Capturing the voice of the customer refers to understanding a customer’s expectations, preferences, and dislikes.1Often, there is a disconnect between how a company thinks they are doing, and how they are really doing in the eyes of their customers. Several years ago a Bain & Company survey took a look at how common it is that companies misread their markets.2 Out of the 362 firms they surveyed 80% felt they were delivering a “superior experience” to their customers. But when customers were interviewed, only 8% of the companies were rated as delivering a superior experience.2
What was it that set that 8% apart from the rest of the pack?2 They provided the right offers and experiences for the right customers, the entire company focused on providing these offers and services, and they were always seeking improvement in the planning process, trained people in how to create new customer propositions, and established direct accountability for the customer experience.2 Nowhere in your company does customer experience come more into play than in your customer care department. Whether you have one customer care rep, or one hundred, here are tips to help ensure that your response to customers is truly what they need.3
- Never forget you are in business to service customer needs.
- Listen. Really. Identify customer needs by asking questions.
- Identify, then anticipate needs. Remember that customers buy good feelings and solutions.
- Make your customer feel appreciated.
- Help customers understand your systems.
- Say yes.
- Know how to say you’re sorry.
- Exceed expectations.
- Solicit regular feedback.
- Treat employees well – they are your front line.
- Answer the phone.
- Make only promises you can keep.
- Deal with complaints.
- Be helpful – even when you see no immediate profit in it.
- Throw in something extra.
Top notch customer care is about being organic, listening and responding, rather than handing out canned responses. Give your customer care reps the information they need to provide educated responses in a personalized way. Aim to incorporate as many of these tips as possible and you can help set yourself apart as a company that really is delivering a superior experience, rather than just thinking you are.
- Voice of the Customer
- The Three “Ds” of Customer Experience
- The Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service