Each week I read a number of customer service articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.
(CustomerThink) Since we haven’t figured out how to create more hours in the day, the only conclusion I can reach is that more of our lives will be spent interacting with technology of one kind or another. And less time interacting with human beings. Is that a bad thing? No, but as you’ll learn, being “not bad” is not the same as being delightful.
My Comment: This article makes the case that technology can play a key role in customer service, but not necessarily the main role. Customers remember when technology or an automated process doesn’t work, but seldom remember when it does. However customers will remember the person that took care of their problem. Sure there are some exceptions to the rule, but the point is that in most companies, technology should support and enhance the customer service experience.
Tracking the Customer’s Journey to Purchase by Emma Macdonald, Hugh Wilson, and Umut Konus
(HBR) A customer will touch a company in many different ways before a deal is made. Unfortunately, few companies have an overall picture of their customers’ journey towards a purchase, because the information is all too often stuck in a channel silo.
My Comment: Great concept: Real-Time Experience Tracking (RET). The first step is to identify all of the touch points a customer might have with a company. That exercise in and of itself is powerful. Once that is done, a company can analyze all of the “touch points” and determine how they can strengthen them, thereby creating a better customer experience. And using the RET concept the company can get feedback from customers.
5 Ways To Improve Your Customer Service by Sunday Steinkirchner
(Forbes) Offering second-to-none customer service could help your business to succeed no matter what the economic climate or latest technology craze.
My Comment: Online customer service takes many forms. The list that you have provided is an excellent start for any company using a website to drive sales through their Internet presence or more traditional methods. Want a good role model? Zappos.com is as good as it gets. They exemplify everything on this list.
Customer Service Styles: Official or Casual? by Błażej Szperliński
(LiveChat) Great communication choices utilised by marketers should also be part of customer service. Being official or casual is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities and different approaches should be applied ad hoc, ones that are well defined and flexible.
My Comment: While this article contains some good points, the highlight is the video on how not to talk to customers. I laughed and learned.
How Do You Define a Loyal Customer? by Aubrey Beck
(ClickZ) Knowing which of your customers are most loyal to your brand and having the capability to act on that information are important parts of maximizing your marketing dollars. However, according to a recent study conducted by Loyalty 360, less than half of the marketing executives that were surveyed could identify their best customers.
My Comment: How do you define a loyal customer and what their worth? This is a great article to get you started. I love the different questions that help drill down to what is important. The Folica case study in the article makes the point. Because Folica, an online retailer was able to understand and market to its most valuable customers, they were able to increase conversion by 68 percent without having to spend any marketing dollars to acquire new customers. The numbers may not be the same for everyone, but the concept is.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or https://www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)