Are you exceeding your customer expectations? If you said no, you’re asking for trouble.
Once upon a time, meeting customer’s expectations created customer loyalty. But that’s no longer true. The rise of the tech-savvy, connected consumer has changed customers’ expectations. So meeting them isn’t good enough anymore. Instead, you need to exceed them to retain customers.
Going Above And Beyond
Technology and metrics help. So does executing proactive customer service strategies. But exceeding expectations goes well beyond these tactics. “The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then not just to meet them, but exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways,” says Richard Branson, Virgin Airways founder, in an article in Entrepreneur magazine.
He adds: “Setting customer expectations at a level that is aligned with consistently deliverable levels of customer service requires that your whole staff, from product development to marketing, works in harmony with your brand image.”
Branson knows what he’s talking about. Virgin Airways delivers impeccable service. It goes well above and beyond the norm yet keeps prices competitive.
The question is how can you deliver the Virgin Airways level of service? Try the seven things discussed below
1. Understand Why Customers Contact You
This is the first port of call when trying to exceed customers’ expectations. Learn why customers call and you can anticipate their needs with FAQs on your website. That helps customers help themselves. That’s call center services on auto-pilot.
Action Point: Review conversations agents have had with customers. Then develop a list of why customers call the first time.
2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Customers don’t want to waste their time addressing problems. So stand out from the crowd by contacting your customers before they’ve had a chance to complain. This approach creates trust and loyalty that last well into the future.
3. Doing The Unexpected
Do the unexpected. Send a birthday card, a Christmas gift, or roses to celebrate a promotion. Coupons for the next buying experience also help. Doing the unexpected makes customers feel important and appreciated, helping to retain them.
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4. Personalize Each Interaction
Leverage your customer database. With the right info at agents, figure tips, they’re better able to handle problems, anticipate issues, and suggest solutions then and there. Pair up customers with the same agent whenever they call with technology.
5. Help Customers Understand Your Technology
Talking technology puts customers off—especially if your tech is complicated. If people don’t understand your technology, they may get confused and frustrated. Instead, help customers understand your tech in as simple a way as possible.
Customers like to solve problems quickly. So find ways to speed up problem-solving. Ensure that customers are understood the first time and don’t have to re-explain themselves again. That leaves them with a positive feeling about your company.
7. Create Consistency Across All Channels
Customers expect a high level of service and fast knowledgeable response to issues—whether they’re using phone, email, chat, and social media. This is where intelligent workflow really pays off. Intelligent workflow, run in the agent’s desktop, simplifies the process. It not only guides the agent through the process for each transaction type, but it also acts as the agent’s only interface, making things simpler and easier.
Action Point: Check out the level of service you get using the various channels. Do you get the same service on all of them?
Here’s a bonus tip for you: Put faith in the power of yes. When customers have a request say you can do it, if the request must be reasonable. And do what you say you’re going to do.
These seven tips for exceeding customers’ expectations highlight one key point.
Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy good feelings and quick solutions to problems. Exceeding customers’ expectations create good feelings and solve problems expeditiously. The ripple effects of this mindset extend beyond satisfaction and retention. It distinguishes your brand, builds repeat business, and improves employee morale.
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