Author: Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends and Technologies Expert
Most companies believe that they are customer-centric and want to know their needs. But what do customers think? According to studies conducted by Bain & Company in the US or Valoria in Romania, although 80% of companies say they offer a superior consumer experience, only 8% of customers agree.
Consumer expectations are hard to exceed, especially in this pandemic period. And yet, there are three directions that companies can follow to be the number one option for customers:
1. Quality tops the speed
We all like our problems to be solved quickly and efficiently when we contact a company. But what makes us repeatedly use the services or products of a particular company? There is only one answer. Quality of service!
According to the Valoria survey “Buying behaviors in the digital consumer era”, 48% of consumers say they would be willing to pay more for time-saving services and very good shopping experience.
It seems that the main reason why customers turn to a particular provider is the combination of fast service and quality. But let's not bet just on the speed. Eventually, a rude and incompetent but fast-paced staff ceases to make the company an option for consumers.
Despite this, most companies continue to use speed as the main measure of customer service quality. Transport, courier, online commerce companies, and many more emphasize the speed as a performance indicator and turn it into an asset of quality. Allocating extra time to deliver the right service to quality standards, communication style, and customer service could bring them substantial benefits. They increase customer retention and convert them into promoters of the company's services.
So, eliminate speed as a measure of quality and focus on the correct delivery of the service. Never rush the customer when this approach affects the perception of added value you create.
2. Connecting with the consumer
In 2020, it is no longer enough to be friendly and efficient in solving customer questions. You also need to connect with them.
Usually, the customer service representative listens to the customer and finds out through an approach based on a series of polite questions to explore his/her needs. If the sales reps do not understand what motivates the client, he will not be successful in managing it. The connection with the client is made in terms of values and motivations.
Good customer service results in customer satisfaction, customer return, and company growth. Poor customer service, except in monopolistic situations, generally leads to consumer dissatisfaction, low customer retention, and reduced revenue.
In the run-up to the pandemic, it was easier. Interactions with customers were mostly direct and "in person". It was easier to see their condition and the challenges they faced. The wide smile, the friendly reception, the handshake, and the sensory nature of the interaction made the connection easier.
With remote work, how do you connect with them? Well, the script of the customer service representative is good to allow the authenticity of the communicator. Greater freedom for employees makes them happier at work and helps them connect more easily with customers.
3. Additional involvement
According to the verbatim answers to the study Valoria "Buying behaviors in the era of digital consumers", when consumers remember the best consumer experience most remember the representative of a company that does more than the consumer expects to receive.
A handwritten thank you note, a birthday cake, a baby toy, or other pleasant surprises can increase the company's reputation, grow the business, and keep consumers loyal. These types of ideas keep customers loyal and make the company the warm recommendation to friends and family.
From time to time, a customer allows companies to discover what a truly memorable service means. It is the example of a father who called the hotel reception where he stayed with his child in connection with the toy he had forgotten. The hotel representatives not only sent the toy home but wrote that the plush giraffe spent more time on vacation. Also, they attached a set of pictures with moments from the stay spent by the toy. If a hotel did this for your child, would you stay anywhere else?
Try to think of something memorable that you can do for each client. Also, if you ever have the opportunity to do more for a particular client, then do it!
Today's customer service is not about telling people how great you are, but how important they are. It's about creating memorable experiences that speak in your favor. Provide quality, stay connected with the consumer, bring extra involvement.
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Constantin Măgdălina has 10 years of working experience, while he performed in multinationals both in Romania and abroad. Constantin has a master’s degree in Marketing and Business Communication at the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest. He is certified Lean Six Sigma and ITIL which provide him a good understanding of processes and transformations within organizations. The Chartered Institute of Marketing certification furthered on complemented his expertise and knowledge in business. In those over 4 years working activity in a Big4 company, he initiated and conducted studies which analyzed different aspects related to the business environment in Romania such as the economic growth predictions of companies in 2013-2016, knowledge management, the buying experience in the age of digital consumers, social media 2013-2015, the utilization of mobile devices in Romania. He is the author of numerous articles on topics related to innovation, the efficiency of business processes, social media, the consumers’ buying experience in the age of digital, trends and emergent technologies. He is invited as a speaker at numerous events and business conferences.