Do you irritate your customers while trying to serve them better? This article is a follow on to my Making Your Service Harder To Use Irritates Customers -- too often efforts to improve actually make matters worse because each individual defines good customer service differently. Consider these points to satisfy your most profitable customers:
Ask about and keep track of service preferences. Maintain a history of customer interactions by customer and segments of customers. Use this trend information to tailor future improvements to prevent disruptions with profitable customers. This information can help reduce costs by phasing out less used mediums.
Make it easy for your best customers to deal with real people. Automated systems irritate people and make some quick tasks hard. It may cost more, but make sure your best customers have a real person to contact. Human-to-human interactions are often faster because of limited programing in automated machine systems.
Help callers escape from automated voice response systems easily. At any point in an automated phone system, make sure callers can get access to a real person. If someone gets lost in your system they will assume your entire company is that difficult to work with and likely do business with someone else. Your best customers should have a direct line to a real person as an option.
Identify top customers from first interaction and treat them accordingly. As soon as your best customers call, make sure you know who you are talking with. A positive experience with your organization starts with a customer first reaches your organization. Start with a category field that identifies which customer group a particular account is a member, and determine a customers identity by asking for an account number.
Provide a level of service each customer expects in a profitable manner. While self-service saves you money, most of your highly profitable customers want to save time and is willing to pay for that benefit. Seek to understand customer expectations at each customer segment. Provide a service at each level that can be cost effective and satisfactory for the buyer.
Allow customers to access your organization anytime without a human. Some customers will prefer not working directly with people for various reasons. Make your company available 24-hours a day with automated systems for ordering, account status, and inventory management. The Internet is just one of the technological solutions available.