People increasingly expect excellent experiences every time they speak to a brand. This means modern businesses should not only keep customers happy but also exceed their expectations. Indeed, a recent PwC report found that the keys to great customer experiences are “speed, convenience, consistency, friendliness and human touch.”
Delivering on and exceeding expectations relies on innovation, deploying technologies like conversational AI and training your agents to become the customer service heroes they’re meant to be. But importantly, it’s also critical to know what customers want and when they want it.
Expert Tips for Delivering Superior Customer Service
The answer to the question “What does excellent customer service mean to you?” will be different for every brand. But companies with excellent customer service typically have happier customers and employees, which means more sales, new customers and better brand awareness.
To understand what superior customer service looks like, we decided to ask the experts. We asked two leading customer service experts and members of Uniphore’s customer service teams for their advice on how to delight customers.
The Importance of a Service Guarantee
Customer experience author and consultant Jeff Toister recently joined us to discuss how brands can guarantee excellent service on an episode of our Conversations That Matter podcast.
Jeff outlined several examples of superior customer service, telling us: “You can win and retain more customers just by keeping your promises. We do this by applying a very familiar framework, like a product or service guarantee. A guarantee is really just a promise intended to provide assurance through three simple steps.”
- “One, we make a promise to our customers that’s meaningful. You’ve got a problem, and we promise that we can solve it for you. That’s what brings customers in.”
- “The second is we take action to keep the promise. It’s not enough to say, ‘We’ll take care of you.’ You have to take action to keep it.” Jeff shared an example. He was on a road trip and saw a billboard that said, “We have extra clean restrooms.” But when he went in, the restrooms were not extra clean. They were, in fact, kind of dirty. On his return trip, he bypassed that store and went somewhere else because they broke their promise.
- “The third element is recovery. Try as you might, you will not keep 100% of your promises. So you have to have a process in place to restore trust in the event a promise is broken.”
Using Data for Delivering Customer Expectation
Customer service expert Shep Hyken also joined us on an episode of Conversations That Matter to discuss excellent customer service examples, humanizing the customer experience and the many choices available to the modern customer, thereby driving greater expectations of brands.
As Shep explained: “Customers have a wealth of information and data in front of them. They are sometimes smarter than the brand they’re interacting with, or at least they think they are. So they expect more. They end up comparing the amazing experiences and services they receive from one company and ask, ‘Why can’t you do that?’
“That’s why the bar is set high today. Customers are smarter than before. They know what good services they can get from other companies and when they don’t get it from another, they get disappointed. I call that the experience gap, which organizations can address by using the right data.”
The Value of Keeping Calm and Being Proactive
The key to offering superior customer service is being calm, confident and informative, according to Ed Ward, Director of US/EMEA Customer Success at Uniphore.
As Ed explains: “Addressing a horde of complaints or negative comments can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways of dealing with hold-ups, even if you have to tell your customers you don’t know the answer. It’s all about how you say things. Even if you’re delivering bad news, there is a way to sugarcoat it for consumers. If you’re levelheaded and serious, they will calm down as well.”
Ed used the example of an irate customer looking for an out-of-stock item to illustrate his point. “Rather than simply dismissing them and saying, ‘We don’t have it.’ You need to be informative, provide a productive solution like, ‘It will be available next week’ and offer to contact them when it’s available.”
Treating Others How You Want to Be Treated
The golden rule to achieving excellent customer service at all times is to “treat others the way you would like to be treated,” according to Jonathan, a Customer Success Manager at Uniphore.
As Jonathan explains: “Too often, we are in a rush to service the customer and have our own agenda. Take a breath. Visualize how you would like to be handled if you were in the customer’s shoes. Then smile big, be welcoming and enjoy the experience together!
“Also, remember that you’re not alone. There will inevitably be instances where you can’t solve a customer’s problems yourself. But the customer appreciates as much attention as you can provide and have a great experience when they feel their concern is being shared. When great minds come together, great outcomes will prevail.”
The Customer Always Comes First
The mantra of putting the customer first is crucial to Naveen, a Customer Success Manager at Uniphore. Naveen says: “The customer always comes first, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. Use your experience and training to shape customer decisions that fit their needs better. Even the little daily decisions you make should be prefaced with the question ‘How will this help my customers?’
“Your customers are smart people. They will know when you are lying or covering something up. It can be easy to tell them anything just to appease them. But remember that every interaction reflects on you and your company. So every little lie is simply another loss of trust for both.”
Delivering Superior Customer Service with Uniphore
Superior customer service hinges on factors like making a good first impression, constantly attending to your customers’ needs, and using new technology tools like intelligent virtual assistants to empower your customer service teams.
Discover how Uniphore can help you win and retain new business by redefining customer service with conversational AI.