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Customer service is an important factor which requires regular and significant investment. According to Accenture’s Global Customer Satisfaction Report (2008), “Price is not the main reason for customer churn. Instead, it is the overall poor quality of customer service.” This statistic still holds true even after 10 years as more and more brands struggle to deliver great customer service differentiation. When was the last time you were WOWed by a brand delivering remarkably different customer service?
Why is customer service differentiation important?
No customers, no business!. When brands invest in delivering top quality customer service, they can expect better and faster ROI. It can also cultivate a loyal customer base. Brands would do well to consider differentiating the customer service that they provide if they want to stand out in our fiercely competitive world.
Some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to customer service are:
Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition – Keeping loyal customers is more affordable than getting new ones – the report by Bain and Company (Prescription for Cutting Costs) says, “Increasing customer retention by 5% can be equal to increasing the profit of a company by 25%. Better customer service means better customer retention.
Customer service is inseparable from brand perception – Customer service is the best way of letting customers know more about the brand. It is crucial to have a sharp customer service team that are happy so they are able to effectively relay the best experience to customers.
Satisfied customers will refer others – Happy customers are likely to recommend the brand to more people. According to the 2017, Customer Success Feeds Business Success report by Hubspot, “77% of customers will share positive brand experiences with others.”
Satisfied customers are willing to pay more when provided with better customer service – According to a report by NewportMedia, A Nation Of Serial Switchers, “50% of customers are willing to increase their purchase when they experience good customer service.”
Customer service can affect sales – customer service differentiation can help a company retain loyal customers and encourage repeat purchases. A lesser known factor of customer service is that it can drop price sensitivity. This makes upselling easier and increases customer lifetime value.
Ways to grow a brand’s Net Promoter Score through customer service
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the best way to calculate the chances that a customer will return to buy more from your brand. To improve NPS, a brand can actively develop customer service differentiation – become remarkably different and delight those customers!
1. Convert detractors into fans – Word-of-mouth marketing is crucial in a world which driven by social media. Negative and positive reviews and experiences can easily be broadcasted via social media. Detractors are likely to spread negative experiences throughout these channels. Therefore, it is important to solve customer issues as fast as possible. Some of the simple but effective ways a brand can turn a detractor to a fan are to:
a. Ask them how their problems can be fixed – Some customers simply want a simple solution to a simple problem.
b. Be personal – Consider personalising your responses.
2. Respond to problems quickly – Customers can easily turn into detractors when they experience slow response times. The best way to ensure that brands provide timely responses is to use automated tools and apps for customer service management.
3. Go above and beyond – Passive customers can be turned into promoters when they are given a unique experience. Something as simple as receiving a follow-up thank-you email can build customer loyalty.
Companies providing the best customer service
This company consistently receives the highest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score. Trader Joes excels by providing a quick response to its customers. Employees are trained to provide exceptional service – from opening products to giving samples.
Sephora uses advanced technology to create personalised experiences. By creating a comprehensive app and virtual try-on of products for its strong online community, the makeup brand provides a truly differentiated customer experience that is fully immersive.
Amazon consistently uses innovation to provide new customer solutions. Some of the most popular services that Amazon provides are one-day shipping, easy returns and physical locations for collection. The brand excels in creating and integrating services for an omnichannel experience.
Best Buy went through a digital transformation to streamline its in-store and online experience. The brand aimed to provide a more personalised service, such as checking on customers in their homes to provide their best tech solutions.
Discover is consistently recognised for being on the cutting edge of technology. Discover combines AI with human interaction to predict when their customers will need financial help.
ING places a huge value on customer experience. Providing excellent service is a company-wide effort. The employees in every department collaborate to create innovative, customer-first ideas.
Chase was one of the first banks to integrate mobile banking. It has refined its app to create an intuitive user experience. It aims to provide everything that customers need, all in one place.
Kaiser Permanente leads the healthcare industry in the customer service area. By focusing on both employee and customer experience, the brand utilises innovative technology like virtual appointments which allow providers to see more patients conveniently. Kaiser Permanente is an example of a brand helping to make people’s lives easier and, just plain better.
VRHealth provides a unique experience to customers by bringing virtual reality programs to patients during stressful procedures. The aim is to keep the customers calm whilst providing treatment.
Following the service-oriented attitude of its CEO, Slack became a top customer experience team itself. Slack helps customers to achieve better customer service for their customers by providing training and unique tools.
This data storage company consistently modifies its services by listening to customer feedback. It works hard to evolve the services that they provide to their clients to ensure that the service matches their needs.
Google consistently receives the highest ACSI score among software companies. This is because its employees understand all of the products and services in order to successfully explain them to customers.
To encourage a customer-centric attitude, the company focuses on its employees and families first. Employees ensure that they build personalised relationship with their customers.
To establish a brand identity and set it apart from typical providers, First Direct is committed to providing a unique customer experience. The bank consistently strives to find out what customers want from it without having to be told. The brand has won multiple customer service recognitions because of this.
Yorkshire Bank is one of the most improved organisation in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index. The core customer service values are putting the right person at the right time in front of the right customer. The bank also launched an app to help provide a better customer experience.
This retailer ensured that it provides good customer experience by making sure customers enjoy their shopping experience at all times. It also has a proactive approach to customer complaints – offering a broad spectrum of points of contact so that customers feel that their needs are met on time.
Innovative tech solutions that can help companies achieve unique customer service
In 2019, brands are on the cusp of a revolution in the way that they handle, perform, and track customer interactions. The future of customer service differentiation will see a perfect combination of efficient technology and human soft skills.
AI plays a significant role in the area of customer service. The use of AI is forecast to continue growing over the next few years. AI saves time and cost – especially when it comes to automation. Additionally, consumers are now embracing AI as part of their daily lives. Some of the best examples of this are Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home. Artificial Intelligence provides instant gratification and total convenience. This keeps customers feeling delighted in using it. A forward-thinking brand should leverage AI in order to strengthen and enhance their customer service and engagement initiatives. Some of the best AI software that brands can try out are Botmind, Chatbot, and NanoRep.
AR is another form of technology which, when integrated with a digital experience, can provide a unique real-world experience. Through inserting a layer of digital content, customers are given a unique view of the real world around them. AR can transform customer service by providing easy to follow “how-tos” for physical products, as well as, digital applications.
Blockchain is quickly becoming a unique sector of its own – when used the right way, Blockchain can replace inefficiencies and integrate with brand customer service. Blockchain can be an effective tool in customer service as employees in the customer service sector can easily be checked. Blockchain technology can help manage and verify potential customer identities before companies will hire them. This means better data protection for customers.
AI Chatbots for Customer Service
AI chatbots help brands resolve customer queries quickly and efficiently. This allows brands to ensure that they provide instant replies and service outside of business hours so that customers can focus on important tasks – result? Happy customers.