Top Customer Service Experts Provide Advice For Improving Customer Service in 2017
I have been reading about customer service a lot lately because I know that great customer experience and retention is a key element to growing the business in 2017 (and beyond). As I am focused on how to improve customer service, I wanted to share some of the impactful articles written by some of the top customer service experts that I have come across in the past several weeks.
1. Employees Matter in Customer Service
Denise Lee Yohn
Denise’s recent HBR article, Design Your Employee Experience as Thoughtfully as You Design Your Customer Experience, argues that managers already know how to improve customer experience significantly. They simply need to start applying customer service and experience principles to HR practices to improve employee engagement. She discusses how commonly used customer experience design tools and principles can be applied to employee engagement and recognition programs, such as:
- Needs-based segmentation
- Values-based rewards
- Lifecycle mapping & planning
Denise Lee Yohn is a leading authority on building and positioning exceptional brands, and has 25 years of experience working with world-class brands including Sony and Frito-Lay. Denise is a consultant, speaker, and author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest and the e-book Extraordinary Experiences: What Great Retail and Restaurant Brands Do.
2. Hire & Provide Training for Essential Customer Service Skills
Help Scout provides us with great tips on how to hire and/or train for the right skills for a great customer service associate in their blog, 15 Customer Service Skills that Every Employee Needs. They abhor the generic “people person” skill and get into specific, important skills that each of your employees should have to create the “WOW” factor for your customers. Included in their list of the top 15 essential customer service skills are:
- Ability to Use “Positive Language”
- Calming Presence
Help Scout is a customer experience software development company, whose team is motivated to help Help Scout customers build a company people love to do business with. They do this by providing quality products, online classes, world-class guides and helpful essays—all designed to bring about long-term success for your business.
3. For Great Customer Loyalty, Think Like Uber
Leading your team to deliver more loyalty-inspiring customer experiences is your only sustainable path to growth.
We live in a new world of Google Reviews, Yelp, Trip Advisors, Rotten Tomatoes and Real Patient Ratings. While online ratings and reviews threaten mediocre or poorly-run companies, those like Uber who know what customers love – and who consistently deliver it – greatly benefit.
Their loyal customers sing their praises to neighbors, friends and colleagues- all amplified by the social media community. Positive testimonials from current customers attract new customers – at zero cost – thus driving profitable sales growth. That’s why Forrester research reports that 73% of CEOs say their growth strategy includes delivering a superior customer experience.
You can borrow some concepts from Uber to improve your own customer experience program. For example, make sure that your customer survey methods are optimized across all channels where your customer wants to be reached, but most importantly that it is mobile optimized.
Jack Mackey is a member of Crestcom’s leadership development faculty and helps large retail companies drive profitable sales growth by creating loyalty-inspiring customer and employee experiences. In more than a decade at SMG, and as a Founding Member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), Jack has advised senior executives from more than 600 B2C companies on customer experience measurement, technology, and unique new customer insights.
4. Align on Your Customer Service Vision
Shep decided to forgo his usual “17 customer service tips for 2017” type blog to focus on just one customer service tip: Alignment. In his blog, The One Thing We Must Do To Create A Customer Focused Culture, his advice is to align your team around your customer service vision, which should be a statement that is clear and concise. Part of the alignment journey is to show each individual on your team how they contribute to your customer service vision by mapping out your customer touchpoints and showing how everyone on the team contributes to each touchpoint.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author.
5. When Clients Ask For Discounts
I wanted to include Jurgen’s Entrepreneur article, When Clients Ask for Discounts, Ask Them… Why?, because customer service isn’t about always saying, “Yes.” It’s also about your integrity as a professional and a brand. Jurgen provides his experience as a keynote speaker to scenarios that many managers and leaders have had to navigate with clients—the discount negotiation. His advice for responses are well thought out and professional. Most importantly, they balance the needs and expectations of his clients with a sense of his professional expertise and brand worth.
Jurgen Appelo is CEO of the business network Happy Melly. He is an entrepreneur, speaker, illustrator and blogger and the author of Managing for Happiness.
6. Prioritize Customer Feedback
SurveyMonkey’s data-driven article on why businesses need to prioritize customer feedback is as compelling as it is enlightening. Their research shows that brands that measure their Net Promoter® Score are a third more likely to experience at least a 10% annual growth rate. They also show that the simple act of asking for and measuring feedback improves customer retention, even if that feedback is ignored. Other tangible reasons for prioritizing customer satisfaction surveys and feedback discussed in this article full of important data and helpful resources are:
- Answering important questions about your business, product/service, industry, market, etc.
- Creating a customer-focused culture
- Personalizing your customer relationships to increase satisfaction and retention
- Improving loyalty and customer experience
SurveyMonkey is the world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions, helping people gather the insights they need to make more informed decisions.
Do You Need to Improve Customer Service & Retention?
What is your plan for improving customer service? Have you developed a Customer Retention Plan to make sure you are not losing customers? Perhaps you will be investing in customer service training or leadership development to improve processes and customer experience.