There are many strategies to help you deliver amazing customer service, and one of the most powerful ones is quick response.
Quick response is a derivative of speed. Customers want it – whatever “it” is – fast. Customers want it now. They are impatient and don’t want to wait. How did this happen? Over time, customers have been programmed to expect things fast.
Years ago I remember going to the grocery store and was amazed when the items that I was purchasing passed over a scanner, rather than the cashier manually entering the items price into the cash register. Instantly the price came up on the display. It dramatically cut down the time to check out, which made the lines move faster. Technology was creating speed.
In the early 1980’s I ordered a piece of luggage from Kluge. The luggage was advertised in a magazine with four to six weeks for delivery. I remember that the luggage showed up in just three weeks. Wow, I was impressed. That was fast.
Federal Express may be one of the most influential teachers of speed. Even today people recognize that “when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” people think of Federal Express. The term “Fed-Ex” has become more than the name of a company. Today it is a verb that that is used to describe that you want something delivered fast – by tomorrow – even if it is UPS, the United States Post Office, or some other company can also deliver tomorrow.
We are conditioned for speed, and when it comes to customer service, speed can become a confidence builder and a value added competitive advantage.
So, more than just delivering a package quickly, how are companies using speed?
I would venture that not many people, if any, enjoy waiting on hold for a customer service representative. At one point Southwest Airlines took a more positive approach about long hold times. A humorous recording told its customers waiting to make a reservation not to hang up as they would just go to the back of the line.
Forward thinking companies realized how much customers hated being on hold while waiting for a service rep that they invested in technology that would automatically call a customer back when it was their turn.
Instant chat on a computer allows a customer to go to a company’s website and “chat” in real time via typed questions and answers to the company’s customer service representatives.
I was just introduced to a new company, Zingaya, who has taken the concept of instant chat even further. Rather than merely typing you can actually hold a vocal conversation through the computer.
If your computer is equipped with a microphone and speakers, with the simple click of a mouse you can immediately connect with the company’s customer service rep. That’s fast!
The point is simple. Whether it be part of a sales process or a customer service issue, people want whatever they need fast. And they are willing to pay more for it.
Customers will pay extra to upgrade shipping from regular to next-day. Similarly, they will pay more for companies who respond quickly.
How much more would you pay to a company that guaranteed you wouldn’t have to wait on hold for a customer service rep? How about an office machine dealer that guarantees three hour response times?
So, how fast will you return a call or email? How long, or actually how short, will you make your customers wait? Fast is good, and instant is even better. When it comes to customer service, speed is a competitive strategy that will separate you from your competition. It is also a value added advantage that customers are willing to pay for.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://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)