The reason customer service can be a definitive strategy for business.
Businesses are looking to craft better CX with all the data that tech provides. While some manage to do so, others wonder where they fell short. The social experiment of working from home in this pandemic provides valuable insight in this regard. As some of us struggle with loneliness, we are reminded that we are social animals who thrive on human contact. That a human heart beats within us all, and the same is true of our customers. So whether your business is B2B or B2C, at the center of your customers’ experience beats a human heart.
The future of CX will be driven by heart, or that’s what we understand from the data from countries across the world. With digitisation came the deluge of data, which led businesses to focus on technology to map and innovate the touchpoints on their customers’ journey. When in effect, the real value of CX lay in efficient and intelligent human contact. If CX is the sum of all interactions your customers have with you at all the touchpoints in their relationship with your business, then powering your CX initiatives with technology; without an understanding of human perception and expectation is a big mistake.
- 82% of US and 74% of non-US consumers want more human contact in the future.
- 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.
- Only 38% of US consumers and 46% of consumers outside the US say the employees they interact with understand their needs.
The holistic purview of CX is admittedly made possible by technology. By leveraging new tech, media, and smartphones, it is now possible to measure almost everything everywhere and all the time. The added advantage is that the information offers a greater level of detail and can be completely customer-specific. So right down to the smallest detail, you can understand how customers experience a business at every stage of contact, and how they feel about each interaction. For businesses that are listening to understand their customers, the data also includes customers’ perceptions about how dedicated a business is to serving customers. What this essentially means is that CX is a composite of CRM, the data from customer engagement, and then some. This is where the holistic nature of CX gets a little difficult for the numbers to explain. To consider CX to be driven by technology is not so much wrong as it is lacking, because it still requires a good service attitude to craft good CX that endures. With the volume and velocity of data pouring in, it’s easy to understand how business got caught up with the numbers of metrics, reports, and dashboards.
Whether it is customer relationships, customer engagement, or the larger customer experience, there is one aspect of business that is vital to the success of all three. This is customer service and it is both an art and science. While things like response time and throughput time are countable and key to assessing customer service, it can be evaluated only with additional factors that are not always easy to gauge. Like empathy and listening skills, which are for the most part relative to the receiver, in this case the customer. So whether the customer has been well served is a question only the customer can answer. Is the customer always right? Not necessarily. But they do have the right to take their business elsewhere if they believe they’ve been wronged or not well served. So it’s important to understand what relationship, engagement, and experience involve, so we can better define it and serve the customer the best we can.
A business endures only in the service of its customers, and seen in this light, customer service is the unsung hero of every successful business. If we are yet to consider that everything a business does, from product design and development, to advertising and marketing, and sales and support, is done to best serve their customers, then it’s likely we’ve taken far too long to acknowledge and appreciate customer service, and give it its due. With customer service as the core guiding principle of your CX, there’s little chance you can go wrong with your business process or practice. This is not hyperbole, but a guaranteed outcome. Successful businesses factor in people, in terms of their emotions, sentiments,and instincts to grow their customer base and sales.
Be aware that money talks a loud game, when it comes to earning revenue and market share. The competition is fierce and everyone is vying for the top-spot in the numbers tree. In an attempt to get up there, some businesses begin to focus on profits and growth at any cost. If this is the motive for your customer engagement, it can prove to be a short-term gain, but a long-term failure. So rather than be shown the money now, plan to see that the money keeps rolling in. But when business is pressured to show growth quarter on quarter, it can be hard on marketing and sales teams to see the value of customer service in nurturing future growth. When it comes to revenue generation, customer service and business development are really part of a futures market and rarely taken into account in the present.
To build better CX, lead with your heart, and infuse a good service attitude into every stage and level of your business process and practice. Keep in mind that the numbers or the data points in your metrics are people and put your heart where your ego or attitude is. No matter how high or low you are on the organizational tree, whether at marketing, sales, billing, support, or the mail room, put a little heart into your customer engagement. But first learn what it means to spell heart:
Honesty. Empathy. Accountability. Responsibility. Transparency.
How this HEART plays out in the actual process and practice of customer service is the subject of an upcoming post on this blog. So keep an eye out to read all about it.
Even our hearts have a brain and can give us important guidance. This heart brain guides and controls our emotions and some related and telling physical reactions. Like tone of voice, vocal inflection, goosebumps, breathlessness, dry mouth or feeling squeamish, to name a few. The same is true for your customers. So when we hear information that lacks HEART, our heart brain senses it long before the brain can process the information we’re hearing or reading. So when our customer service lacks HEART, our customers are clued in right away and already shutting us out.
Whether your product or service is essentially technology or just tech driven, your customers and end users are people. So humanize how you advertise, market, sell, and support your products and services. Show some heart and don’t let tech control or direct your CX narrative, when people have the final say.
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash