John Vachalek October 7, 2013

Defining a Memorable Customer Service Experience

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With the advent of a more empowered consumer, many companies are raising the bar on the specific customer service experience that they seek to provide.  Specifically defining how key customer touch points are to be handled is an important part of the experiential marketing process.

Every customer service experience, and frankly, any interaction with anyone, from the sales floor to the billing department, has the potential of creating your company’s strongest online consumer advocate or your worst enemy.

The Impact of Online Customer Reviews

The research on the exact percentages is all over the board, but the fact of the matter is that more and more consumers are reading reviews before they make purchases and what others have to say is having a huge impact on these purchasing decisions. Some of the numbers cited from articles and blogs include:

  • 86% of consumers read online business reviews before making purchasing
  • 80% of people have changed a purchase decision due to a bad review they read
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business
  • 65% of consumers read between 2-10 reviews before making a purchase

In this type of environment, it is critical to ensure that customers, and even potential customers, are happy about every customer service experience thet have with you and your products.

Customer Service Dialogues

Let’s take a look at some sample dialogues:

Best Buy
Once you’ve worked your way through the phone tree (still somewhat tedious), Best Buy reps answer the phone, “Hello and thank you for calling My Best Buy, with whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?” A simple greeting like this has a way of setting a nice tone for the rest of a call, or even defusing any possible hostility.

Once the main purpose of the call has been addressed, callers are asked, “Have I answered all your questions today? Is there anything else that I can help you with? This is a great way to make sure the caller feels like the rep is willing to go the extra mile for them.

Finally, at the end of each call, the rep say, “Thank you for choosing Best Buy.” This gives the caller affirmation that the company knows that consumers have a choice and makes them know that the company appreciates their continued business.

I was recently on a chat session with AT&T support, and while the technical matter was being resolved, the following text conversation occurred:

AT&T: If you don’t mind me asking, how is your overall
experience with AT&T?
Me: It has been very good except for the $45 charge that I just received for a 14
minute call to Seoul. This was a bit of surprise. This is why I want to disable
the ability for this to happen again.
AT&T: John, if I waive the $45 international charge on your account, will I bring back the
smile on your face?
Me: Oh yes! That would be fantastic!

It’s Emotional
The other interesting observation about negative reviews and feedback is that these are far more emotional than product based. Extremely poor reviews are usually the result of a frustrating customer service experience, where no other outlet is available to the consumer to vent their pent up, resulting anxiety.

How to Use This Information
The world of customer service has forever changed. Those companies who master it will get better reviews and generate increased sales. Those who do not will be left behind.  What are the keys to providing world-class customer service?

  1. Be accessible – If your customers use your product or service on a 24/7 basis, you should be available 24/7 to address their questions/concerns. There is nothing that builds anxiety worse than not being able to resolve an issue. You should make it as easy as possible for the person with an issue to reach the person who can resolve this for them.
  2. Empower your front line – Make sure that anyone who has customer interactions is capable and/or empowered to resolve customer issues. The more you can empower your front line team people to fix issues, or even better, create a neat unexpected positive experience for your customers, the better your online reviews will be.
  3. Continually ask – in the AT&T example above, I was asked about my overall experience with AT&T.  All reoccurring or repeat customers should be asked for their input on a regular basis. If your model is more of a one-time sale or service, you should also get used to asking about how you are doing.
  4. Continually listen – Never in history have your customers been so willing and accustomed to providing you with suggestions, ideas and input. Make sure that you are listening to them and making adjustments in your business to create a better overall customer experience.
  5. Thank people – Each time your customer service team communicates with someone (phone call, instant chat, via a letter or promotion), take the opportunity to thank your customers for their business.  As well, every time you ask someone to take the time and share their ideas or feedback be sure to thank them.  You can do this via a great coupon, a discount or even a monthly drawing for all those who have taken the time to help make you better.

If you would like help evaluating your current customer service experience, or if you would like help eliminate the potential of future poor reviews, please call Webolutions web design and marketing agency at 303-300-2640. We believe in making a difference in people’s lives and would be happy to provide you with a complimentary one-on-one evaluation to help you put together a more effective marketing program.

Please share your customer service stories and insights with our readers.  Do you have a horrible customer service example?  Do you want to share a story about something amazing that happened to you?

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