Maintaining customer trust is vital in modern business

Trust is a thing that’s incredibly tough to earn. Making your customers trust you as a business and instilling a loyalty element to your relationship is incredibly important to gain, yet it’s also easily lost.

It’s not uncommon for a company to lose touch with their customers: businesses rely on their employees to keep them in constant touch with their customers, yet a simple disagreement between these two parties can cause a loss of business for this company. Trying to keep up with demand from customers can be a tricky business as it’s not guaranteed that a customer will tell you outright when they have doubts about your company or the services on offer. Here’s how you can notice any negative signs within your customers:

There’s less contact between you.
If customers don’t come in as regular as they usually do, or they often miss making regular orders, they could be expressing their dissatisfaction without making a direct message to you. They could also be exploring other options, simply waiting until their contract is up with you and switching to a cheaper or better deal.

They seek advice from other businesses
If you’re a trusted business that has trustworthy sales people and advisers, they wouldn’t be trying to read information or find out things from other businesses. This could suggest that a customer is seeking advice from experts other than you, which could lead to the development of new business relationships.

They ask more questions
Customers who lose trust in your business will often start asking more questions than they usually would – they could often question the processes, practices and contracts regarding your business. It’s commonly a sign that they feel a level of distrust with your business.

They could be quiet
If customers aren’t offering the same level of feedback that they used to, you shouldn’t be surprised if they suggest you’re not listening to their opinions. They often won’t complain, compliment your business or even offer alternative suggestions.

So, what can you do to change this?
The best thing to do for your business is to monitor any accounts for these activites. You should always encourage sales and service clients to note any changes in the attitude of your customers.

It’s advisable that you also have a team who can reach out to your customers who may be losing interest because it might just bring them back.

For more on customer service hints and tips, please visit our website.

Customer service: which brands actually get it right?

The customer service industry was created by mistake, seemingly.

It’s been outsourced to companies for the past decades and since the evolution of the internet customer service has become widespread across all mediums of contact now. Online customer service is often ill-suited to meeting customer service needs and here’s why:

  • New channels of communication have been adapted to slowly by companies.
  • New channels bringing the challenge of a single customer view has been difficult to handle.
  • Single customer view brings the challenge of data centralisation.
  • New devices and consumption habits (the Smartphone) have made older web assets somewhat redundant, proposing more problems for companies.

Yet, in 2013, many companies seemed to wake up and smell the ‘coffee’. The coffee of customer service being something that needs tackling head on as when it’s completed well it can be unbelievably important to the resulting level of customer happiness, augmenting the final product you sell.

There are many avenues in which customer service lives where seamless customer experience takes away the reliance on call centres, improving conversion and customer happiness.

Aside from the web giants making a virtue of customer experience, which brands have made recent commitments to customer service?

Besides the web giants making the customer experience difficult to match, which brands have been making increased commitments to customer service in 2013?

Self-service

A majority of customers now expect a self-service options for customer service, with many actively preferring it in modern business. Smartphone usage is high enough to influence the efficiency of any customer service operation. As self service options are digital, it’s much easier for companies to keep records of customer interaction.

Anytime Fitness

24 hour service is naturally a fantastic USP for Anytime Fitness, as the name of the company so subtly suggests. The brand’s sites have ’24 hour’ featured in title tags to avoid any confusion to customers.

Anytime Fitness makes it clear about being 24 hour

You may think that 24 hour access for Anytime Fitness customers isn’t really an example of customer service as it’s essentially the product offered, yet this isn’t the case.

If this doesn’t give you enough satisfaction, Anytime Fitness produce instructional videos to take the personal trainer out of the equation, allowing customers to maintain a fitness regime when the specific staff aren’t around. These videos are accessible in the Gyms or on the website, so it’s great for all customers. These videos are also accessible to non-gym goers, for a fee, opening up their market massively by adding a new revenue stream.

Anytime Fitness believe in 'convenience + culture+

All of this is based on the company’s commitment to their audience’s convenience and culture. Check out the membership page for ease of use and beautiful design.

Giffgaff

Giffgaff, rather famously, do not operate call centres. There’s a significant cost struck off to start off with. Naturally, some customers will ask for a phone number on support forums, but the stats for their customer service responses are great.

Giffgaff offer help online

Answers on the support forums are given by fellow customers, which is similar to the model developed by Sky, where customer service ‘champions’ are rewarded for their efforts through free stuff, product testing and sometimes an occasional meeting with the Sky team themselves.

This thread just shows the customer reaction and true feeling when one customer displayed their dismay at Giffgaff not having a phone number.

Crowd-service or P2P

AirBnB’s customer satisfaction is much higher than the classic hotel chains like Hilton, treating this as an indicator of the power of crowd service. The idea is that when it comes to P2P products in particular, the customer service is often provided by the property owner, who is more invested in the product than an outsider.

Of course, this can sometimes mean it can be harder to ensure consistency of experience for all, but nevertheless the culture is fantastic in providing good, wholesome customer service.

Barclaycard Ring

Barclaycard Ring is a similar concept to that of crowd sourcing, but it’s often on a larger scale in this instance, taking onboard customer feedback on what the service do for its customers, both small and big. These can vary from reward programs to charity work.

Barclaycard Ring rewards program

The service is currently still in infancy, nearing two years old, yet it has increased customer retention level by 25%, with Barclaycard estimating a return so far of $10m.

Top tips for making your customer service amazing

TOP Tips for making your Customer Service AMAZING

Nobody wants to be ordinary and everybody wants to feel special at some point. Valued customers are the greatest customers; they recommend you to friends, family and colleagues whilst being repeat buyers. Here are our top tips for making your customer service amazing and creating a fantastic customer community:

Listen to your customers and their feedback: When a customer gives you feedback, whether it be positive or negative, always consider acting upon it. You’d be surprised how often a company will disregard the words of their customers only to lose them later to competition. Always remember to let your customers know that you appreciate their comments – after all, you’re getting free advice from the people who you’re trying to sell to!

Reliability is key to repurchases: Make sure you and your staff know what the customer expectations are and be sure to live up to them. Don’t think that you’re going to make every customer you ever have happy, but aiming to do so isn’t bad for the company. Leave yourself some slack to be certain that you can deliver in the stated deadlines – never risk a delay. The old saying comes to mind here – ‘under-promise and over-deliver’. We can think of a company that lost a customer by promising a 5 day window and completing it in 3 days…

Honesty is the best policy: nobody likes to think they’re being misled or sent away with poor excuses. Always aim to help your customers, not to just force a sale or get a complainer off the phone. Honest businesses will always be successful – building good reputations and getting repeat business is a reward for honesty.

Be positive, feel good about your business: a friendly, can-do attitude goes a long way, especially in the workplace. If there’s a problem, don’t complain or worry about it, you’re going to resolve it – that’s a positive! The customer should leave your establishment feeling good about any interaction with your business – that’s how word-of-mouth was born many years ago and it lives on today.

Be professional: if you’re dealing with an unhappy customer, the temptation to get defensive is too much for some – ‘well, it’s not our fault, this happened and then that happened, our suppliers let us down, it was out of our hands’, and so on. Don’t think for a second that this’ll be what the customer wants to hear – the customer doesn’t want to hear excuses; they just want a resolution, just like you would in the same situation. Throwing in a little extra always goes down well too, especially if it ‘wasn’t your fault’.

Fast paced service has become the norm: In the age of instant online communication, people expect queries to be answered twice as fast as they would’ve 15 years ago. As technology advances, so does the options they have to contact you on. Due to modern global use of the internet, they could be contacting the company through several different social media channels besides being on the phone and typing out an email. Neglecting one for too long will result in unhappy, unanswered customers.

Have a heart: The ‘script’ doesn’t come into play now, talking to customers as the individuals they are is important. Local, smaller businesses can do this better than any big company, as they have a better level of customer knowledge and personalisation. Use it to your advantage – it’s a big selling point for customers tired of the same sales script and the constant ‘you’re important to us, so please wait in a queue for the next 30 minutes.’

What do you think is the key to amazing customer service? Share your tips in the comments below.

Are you are in business for just this one sale, or for many more to come from that customer in the future?

Just One Sale? or Repeat Business?

As Retail Maxim are well aware – if you have customers, you are in the customer service business. The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer base through delivering legendary customer service. Recommendations, word-of-mouth and of course, social media can dictate public success or failure very easily.  Dedicating yourself to excellent customer service is one of the smartest and most profitable things that you can ever do for your business.

 1.   Understand customer expectations

Do you know what’s important to your customers? Very successful salespeople are repeatedly referred to as friends and advisors by their customers. If you can explain the need, want or frustration better than the customer can, they will automatically assume you know how to solve the problem.

2.   Exceed expectations

You want to be remembered, and it takes a lot for that to happen in the eyes of a customer. Expectations are high. Even if you are dealing with a complaint make it a “WOW” experience, mystery shoppers are frequently used to have a first hand insight into the day to day workings of many shops and services. Organizations are often remembered for how they deal with difficult situations more than how they perform on a daily basis. If you are not exceeding customer expectations then you are just like every other business out there.

 3. Create customer service systems

Set out to create internal systems that enable the consistent delivery of legendary customer service. Create simple processes, policies and tools to support the delivery of your quality service standards. Processes should never be hassles; they should be designed to remove barriers to providing legendary service.  Of course, this all starts with staff being on-board with your vision, which is when exit surveys can be a great idea.  Employment engagement is an obvious but often overlooked facet.

 4. Make people happy to do business with you

People are predominantly emotional; we are greatly impacted by the warmth, friendliness, cheerfulness and helpfulness of others. Make sure ALL of your staff are capable of making a good first impression within the first 10 seconds of an interaction. It is very difficult to provide a legendary customer experience if YOU are not in a warm, friendly and personable mood.

 5. Do everything to make it right

When you mess up – and you will – how you deal with it will define your business. When faced with an issue, own the issue and promptly do EVERYTHING in your power to make it right. WOW your customer, invest in your people with how you deal with issues and you’ll be forever remembered as an organisation that cares. Remember, you are in business not for just this one sale but for the many more to come from that customer in the future.

 

For more information, call Retail Maxim on telephone number 0844 875 5505 or email us info@retail-maxim.co.uk.  We encourage you to browse the Retail Maxim website to see what we offer in terms of mystery shopping insights and mystery shopping jobs.

England has the highest customer service Expectation

Highest Customer service expectation in England, Really?

Having a smile on your face and welcoming customers when they walk through the door is good customer service. Giving shoppers a choice between a traditional checkout lane in a supermarket and an electronic self-checkout is offering your customers experience. Little options like this will stick in the mind of the customer and they’re more likely to visit a place with friendly and helpful staff.

highest customer service expectation England
highest customer service expectation England

 

When delivering your customer service, doing it right and giving customers a great experience is the key for repeat custom. It won’t guarantee to bring in every single customer in the world, yet it’s good practice and vital in leaving a great impressions for new and current customers alike.

“Unique” is the effective word in this instance. Unlike customer service, do what another business’ already does well won’t work. To create a truly memorable experience for the individuals, you must at first give them one that’s unique. Companies worldwide are scrambling to create new, innovative ways for the customers to experience.

For the longest time, companies have stuck to the same basic infrastructure of customer service that they don’t dare to try and mould. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s always good to go that extra mile so customers sit up and notice your efforts.

The UK has the highest expectations of good customer service. In a recent poll, Brits were asked if they’d be willing to pay for good customer service and here’s what they said:

86% of the Britons polled answered: “No, I expect good service as part of doing business”. This is backed by UK professionals, who came second highest in the global rankings for saying that paying a fee for better service would not be beneficial for an organisation or its customers (62%).

Other findings from the report were:

  • A knowledgeable representative and a timely response are the most valuable components of a great service experience.
  • Hotels, online retailers, and banks provide the best customer service experiences
  • Live agent remains the preferred interaction type, followed by email, and then there is a significant drop to web chat, etc
  • Historical information access is deemed the most valuable feature of an interaction
  • Not being able to understand the agent is rated as the most frustrating part of an interaction
  • The ability to get a scheduled call-back was the most desired feature of mobile service applications
  • The most valuable technical service to offer customers is “an easy way to provide feedback.”
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics are the top features desired by contact centre professionals

Since the recent uptake of social media also, most customers now take to Twitter to complain about their experiences with your company and if they’re followed by the average amount of followers (126) and they RT you’re potential fighting a losing battle before you start.

Make sure your customer service is at a good level and contact Retail Maxim today.