11:32:12 pm on May 13, 2008 |
I read a lot of blogs to get an idea of what’s going on around the world and the industry, probably the same you do. I prefer, instead of taking the ideas at their worth, to extrapolate ideas from other areas into customer service – shake the core beliefs if you may – to improve our current situation and create a better system. Seth Godin has two posts in his blog that got me thinking. He talks about how to improve the role of marketing for an organization, but I could not stop thinking of the implications for customer service… and the power of implementing these two ideas:
Make big promises; over-deliver
Connect like-minded people
We are so obsessed with measuring customer satisfaction that we don’t take the time to think what we could do to replace it or even ignore it. Forget trying to get to 70-75% of satisfaction, ignore the NPS (net promoter score) and the likelihoods to do something – we are talking about long-term guarantees your customers will remain loyal and continue to bring you their business. Two steps to achieve it, but it is a great revolution from where we are. Ready?
First, over-deliver. Often I have expounded on the virtues of SLAs (service level agreements) and the place they have in customer service: managing customer expectations of service by setting the standard. I said, as much as I could, that SLAs are external guidelines – not internal. Our internal guidelines and processes should always, always be set to over-deliver what we promise. We should never, ever simply just do the best we can – we should always do better That is what impresses customers, creates loyalty, and provides stickiness to the relationships. In this time and age, it takes no more than two seconds to move to the next provider and leave the current one behind. Over-delivering is THE differentiating factor you need to stick out among them and to retain your customers.
The second question that comes up, what do you do with your customers when you have them? You know how customer relationship works: what have you done for me lately. You can over-deliver only so many times before the customers get acclimated, your competitors copy you, and the novelty is gone. That is the second punch, the one that knocks them down and keeps them coming. We talked about using communities for collaborative customer service in the past, customers helping customers, but how about for customer retention? Yes, it is a crazy idea – but so crazy it just might work. You build the communities to bring customers to your site, and use it to make them stay… not just for customer service or collaboration, but simply to stay. Connect like-minded people and see what happens.
Final words: don’t just nod your head in agreement (or disagreement), don’t scream at the computer – it won’t make me any smarter or more reasonable. Try this advice… it is not hard to do, and can give you the simple results you need. Oh yeah, let me know how it goes (or, if you already did it, how it went). If you don’t know where to start – or are not comfortable, let’s talk…