Customer Service Remains The Key To Business Growth Or Shrinkage
Five years ago we posted about the importance of maintaining and training good customer relation agents, and in turn, maintaining customer satisfaction. With competition continuously growing, the importance of providing great customer relations is a key factor in creating loyalty as well as increasing word of mouth marketing. Not much has changed over the last 5 years. The trend and the numbers continue to emphasize the importance of customer satisfaction and properly training your call center agents.
Customer service training can increase the earning power of your marketing dollars, cut down operational costs; slash customer and employee churn rates and grow your business faster through word of mouth marketing.
Proof That Customer Service Is A Key To Business Growth
We all have heard of Zappos; a company that prides itself on the fact that they do not spend much on digital marketing. While the rest of the world was pouring money into Google PPC and other marketing platforms, Zappos was concentrating on providing superior customer service. They pride themselves on this statistic, and it appears to have worked. They continue to grow, and their brand is well recognized as a company that excels at customer service.
They spend a considerable amount of time training their call reps and making sure they follow the policies laid out and expected of them. This training and overall service has had an exceptional response from customers and created loyalty and referrals. Their high ROI is achieved through having a reputation as a company who takes care of their customers. They utilized word-of-mouth marketing in their favor, and they continue to reap the benefits.
Could Explosive Business Growth Really Be That Simple?
The AmEx, 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer reported a few interesting numbers regarding good customer experiences and how that affects consumers buying decisions:
Customers Spend More: There are a multitude of issues that flood your customer service call center every day. No company is perfect, and issues are always going to be present. It’s how these issues are handled that is a major driving force for customers. Do you simply ignore them? Or do you work on improving your customer relations and satisfaction? The clear answer is . . . work on improving service and financial gains are sure to follow. A whopping 74% of consumers have said that they’re willing to spend more based on a positive customer service experience.
Important Factor To Buy: When looking at the many factors of why consumers purchase from a specific company, 20% of consumers feel “excellent customer service” is the major reason they decide to go with that specific company.
Consumers Want Answers: 86% want answers to their questions to be resolved immediately, and at the very least (78%) want to be transferred to someone knowledgeable enough to immediately answer their question. Thus, the importance of First Call Resolution as well as properly training agents to find the right people with the right answers within the organization.
Feeding off the importance of First Call Resolution, most consumers rank the ability to resolve issues with a single call, without being transferred, and within a timely manner, as one of the major factors in what is considered good customer service (33%).
Word-of-Mouth Marketing: These statistics are eye-opening, but how do these stats relate to obtaining referrals and spreading word of mouth? Most people know that reviews usually come from disgruntled consumers, in fact, 95% of unhappy consumers let someone know, and surprisingly 60% like to keep it as an ongoing conversation piece. So it is obvious, keeping customers happy prevents them from talking badly about you, but not to worry, those that do encounter a pleasant experience also are in your corner letting other people know; 93% mention it, and 46% of customers are consistently positive advocates for you.
With social media and the explosion of more and more online review sites, these experiences, both good and bad are a major factor in pushing a new customer to purchase. These positive word-of-mouth recommendations open up the door to new business, in fact, 42% will take a word-of-mouth recommendation as a major deciding factor instead of a sale or promotion going on. That’s someone willing to pay full price just because a family member or friend mentioned a positive experience with your company.
But, as mentioned previously, negative reviews and experiences can hurt you, nearly 60% of consumers who were about to purchase decided to take their business elsewhere because of a poor experience or negative reviews.
Common Sense: Most of this is common sense, but you would be surprised how many companies continue to just assume customer experience is the last important marketing or consumer-facing strategy to address. They focus merely on the product, price, and branding, but fail to see the low hanging fruit right in front of them.
For those who do value customer service as part of their overall business strategy, you could be playing “blind archery” by focusing on the wrong things, simply because you don’t have the technology to pinpoint the issues your reps really need training on.
Call Recording Can Resolve Some Issues
Recording these interactions and having the ability to review them helps you identify the challenges your reps are facing so you can build better training programs. This can help increase your customer retention rate and bring down your operations costs. Companies who improve their FCR (“First Call Resolution”) rate actually save money on operational costs because there are fewer repeat callers taking up the phone lines.
Built-in QC forms allow managers to monitor and grade the performance of agents over time, allowing target focused training based on weaknesses. Many studies have been done regarding using real-life scenarios, play acting is good, but when agents can actually listen to a call they made and judge for themselves how they came off, it allows them to easily put the pieces together without trying to imagine the scenario in their head.
If you are able to also implement speech analytics, taking advantage of this technology can help you pinpoint major issues quickly and more efficiently. Speech analytics is a process in which the recordings are analyzed, and depending on your setup and phrase configuration, the software can alert you or provide reports on what a majority of customers are saying, or the lack of what your agents are mentioning.
Recording Is Not The Cure-All Solution
It is important to note, call recording by itself is not going to magically improve your customer service and increase word-of-mouth marketing. You need to actively monitor and train your agents, be proactive in engaging customers, and maintain these processes and constantly improve them.
Listening to your calls will allow your customers to tell you what their particular concerns are. Each business is unique, and encounters unique problems, with the ability to go back and listen, you can paint a clear picture of what needs to be improved or what new change in policy is not resonating with your customers.
Acquiring New Customers is 5-10 Times More Expensive
We all have heard this saying, and yet we continue to try and generate new lead after new lead, but ignore the paying customers right in front of us. Why not take a step back and review how you are treating and handling current customers. You might be surprised where you can improve these interactions, and as a result, you will be able to retain paying customers and get friendly referrals to improve word-of-mouth marketing.
Many studies have also been conducted regarding lowering your churn rate. We will go into more depth with this in a separate post. but, the studies have shown that agents that are engaged, trained, and are able to handle customer complaints properly and efficiently, have a much more enjoyable experience within the working environment. When dealing with upset consumers every day, being able to resolve their issues in a timely manner because of proper training turns those upset customers into happy customers. Less stress equals more enjoyable employment and in turn employee loyalty.