As consumers are more knowledgeable, tech-savvy and demanding than ever, providing quality customer service has become essential to thriving in this consumer-driven economy. However, while 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service. So what stands for outstanding customer service in the eyes of consumers and why is it so vital?
Delivering good service is a key ingredient in a company’s ability to maintain long-term profitability in today’s diverse and highly competitive marketplace. The Microsoft’s 2018 State of Global Customer Service Report revealed that an overwhelming 95% of respondents cite customer service as important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand.
And what’s more, consumers don’t just expect great service, they are ready to pay for it. The Genesys State of Customer Experience research found that one in three consumers is actually willing to pay more to receive a higher level of service. While according to Aspect Software’s 2018 Consumer Experience Index survey, two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay for great customer service, with 31% willing to pay as much as 10% more for exceptional service.
The NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report also indicated that 55% of consumers would be more loyal, 47% would recommend the business to others, 26% would use the company more frequently and would spend more money if provided with better customer service.
The Customer Service Benchmark Report by SuperOffice showed that 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails. Being easily accessible through various support channels, acknowledging service requests and actually responding to customers in a timely manner are must-have aspects of great customer care.
2. Speed and Efficiency
Modern consumers are impatient and demand their service requests handled quickly and effectively. A study conducted by CMO council found that the most important attribute of good customer service, according to the customers’ themselves, is a fast response time. First contact resolution is also critical as consumers hate having to contact a company over and over again regarding the same issue.
Professional competence of frontline employees, including excellent product/ service knowledge and expertise, is one of the most essential characteristics of quality customer service. Stats say that 84% of customers are frustrated when the service agent does not have information (ThinkJar), while 29% switch brands because of poor staff knowledge (NewVoiceMedia).
Common courtesy – being polite, friendly and following proper service etiquette when interacting with customers – is actually a foundation of high quality customer service. The level of courtesy demonstrated by service employees greatly affects a customer’s experience – in fact, 73% of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand, according to the survey by RightNow.
Creating consistency in experiences is becoming of greater importance as consumers use multiple channels to engage with brands and increasingly demand consistent, effortless and unified service experience across every touch point during every interaction. A study by McKinsey revealed that a consistent customer experience across the entire customer journey increases customer satisfaction and builds trust.
In addition to excellent product expertise and basic customer service soft skills, there are certain major qualities and characteristics that are absolutely necessary for service reps to ensure customer service quality.
1. Passion for helping others
Frontline employees should be naturally passionate about customer service and helping people. If an agent is not willing to engage with customers and does not actually enjoy assisting others – it would be nearly impossible to create an emotional connection with them and deliver a delightful and memorable service experience.
Being able to put oneself in customers’ shoes, truly understand and relate to their feelings is an integral part of excellent customer care. Showing empathy is especially important when service agents have to deal with angry customers – it helps to soothe their frustration even if immediate solution to their problem cannot be provided.
3. Positive attitude
As customer service jobs are usually stressful by nature, maintaining a positive attitude allows support reps to better handle challenging situations, interact with unhappy customers, overcome job-related stress and prevent burnout. It also translates into positive experiences for customers and improved customer satisfaction.
4. Good communication
Customer service representatives need to be top-notch communicators at all levels. Apart from excellent oral and written communication skills and an ability to use positive language, it also means being a great listener in order to understand what a customer is trying to get across and then responding in a proper way.
Customer service is mostly all about resolving customers’ queries, that’s why problem solving ability is a fundamental characteristic of a good service professional. Essentially, problem-solving involves clear understanding of the problem, coming up with potential solutions, presenting the best possible solution, and then actually implementing it successfully
“Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.”
“Great customer service doesn’t mean that the customer is always right, it means that the customer is always honored.”
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.”
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.”
“You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be too easily duplicated. But a strong customer service culture cannot be copied.”
“When you serve the customer better, they always return on your investment.” – Kara Parlin
“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”
“Good service is good business.”
“The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.”
William H. Davidow
“Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.”
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