More on the Customer Service Strategy

While the acquisition of new customers is crucial to any business and customer strategy, retaining those customers requires a great customer service experience. So, how do we do it?

On Wednesday, we discussed two critical elements in developing your customer strategy: (1) customer profile and (2) communication strategy (inbound and outbound).

With the exceedingly useful snapshot provided by your customer profile, along with some guidelines for how you’ll communicate with them and vice versa; you have a great foundation for your overall customer strategy.

In terms of customer service, what are the key considerations?

Grumpy customers need your love and affection

When the going is good and everyone is happy, you might feel like a customer service genius. But, in the all-time history of all-time, not everyone has ever been happy at the same time.

When your customers are grumpy, the quality of your service and support, your ability to turn that frown upside down could become a fantastic point of differentiation. Obviously, you don’t want to make a habit of upsetting your customers, but often things happen beyond your control.

Just because a customer’s problem isn’t your fault (i.e. phone dropped in toilet), that doesn’t mean you can’t take the opportunity to shine. In these situations, attentive service and fair solutions make all the difference in the world.

Fear stagnation, not change

Perhaps the most important part of any customer strategy is the willingness and readiness to change. What works today, won’t necessarily work tomorrow. Consider Blockbuster Video. When they were the only game in town, they managed to tick off an inordinate amount of their customers with absurd fees and return policies.

Just as soon as viable alternatives arrived on the scene—I’m looking at you Netflix—customers like me happily jumped ship, even riding out the ups and downs as Netflix grew from a strict movie-by-mail service to include streaming content on the Web.

Even as Blockbuster created competitive services to meet changing customer demands, many people thumbed their noses at the too-little-too-late attempt to embrace what customers wanted.

The lesson? Be flexible, always keep listening, and BE COOL. A customer who feels taken advantage of will not easily forgive you.

The summary

So, there you have it. When preparing your customer strategy, remember: (1) You’ve gotta know who your customers are, (2) listen actively and tell them what they want to know, (3) never withhold affection, and (4) ALWAYS BE COOL!

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