Great service is not just about what a company does for its customers, but how it does it.
Think of the last time you had to return an item and the store associate not only gave you a refund or credit with a sincere smile, but also some thoughtful suggestions of other products you might like instead. Or maybe you called into a contact centre and not only had your troubleshooting issue immediately resolved, but also without having to recount your entire history as one of the firm’s customers.
In this way, great service isn’t just an essential ingredient to building a leading brand. Great service defines a brand -- especially in an age where more of the customer experience is likely to occur through digital channels.
As Salesforce Canada’s Mark Aucoin points out in his eBook Embrace The Digital Service Revolution, one of the unique aspects of meeting customers’ expectations today may not be immediately obvious. It’s this: Given that customers might need to interact with a company they’ve purchased from via smartphone app, social media service, email or another touchpoint, great service is not just about “dazzling” them but making the process as easy as possible.
Rather than having to figure out the best way to get the help or answers they need, what customers go through should be effortless -- which, of course, may require considerable effort from the company in terms of planning and preparation.
In the eBook Aucoin suggests companies start by defining their “service channel structure.” In other words, looking at all the ways in which a company might engage with a brand based on whether it requires a “high touch” (where you might have to have a live agent spend considerable time to resolve an issue), “low touch” or automated mechanisms such as chatbots and self-service portals that are basically “no touch.”
Next, Aucoin recommends companies begin to plan their “future state,” based on the kind of scenarios that take place today, the customers’ typical point of view and what risks might be involved if the service involves a lot of complications.
To get a sense of what this looks like in action, consider DAVIDsTea, which has not only grown to more than 240 locations across the country but has developed a strong e-commerce offering as well. Supporting all those customers, however, means coordinating all the data available and responding in a timely manner.
Using Service Cloud, for example, the DavidsTEA team can always have the entire account history of a particular customer, which brings the kind of efficiency the company just couldn’t achieve using manual spreadsheets.
“If someone contacts us across multiple channels, Service Cloud will join up the dots so our team is supporting with one ticket, not five,” said Catherine Laporte, Vice President, Marketing and eCommerce at DAVIDsTEA.
Mastering the art of digital service doesn’t just boost productivity at DAVIDsTea, but ensures it stays true to the one-to-one customer experience that’s core to its culture.
Embracing digital service doesn’t mean doing away with what’s tried and true. In fact, much of Aucoin’s eBook looks at how to give customers more choice in the way they engage with a company based on their needs. That’s why one chapter is devoted to “training customers” in how service models evolve and maintaining strong communication throughout the process.
In that respect, Montmagny Québec-based Montel Inc. may be the perfect case study. The firm, which manufactures and sells all manner of innovative storage solutions for healthcare, retail and other markets, has been careful to track service metrics at every step of its growth.
According to Montel VP of Sales and Marketing Jérôme Doucet, this was challenging when it was a matter of managing myriad e-mail messages. Service Cloud, however, has changed all that.
“We can ensure any issues are forwarded to the right department, and when a service ticket is closed, the relevant authorized Montel distributor is automatically notified,” Doucet said.
Montel doesn’t stop there, however. By surveying customers regularly about their experience, Doucet and his team are gathering insight to guide the company’s strategy, while also recruiting potential testimonials and referrals from the customers whose experience has become effortless.
Once you start to treat customer service as less of a necessary evil and more as a sort of calling card for your brand, you’ll realize the opportunity to stand out from competitors has never been greater.
Download the full eBook, Embrace The Digital Service Revolution, and see Aucoin explain:
Working in a digital-first era may introduce some major differences for companies and their customers, but developing a solid plan of action right now will guarantee the long-term impact will only be positive.