If you were to ask a number of brand executives to describe their customer service best practices, they might throw around phrases like “white-glove treatment,” “industry-leading best practices” and “unprecedented standards of excellence.” But if everyone is acing it in the customer service realm, then how come three out of five Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience, according to an American Express Survey?
The truth is that all too often brands don’t measure their customer satisfaction levels or have a true handle on how their customers feel about their company. It’s only when they do so that they can finally start measuring the revenue value of their customers’ experiences. Research tells us that the cost of acquiring a new customer is significantly higher than retaining existing ones. Therefore, if brands can focus on initiatives that lift already satisfied customers into “most valuable” territory, they are well on their way to establishing long-term brand proponents.
Measuring your customer service begins by taking a good hard look at metrics. In the business world, the strength of a metric lies in how accurate it is, but also the extent to which it helps drives change and action. The world of customer experience is no exception, where the metrics discussion has become a tried and true pastime. When companies want to improve their customer experience, they often take a step back and take stock of the level of customer-centricity their brand employs.
To get a sense of how you are faring in the customer service game, consider the following:
1. Invest in a Customer Experience Management System: A solid customer experience management system can go a long way toward helping you obtain useful customer insights. But you need more than just best-in-class software. You need to make sure you have best practices in place for deriving maximum value from the system.
2. Participate in Frequent, Ongoing Coaching: When feedback starts coming in, employees often find themselves stuck between existing processes and changing customer needs. To chart the right course forward they need to receive customer service coaching from leaders in the company or business unit. Leaders should continue to promote the progress-driven mindset established before the feedback starts flowing and should model the attitude in their own behaviors as well.
3. Use Customer Feedback to Showcase Success Stories and Challenges: A good learning experience doesn’t solely focus on the mistakes that are being made—it celebrates wins as well. Chances are that fresh sources of customer feedback won’t just shed new light on what your employees need to work on; it will also highlight what they are doing well. Be sure to share plenty of these successes publicly, including both individual successes and areas in which entire teams are excelling.
Gaining insight into your customer service practices is imperative. It not only helps you understand how you fare in the customer experience landscape, but it also helps you make informed decisions moving forward.
Well before metrics—both qualitative and quantitative—start being collected, companies should talk to their employees about the best mindset with which to approach such feedback. Executives need to make it clear that good performance isn’t just about hitting a target score; it’s also about the ability to learn from feedback over time.