How to make your customer service soar

A global study by customer experience expert Verint found that 81 per cent of customers really just want their questions answered. Sometimes it's a matter of getting the basics right. Verint's Graeme Gabriel writes.

The Wright Brothers made history in 1903 with the world’s first successful powered aircraft flight. Fast-forward 100 years, and what once was considered a miracle is now ingrained into the everyday culture of a more connected world.

More than 100,000 flights take place every day and the UK aviation industry generates £60 billion in revenue, and has its sights set on further growth.

As an example of this growth, major airlines including Emirates, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, all reported impressive profit increases this year. Virgin, for example, has often put its success down to its emphasis on providing the best customer experience possible. The philosophy is simple, yet effective: “Brilliant Basics” paired with “Magic Touches”.

What can other businesses learn from this approach to improve customer service and achieve the same successes as other business high-fliers?

Get the basics right

After polling 18,000 consumers across nine countries, we found 81 per cent of customers just want their questions answered. Getting the basics right is clearly an important element for success. It all starts with setting clear standards for customer operations and rolling them out across the whole workforce.

Outlining expectations and ensuring staff are on the same page is key to delivering a universal experience for all customers.

Training is integral. Customer service agents must be properly trained to harness their potential and ensure that they have the tools with which to help provide the best service possible.

This is especially important when interacting across multiple channels. Achieving and exceeding customer expectations can drive loyalty and customer retention, so getting these mechanisms in place is a great foundation to improving offerings.

Customers are becoming less tolerant of businesses that fail to get the basics right, and will quickly switch to competitors if they feel they could get better service elsewhere. Failing to meet customer demands could see you losing out on business to those you compete against.

Ramping it up a notch

Only when the basics are in place is it time for businesses to add the extra touches that can differentiate them from competitors. These measures can make customers feel valued, with our research indicating almost two thirds of customers would tell friends and family about positive experiences. When this happens you’ve started to grow brand ambassadors – one of the most coveted weapons a business can wield.

Teams need to think creatively and understand the customers they’re dealing with to provide outstanding service. Dominos was even able to save one customer’s life after staff noticed he’d broken his normal ordering routine.

Personalised service is not always literally a matter of life and death, but our research found that for 89 per cent of people, good service makes them feel more positive about a brand.

Giving customers what they want

The key to balancing the basics and the extras is understanding what your customers really want. Customer analytics can help give management information to front-line staff so they can understand customer data at a glance.

When a business has to go beyond solving a simple question, understanding the customer’s history with the company can make the difference between good and bad service.

One thing is key to this dynamic: transparency. Customers want to have good service, and are often happy to share some of their information in return.

Businesses that are not transparent with how they use customer data threaten the trust of their consumers, while organisations that transparently work with their customers to deliver better service will reap the rewards.

Final thoughts

Delivering a service that soars comes from harnessing the information businesses have available to them. Beyond this it’s integral to show your workforce how to use this intelligence, and nurture a culture that wants to do well by customers.

From a start-up to an enterprise business, this approach to service is tried and tested to make you a business high flier.

Graeme Gabriel is a strategic back office WFO consultant at Verint.

Jon Sumner

Jon Sumner

Experienced director of digital media with a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry. Strong media and communication professional skilled in media sales, digital strategy, web development,...

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