FOUR STEPS TO LEGENDARY CUSTOMER SERVICE

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1 FOUR STEPS TO LEGENDARY CUSTOMER SERVICE

2 THE GOAL OF A COMPANY IS TO HAVE CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT IS NOT JUST THE BEST, BUT LEGENDARY. SAM WALTON IN SURVEY AFTER SURVEY, AMERICAN BUSINESS LEADERS ACKNOWLEDGE THE ROLE THAT A GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM PLAYS IN SECURING THE LONG TERM HEALTH OF THEIR ORGANIZATIONS. YET MANY OF THESE SAME LEADERS ADMIT THAT THEIR COMPANY OFTEN FALLS OF DELIVERING A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. BUSINESS LEADERS HAVE, INSTEAD, FOCUSED ON DELIVERING AGAINST PRICE AND QUALITY. WHILE NECESSARY FOR OPERATIONAL SUCCESS, THESE FACTORS PALE IN COMPARISON TO THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IN DEFINING HOW AN ORGANIZATION AND ITS PRODUCTS ARE PERCEIVED IN THE MARKETPLACE. THIS PAPER WILL EXPLORE WHY THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE HAS BECOME KNOWN AS THE NEW MARKETING. IT WILL ALSO SUGGEST STRATEGIES FOR TRANSFORMING AN ORGANIZATION INTO A CUSTOMER CENTRIC BUSINESS AND ESTABLISHING A FOUNDATION FOR LONG TERM, PROFITABLE GROWTH.

3 CUSTOMER SERVICE BY THE NUMBERS How important is customer service? Consider the following statistics, culled from a variety of studies: A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if a problem is service related rather than price or product related Bain & Company The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 20% Marketing Metrics For every customer complaint there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent Lee Resource A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmett Murphy and Mark Murphy 96% of unhappy customers don t complain, but 91% will leave the company and never return Financial Training Services A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9 15 people about the experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people White House Office of Consumer Affairs Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4 6 people about the experience White House Office of Consumer Affairs 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated McKinsey ecommerce spending for new customers is on average $24.50, compared to $52.50 for repeat customers McKinsey It costs 6 7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one Bain & Company 55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service experience Defaqto Research A 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by 5 95% Bain & Company This data tells a powerful story about the importance of customer service to building a foundation for longterm success. But before leaders can begin building this foundation, they need to step back and ask themselves what their customers want.

4 UNDERSTAND WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT A Purdue University study found that 92% of customers judge an organization based upon the interactions they have with the company s customer service agents. C level executives are paying attention to this type of feedback because they know that a great customer experience can enhance long term profitability by %. But what is it that makes a customer happy? Relationships: Customers obviously want problems solved, but they want more than that. Technology has allowed the customer to solve many of their own problems through automation or live chat. But when a customer reaches out for personal help, they want to know that the person on the other end of the line knows something about them and has a vested interest in their satisfaction. Flexibility: Customers want to know that they can engage across multiple channels. Voice is still top choice, but web self service has grown more than 12% over the past year. Live chat has grown 24% and community usage is up nearly 25%. Customers want options, not roadblocks to their service needs. Real time conversations: According to a 2012 Frost & Sullivan report, customers are most satisfied after live interactions either on the phone or via chat. While self service must be an option, it should never be forced upon a customer. Intelligent agents: Today s customers are savvier and more informed than ever and will often try to solve simple problems on their own. When they make a call, customers want to talk to someone more knowledgeable than themselves who can solve their problem quickly or walk them through the most viable options. In short, customers want to connect. They want to feel as if they are being heard, appreciated and respected. It s critical for business leaders to understand this lesson and to take the time to understand what motivates (and aggravates) their customers. Failure to understand and respond to customer needs will haunt an organization, especially in today s hyper wired, socially connected environment.

5 HOW SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED THE GAME Social media is an amazing source of information for companies that want to know what customers think about products and services. In can also be a thorn in the side if not properly utilized. Consumers have been empowered by their embrace of social media, given an active voice in how companies go to market. Companies that lag in adopting a strong social platform could be at risk. Social customer service programs have grown dramatically in the past few years: In 2010, only 12% of companies were actively involved in social network monitoring as part of their customer service strategies. By 2014, more than 70% of companies have defined processes for monitoring and responding to customer communication via social networks. For those organizations using and monitoring social media, risk mitigation and damage control are currently the primary customer service uses of such channels which have been critical as consumers become increasingly vocal about their experiences with products and services. But the opportunities for social media are much broader. Companies can use Twitter, Facebook, blogs and information boards to maintain active dialogue with their most ardent customers. This dialogue creates a unique connection that can help the organization expand its understanding of its customers, improve its level of service and even conceive of new product or service ideas.

6 LEGENDARY CUSTOMER SERVICE If your service team has been delivering lackluster results, it s never too late for improvement. To that end, here are four steps business leaders can take to begin the process: 1. Create a customer centric culture Culture starts at the top and permeates every layer of the organization. Here are several strategies that can put your business on the path to legendary customer service: Define the culture: Managers must begin with the end in mind, defining the perfect customer experience in the context of their business model. Ask: how do we want customers to react after every engagement? Communicate the culture: In order to share the customer experience vision with the organization, your message must be clear and simple. Hire to meet the needs of the culture: Managers must recruit the best talent to deliver the customer experience vision. Do your employees, especially those who are customer facing, have both the skills and attitude to service your customers? Recognize performance: Let people know they are doing a good job. Share victories with the rest of the team. Publically acknowledging individual performance is more powerful than money when it comes to motivating employees. 2. Embrace social media Customers who are active on social media spend 2 to 4 times MORE than others. This, combined with the understanding of social media s word of mouth potential (both good and bad), should motivate every business leader to make social customer service a high priority moving forward. Consider the following: Recruit younger, socially savvy staffers to lead social networking efforts in your business who live online and are most comfortable in the space. Encourage managers to create their own social media personalities. Develop a system of 24/7 monitoring of social networks. Be vigilant to any chatter regarding your business or brand. Take a pro active approach to social networking. Nurture your relationship with loyal customers and be responsive to all commentary about your brand. The key is to stay in front any conversations related to your organization. 3. Consider the value of call center outsourcing Onshore outsourcing of call center services in the U.S. is growing at a rate of 10 12% per year. The reason for this growth is simple: Corporate executives increasingly see call centers as a strategic asset in today s customer centric business environment. The once considerable cost advantage of offshoring call center operation is being mitigated by both rising global incomes AND consumer dissatisfactions with poor customer service experiences (i.e. customer who believe they are dealing with an offshore call center are more than TWICE as likely to sever their relationship with the company).

7 LEGENDARY CUSTOMER SERVICE CONTINUED Regardless of operational size, the fast pace of development offers reasons to consider outsourcing your customer service operations: Call centers continue to invest in the most current and advanced customer feedback technology to enhance the customer experience, focusing primarily on first call resolution. Call centers provide excellent social customer service to enhance the customer experience. Call centers are going mobile. In a recent survey, 70% of call center executives said that mobile integration is their highest priority in the coming years. Call centers staff to maximize cross and up selling. Not every effective service agent has what it takes to be an equally effective seller. By understanding this dynamic, call center managers staff their organizations to maximize their clients ability to deliver great customer service AND drive revenue through cross and up selling. 4. Create a foundation of trust in your organization As a leader, you can create and invest in a vision for legendary customer service. But none of it will stick if your organization is steeped in cynicism and distrust. It is estimated that 20 30% of employees are actively disengaged from their organizations, unhesitant to undermine the company if given a good excuse. The importance of trust within an organization cannot be underestimated. Research indicates that trust in corporate managers influences productivity, turnover and long term profitability. So, before taking the steps to build a consumer centric culture, consider the following leadership lessons to help foster trust within your organization: Be courageous: Employees respond to a courageous leader who gives them the feeling that he will have their back. Be transparent: Maintain an open door policy at all times. Employees need to be heard. Be selfless: Remember it isn t about YOU! Make sure victories are about the team s efforts, not your leadership. Be consistent: Set and maintain consistent expectations with your employees. Employees should never be surprised, especially at review time. Be involved: Nothing instills a sense of trust like leaders who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. If your team is working the weekend, be there with them. There has been a fundamental shift in the way businesses and consumers interact. Shifting from a transactional model where consumers were drawn to a company s product and service through marketing focused on price and features to a new, relational model where consumers expect to work hand in hand with companies, co creating personalized and meaningful experience. This shift alone might explain why customer service or the customer experience truly is the new marketing.

8 RDI is a world class outsourcer providing call center and administrative services, as well as market research to a broad mix of companies. RDI is a relationship driven organization that is focused on delivering quality in a cost effective manner. RDI's client list is based extensively on longterm partnerships including many Fortune 500 clients. Since 1978, RDI has grown based on results and continues to cultivate that reputation of success. RDI recognizes that each client has unique challenges. We embrace those nuances and collaborate with clients to establish a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. RDI works closely with every client in order to improve their customer's experience. We monitor and evaluate our work with vigilance. We are resourceful problem solvers as we partner with our clients to achieve their goals. Have additional questions or comments? We d love to hear from you! Phone: Direct: RDICORPORATION RDICORPORATION RDI MARKETING SERVICES

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