“Customer Service is just a day in, day out, ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity”, says Leon Gorman – the CEO of L.L.Bean. The cloud, however, makes it easier for businesses to apply effective best practices.
Not every customer is going to be happy with your service or product. There are times when you get it wrong, deliver it late, or render a service far below your customer expectations. When you do so, own up. Take responsibility for it, admit it and let your customers know beforehand. Are you taking your servers down for maintenance? Has there been a glitch in the software? Be proactive and inform your customers. Use applications like NetSuite to quickly and efficiently reach out to your customers.
Expect, embrace and register complaints
Delivering value by solving customers’ problems is a core part of your business; receive complaints just as passionately as you create and deliver your products and services. Put a system in place to receive these complaints. According to Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Don’t just listen to customer complaints, solve problems and let it go. Make case studies of some major complaints you deal with, write them down and share them with your team.
Typically, sales processes place an inordinate emphasis on following up with customers until they buy. The key to great customer service, however, is to follow-up after they buy, suggests Orit Pennington, owner of TPGTFX Label Solutions. Of course, using CRM tools simplify and speed up the follow-up process, but don’t forget to personalize the interaction.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is a phenomenal channel for businesses. You could not only use social media for brand building and management but also for customer service.
Dell is a good example for using Twitter as another channel for handing out discounts, sharing stories, and handling customer complaints. Naked Wines manages a Twitter account, in conjunction with their website, to handle customer complaints.
Companies typically use social media platforms:
- As a listening platform to track down relevant conversations and learn from them
- An opportunity to encourage interactions with existing and potential customers
- As a sales channel that pulls in leads, pre-sales questions, etc.
It’s the globalization 3.0 era – are you squeezing it for the juice?
Real time collaboration between teams scattered worldwide; live chat systems to engage with existing or potential clients; instant customer support thanks to support ticket systems with built-in escalation mechanisms to handle customer queries are just a few of the developments today that threaten to shatter the way we work. Globalization 3.0 – according to Thomas L. Friedman in this book The World Is Flat – is the era when humans talk to humans and machines talk to machines. That’s a big flattener.