In an earlier blog, I discussed a missed opportunity to shine, and my feelings on customer care. This week, Jennifer Friedman, TOA Technologies VP of Marketing, looks at some recent data behind this subject:
As I prepared for my first blog post ever, I read a recent survey entitled, “The Global Customer Service Barometer,” which was published by American Express (my previous employer).
The survey confirmed ideas that most of us suspect:
1) Americans will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent service
2) Two-thirds (67%) feel companies aren’t doing enough to earn their business and nine in ten (90%) Americans consider the quality of customer service when deciding to do business with a company
3) Three most influential factors when deciding which company consumers choose to buy from:
* Personal experience (98%)
* Company’s reputation or brand (92%)
* Recommendations from friends and family (88%)
Should companies invest more (or differently) in customer service to increase the value of their brands? This is not a trivial question because in the vast majority of cases, it is the front-line customer service worker (whether he/she be on the phone, in the store, or showing up at the consumer’s home) that represents a company’s first and most important interaction between them and their customer. These are the interactions that represent the moment of truth: the most important interaction with the company where the consumer forms his opinion.
Today companies with mobile workers have an unprecedented opportunity to transform what has traditionally been a “moment of pain” into a “moment of glory”. This opportunity derives from the dual power of predictive analytics and improved forms of communication.
What can companies with employees who go to consumers’ homes do?
1) Use the Information You Have to Make Better Decisions. Most companies have the ability to know how long it takes to perform a task and how long it takes an individual worker to complete the task. The problem is that they don’t use this information. They need to start!
2) Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. And do it in the format that consumers want. Call them, email them, text them, let them check on the internet to see what is going on. And communication is a two-way street. Let them be part of the conversation. If you are going to be late, tell them; and let them decide what to do. If they are willing to wait, great. If they want to reschedule, let them.
3) Get Over the Idea That Cost/Service is an Either/Or Proposition. With the advent of predictive scheduling software and communications it is possible for companies to delight customers and save money at the same time. How? By giving consumers arrival windows that are short and accurate, by communicating with them so they know when you will arrive, and by showing up with the right personnel and tools to do the job right the first time.
I would be very interested to hear what other best practices exist in the sphere of customer service that are helping companies build their brands, especially for companies whose business takes them to consumers’ homes. What else can companies do?