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Quality Service: The Critical Factor for Keeping Your Customers

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My feet are awful. They are narrow, flat, bony, and missing their instep. Throw in wobbly ankles and it is very tough for me to find shoes that fit properly.

There are literally hundreds of shoe stores within a 10-mile radius of my house. Yet, for all of my footwear needs I insist on driving 12 miles to get to my favorite store. Do you know why? It’s not because I can’t find my favorite brands elsewhere. It’s not because they always have the best price.

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The sole reason I shop exclusively at DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse is because everyone in the company has treated me with respect and understanding throughout all of my shoe-shopping shenanigans.

You see, in order to find shoes that fit well I need to try on a multitude of brands and sizes. This means that every time I need new shoes, I have to buy boxes of them and wear each pair around the house before I know if they are going to work for me. Then, I return or exchange every pair until I find one that I love and that keeps my feet happy. It’s an unfortunate case of trial-and-error.

However, through all of this rigamarole, the DSW customer service has been top notch. The reps have never been critical or annoyed. In fact, because of all my purchases, they have granted me “Premier” status in which I get free overnight shipping AND I earn a multitude of “Purchase Points” which accumulate to give me significant reward discounts.

I have tried explaining to the DSW customer reps that I’m not worthy of the rewards, seeing that I return most of what I buy. However, they continually insist that I keep the discounts, hoping I use them happily.

Do you see what they are doing here? They are going above-and-beyond to take care of me and my specific needs. This not only keeps me happy but it ensures that I will always go back to them for more shoe purchases. The bonus? I now also shop exclusively at DSW for my entire family.

It’s a win-win situation for both company and customer.

Customer Service Stats You Need to Know

These statistics compiled by Invesp prove that good customer service is king:

  • 89% of consumers have stopped shopping at online stores after experiencing poor customer service.
  • It costs a company 7 times more money to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.
  • 55% of consumers would pay more for a better experience.

In 2004, a McKinsey survey of bank customers in Belgium, Germany, and Italy concluded that emotions drive perceived value.

When a consumer experienced a positive customer service interaction, their perceived value of the purchased product increased by 58 percent. When a consumer experienced a negative customer service interaction, the perceived value of the purchased product decreased by 14 percent.

Why Customer Service Reigns Over All Other Factors

Net Promoter, a company that measures how well an organization treats its customers, conducted a survey of over 1,200 customers asking how strongly they agreed with or disagreed with questions regarding traits of their utility company. It was determined that the three top traits that are most likely to delight customers are:

  1. Makes me feel like a valued customer
  2. Keeps promises
  3. Good service

Why is it that the traits which are focused on customer service receive such high rankings?

Rob Markey of Bain & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms has an answer. He wrote that the automation of most simple customer service needs have left “only the most difficult and emotionally fraught issues for human resolution.” He also points out that, “customers won’t tolerate for long the kind of unresponsive, unenthusiastic, and unempathetic employees that so many encounter today.”

In other words, customers have been forced to resolve their own questions and concerns through digital or automated means even though they would rather talk to a person who is willing to listen to the details of a problem and customize a satisfactory solution.

The truth is, most people would rather not deal with a robot and are willing to pay with both their wallet and their loyalty in order to get the personal care they feel they deserve.

What Can YOU Do?

What can you do to increase the customer service of your brand?

By and large, the biggest hurdle to giving your customers the service they desire isn’t cost, inconvenience, or training issues. The biggest hurdle is your attitude. Once you push aside your own objectives and concerns and truly care about the same things that your customer cares about, the reciprocity between company and customer will come naturally.

If you’re looking for specific ideas, here they are:

  • Have the right attitude: Don’t think of customer service as a necessity or a means to an end. Think of it as an opportunity to form positive relationships.
  • Hire the right people: When your employees naturally exude the attitudes of kindness and service, your customers will feel it.
  • Answer the right questions: Don’t ask generic questions such as “Can I help you with anything?” Instead, you’ll be much more able to help when you ask specific questions such as, “Can I walk you through the ordering process?”
  • Respond to concerns the right way: Customer reviews are a powerful tool and can significantly sway potential customers for or against you. One way to mitigate a customer’s poor experience is by responding quickly and appropriately to every concern.
  • Pay attention to the right cues: If your customers are leaving feedback regarding a service or product detail that they wish your company would offer, it’s obvious that you should turn a listening ear. However, the cues are not always obvious. For example, if you notice that your customers like to shop on your website early in the morning, make sure your customer reps are available during those times.
  • Nurture the right customer: By caring about the right customer, random patronage will naturally develop into a loyal relationship. Who is the right customer? EVERY customer!

When you implement these ideas (along with some of your own), your company’s so-so customer service have the potential to leap into the territory of greatness. Your customers will notice and be happy to pay you back in dividends.

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About the Author

Bryan Peterson

Bryan Peterson is a Community Outreach Specialist at ROI Call Center Solutions. Bryan’s focus includes writing about technology, business management and anything that interests him. Bryan is committed to helping individuals discover new ideas and expand their horizons.

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