Every era believes it has made a remarkable stride in an idea that has been existing for ages. “how to be great at customer service” falls right under this category. A quick search on customer service generates countless resources. It’s not that we lack knowledge in this area; the real issue lies in our inconsistent application of the principles we’ve picked up over time.

Earning brand ambassadors

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the brands around me. The first one that pops into my mind is Samsung. From my laptop and mobile to the TV and DVD player – they’re all from Samsung. Yet, I’ve never had a conversation with a Samsung representative. My loyalty to this brand has been largely influenced by my friends and family. They’ve inadvertently acted as Samsung’s marketers, tech support, and sales reps – fostering my loyalty.

Establishing customer loyalty goes beyond retaining a customer; it’s about creating an environment where the customer becomes an ambassador of your brand. A significant element in achieving this is the perception of service.

Measuring Customer Experience

Consider this: two people experience the same event but interpret it completely differently. A typical example would be a couple describing their first date – while one thought it was brilliant, the other may have found it terrible. However, they both assume that their partner shares their viewpoint. This discrepancy often unfolds in customer service scenarios.

Customers approach an organisation with a particular expectation, typically, a problem they need solved. But when they’re forced into a labyrinth of automated responses or poor communication, their satisfaction dwindles. From the organisation’s perspective, ticking all the boxes on their checklist equates to a satisfied customer. Unfortunately, they fail to notice the customer’s dwindling loyalty through what they have experienced until it’s completely extinguished. This pattern isn’t just applicable to customers; it also affects employees. Remember, excellent customer service begins internally.

Creating Internal Customer Service

Let’s delve into this from the perspective of an employee providing customer service. The sentiment of being unhappy with one’s job is often noticeable in daily interactions, potentially affecting customers’ perception of the organisation. So, what’s causing this job dissatisfaction?

When low morale takes root in an organisation, employees may start feeling desolate. Overburdened employees, especially post-restructuring, are expected to accomplish more without adequate remuneration or training. This leads to a decrease in job satisfaction, prompting a higher turnover rate, which organisations often dismiss as an industry norm. To remedy this, some organisations resort to micromanagement – but this isn’t a viable solution.

Micromanagement, unfortunately, communicates a lack of trust and can further dishearten employees. Organisations must invest their resources in what they value most.

The answer is to create an ethos of internal customer service. The approach to managing teams needs to be re-evaluated. Organisations should demonstrate the same excellence towards employees as they expect in customer interactions. This means teams collaborate with each other as if they were customers.  Leaders measure and monitor employee experience, as intently as they do with their customers.

Values – The Heart of Exceptional Customer Service

Company values extend beyond mere words on a website or in commercials. They represent the actions practised daily by management and are replicated by employees. Gratitude should be an organisation’s initial impression – gratitude for a customer’s business and an employee’s commitment.

1. The Importance Of Valuing Employees

When organisations make a conscious effort to value their employees, it serves as a catalyst, inspiring them to reach their fullest potential. It is this appreciation that breathes new life into their roles, transforming what once felt like mundane tasks into a career they genuinely love and look forward to each day.

Moreover, this sentiment doesn’t just remain within them. It radiates outwards, infecting others with their enthusiasm. The pride they take in their work and the sense of accomplishment they feel becomes a powerful contagion. It spreads throughout the organisation, creating a positive, energetic work environment that motivates everyone to strive for excellence.

Therefore, businesses must consistently show appreciation to their employees, acknowledging their contributions and celebrating their achievements. By doing so, they foster a culture of engagement, where employees feel connected to their work and the organisation.

2. Valuing and Appreciating Customers

The importance of valuing customers cannot be overstated. Customers that don’t feel appreciated or taken for granted, will, in due course, seek alternatives. However, when customers genuinely feel valued, it fosters a long-lasting, beneficial relationship.

To start with, single transactions no longer remain one-off experiences. Instead, they transform into repeat business, solidifying the customer’s relationship with the organisation. As trust builds, customers become more understanding, even when confronted with price increases or other changes in the product or service offering.

Additionally, the power of a valued customer extends beyond just their business. They often evolve into enthusiastic brand ambassadors, promoting the organisation within their networks. This word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly beneficial, attracting new customers and expanding the organisation’s reach.

What’s more, valued customers are more forgiving during unforeseen circumstances. Whether it’s a delivery delay or a product mishap, customers who feel appreciated are more likely to show patience and understanding.

It is, therefore, crucial for organisations to continuously evaluate their company values to ensure they remain aligned with their commitment to valuing customers. While the core values that form the organisation’s identity should stay consistent, how these values are put into practice must adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs and expectations of both customers and employees.

Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionise customer service by providing quicker and more personalised responses, eliminating waiting times and enhancing overall customer experience, according to Forbes.  AI can handle a broad range of tasks, from answering FAQs to handling complex queries using natural language processing. This automation not only boosts efficiency but also allows human customer service agents to focus on more complex tasks.

Take Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, for example. These AI-powered virtual assistants have changed how we interact with brands, making the process seamless and engaging. With the continual advancements in AI and machine learning, the customer service landscape will keep evolving to be more efficient, personalised, and customer-centric.

An organisation that masters the art of exceptional customer service will propel itself in the right direction, gaining a reputation as a fantastic place to do business and start a rewarding career.