Telling the truth about SME life today

Creating a customer service strategy to add real business value

Be proactive

Proactive customer service can really differentiate a business from its competitors when it comes to customer experience. Gaining a deep understanding of the customer journey and identifying new touch points where real value can be added makes a big difference to the customer service strategy.

For example, contacting new customers after their first order to ascertain satisfaction, using data to identify service features that customers are not using and may not be aware of, or contacting a customer post-complaint to double-check it was resolved to their satisfaction.

Success starts with people

Whilst a robust customer relationship management platform and knowledge base are in no doubt vital to create a great customer service strategy and deliver on it, these tools are reliant on accurate and rich data, up-to-date knowledge and proactive insight to drive improvement.

Empowering frontline advisors to manage knowledge bases ensures FAQs evolve quickly and remain relevant based on current customer feedback and sentiment.

Clearly, balancing the desire to inform and empower advisors whilst maintaining day-to-day service performance can be challenging. E-learning is a great asset here, enabling advisors to learn at their own pace, in bite-sized chunks, at a time and location of their choice.

Long-term value

To provide a great customer experience, businesses must move away from considering only short-term customer service strategy measures, and focus more on the lifetime value of each customer.

For example, financial pressures to recover outstanding payments from customers in debt can lead to a rise in customer dissatisfaction. Our research found that 50 per cent of customers who?d experienced debt collection felt harassed and 56 per cent of people on the receiving end of poor debt collection practices would switch provider.

Often, debt is simply a short-term blip for a customer. Connecting with and engaging customers and focusing on long-term customer value rather than short-term collection rate benefits, can rectify debt in a positive manner without damaging reputation and valued customer relationships.

The bottom line

Evidence increasingly shows businesses that provide a great customer experience outperform their competitors in terms of profit and growth.

Being proactive, really listening to customers, deploying engaged and empowered advisors, and taking a longer term view will create real value for customers.

Trust is a big issue, and arguably an organisation’s most valuable asset. Get customer service right, and loyalty, recommendation and trust will surely follow.

Chris Cullen is the head of sales and marketing at specialist outsourcer Echo Managed Services

Image: Shutterstock


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