The marketing approach to customer service has evolved enormously over the past decade. Data has been responsible for most of that giant leap forward. Customer data platforms and CRM (customer relationship management) systems have helped businesses take a data driven approach to attracting and retaining customers. But challenges to delivering great customer service remain.
All too often companies view customer service as a cost or overhead. Some businesses limit its contribution to the business to a call centre or online chat. But customer service is king and here’s why:
- It drives sales – new and repeat
- The cost of retaining a customer is lower than the cost of acquisition
- Customers become brand advocates (the gold standard) driving more sales and awareness
So rather than narrowing your focus of what customer service is, can you broaden its definition? Customer service isn’t limited to when things go wrong, it encompasses all interactions that customer has with your business. When you consider customer experience as a whole, is it possible to make it pay for itself?
To broaden your perspective, you need to look at what customers think that good service looks like. We can categorise this into three key areas:
Great customer service means treating customers as an individual, with specific needs and wants. This means creating a strong customer journey based on preferences and past behaviour. In retail it used to be about the sales representative remembering and appreciating repeat customers when they visited the store. Now, it’s about using what you know about that customer (through their data) to create a personalised experience however they contact you.
You can’t hope to attract or retain customers if you don’t make yourself relevant to them. This means knowing customers’ product likes and dislikes and how they engage with that product. For example, it is useful to know if someone has referred a friend or made a complaint in the past. This information is available based on past interactions, you just need to make sure it is available to your team.
3. Make it easy
Help customers to help themselves. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than not being able to communicate with a company. Different people prefer to communicate in different ways, so you need to make sure you cover all bases. Plot customer journeys to make it easy for people to interact with you – whether that’s phone, email, social or even face to face. Use your customer data to investigate their preferences so you know how they’re contacting you before they do.
But this is all easier said than done – right? Wrong.
Make your customer team data driven and they’ll be able to drive value from their interactions. Start by collecting behavioural information on customers so insights up are to date – and make them as close to real time as possible so anyone managing that customer knows that they’re working with the truth. Then bring all of that data from disparate sources together and make it accessible in one place. Make it easy to understand using by using a visualisation tool (e.g. Sisense), so that everyone in the business can understand.
You can easily manage this process through through effective use of Business Intelligence (BI) tools. It can bring multiple data sources together and present them in a single view. It can stream data from your various channels in real-time so you can react quickly to customer behaviour – reducing churn or helping to complete sales.
And don’t think that the information provided by BI is overload – it isn’t.
It helps customer service teams to make more informed decisions on how to respond to customers. BI can offer your team a number of choices of dashboards so they’re covered for all eventualities. From helpdesk efficiency, customer satisfaction and engagement through to CRM and churn analysis.
If you’re interested to know more about how BI can help you improve your customer service, deliver ROI and help your business attract and retain customers, then have a look at our brand new white paper: USING DATA-DRIVEN BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01925 644800.