Customer service is the backbone of any successful business. Without happy customers, very little is possible.
You want every person that interacts with your business to feel valued, supported and taken care of. This is true for every customer that steps foot in your business premises, every person that contacts your customer service centre or every user that interacts with your social media handles.
You want every person that interacts with your business to feel valued, supported and taken care of.
The importance of customer service
Exceptional customer service breeds consumer loyalty – an important function for all companies. Consider this: According to research firm Carson Consulting, it costs 20 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain the ones you already have.
Poor customer service experiences are the reason many Australians stop doing business with certain companies. According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 40 per cent of AU customers switch companies after one bad customer service experience.
Yet, the converse is also true, the study found that 72 per cent of Australian respondents reported spending more with a company as a result of pleasant customer service experiences. In fact, Aussie consumers claimed they were willing to pay 12 per cent more for good customer service.
Clearly, it pays to provide all of your patrons with an exceptional experience. So, the questions becomes: How?
The pillars of good customer service in Australia
For such a powerful tool, customer service is pretty simple to master – as long as you keep these five golden rules in mind:
1) Every interaction matters
Maintaining a consistent approach to interactions is arguably the hardest part of being a customer service professional – every moment you interact with a customer is critical. You need to be putting in the same effort with a midday Tuesday customer call as you do with a Friday evening request. This can be an exercise in patience and professionalism but it's SO important.
Every moment you interact with a customer is critical.
You don't want to provide your customers with an inconsistent experience. Remember: 44 per cent of Australians tell their friends about a good customer service experience but a whopping 60 per cent tell people about bad interactions.
2) Empathy is your best tool
We all know the phrase: Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Understanding other people's feelings based on their situations is an important tool in customer service. Consumers like to know their worries are understood and that the person they are speaking to feels for them.
Using phrasing like "I know where you're coming from" or "That would annoy me too" can help convey to your customers that you do care and you do want to help them move forward. This personal touch can make a big difference, especially with irritated customers.
3) Mistakes aren't failure, they're chances
It's easy to view an angry customer as a lost cause but the truth is, finding a solution to their problem is a way to build loyalty. American customer support company Groove HQ explains that you can turn disgruntled customers into life-long patrons by following the standard customer service rules: Hearing your customer out, empathising with their experience, apologising for the mistake, resolving the issue and pinpointing why the problem occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again.
It's easier to view an angry customer as a lost cause but the truth is, finding a solution to their problem is a way to build loyalty.
4) Quality and timeliness are your core drivers
You need to find a balance between timeliness and quality. Nobody wants to spend two hours resolving a simple issue but no one wants to be hurried through a solution either.
A study by Gallup found that customers who received speedy service were six times more likely to be engaged. Yet, when customers submitted high ratings for people factors, like manners and willingness to help, they were nine times more likely to be completely engaged. So, if you have to focus on one area, focus in on quality but adding speed is twice as nice.
5) Customer satisfaction starts with employee satisfaction
Exceptional customer service doesn't exist without your employees. As such, their happiness and wellbeing is a core driver of your company's customer service quality.
Research shows that when employees have high levels of job satisfaction, customer satisfaction levels increase as a result. More than that, customers at companies with happy employees are twice as likely to become repeat patrons for that business. Bottom line: Investing in the happiness of your employees is investing in the satisfaction of your customers.
Perfecting Australian customer service
Customer service is a skill that can be mastered with the right training. That's where Barringtons comes in. We offer a range of customer service training courses. From a 12-month comprehensive to a series of short online classes – we can cater our courses to your customer service needs. To learn more about how Barringtons can help improve customer service in your organisation reach out to one of our team members today!