How To Achieve Excellent Customer Contact

How To Achieve Excellent Customer Contact?

What four ingredients do you need to achieve excellent customer contact? In this article, I will share the four essential ingredients your customer service operation needs for excellent customer contact. I will also share why these are important.

FAST

Customer contact has its timing, with a difference between fast and timely service. Some questions need fast responses, others require timely responses.
Now, what is the difference between these two? The context of the customer determines the urgency of the request, thus the required speed of service.

Let me give you two examples:

  • Commuting to work and hungry? You would expect to choose, order and collect your sandwich within a minute and still catch your train. This is where the service needs to be fast. However, when you are taking your loved ones to a night out for fine dining in a restaurant, you would probably be disappointed if you were serviced within a minute.
  • Going to the hospital? For a routine check-up, you probably wouldn’t mind if the doctor ran 15 minutes late. However, if you just survived a car crash, and you’re fighting for your life, time is of the essence.

You see the point. Everything has its timing. So how fast your customer contact is, depends not only on the type of organization you lead but also on the context of your customers who contact you.

Some debate is brought up on whether there is a significant correlation between speed of service and customer satisfaction. Speed of service relates to:

  • how fast your customer can contact the customer contact department,
  • how urgent the issue is for the customer, and
  • how much time it takes for the issue to be resolved.

These three all enforce each other, making it more challenging to analyze correlations. However, from an empathetic position, it’s quite easy to understand its value. Fast is the first of four ingredients for your excellent customer contact operations.

FRIENDLY

Being friendly is the second key ingredient to excellent customer contact. But do you know why that is, besides being pleasant to the ear?

It is important to understand the customer motivation to contact your company. Spoiler alert: it is not because they have nothing better to do, or because they are bored or just looking for some fun activity. They feel some level of distress that drives them to contact you. Humans are social creatures needing comfort, validation, or reassurance when distressed.

A vast research base among humans and primates shows the impact of social connection on emotion regulation and survival. To cater to your customer’s needs, the customer contact interactions must be friendly and empathetic.

Make your customers feel welcome and heard. It creates a much-needed emotional connection between your organization and your customer. Plus, it shows that you understand and know how to serve them best. Being friendly means showing you understand the problem, that you empathize with the customer’s situation, and that you know how to lead them to the right solution.

FIX

Customers contact you because they need a solution to their encountered issue. Thus, an essential ingredient of excellent customer contact is providing the right solution to the customer.

When discussing ‘Friendly,’ I laid out that a core element was to connect with your customer on an emotional level and understand their problem.

Organizations tend to limit the power of the customer contact team. Mainly to prevent judgment errors that could cost a lot of money. As a result, customer contact is divided into multiple tiers or levels of support, where the decision-making is shifted to other departments. Subsequently, the costs around contact increase to a level where you can wonder if it is still worth it.

From a human point of view, it doesn’t make much sense. Most employees start working in customer contact because they want to help customers solve their issues. Customers reach out to the customer contact department because they want their problem solved. That seems like a clear, common goal.

To keep both your team and your customers on board, it is essential to empower your customer contact team with the tools, rights, equipment, and autonomy to fix the customer’s problem. Empower your team to actually perform the job they’re hired (and wanting!) to do, and you will be able to achieve excellent customer contact. It’s that simple.

FOLLOW-UP

You have come a long way already with fast, friendly service to fix problems. There is one more ingredient that serves as the icing on the cake: follow-up.

Without a decent follow-up, the effect of being fast, friendly, and fixing the problem is gone.

Let me give you an example.

A short while ago, I contacted a bank, because I needed to terminate an account. After a short waiting time (fast), I spoke to a lovely customer service agent (friendly), who knew exactly what needed to happen for my account to be terminated (fix). All what was needed was for another department to handle the case and I would be helped. She made a note for the department, who would contact me within 5 days.

7 days passed, and I reached out to hear about the status. Again, the man I spoke was fast to answer, knew what needed to be done and was friendly. But there was no note to be found, my case was not passed to the other department and my account was not terminated. The happy feeling about the service flew right out of the window.

Follow-up is as easy as: do what you say. Lay out the expectations and make sure to meet them.

Interested in achieving excellent customer contact operations? Let’s get in touch! I am happy to help you (fast, friendly, focused on the fix and with follow-up)!

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Hai! Ik ben Cynthia: expert in leiderschap van klantcontact teams

Sinds 2006 heb ik als (eind)verantwoordelijke van klantcontactteams verschillende nationale én internationale miljoenenbedrijven geholpen om hun klantcontact afdeling te verbeteren. Merken waar ik mee heb gewerkt zijn onder andere Flinndal, MessageBird, NMBRS, BESTSELLER, Talpa Network en Budget Thuis. Hier heb ik diverse veranderingen doorgevoerd op het gebied van leiderschap, team dynamieken, processen en werkwijzen.

In 2021 ben ik bekroond tot Manager of the Year door de Customer Contact Management Association (CCMA).

Eind 2022 heb ik The Caring Company opgericht en adviseer ik bedrijven in het verbeteren van de klantcontactteams, door duurzame veranderingen door te voeren.

Ben je benieuwd of en hoe ik je kan helpen bij het verbeteren van jouw klantcontactteam? Boek dan een vrijblijvende matchcall in!

Tijdens deze matchcall bespreken we jouw uitdagingen en geef ik je gelijk 3 praktische tips mee die je vandaag al kunt toepassen om jouw klantcontactteam beter te laten functioneren.

Daarnaast kijken we samen of ik de juiste persoon ben om je verder te helpen.

Lijkt het je wat, boek dan hieronder direct jouw matchcall in!