It’s no secret that how well you serve customers will define your company’s long term success. In fact, great customer service leads to better customer loyalty, higher revenue, and lower costs. But if you have to focus on the customer and become a service-oriented organization, it’s not merely enough to attain a passable grade. You have to strive for service excellence to reap its benefits.
What is Service Excellence?
Service excellence is the act of going beyond customers expectations and delivering an industry-leading experience that really wows your clients. Most organizations provide good customer service, but customers keep coming back to the ones that go beyond to provide service excellence. It’s the reason Zappos and Amazon are leaders in their respective domains and are hailed for their commitment to serving their customers.
Why is Service Excellence Important?
Customer service is where your brand comes to life. While you can design a really informative and great looking website and have all your internal processes running smoothly, it’s your frontline teams and their interaction with customers that make the biggest impression. So it’s important to remember how big a role customer service plays in defining that impression.
Another thing to keep in mind is that improving the sales of a product or service is not possible without continuously striving to redefine the standards of service excellence. 69% of customers stop doing business with a company due to one bad experience. People sign up for a product or service but stay for the customer experience.
Benefits of Achieving Service Excellence
Pursuing excellence in customer service has benefits beyond just customer satisfaction. Here are two benefits of centering your strategy around service excellence:
#1 Service excellence can become a key differentiator you can leverage to get ahead of the competition. If you focus your efforts on being great at customer service you’ll convert customers into loyal advocates.
#2 Great customer service can lead to viral word of mouth as satisfied customers share their experiences with your brand. It’s a great way to drum up both awareness and new business.
How do you Provide Service Excellence?
Here are the key ingredients of good service that can take your customer experience from good to great:
Providing convenience starts with taking steps towards understanding customer preferences, for instance – what time do they prefer to speak to executives, or what type of communication channel they prefer to use. You should ensure that you are present on all modes of communication including chat, call, social media, etc. Also, make use of a customer support model that maximizes the availability of your agents so no matter when the customer contacts you there is an agent available to attend to them.
Don’t keep your customers waiting. Customers appreciate the quickness of response since patience is not really a virtue in the customer service industry. Once you respond to a customer query, the speed of resolution also matters. While some problems are harder to solve, the faster you can fix them the better. A lack of required personnel to manage the volume of calls, too many manual tasks that slow your agents down are possible bottlenecks you should eliminate to achieve the desired speed of service.
#3 Do whatever it takes to make it right
To truly reach a standard of service excellence you have to give your customer service team the freedom to do whatever it takes for final resolution - whether that’s making compromises or spending a little extra.
One such example of this approach to customer service was demonstrated by Ritz Carlton. A customer mistakenly left his charger at their hotel while rushing to the airport. He planned to call them once he stepped into the office after landing, but when he got there, he found a package with not only his charger but an extra one just in case! That’s how committed they were to ensure the customer had a great experience even if it meant going out of their way to do so.
#4 Be Proactive
It’s not enough to just react to problems anymore if you want to be a cut above the rest. Taking initiative and contacting a customer when a problem arises before they have a chance to reach out to you shows that you are prioritizing the issue at hand and you are acting with urgency and understanding. This type of vigilance is what separates a great service organization from the rest.
#5 Analyze and Improve
Use data to back up the performance of your customer service team. It’s also the best available way to understand customer sentiment and whether or not your efforts are paying dividends. With so many reporting and analytics tools at your disposal, you can paint a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not. This way you can plug the gaps in your support and keep improving your customer experience.