Something that used to be an extra mile yesterday is common practice now. Who can blame customers for that? It is not about them being spoiled. Times are changing and companies are not selling “just” products anymore. They are trying to provide whole experience and putting the product in a cart and checking out is the beginning, not the end of seller-customer relationship.
It’s in every business interest to provide excellence all the time. Competition is waiting out there watching for signs of weakness and then, logically, will strike and try to take the customers away. Nevertheless, there is a way how to ensure you will not be affected by this. You may ask how?
Deliver 100%. Every. Single. Time. Offline or online.
This may sound like something out of the Great book of cliché but bear with us for a while. Optimizations and acts to make customer support more effective are completely understandable from financial perspective. Still, sometimes it may be good to think in a long term and trust us - delighted customer will not leave you easily. Have a good look at you support team and think - isn't this the time to put flexibility ahead of efficiency?
“More and more customers prefer buying goods and services on the internet as it provides greater flexibility, speed and choice. As a result, organisations are adding more and more content to their websites, which is fueling the customer's thirst for knowledge. However, what they are often missing is that this increase in knowledge is leading to an increase in questions of a more complex nature. As a result, “there is a growing requirement for good online support as well as traditional offline support for those customers who need or want it”, says customer service expert Derek Bishop.
Make sure you are prepared for managing customer expectations at all costs. Let's start with the offline support. Transparency and clear set of rules are the keys to achieve excellence in customer service. Everyone browsing your website should be offered help no matter what. In case your agents are out of office and their business hours are over, customers need to be aware of this fact.
Do not let them to wait in line for a live chat or a phone call which may never happen. Knowledge base and FAQ sections are good way to start. If self-help solutions will not be sufficient, make sure that your customers have an option to contact you offline. Your agents can pick up their messages when they get back to work. This may sound pretty obvious but many companies out there struggle to manage customer expectations.
Why is managing expectations crucial for your business?
Did you know that EasyJet Airlines almost prevented the world's first windpipe transplant by refusing to allow the courier to board the plane? If they would have been clear and transparent about their rules, no such situation would occur.
Thankfully someone with a private jet stepped in to transport the courier and the precious cargo inside the crucial 14-hour timeframe, but lesson needs to be learned from this case. It is absolutely crucial that managing customer expectations is explicit and coherent between your marketing materials, self-help section and support agents.
The courier trying to transport the stem cells was quoted as saying, "I phoned and couldn't get through, I emailed and didn't get replies". Situation like this would never happen if there were clear escalation paths and transparency. Over-promising nearly harmed somebody's life. We are very well aware that this is rather extreme case, but trust us - you do not want to be next EasyJet.