When organizations invite me to speak at their conferences or train their team members, we start with trends that are impacting their customer relationships. Check out these four customer service trends along with some tips for capitalizing on them to boost your business...
1. Good service is wallpaper.
Today's customers are so busy with their multiple demands at home and work, and are so distracted by their mobile devices that they no longer even notice "good" service. That means your team may work all day long delivering consistent service and your reward will be zero. Today's customer only notices two types of service: 1) poor service 2) REMARKable service - literally. They need to be so impressed that they're motivated to remark or talk about your service. That brings us to trend number two and what they talk about.
2. 'Better' brands don't sell.
When your company faces tough competition, being better gets lost in the clutter. Lots of organizations claim to have better service. That's the problem. Customers don't believe it. Better doesn't motivate them to make significant changes when what they already have is reasonably good. What customers really want to know is what makes you unique. That requires you and your team members to explore options to do things differently. Get creative. Take calculated risks to test different ways of doing business. Disrupt your market. Give customers something different to talk about. Or one of your competitors will.
3. Choices just confuse.
Offering a vast array of products and services is no longer considered by customers to be helpful. If today's customers want to take the time and energy to explore choices, they can do an internet search and be instantly overwhelmed. Too many choices do not lead to customer purchases. They do lead to decision fatigue. This is where your team members can really stand out. Their role becomes to analyze customer needs, explore which options are best suited to satisfy those needs, and present two or three final candidates in the simplest fashion to make your customer's decision easier.
4. Retain vs blame.
This may seem counter-intuitive - in today's increasingly litigious society, it's more important than ever that organizations admit fault and make amends the moment they have a service slipup. It's not just that they could be sued and lose. Smart service providers have done the math and know that's it's much less costly to do the right thing for customers than to have disgruntled customers trashing your brand. Especially when social media messages can quickly go viral (an apt term since it effectively gives your brand a disease that makes other customers want to avoid you). The good news is that customers are wonderfully forgiving towards companies who quickly own their mistakes, and who do something to address the customer's hassle.
Bottom line: When we combine these trends we see the emergence of a theme. Growing your business with today's customers means you and your team members need to be EASY to do business with. That means coming up with unique business processes that make buying from you easier. It means narrowing the choices so that buying decisions are easier. And it means training your team members so that - even when things go wrong - they recover your customers' trust. Quickly and easily.
This article is based on the bestselling book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month by customer service strategist and Hall of Fame motivational speaker, Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com.