According to a recent study released by CreditDonkey.com, across all customer satisfaction categories, consumers preferred small businesses to larger companies. From a common sense standpoint, it makes sense that small businesses would fare better in terms of personal attention, a greater sense of accountability, and quicker response times. In fact, the survey results bear this out.
Consumers said small businesses did better than big businesses in the following areas…
- Anticipating needs
- Anticipating problems
- Consistently saying, “thank you”
- Following up
Sounds like a huge win for small business. Not so fast…
Perhaps the greatest statement made in this survey is that 52% of the respondents said they would choose lower price over better service. Obviously, that favors larger companies based on the assumption that they can leverage their resources more effectively. The result – a classic case of being better but not good enough. That hurts.
So the question is, how do small to medium sized businesses turn the tide in their favor and make service the most important determining factor in customers’ purchase decisions? After all, 80% of those surveyed did admit to not purchasing at all because of poor customer service. So this statement tells us there is hidden opportunity in convincing customers to pay a little more, as long as excellent service is provided throughout the purchase decision process.
Maybe You Should Sweat the Small Stuff
Have you heard the saying, “The devil is in the details?”
It means the small things can be your undoing if left overlooked. You can hire motivated, bright and energetic customer service reps. You can give them the best training. You can lead them with the cream of the crop. But if you don’t monitor their performance in real time and review their work after the fact, you’ve missed an important opportunity. One that could keep you from closing the value gap with your larger competitors.
Think about the best phone customer service you’ve ever received. Was it the result of the call that made the difference or the person providing the service? Now think of the worst phone customer service you’ve ever received. Same question – the result or the rep?
Whom you’re talking to is just as important as what you’re talking about. How does it feel when you can’t hear or understand the customer service rep? When they’re unprofessional? When they don’t have answers to your questions? When they’re condescending?
Here are five areas to focus on with each of your customer service reps. High performance in these areas will differentiate your customer service from your competition and create a competitive advantage that is based on value, not strictly price.
- Voice quality and clarity – Does the rep annunciate well? Do they use their headset microphone properly? Do they speak loudly enough, without overpowering the customer?
- Professionalism – Does the rep sound overly informal? Use colloquialisms and/or slang? Are they robotic sounding? Insincere?
- Demeanor – Is the rep even keeled, upbeat and friendly on every call? Are they inconsistent, prone to moodiness? Do they become rude because they take customer objections personally?
- Confidence – Does the rep thoroughly understand the product offering? Do they come off uncertain, non-committal or hesitant? Are they afraid to make a decision or judgment call?
- Accuracy – Are the rep’s answers accurate and useful to the customer? Do they apply policies and procedures correctly? Are their actions consistent with the company’s core values?
I’ll throw in one more as a bonus…
Does the rep genuinely care? Can you hear it in his voice? In the words he chooses and how he says them?
Service = Value = Competitive Advantage
What’s the best method to focus on these 5 areas with each of your customer service reps? Versadial’s call recording solutions are easy to implement, affordable and will allow you develop world class customer service across your organization. Record calls for formal review or listen in on a live call and follow it up with immediate coaching and feedback.
As you’re monitoring a live call, you can also capture screenshots of the rep’s computer screen to make sure they’re providing the right information from the right source to the customer. You can also run pre-programmed quality assurance tests to focus on a particular problem area for an individual or team of customer service reps.
Nobody said it would be easy, but small to medium sized companies can take on the big boys of their industries without competing directly on price. By using service as a game changer, small businesses can create a value proposition that is sustainable, regardless of market conditions. Versadial’s call monitoring and recording solutions can play a big part in that strategy, but only if you contact us for more information.