Customer Service Week: 4 Tips for Customer Service Excellence

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Delivering great customer service is a necessity and organizations that are not yet successfully doing this are losing their customers to competitors.

Customers have high expectations and only organizations that deliver on these high expectations will be successful. When delivery falls short of their expectations, customers will simply vote with their feet and go to a competitor.At a time when so many organizations are offering similar products and services, the differentiator is often great service. And if they want to be successful, companies need to make sure they're deliver the best possible service, both before money exchanges hands but more importantly after.

There are a number of companies that are managing to deliver on their promises and wowing customers with a great experience. Much of their success is due to executives that are customer advocates and who are always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience. Yesterday 1to1 Media recognized 12 individuals who are true champions of customers in our 10th 1to1 Customer Champions award.

As my colleague, Tom Hoffman, mentioned on Tuesday, we are currently marking Customer Service Week. In observance of this, Matthew Storm, director of innovations and solutions at NICE Systems, shares the top four essentials that companies need to put in place to deliver great customer service.

Get close and personal: Storm notes that organizations need to understand their customers and their needs, wants, and preferences in a very individualized and personalized way. "It's more than simply segmenting customers but really understanding their individual needs," he stresses. This requires looking at the entire customer journey across the multiple channels and over time.

Engage employees to deliver engaged experience: Delivering great customer service requires a hands-on approach and organizations cannot succeed unless their employees are empowered to deliver this experience. Storm says rewards and training need to be focused on individual experiences. He recommends using gamification to engage employees and help them improve their skills, identifying areas of improvement that are personalized to each staff members.

Give information in real time: Customers are used to very relevant interactions and expect these in real time. Therefore frontliners need to be equipped with the real time information and guidance to improve the customer experience. As Storm notes, it's no use getting the data after an angry customer has already hung up the phone or left the store.

Turn data into insights: Successfully delivering great customer service depends on having the right information in hand. While organizations are gathering a lot of data, not all of them are successfully crunching the numbers and turning them into actionable insights. "Go beyond the numbers and see what insights they're hiding," Storm suggests.

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EXPERT OPINION