Translating great service into greater revenue
Stellar service has value, and that value can be immediately translated into dollars. American Express research showed that 70% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent customer service.
Furthermore, nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience, according to the Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow.
Sit with this for a minute. If your customer perceives your customer service—including brick and mortar and contact center interactions—as superior to others in your industry, chances are you can command higher prices than competitors for your product or service.
But if you believe you’re already delivering “superior customer service,” think again. While 80% of companies say they deliver this, only 8% of people think these same companies deliver “superior” service, reported Brad Tuttle in “Customer Service Hell” in Time magazine.“If your customer perceives your service is superior, you can command higher prices.”
So what does superior customer service mean to retail in this hyper-connected world?
Customers want products, answers, and response time to be lightning-fast. Take a scroll through Twitter and you’ll find the most common call center complaint to be long hold times. Unfortunately, during seasonal and time-of-day demand surges, call centers can’t help it. They’re designed for a certain capacity, so when demand spikes, they’re built to fail.
Customers demand answers in the form of product knowledge and nuances of product availability, configurations, and options. Getting your customer service call agents program-ready can be a Herculean task, which is where training programs can be the hero or deliver zero in added value. Not only must training ramp up agents quickly, many retailers are stuck in the endless cycle of hire-train-repeat due to high call center attrition … and for each new employee, they’re paying for more training time.
It’s not enough to just provide an answer and then move on. According to research from Harris Interactive, consumers reported that customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50% of the time. This exposes retailers to a mountain of lost sales, but also opens a massive opportunity: when customer care agents take ownership and full accountability to answer customers’ questions, they’re strongly differentiating the brand.
With the trend toward automation, it can be tempting to further compartmentalize customer service solutions supported by real human agents as a drain on the bottom line. However, there is strong evidence that investing in this service experience will create much more satisfied customers and can offer a real competitive advantage that is evident in increased revenue.