Nearly all customer-facing businesses would agree that today’s consumer is less patient and more demanding. And living in a time of pandemic has just exacerbated that further. And because consumers have been on various forms of lockdown for over 18 months now, multiple sources of information such as social media influencers have taken over the message that marketers wish to convey and the result would seem to be chaos and unpredictability. How do we then ensure our customers remain loyal? How do we keep them for life?
We asked Ms Jinggay Gallardo, our resource person on customer service and marketing, for some tips on how we could create a culture of customer service excellence, during what we now call “the new normal:”
- Understand your customer really well. You cannot serve who you do not know. Get the information you need to understand them. Be purposeful and don’t hesitate to ask. Source secondary data but primary is always preferred so that there is an ongoing conversation between you and your customer. Update the information regularly. Customer needs and expectations change over time. Make customer data a live resource. This should be easier now that most interactions are online and our customers fill out forms and give us their contact information. Add some fields that harness more information or allow for customer feedback.
- Make sure all the mechanics to deliver on your promise are working. Test the system yourself, at different times of the day and days of the week. Act as the “customer from hell” to check on breaking points and weaknesses. Enlist friends who can be trusted with confidential findings to act as mystery shoppers. Correct pain points before making any customer promises. Try out the online giants and observe and mimic their best practices.
- Make the customer journey as easy as possible. Create the least amount of friction, even if it can’t be perfect. Patience is not one of today’s customer virtues. They expect perfection, and they want it now. Find the shortest line between their need and your delightful fulfillment of that need. Ensure that your backroom operations would support quick, accurate delivery. And do it all the time, every time.
Is all this easier said than done? Creating a culture of excellent customer service is a combination of regular training and digital innovations that create desired behaviors. And although this may seem difficult at first, once you see the business results of this approach, the effort will be worth it.