Usman Ghani (June 17, 2019)
A smiley emoticon, a ‘thumbs-up’ like, or a multi-paragraph positive review on a third-party website – satisfied customers are the hallmark of a successful business. With an increasingly competitive marketplace, simply being friendly with clients is hardly ever enough. As a brand, your organisation must consistently demonstrate superior service quality across all customer touchpoints. This is accomplished by first recognising the aspects that your customers deeply care about. As customers, most individuals feel strongly about professionalism, dependability, responsiveness, and empathy while dealing with a business. Also, there is usually a level of trust involved when a customer invests their time, and money into a certain product or service. But the question remains: how does one measure an organisation’s customer service quality in the first place?
Here are some methods for organisations to gauge their customer service skills with:
Customer satisfaction surveys provide easy access to customer feedback. What is interesting is how it can be readily distributed in multiple formats. Shoppers can answer the questions being asked by a store representative while they are browsing the aisles. App users can give their ratings, up to five stars, after using the service on their smartphones. Restaurant-goers can tap in their impressions on a tablet while the server arranges for the bill. Guests can log on to a third-party travel advisory site, select a forum, and share their experiences about a particular resort. Customers of a ride-hailing service can rate the service while waiting to talk to a customer service representative on the phone.
As a business, you can gain valuable feedback on just about anything – how reliable is the brand, how responsive is the staff in case of an emergency, and so on – through a survey. Surveys are a great tool for evaluating a business’s performance and ensuring that your customers remain with you for the long-run.
After-sales service involves customer support after a product or service has been delivered. Service providers, whether over the phone or through a mobile app, often use a rating system to gain immediate feedback. The core purpose is to ensure customer satisfaction – even months after the original sale has been made. Over time, successful after-sales service programs can foster brand loyalty, customer retention, and repeat business for the company.
Mystery shopping provides management with actionable insights into the actual customer experience. This is a common method to evaluate and help compare the customer service of one company with another. It requires hiring an undercover “customer” to visit a store (either online or in person) for the purpose of testing their service quality. The mystery shopper effectively audits the particular outlet’s customer experience based on set criteria. This criterion can be similar to the one the company uses for its customer satisfaction surveys.
Social media, and more specifically social media marketing, has become an integral part of consumers’ lives. Customers often resort to social media to make their purchasing decisions as well as to share their experiences with the digital community. Whether they have a complaint or an accolade to share, there is a strong possibility that your customer is sharing their experience through a social media post. Customer experience experts recommend consulting social media to find genuine, unfiltered opinions about your company’s products and services.
You can have trainers on board, team-building materials at-the-ready, a positive work environment and even customer feedback but it will all be pointless if their effectiveness is not measured. Unless monitoring is taking place, the organisation will not know where the problems lie. An entire department can lose track of business objectives, and damage the brand’s hard-won reputation along the way. Managers responsible for customer success can employ pre-established customer satisfaction key performance indicators (KPIs) such as First Response Time, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Retention Rate. Organisations must set systems in place to measure, evaluate, and improve their quality of customer service on a regular basis.
The final step in tracking customer service quality involves making an action plan and setting it in motion. An executive team must first gather relevant customer service-related data – be it from social media reviews, surveys, phone calls, feedback from walk-ins, or email-based complaints. Next, they must work together to study the data to find patterns that signal a deficiency. Finally, they must generate a practical, measurable plan to ensure real impact on the company’s existing service quality.
What is the desired end result? Ideally, it’s a noticeable increase in customer confidence. Customer service and employee behaviour are intangible yet intertwined. To provide the best customer experience, your organisation needs to take steps to understand your customers and also evaluate your service. Through these methods, you can easily gauge where your brand stands when it comes to customer service quality.
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