Customer Experience: the Game Changer in the Service Industry
The world is constantly changing, especially in the IT industry. There is one thing that outstands great businesses from the rest and distinguishes a great service company: improving the customer experience. If we think about it, all successful corporations from the latest years have one thing in common: they bet everything on providing excellent service. Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, we can name any number of good examples on how, mainly in the service industry, selling experiences is the way of engaging a client into coming back to do business with us.
But why is this a big deal? First off, a recent study shows that 25 percent of customers will defect after just one bad experience, that means it takes just one misstep from you or your collaborators to lose an account (Thunderhead, 2015). Additionally, we need to keep in mind that when we work in the service industry. It is difficult to rely on the quality of our product to speak for itself because there are no tangible goods in what we sell to our customers. Instead, we need to offer something they won’t find elsewhere. We need to offer a positive experience they will remember and recommend to others.
How to achieve great service? Promoting a customer-oriented culture in our company is a good start, putting the customer first and all that stuff we already know. But the real key is to exceed expectations, and there are three basic customer service practices that will help us get there:
Effective communication: Confidence that our customer will get a timely response to any inquiry they have. Even if we don’t answer with an immediate resolution, always keeping the customer on the loop and giving them constant updates to any open request is a significant difference in our industry. Remember that final users are often very familiar with how big software companies work, and the last thing they want is to wait four days to get an automated response to a follow up e-mail; they want to be treated as individuals. Effectiveness in communication is a cornerstone for building a strong relationship with the customer.
Thinking outside the box to provide solutions: As customers we’ve all heard the word “No” too many times. To make a difference we need to go the extra mile, develop ideas that the rest are afraid to even consider. There’s always going to be a hard stop, but the intention is to provide a workaround or a solution instead of just a negative answer when we get to that point. That kind of problem-solving attitude is what our client will never forget.
Practice professionalism all the time: From starting a conference on time or meeting a deadline to doing reworks until your code works with no errors. We need to show that we are competent and that, additional to paying for IT solutions for their business, they are also getting the backup of a group of experienced and professional people. That kind of security is priceless for the customer.
We can keep talking about tips and recommendations to improve customer service in our company, but it all comes down to one thing: empathy. Treat the customer the same way you want to be treated as a client, make them feel supported and acknowledged, because at the end of the day we all get to be on their shoes sometimes. And remember that one happy customer equals multiple potential new customers.
Thunderhead. (2015). The Cost of Crappy Customer Experiences. October 10th, 2017, web: https://www.thunderhead.com/the-cost-of-crappy-customer-experiences-infographic/
Kimberly de Silva. (2017). Why Customer Experience Is Your Key to Success. October 9th, 2017, Entrepreneur Magazine web: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296952