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Build Good Will and Plan Ahead
In terms of building good will, she says, if you focus on the customer experience when everything is going well, your customers are more likely to forgive and forget when something goes awry. Then, there's planning.
"Decide in advance how you'll respond when a problem erupts," Norton advises. "You won't have to waste time deciding what to do in the heat of the moment if you already have your playbook ready to go."
Oracle also offers some handy tips for helping your customers help themselves in an infographic called "Three Key Tips for Transforming Self Service." The enterprise tech giant reasons that connecting customers with the information they need quickly is more important than ever.
Seventy-two percent of customers prefer using companies' websites to answer their questions, according to Forrester Research. But TSIA Technology Insight reports that only 52 percent actually find the information they need. The three tips, then, are: know your customers; empower your customers; and adapt to changing behaviors.
Know Your Customers
"Choose a knowledge management tool that will: identify customers' current and downstream needs, deliver personalized online content and answers, and accelerate their service journey with smarter searches," Oracle suggests.
As for empowering customers, Oracle is big on leveraging social media and collaborative service tools to help businesses share information socially. Social sharing also enables rapid, low-cost content development, and can help reduce contact-center workloads.
Be Ready for Change
The final bit of advice for providing great customer service is to always be ready to adapt to changing behaviors. Oracle advises that customer service teams as well as their sales and marketing counterparts need to harness social monitoring, analytics and customer feedback.
Careful monitoring -- keeping tabs on customer satisfaction and customer reactions -- helps identify support issues and knowledge gaps early. It can help guide training and also help your team deliver consistently high-quality service over mobile, social, and web self-service channels. And as a next step, monitoring customer feedback can also provide much-needed input service alerts, knowledge updates, and of course, new product and service offerings.
Posted: 2013-09-05 @ 8:42pm PT
One point that could some up several areas of this list is to be sure to maintain the human element in every interaction and relationship. Customer service agents, salespeople, etc are all hired to be humans for interfacing with human customers. If robots were good enough, you'd be out of a job, but you have something those robots don't and your customers have it to: you're both humans.
If you treat your customers like humans instead of numbers, you'll be much better off, will have more success, and will have a much more rewarding time working.
I wrote more about this topic on my blog. I hope it's ok to leave the link here: http://www.jobnimbus.com/bringing-the-human-element-back-to-crm/