I don’t know about you, but whenever I fly, I don’t go to a window looking for good customer service.
I prefer to deal with the web or the airline application for as long as I can rather than with a person:
- Take out the ticket.
- Choose a seat.
- Print the boarding card.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably get it like I do.
According to one study, 81% of customers prefer to deal with their problems rather than contact customer service.
And I have no proof, but I have no doubts either: when younger people starts to use it, the percentage increases.
This boom in self-service has enabled companies to save a lot of money on customer care: technology is often cheaper than staff in the long run.
The biggest obstacle to good customer service today
This new reality has created a problem:
Now that most of us are trying to manage our problems on our own, when we contact someone in support, we have something big on our hands.
Or at least, something we are not able to solve ourselves.
That has made today’s support people dealing with increasingly difficult problems.
This is especially problematic because, any failure in customer service can have a dire effect on the brand by viralizing on social networks.
Consequences of these problems on customer service
Complex problems are more difficult to handle, require more time and more expertise.
As a result, the cost of each contact with someone in support increased by 38% between 2009 and 2014.
In this new world where self-service is a priority and the most complex and critical problems are handled by support, you need the most efficient staff possible.
How are the employees who guarantee good customer service?
According to a Gartner study there are 7 profiles among support persons:
Of all these profiles, the most demanded is that of the empathiser.
The job offers for these positions prove it:
- Someone who is service oriented.
- A good listener and communicator.
- Someone who likes to help.
According to the same study, 42% of managers prefer this role over others.
However, and also based on the same study, the most effective profile is that of a controller.
Why do controllers provide good customer service?
This profile is aimed at offering a fast and simple service to the customer’s problem.
They define themselves as people who “take charge of the situation” rather than people who “listen and stick to the manuals”.
They spend less time asking the client what they want to do and more time explaining what they should do, always trying to reach the most effective and quickest solution.
I personally was not convinced by this profile until I read a story by one of the editors of the Harvard Business Review.
In it, the author recounted how she went to an inspiring talk by Tony Hsieh, one of Zappos’ leaders. Probably the most awarded company for its customer service.
The talk was tremendously inspiring, but the best lesson in good customer service was when he returned home and discovered in his pocket the keys to the flat where he had slept.
A friend had left him the house, and the set of keys he had in his pocket 5 minutes before he got on the train was the only set of keys to the house.
He either missed the train or left his friend outside his house.
Distressed, he ran to an information window to see if there were any lockers where he could leave the keys.
“Give them to me, write down my phone number and tell your friend to come and get them when he wants,” replied the woman on the other side of the window when I explained the problem.
“The easiest and quickest way is for someone to take care of the problem,” said Joyce, which is what that customer service crack was called.
That is the key:
Assume the problem and solve it.
And that’s what controllers do.
The customer is grateful to hear an apology, but what he looks for when he has a problem is, above all, a solution.
The best tool to ensure good customer service
Whatever the profile, support staff need tools to do their job.
And the most important tool to provide a care of 10, is a CRM.
It is no coincidence that this stands for Customer Relationship Management.
And the best of all is Efficy.
If you want, you can try it out right now:
Try Efficy CRM
The most complete CRM