Generally, businesses depend on returning customers for profitability. Over the past few years, many companies have been attracting and retaining customers by outsmarting competitors and delivering excellent customer service. Jeremy Watkin, Head of Quality at FCR, a veteran in Customer Service and a blogger, believes that nowadays customer service professionals prefer quality over quantity when it comes to their work. In an interview with him, he said, “the reality is that the tide didn’t shift toward quality until studies proved that companies with a great customer experience consistently outperform those with poor experiences.”
One of the prerequisites for delivering great customer experience is connecting with your customers on a personal level. It is not easy to create a universal manual on how to deliver personalized customer service across all industries as there are several methods and tools used to do so. However, the concepts behind them remain the same. Key concepts include:
1- Know your customers. Don’t think of your customers as numbers, think of them as ‘persons’. Engage in conversation, know their names, pay attention to what they say, take action by offering customized solutions and always ask for feedback.
2- Earn your customer's trust. Don’t tell your customers, “Sorry, it’s our policy”. Instead, build and maintain personal relationships with them. Stay in touch, listen to their changing needs and find ways to add value to their personal and/or professional lives. Also make sure you are there when they need your help, through all the available media channels.
3- Communicate visually. Use less words. Jeremy stressed the importance of communicating with customers using visuals. If face to face meeting is not an option, use technological tools to personalize the relationship with customers. Video chat, for example, humanizes the experience in ways that phone, chat, and email cannot. How-to-videos uploaded to video sites such as YouTube or embedded in emails can help customers self-solve problems. Jeremy added that “equipping customer service agents with the ability to send videos, images, and screenshots to customers significantly reduces the amount of customer effort during the troubleshooting process.”
It is worth noting that mastering personalized customer service is not as simple as it sounds. Some of the challenges faced by businesses are:
1- It may be costly and inefficient. Some business owners and managers would argue that the bigger the customer base the harder it will be to have a personal relationship with customers. However, this is not always the case; businesses can use a variety of tools (CRMs, chat and call services, Social Media, etc) that aid in delivering a personal message to each customer of their big customer base.
2- Advanced technology is a double-edged sword. Due to the endless innovations in the technological space, businesses are expected to stay up to date with all trends and improve their customer service consistently. Jeremy expects “customer communication systems to trend more toward a true omni-channel experience, simplifying customer service for both customers and the agents serving them. He added that, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact a variety of different areas as companies seek ways to respond to customers quicker and more accurately.”
3- Diverse sectors require different measures. Professionals in certain industries might think the urgency of excellent customer service won’t apply to them any time soon; maybe because they are a monopoly or they deliver the highest quality product/service. As Jeremy pointed, “customers expect and desire all industries to step up their game when it comes to customer service. Any industry that doesn’t get on board with this is ripe for disruption.”
Luckily, there are many business tools that can be used to offer personalized customer service on a large scale and overcome the challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and types. CRMs, Intercom, Zendesk, Trello, and JIRA are few of the widely used software programs for customer support. We, at CloudApp, use Zendesk to connect with our customers and we use CloudApp to share videos on how to use our app and become successful users of our product.
How do you build personalized relationship with your customers? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.