New Ways To Approach Customer Service

Back in the day and even still today for some brands (yes I’m talking to you cable providers and some airlines) connecting to customer service meant picking up a telephone and waiting on hold for 15 grueling minutes before being mysteriously disconnected. Thankfully, there are many new ways to conduct customer service and many brands have caught on to the fact that outright customer disregard doesn’t fare well in the digital space.

Today, customer service is no longer about fielding customer calls – it’s about crafting a fantastic, useful and emotionally pleasing customer experience based on the realities of our digital-centric world. Today’s consumers simply expects more from brands – and brands need to understand and respond to customer wants when it comes to how they provide customer service, particularly the ways in which brands UNDERSTAND customers, LISTEN to customers, ENGAGE with customers, RESPOND to customer complaints/issues and ACKNOWLEDGE customer praise and brand loyalty.

UNDERSTAND
It’s no longer enough to have a “pretty good” sense of the audience(s) buying your product or service. Brands today have to truly understand their customers – this means discerning everything from emotional needs and media behaviors to device preferences and potential purchase barriers.

One of the best ways brands can achieve customer understanding is by mapping out customer journeys. With digital offering so many channels, touch points, delivery devices, etc., today’s brands really need to take time to visualize the digital customer experience (while also factoring in offline touches). By anticipating the paths of audiences, brands can ensure seamless and memorable experiences across different channels, devices, and business departments.

Who’s Doing It Right?
Jack Erwin is a men’s shoe startup that really gets its. Rather than simply selling shoes online, the high-end retailer learned that its customers also craved a physical connection with the product. This input prompted them to create two distinct customer paths
– one online and the other in-store. The result is a minimalist, curated and communal experience that puts the customer first – both in the real world and in the virtual one.

LISTEN
The days of one-way communication (from brands to consumers) are over. Thanks to the advent of the internet and the explosion of social channels, today’s brands receive public feedback from their customers (whether they like it or not) via online forums, review sites like Yelp, Google+ Local and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat — the list goes on. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, smart brands actively listen to their customers and use both positive and negative feedback to improve overall customer experiences. There are many platforms and tools out there to help marketers and brands discover conversations around their brand, their competitors, their industry in general to discover opportunities that could help with customer service and beyond.

Who’s Doing It Right?
JetBlue has an outstanding social presence, and the company goes above and beyond to reply to as many comments as it can — and with millions of likes, that’s no small feat.

jetblue customer service

ENGAGE
While listening to feedback is vital, it can be equally important to engage with your audience. After all, communication is a two-way street and customers appreciate brands that encourage feedback and provide unique ways to get involved.

Who’s Doing It Right?
Starbucks has actually brewed up a separate Twitter account called
@MyStarbucksIdea to engage with customers. While less active than Starbucks’ main Twitter account, @MyStarbucksIdea is a place where customers can actually submit and discuss ideas to make Starbucks and the Starbucks experience better – read more.

Starbucks customer service

RESPOND
One of the new realities of the digital age is that brands have the ability to instantly (and publicly) respond to customer needs and complaints. And while there are inherent challenges and pitfalls when it comes to highly-public discourse, brands that consistently and clearly respond to their customers are likely to generate goodwill and loyalty.

Who’s Doing It Right?
T-Mobile has an impressive track record when it comes to publicly responding to their customers. According to a recent study by social media insights company socialbakers, the phone giant responded to an impressive 86 percent of the questions it received on social media over a three-month period. Members of T-Mobile’s social media team also personally sign their Twitter replies so customers know they’re talking to a real person – a nice touch indeed.

ACKNOWLEDGE
Above all, today’s brands should be publicly thankful in all things;
whether the feedback is good or bad, they should say thank you & always remember the customer is the reason they exist to provide service in the first place.

DIGITAL CUSTOMER SERVICE MEDIUMS BRANDS SHOULD CONSIDER

  • Dedicated page off your site specific to customer service and the various ways to get in touch with your brand – include a form for customers to submit issues and a request a call back CTA
  • Following the aforementioned dedicated page, initiate a personalized & intelligent email follow-up/response and engagement strategy
  • Text
  • Live chat
  • Dedicated Twitter handle

Sources:
Entrepreneur
Business News Daily

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