How come companies are happy to spend considerable money investing in their brands, improving their technology or operations but often skimp on the final and most important link between the organisation and the customer? Well, here’s the thing: customer service is as much about finance as, well, finance!
Depending on your business, the cost of chasing new business is at least five times more expensive than keeping the customers you have happy. Here are five ways to create a profit-focused customer service strategy:
- Clarify your key objectives around customer service. You can build a customer service strategy to help you improve Positive Word of Mouth (PWOM), that is where you track and measure your customers’ likelihood to recommend you to others, using, for example, the Net Promoter Score index. You can also develop customer service strategies that are linked to selling, upselling and cross-selling. Most importantly, you can link customer service strategies to the real profit mill, customer retention.
- Engage the hearts and minds of your people in your customer service strategy through a considered Employee Engagement strategy.
- Outstanding customer service is built on outstanding experiences. You cannot beat that in to your staff! Instead, unleash the power of your people by engaging your customer-facing staff in developing a customer service strategy. See how the Fitzwilliam Hotel used the power of its team to create a continuous improvement programme in the Dublin 5 Star hotel.
- So now you’ve got your strategy and you’ve got your people on board, it time to analyse each of your customer touch points, not just your ‘customer service’ team but rather every single person from your organisation and every system that the customer is interacting with to see where you can deliver high impact improvements. Set up a training programme that is based on real life situations. Make it interesting by getting your team to call competitors to see how well they handle calls. Or put them in challenging situations to help them feel confident that when they are faced with difficult scenarios that they have already visualised and acted out tough situations. But most of all, make it fun. People don’t learn when they’re bored or highly stressed.
- Finally, benchmark your performance and see where you are winning and where you need to improve. You can use all sorts of techniques from customer surveys to Net Promoter Scores and, most importantly, customer retention. At Sodexo, a focused strategy helped the company to blow its retention figures out of the water with scores of over 95%. See our blog on the customer retention strategy followed by the company over more than seven years.
For more information on how to deliver a customer service strategy and customer service training, contact Cariona Neary. Cariona Neary is a specialist in Strategic Customer Service, helping companies to manage the customer experience, increase Positive Word of Mouth, increase loyalty and profitability.