In marketing, a lot of emphasis is put on the acquisition of new prospects. This is not a bad thing — after all, finding new customers is a huge part of growing a business. Though, issues tend to arise when companies only treasure their prospects, and forget their connections with their existing customer base.
Think back to your last interaction with a large telecom or financial services company. Do you recognise being sent from pillar to post? Did you get the impression that once you signed the dotted line, the company immediately lost interest and passed you on to Mr Anonymous who can be reached on 900-company or via [email protected]?
This loveless relationship leaves a bad taste, and oddly enough, it also costs the company money, especially when implementing new digital service strategies.
Specialists in this area in Europe have proven this time and again at various companies, creating strategies with goals such as cutting contact escalation by 15%, changing the channel to 50% digital, scaling down full-time service staff by 80%, reducing the number of contact moments by 40%, increasing positive engagement by 20%, and bringing the net promotor score up to 82%.
These are impressive figures, all impacting the top and bottom line of companies. For any business with ambitions to reach similar metrics successfully, here are some basic steps you can follow to ensure that your company takes care of its customers as you upgrade your service systems.
1. Know why customers contact your company
Understanding why your customers reach out to you allows you to offer the right information at the right time.
You might be able to provide quite a few answers to your customers upfront simply by having a clear ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section on your website.
2. Analyse via what channel your customers contact you
You need to know how people contact you. At the same time, you must also realise the way people contact you today isn’t necessarily their preferred way of contacting you.
Seek valuable feedback from your customer-facing staff. Are there times they hear: ‘Can’t I just X you?’ Or: ‘Can’t I just send you X via X?’
Consider that you might not be offering them the right channel at the right time.
3. Take a blank piece of paper and map out how you can best help your customers
Mapping out your customers’ user journeys and understanding what information to provide, and how, and at which moment, is the starting point of creating your ideal digital service strategy.
4. Review your current processes through a digital eye
Conduct a gap analysis between your ideal set up and your current set up.
What can be digitised that isn’t? What solutions are available that won’t sacrifice service?
From this, you can extract clear steps to create a realistic action plan.
5. Select the best tools
There are plenty of tools out there that can help make your customer’s lives (and therefore your life) easier.
Research what is available and don’t get sold on something without going back to your initial problem. What does the tool need to be able to do? What else can it do? Does it fit in with the rest of your toolkit?
The right tools solve more problems than they create and connect smoothly into your company’s system.
6. Ensure you have the right skills in-house to manage your service channels
Customer service demands 24/7 dedication, thorough processes, and a great deal of empathy.
Before you start the process of implementing your new digital-service strategy, it is important you set a clear goal for your company. Identify the metrics you’d like to impact and what will be the measure of your success. Do you want to decrease the number of incoming phone calls? Are you looking to cut churn? Do you wish to reduce costs? The ultimate goal of all these metrics combined is to increase the lifetime value of your customers.
One last incidental upside of having a well-oiled service organisation is it allows you to better understand the needs of your customers.
This, in turn, offers a natural way-in to upsell and cross-sell extra products or services, ultimately increasing your top line.
A customer never stops being a prospect, so make sure to appreciate them while they’re yours!