4

Today’s empowered customer

Every business out there knows (or pretends to) that customers are their bread and butter, yet customer experience gets either swept under the rug or remains a non-issue. The prevalence of headline-grabbing customer service disasters show us that our trade still hasn’t learned to:

  • understand customer expectations
  • inspire confidence around their product
  • provide value beyond the purchased product

We’re constantly reminded that support agents should be the face of the brand — yet — can they play the part? Can we deliver memorable customer experiences — and just as importantly, salvage toxic ones? The key to the answer may lie with your customers. Here are five secrets your customers don’t want you to know (which can help you in better understanding them):

6

“I can make or break your brand”

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, your customer service reps are the face of your company, projecting a certain image and brand value across. They are a first point of contact and, far too often, also the last one.

Today’s customers are powerful, demanding and worst of all, connected. Being on multiple social networks, they can easily unleash damaging vendettas against your brand.

The solution? Teach your support agents that every single interaction they have with customers amounts to branding. The way you greet, communicate (in person, by phone, email, or even voicemail), follow-up, ask for repeat business, and promote your products is an opportunity for a renewed brand.

3819331309_eba72bb2ec_b

“I can be your evil ex (or worse)”

Customers are human, each with their own feelings, desires and a certain level of expectation from your brand. When you cross them, your customers can take matters personally — and actively work at discouraging your business.

Let’s take a simple analogy: You went on a date and had a great time, but started traveling around immediately and forgot to give your date a call. The first day you don’t call, she will tell her friends you’re a jerk. The second day, she tells her mother. By the third day she’ll tell everyone in her circle, and maybe even some strangers for good measure.

Your customers are much the same. They feel let down and deceived when a company doesn’t do the necessary legwork to make them feel valued. You don’t want to go that path.

Customers are smater than you think

“I am smarter than you think”

We are more time-strapped than ever before. We have more choices as to where to buy and have an ability to share our brand experiences at the click of a button. What’s more, we now have the ability to voice our frustrations and invite outsiders to support our crusades.

Your customers are no different.

If a customer feels as if they know more than the sales rep (and these days they often do — especially with resources available at their fingertips) they will lose confidence in your team and the brand faster than you think.

7590809958_877bc6e5b0_z

“I don’t care!!!”

Most customers could care less about your offers and promotions unless it’s exactly what he or she seeks. While this may seem obvious, consider that businesses have a tendency of focusing their resources on attracting new customers instead of truly listening to their existing ones.

This includes everything from running sophisticated promotion campaigns to cutting prices for a sales boost. When the price point becomes a main differentiator, businesses are cornered into cutting costs in critical areas in order to stay competitive. Staff training and customer service ends up on the chopping block, too, and — soon enough — customers start feeling abandoned.

5

“I don’t want to hear excuses”

This is where companies hit a roadblock. It may seem simply impossible to attend to your customer’s every need, all the time. Yet in order to succeed, companies should do just that.

More often than not, businesses cite a lack of resources such as funding and staffing, citing mantras about their inability to “please everyone at once”. However, this is proverbial slippery slope as far as the customer experience goes. Perhaps Adolf Loos, a renowned Austrian architect said it best:

The house has to please everyone, contrary to the work of art which does not. The work is a private matter for the artist. The house is not.

Just like an architect must provide a solution to a set of problems in the form of a building that works for everyone, a customer service agent use the tools of the trade to do the same for their customers. A support agent’s most important tool (aside from the phone) is their customer service software.

When it comes to a stellar customer experience, it turns out that pleasing everyone is exactly what you should be doing!