How to Leverage Superior Customer Service as Your Competitive Advantage

Posted by Rebecca MacLeod

1/29/15 10:06 AM

superior customer serviceStand Out From The Crowd

Attracting new customers and retaining existing ones are arguably two of the most important aspects of business; however, they are also the most challenging. In fact, 21 percent of U.S. small business owners say that customer acquisition is the most difficult hurdle they face, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

In today’s fiercely competitive business environment—in which customer expectations are at an all-time high—many companies struggle to remain profitable. Customers are more knowledgeable about the markets they peruse and, therefore, especially particular about where they spend their hard-earned dollars. They expect more attention, appreciation and recognition from brands. And while price is still important, customers are willing to fork over more cash in exchange for a better shopping experience.

According to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, more than two-thirds of American consumers say they’re willing to spend 14 percent more on average with a company that they believe delivers excellent service. That compares to 13 percent in both 2012 and 2011, and 9 percent in 2010, the first year of the American Express survey.

Savvy business owners are recognizing that competitive pricing is no longer the most effective way to build an enduring business; rather, an emphasis on superior customer service will separate the more-profitable companies from their less-lucrative counterparts. In fact, nearly 60 percent of organizations say that service and support will be the top source of competitive differentiation in three years, according to research from SAP.

Enough about the importance of customer service…what does it actually take to outperform your competitors and put customers at the center of your business? Below are three tips and tricks to ensure you deliver top-notch customer service:

Instill customer-obsessed culture

Top-performing companies, such as Zappos and Amazon, place their customers at the very heart of their business. To mimic their customer-obsessed cultures, you must onboard employees who value customer service, and consistently communicate the importance of customer service across the enterprise through training, internal newsletters and department meetings.

Implement the proper Workforce Management tools

Without the proper tools in place, your employees can’t provide the quick and easy help your customers have come to expect. Tools such as a workforce optimization platform, for example, will give your team the ability to deliver superior customer service. It enables contact center agents to pinpoint the root cause of a problem, quickly access customer data from an easy-to-use online dashboard and resolve the issue promptly.

Be approachable via multiple channels

If a customer finds it difficult to get in touch with your company, chances are he or she will simply walk away. Provide customers with various options for how they would like to communicate with you if they have an inquiry or a complaint; for example, live chat, social media, email or telephone. Regardless of which channel they choose, consumers should be given a seamless experience. So, make sure you have a strategy in place for effectively delivering multichannel customer service.

There’s no denying the fact that the quality of service you provide will either enhance or degrade your customer acquisition and retention rate. Use the tips and tricks above to improve your customer service and differentiate your company from the rest.  

Topics: agent performance

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