and the other members of your organization “in the moment” for your customers? What can you do to start the day off right so that you increase the likelihood of being present for your customers?

Please check out my new, interactive, virtual training program, Dennis Snow Virtual Training, at www.dennissnowvt.com.

Creating Moments of Wow

Many companies I consult with are in search of that magical, all caps, bold WOW they can create for their customers that will result in insane customer loyalty. And I’m all for the big WOWs. I love to be on the receiving end of big WOWs. But there’s a problem – they’re hard to create. Big WOWs can be expensive and time consuming, and hard to deliver consistently.

The real magic lies in the “little moments of wow” that simply make customers feel good and feel valued. Most of these little wows
cost next to nothing (or nothing at all) and take little or no time to deliver. But the results can be amazing.

Galatoire's RestaurantA Moment of Wow – My good friend Jerry recently shared with me a story that perfectly illustrates the point. He and his significant other, Vicky, were vacationing in New Orleans. Over a wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Galatoire’s, Jerry popped THE question. Fortunately for Jerry, Vicky said yes.Their server noticed what was happening and wanted to help memorialize this special moment. On one of the restaurant’s postcards, she wrote down everything they had to eat and drink that evening. She then invited them to return on their wedding anniversary so that she could help them relive their engagement dinner. Less than sixty seconds were probably invested in this server’s act of kindness, but for Jerry and Vicky it will be remembered forever. And therein lies the magic. It’s not about time and money, it’s about an act of genuine care.

Jerry and Vicky are celebrating their one-year anniversary in a few weeks. They’re going to New Orleans. Guess where they’re having their anniversary dinner?

Wow Opportunities Are Everywhere

Creating a moment of wow simply requires being present and aware of the opportunities all around us. Just recently as I handed a hotel valet parker my keys, he said, “This is a beautiful car. We’ll take good care of it.” Pretty small stuff, but it made me feel valued, if only for a moment. If a hotel can deliver a series of little wows like that over the course a guest’s stay, the overall impression is that magical, all caps, bold WOW.

Examples of little wows:
• The repairperson who puts on surgical booties before entering your home so dirt isn’t tracked in.
• The doctor who sits down while talking with you rather than standing with his or her hand on the exam room’s doorknob.
• The auto mechanic who notes your radio settings before disconnecting the car battery so he can reset your favorite stations.
• The computer helpline rep who shares a tip about something you didn’t even know your computer could do.
• The coffee shop employee who remembers your favorite drink.

These examples are low or no cost, and low or no investment of time. But they result in good feelings and, if done consistently, result in loyal customers. And how great is that?

Something to think about: What simple act of kindness can you do today to wow a customer?

 Something else to think about: How can you build simple acts of kindness into your organization’s culture?