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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.


Indifferent Service – The Silent Killer of Customer Loyalty

In this video I share the elements that differentiate caring customer service from indifferent customer service. If you received this blog post via email, you may need to click here to view the video.

Customer Service Thought for the Day

Are your company’s processes designed for the convenience of the customer or for the convenience of the company? How would customers respond to that question?

Think about a process you can tweak (or overhaul) that will result in customers asking, “Why can’t other companies do it like yours?”

The Price of Poor Service

A few weeks back, I posted an article titled, Customer Service and Twitter, in which I focused on how our customers can instantly let people know about their experience with us.

A recent example of the power of social media is the popular YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars.” If you don’t know the back story, here’s the condensed version:

Musician Dave Carroll was on a United flight and he, along with other passengers, watched as baggage handlers manhandled bags and threw Carroll’s $3,500 Taylor guitar on the ground causing about $1,200 in damage. United initially refused to pay for the repair, inspiring Carroll to compose a song about the experiece.

The video went viral and to date has been viewed 3,691,735 times.

United eventually handled Carroll’s claim, but look at the cost in bad press, mistrust, embarrassment, and increased scrutiny from passengers. What could’ve been handled quickly and professionally turned into a PR nightmare for United. For more on the story, check out an early article on the situation as it appeared in the Orlando Sentinel.

Similar to the way I ended the post about Twitter, it’s worth reflecting on this question in every contact we have with every customer: “How would I feel and how would my company feel if this interaction ended up on YouTube?”

By the way, United Airlines is now using the video in their customer service training!

Customer Service Assignment

As we come into the weekend, try giving your team this informal assignment. As they go about their weekend activities, ask them to to consciously notice the level of service they receive as they interact with companies and their employees. Ask them to look at the physical environment, observe employees as they serve them as well as other customers, and pay attention to the processes they experience during the interaction. What was good? What was not so good? What what was dismal? Ask them to mentally note as many details as possible.

At your next team meeting, request that members of your team share their observations and how the experiences make them feel. Did the experience make them definitely want to come back? definitely not want to come back? or just leave them neutral? Then ask the group how their observations relate to your organization and to their own jobs. This is a quick benchmarking experience that can pay great dividends.

When Walt Disney was planning Disneyland, he sent his “Imagineers” to visit amusement parks and carnivals, and to observe what customers liked and didn’t like. He used this knowledge (particularly the dislikes) in the design of Disneyland. Rather than a haphazard layout, everything would be organized and themed. Rather that surly “ride operators,” Disneyland would have “hosts and hostesses” who treated customers as “guests.” Much of what makes the Disney parks what they are today came from this simple strategy of observing competitors and putting the knowledge to work.

Why not send an email to your team today? Simply ask them to pay attention to their experiences over the weekend, note how those experiences made them feel, and be prepared to discuss it at your next team meeting. I’m convinced it will be an eye-opening and beneficial exercise for the entire team.