Phone and e-mail certainly are the basics, but companies can no longer afford to get away with just the basics. Answering the phone on time and in a pleasant manner is a basic customer expectation. We all expect to receive clean dishes at a restaurant, but that by itself will not earn the restaurant a positive review.
Great customer service experiences go far beyond the basics – it’s all about creating a Low-Effort Experience for customers and meeting their emotional needs, as well as practical needs, during the interaction.
Customer service and more precisely great customer service has long been a major differentiator in assessing the overall quality of a business. In the current business environment, it may very well be the primary differentiator. To deliver great customer service, customer service representatives and other customer-facing employees need to learn to have a new conversation with the customer.
The typical (i.e. old) conversation involves just being nice and letting the company’s systems and processes drive the communication with the customer, as well as the outcome. The New Conversation, on the other hand, is focused on intentionally and proactively meeting the practical and emotional needs of the customer and creating that low-effort customer experience. The New Conversation creates value for the customer, but also creates value for the company insofar as it is geared toward turning the customer into a Loyal Promoter of the company, its products and its brand.
This new way of communicating is anything but basic and, contrary to what some may think, requires more than common sense.
Original 1to1Media Blog Post Below:
When Providing Customer Communication Channels, Don’t Ignore the Basics By: Mila D’Antonio
The importance of providing a multichannel customer experience in marketing and service is paramount today for companies to keep and grow their customers. But in this race to have a presence on every new channel that emerges, I feel that we often ignore the basics: phone and email.
Yesterday, I think I wasted the greater part of my work day chasing down this “basic” contact information for potential sources at companies and firms that I want to reach out to request their participation in upcoming articles. With as many channels as there are today, why is it still so difficult to get in touch with people and companies?
While many of the sources that I came across provided me with the options of connecting with them via Facebook or Twitter, my queries need more space than 140 characters and if the potential source isn’t following me back on Twitter, then the service doesn’t permit sending private messages. With Facebook, I don’t want to broadcast my message on someone’s wall.
I spoke to Matthew Bellows, CEO and founder of Yesware, yesterday, and he called email “the original social network,” adding that despite cries that email is dying, it still serves as the main source of communication that most people use and that Twitter and Facebook also rely on to send alerts. Then why are we ignoring this valuable channel?
Today’s consumers are pressed for time and cannot spend more than even a couple of minutes searching for contact information if they have a question or concern. To be truly multichannel, companies must provide a number of contact options, not just the cool channels like social and mobile apps, but the basic ones that are engrained in how many of us prefer to communicate. And they need to make all these options clearly visible on their websites.