In an age when many consumers engage more eagerly with their phone than a live human being, you might wonder if customer service really matters anymore. Can it still make a difference in your company’s success?
Consider these findings, and then YOU be the judge.
So the short answer is YES, customer service matters. Customers like it when they are treated well and their needs are addressed. And naturally, a customer whose expectations are exceeded will likely return – and may share their experience on social media and elsewhere.
All of that is good for business – especially when you consider that repeat customers spend, on average, one-third more than new customers. And people are four times more likely to buy when they are referred by a friend.3
Given all that, over-delivering customer service is arguably the MOST important thing a company can do.
The question then is: What kind of service do customers want?
The answer: Well, it depends.
Some customers’ very livelihood, for example, may depend on your product or services. In these cases, personal, high-touch service is critical.
That is why, for example, the customer support function for Commerce Bank’s Merchant Services department is performed in-house by our own staff, rather than outsourced elsewhere. We understand that no one can provide assistance to our customers better than our own employees. That’s what this business requires.
But a high-touch approach isn’t always the best or only customer service answer. For example, companies that rely solely on humans to deliver customer service may frustrate millennials and Gen-Z consumers – particularly if they believe a technological solution will be faster and better.
Digitally based companies with customer service departments that are understaffed or under-trained can drive customers away during those critical moments when they need the human touch to solve problems.
Many businesses, in fact, are best-served by an “omni-channel” customer service experience. That means providing customers with streamlined, digital, mobile-friendly assistance when that makes good sense. When digital support is unavailable, confusing or unsuitable for the customer or circumstances, helpful “live” support should be at-the-ready when needed.
Your business will benefit from identifying and using the customer service channels that work best for you and your customers. The goal in every case should be to build a relationship that will make the customer want to return. That includes delivering consistent results while meeting their expectations – no matter what channel they choose.
Whatever your approach, one of the best ways to achieve customer satisfaction is to treat people like they matter. Ask them about their needs. Listen to them and then offer a product or service that truly solves their problem. That’s the secret to building trust – and long-term customer relationships.