My friend, Simon Mabb, sent me a report that Romero Insurance Brokers have been building out over the last few months on customer experience and customer service in the digital age…and it was timely since we are doing a panel next week at INTIX together on that topic.
As I was reading through this, it got me thinking about what exactly customer service and customer experience can and should mean to folks in every industry, especially today when it is easier for people to complain than ever before and the good stuff is easier to find getting drowned out.
Here are 5 things that come to mind:
Customer service is everyone’s job:
I’m fond of the idea that everyone is in sales and I’m also pretty keen on the idea that no matter if you are customer facing at all, you are in customer service.
This matters because the quote gets thrown around attributed to tons of folks, but “you have to take care of your employees first.”
Or, I’ve heard it another way, “your first customer is your employee.”
Either way, this is directly linked to customer service because everyone is in the role of customer service, even if they don’t touch a customer period.
Because every action reflects in the way that your customer-facing employees treat your customers. So, treat your employees poorly and they aren’t going to be inclined to treat your customers well.
The reverse should apply as well.
In an always-connected and distracted world, humanity still rules:
We all complain about feeling rushed or frantic due to the nature of the modern world.
Since so many of us have fallen down the rabbit hole of committing fully to the always-on, we miss out and crave human interactions.
One thing about great customer service is that it has the ability to return humanity to our business interactions and this can make all the difference in the world when dealing with really difficult challenges like refunds, canceled trips, lost property, or worse.
As an example, I recently had a leak in my home and the adjuster that I was dealing with took great pains to walk me through each step of the process, what I needed to do, and how the process would proceed.
This was relatively minor as a problem, but I was still jacked up and stressed out. So having someone walk me through the process, even though it largely happened online, was a great benefit.
Humanity matters in the digital world.
This is one of the challenges that we are all likely going to continue to deal with…but speed counts.
While folks love the human aspect of customer service, they also expect a resolution as quickly as possible.
We could consider this the curse and the blessing of technology.
As technology expands its reach into our lives, one of the things we are going to continually struggle to balance is humanity versus speed.
Taking this a step further, we can react quickly to customer issues or needs through technology that can enable us to deliver better-personalized service.
This may not be 100% possible in every situation, but what I can guarantee is that no matter what, just letting people twirl in the wind without someone acknowledging them isn’t a viable option any longer.
Customer service doesn’t end with B2C firms either:
One of the big ideas I’m pushing this year is that B2B marketing needs to get smarter and more focused on buyers and not products.
This opens the door to this core idea right here: B2B customer service is just as important, maybe more than B2C.
For many firms, this message gets lost.
But know this, B2B customer service is vital to your success in B2B sales and service.
In fact, two of my biggest career wins were directly attributable to my ability to deliver exceptional B2B service.
Does great service scale?
This is maybe the most pointed thing because I think we focus too much on scale when it comes to things that can’t be directly measured.
I used to work on a sales floor where call time was measured.
And, the person with the longest call time often had higher than average sales. But the organization was measuring call times as if it were an infallible statistic.
As I was reading through the report, this got me to thinking about whether or not customer service scales…and I think this might be the most important idea that came out of this.
Service may not scale in a conventional way.
But you will definitely know when service is costing you money.
I think the most important key to think through as we look at customer service in our organization is to think through customer service and the place it fits into our business and judge its impact accordingly.
Which likely is going to leave you with the unsatisfying answer from me that, “services scales depending on your situation.”
This is a great report, filled with some great insights. I wish I had thought to do this. Check it out!