Changing the Way We View Customer Service
“The foundational concept of best service is no service is to challenge customer demands for customer support. “ Bill Price
Loyalty, brand awareness, customer service, and success. We’ve all heard those buzzwords many times, and we have obsessed about them, using all these metrics to measure them probably too much. But what these buzzwords and concepts don’t tell us is the core problem we have in our approach to customer service.
What’s wrong with our current view of customer service
Companies work hard and invest a lot of money in strengthening support channels through which their customers can reach them. We now, more than ever, have ways customers can reach the company: email, phone, chats, tickets, video calls (when they don’t just march angrily into the office). There are even all these metrics about which we also have written about, but they are often used in all the wrong ways. Managers use customer success metrics to measure the quality of customer success engineers, how they handle calls, how many of them they handle etc.
What seemingly nobody pays enough attention to is why are all these customers coming to ask for help, why are they pinging you on all your channels, disgruntled about the service they have received.
Fixing what’s broken
We need to change the approach manager are taking when it comes to customer service. We in no way want to eliminate customer service, you should always be available for your customers if something happens, but we just want to change the way we view it. Customer service doesn’t need that much work to be perfect -- the product should be the perfect one. It’s a pretty simple viewpoint, customers are not delighted that they have so many ways of contacting you or giving you a good NPS score on the end of the communication, customers shouldn’t even be reaching out to you because that means that the product and the company are doing something wrong. And that wrong is the exact thing we need to focus on.
Eliminating the need for customer service is what will make your customers happy and bring customer loyalty. Customers won’t care if your support channel isn’t perfectly intuitive and quick if they don’t have a reason to use them. To really turn things around we should treat customer service as a way to see what we’re doing wrong, act on it and directly eliminate the need for customer support.
Challenging the demand for customer service
This is precisely the premise of “The Best Service is No Service”, a brilliant book by Bill Price and David Jaffe. They are talking about approaching the problem of customer service from the opposite side; fix the problems you have with your service and your product and that way you can re-group and focus all the efforts into making really great overall customer experience, not just the experience they get when they contact customer service.
The fact is that it’s not just fixing the final product so customer don’t come unsatisfied, filing claims, asking for refunds, it’s also in the little things, those reasons for contact that we usually put in FAQs. Customers will come to you pre-sale, during and post-sale. What needs to be done is to have the entire process clear, easy and perfect. Don’t put up banners telling customers to reach you if there is anything they need, put up a product, website and everything else that comes with it that works perfectly and doesn’t need support from your agents.
But this can be a double-edged sword. We don’t want to kick out the customer service here, it should still be easy for customers to contact you while providing them the option to easily navigate and have engaging self-service without the need to call you for every little thing.
The book is focused on things we need to change to provide the best outcome for the company and for, of course, the customer. It is divided into sections that focus on all parts that we often overlook:
- Instead of trying to handle the huge demand for customer service, we need to challenge the need for it
- Stop dealing again and again with the same FAQ-type of questions, solve them
- Make it easy for customers to help themselves
- Work on things before they even appear on your tickets
- With all this, still make it easy for customers to contact you
- It’s not the agent’s fault, it’s the product or something else within the organization
- Listen to what your customers are saying to you and act on it
- Give them the best customer experience, keep the level of customer support, but when they actually need it
We will be going over each of these points separately, as each of them needs special attention, and all of them need to be in sync to provide the best results. Successify will publish series of articles where we will challenge the way we view customer support, making an homage to the book that challenged and changed our viewpoints, and we hope it will do the same for you.
Successify.io is dedicated to provide you with the best customer success metric so you can work on increasing the overall customer happiness and experience. But we don’t stop just there -- visit our blog to learn all the right ways in which you can utilize these metrics for the best possible results.