7 Ways to Master Your Customer Service Experience
The SocketLabs team is finally settled back in the States after hosting an educational event in London, England: The Science of Customer Experience. This event comes at the height of the customer experience conversation that has become increasingly audible in the halls of modern business. And while customer experience is a broad topic that covers many aspects of today’s business, the focus of this blog will be one, important slice of the bigger customer experience pie: customer service experience.
As an email service provider, we see first-hand how our technology contributes directly to customer experience. But even being directly tied in to the customer experience industry, there was still so much to learn from our English partners.
We had the pleasure of hosting customer experience expert Lindsay Willott, who is the CEO of Customer Thermometer, as our keynote speaker. Here are our biggest takeaways from her speech.
*To view our video recap of Lindsay’s speech, watch the full length video above. You can also click on the title of each section below to watch that portion of her speech.*
Owning Your Customer Service Experience
Lindsay provided invaluable insight into the best strategies for building the strongest customer service experience for your organization. She started off the event on a great note, offering all of the lessons and best practices she has learned over the years as a CEO on how to take ownership of your customer service experience. Her speech was broken down into two main parts:
- Customer Support Strategies: Strategies That Work in Customer Service Experience
- Measuring Customer Experience: The Right Way to Measure Customer Experience
Let’s look a little closer and dive into some of our biggest takeaways from one of the best and brightest leaders in customer experience.
Customer Support Strategies: What Works in Customer Service Experience
One of my biggest takeaways from Lindsay’s speech was creating a robust customer service/support function within your organization that has a brand identity. Support teams really need to do more than just support, they need to live the brand that they are supporting. Handling tickets and responding to calls is the nature of a support team, but getting your support team to live and breath your product or service is a huge step in creating a more engaged, effective support team.
As Lindsay has found, it’s important for your support team to feel like more than just a small part of the back-end process, they should be engaged brand ambassadors with a foot in all areas of your business like product development, marketing, presales, and sales. Since they are on the front lines everyday with customers understanding their needs and expectations, they have the best insight to lead these product, presales, sales, marketing, etc. conversations.
Lindsay has established a support team identity of her own by branding her customer service team as the Ministry of Magic. These team members live the customer service experience story rather than just being a back-end support function. They are bringing life to the product they support and are a part of something bigger than themselves. As a result, the customers who interact with the Ministry of Magic feel the ripple down effect of a more passionate and engaged team.
The Ministry of Magic has seen great success optimizing customer service experience, utilizing some of the following strategies.
Know Your Donuts
So you have a fully engaged team with an established brand identity that lives and breaths the product or service they support. But how can you engage with your end-users in a way that truly improves their service experience? Know your donuts!
“Know your donuts” is the fun, English, way of saying, understand your customers. The concept is really quite simple, easy to implement, and VERY effective in connecting with your customer base. The way you understand your customers comes down to three main categories:
- Understand their industry
- Understand their product/service
- Understand their goals
The better you understand your customer’s goals and needs, the better customer service experience you will be able to provide for them.
Lindsay and her team attack this method with a slack channel dedicated to new information on any industry that they might be working in. Any employee can add useful industry information at any time that will help the Ministry of Magic better understand their customers. This is a great resource that the whole company can use to know their donuts and create a better customer service experience.
Adopt a Beta Mindset
In her next section, Lindsay expressed the importance of adopting the ‘Beta Mindset’, expressing that we should all be thinking and acting as if we were in a permanent state of beta testing. “If you were permanently in beta and the product was never finished, what would you do with your customer experience?” The important thing to remember here is to continuously adapt and improve your support process to make your customer’s experience a priority.
Lindsay stated that “Customers are already 60% of the way through their buying journey before they get in touch. Regardless of the cost of the product.” This means you need to have the necessary resources in place to continuously adapt your customer experience through every stage of the customer journey and the best way to do this is to keep a beta mindset and keep improving.
Ditch the Script: Lead with Personality
Next, Lindsay talked about the importance of ditching the script. There are many processes in business where the customer expects a specific outcome, for example, checking in to a hotel. Checking in to a hotel is a standardized process – the customer knows exactly what they should expect, and those very basic expectations are usually met. When it comes to customer service/support, it is an incredibly rewarding experience for the support team to step outside of the script and make an interaction that is completely unique and memorable.
Going back to Lindsay’s idea of making your customer service team feel like they are more than just a back-end process, it starts with promoting a script-free experience that allows the support team to connect better with the end-user. At the end of the day, the public is more interested in personalities than corporations. It’s important that you lead with personality over process to create a completely unique customer service experience.
Best Product, Best Price, or Best Overall Solution?
As a business or product owner you want to provide users with the best overall experience. Sure there is some benefit that can come from having the best price or the best product, but to have the best overall solution will allow you to outgrow the competition.
So how does one get the best overall solution? Lindsay says the answer is simple: customer experience. The best overall solution starts with the human element, customer service experience. If your product is good and your price is good, then customer experience is that next ingredient to make you the best overall solution.
Measuring Customer Experience: The Right Way to Measure Customer Experience
In the second part of Lindsay’s speech, she moved into the more analytical part of customer experience in a section called “Measuring Customer Experience”.
Starting off her second part, Lindsay talks about something that many organizations monitor on a daily basis, KPIs. KPIs are a fundamental part of measuring business success, but when it comes down to it, no matter what KPIs you monitor or how pretty your dashboard is, all the data is completely useless on its own without a purpose and strategy standing behind it.
When is comes to KPIs, a business should make it very clear what they want to achieve, how they are going to achieve it, and most importantly why they are measuring the KPIs that they are measuring. While this might seem like something a sales team would handle alone, your support team and the customer service experience they provide will actually be the foundational driving factor behind these KPIs. Rather than getting lost in endless KPI dashboards and statistical measurements, take a step back and listen to your customers first.
Lindsay found that many companies are gathering feedback mostly to benefit themselves, not the customer. Have you ever seen a survey asking how likely you are to recommend the product to a friend? This is a metric that the company will take back and use to promote themselves. It’s becoming more common to see companies asking questions about themselves rather than asking about the user/their experience. The metrics that are collected to better your product or service and not your image are the metrics that any KPI strategy should be built upon.
Break Down Large Goals: Marginal Gains are Critical
Lindsay states that improving your overall KPIs and business metrics starts with breaking down large goals and achieving marginal gains. Lindsay expresses the importance of starting with small goals to boost your customer experience. A goal simple as getting one positive piece of feedback per support team member, per week can snowball into the best long-term, large-scale gains.
One of Lindsay’s most interesting points was that companies should spend less time and resources trying to make the inevitably unhappy people happy and more time and resources making the impartial, middle group happy. She says that you can focus all of your time and waste all of your resources trying to make inherently unhappy people, happy (with no results) or you can focus on making the middle group or people happy which can contribute to up to 9X more revenue.
The Power of Positive
You have probably heard the fact that we as humans are inherently more likely to remember negative interactions overtime and let go of positive ones. Lindsay states that negativity is such a prominent part of our culture that 62% of words in the English dictionary are negative. We are seemingly more inclined to be negative than positive, but the feelings and emotions that come from positive interactions are that much more important to helping create a better customer experience as a business owner.
Our ability to create positive experiences for our customers will be the deciding factor in whether or not we are the best all around solution compared to our competitors. While negativity may stick around longer, Lindsay has seen how impactful a positive experience can be for customers when it comes to growing a business and improving the lifetime value of a customer.
Overall, the importance of customer experience is growing as customers begin to expect more from their interactions with an organization and their product/service. With The Science of Customer Experience Event concluded, we were able to bring so much valuable info back to the States with us thanks to Lindsay and other excellent speakers like Tony Munday and Linda Farha.