Customer service is not a new concept; it’s as old as basic business. The traits and characteristics of customer service have evolved over thousands of years into what they are today because companies have embraced innovation. What may seem like a basic customer service concept now wasn’t even a thought twenty, or maybe even ten years ago. Are your customer service techniques pushing the boundaries of innovation? Or, are you waiting idly until a competitor’s superior service forces you to change?
Below are several innovative ideas that are adaptable to many different industries. See if these can be used in your business right away, or use them as a launch pad for your next customer service upgrade.
Video Conferencing via Tablet – Providing support though a telephone line is exceptionally difficult when neither party can show what they’re attempting to explain. Video conferencing is easy and mobile if your company embraces the tablet. Traditional webcams are difficult to move, if not impossible. A tablet offers true mobility that allows both your employee and the customer to move and show each other exactly what needs to be done. We use this ability to interact with friends and family because it’s effective and engaging. The same effects can be experienced on the business side.
Unsourcing – Saving costs by shipping jobs overseas is a concept that has, at best, created uneasiness amongst customers. In the meantime, companies, without their involvement, have established large groups of ‘super fans’. These are customers that live and breathe a company’s brand, almost to the point of being evangelical. These fans may already be providing support online via forums for confused customers, not for any reason other than they want other people to love your products like they do. Leverage these important customers for your customer service efforts by offering your own help forums with rewards for those that are the most helpful.
Less Automation – This applies to the series of prompts a customer must navigate when they call your business. Also, to the scripts you may demand your employees read or email to your customers when they contact you for help. Allow premier employees freedom in solving problems. Many companies have also embraced a strategy that assigns one employee to the customer until the issue is solved, eliminating aggravating transfers and the need for the customer to explain their situation over and over again. Don’t lose customers to your competition when you transfer them.
Of course, it’s important to gather customer thoughts and opinions when renovating your customer service strategies. Only your customers will be able to accurately tell you exactly what services they need. As well as the offerings you currently have which they find of no value. Survey your customers to make sure you’re investing in something they actually want before you invest in an innovative and expensive new customer service technique. At NBRI, we offer several types of customer surveys, including customer service surveys, that will help you tap into the minds of your customers. The best strategy is to survey your customers now to determine their needs and your baseline service level scores, and then resurvey periodically to measure the effects of your improvement initiatives.