The skill every company wants to master is excellent customer service. Because once you’ve got someone hooked on a great customer experience, they’ll keep coming back for more.
However, if they’re disappointed with your service? Most disgruntled customers probably won’t even complain – they’ll just leave. And what may result is an unexplainably dwindling customer base, a drop in (or disappearance of) referral business, and a reduction in the lifetime value of a customer.
But there’s a simple way many businesses have turned that around:
There are many, many opinions on what makes a company truly great at customer service. Having worked with wholesalers, distributors and large retail companies across Australia and NZ, I’ve seen some really great examples of stellar customer service. And if you asked me what they were doing right, I’d say…
…it’s not just the product, or the people they hire, or even their training programs:
It’s their technology.
The most innovative and forward-thinking companies are fully embracing all the ways technology can help bridge gaps in their customer service – and being quite clever about it.
Here are 4 ways the right business management software can help you deliver the best possible customer experience.
1. Don’t just be good, be consistently good.
No matter what anyone says, the real secret to excellent customer service is consistency. If your customer’s experience is volatile, good on some days and terrible the next, it’s likely to reflect poorly overall.
You might have invested heavily in building great customer service processes according to best practice, but you’re struggling to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.
From my experience, the companies with the most consistent customer service have business management software with built-in customisable workflows that ensure all staff follow a proven process that delivers a great customer outcome each time.
This allows a business to not only design a unique customer experience process to match their brand and company values, but most importantly, makes sure it gets reinforced and followed every time.
So for example, if you’re onboarding a new customer, your staff will have a process built directly into their software telling them exactly which steps to take. You could trigger a pre-built welcome email from the CEO after the initial onboarding, or a follow-up email to see if they’re happy with the service after they receive their first order.
If you empower your staff with great processes and a business management system that guides them and holds them accountable, then consistently good customer service suddenly becomes a breeze.
2. Arm your staff with reliable and centralised data
Most companies collect mountains of data about their customers. They know what makes them tick, what they buy, and how often they buy it. What most companies can’t do is make meaningful use of any of this information. Why? Because it is stored in a multitude of locations – in different software, on a range of spreadsheets, or even simply in the memories of your sales people.
By storing all this information in one centralised system, it instantly streamlines every interaction you have with your customers. So it doesn’t matter which customer calls up, or which customer service rep takes that call, they’ll always be armed with the most up-to-date information regarding that account.
To drive real centralisation in your business, look at implementing an all-in-one business management platform. These systems automatically integrate data from all aspects of the business everything, from Accounting to Inventory, and Marketing, giving you and your staff one source of truth for all customer information.
3. Embrace the automated responder
One thing most customers really hate is when a company takes too long to reply – or worse, fail to reply at all.
Now no business ever intends to annoy their customers by doing this – in reality, their follow-up processes are just too complicated and time-consuming. Moreover, staff have no visibility over who has been responded to, and who hasn’t – leading to a few unlucky prospects being completely overlooked.
More and more companies are embracing automated responses to remain responsive to customers, but at scale, ensuring every enquiry is followed up.
The right software platform will allow you to record every enquiry that comes in, assign it to the correct account, and automatically notify a staff member to respond. You can even go a step further and program an automated response, such as a quote follow-up for small deals, to automatically send a personalised response to each relevant customer or prospects.
Not only will it provide your customers with a seamless experience and a realistic expectation of when they can receive a response, but it’ll also buy your sales people a little time to concentrate on the bigger and more valuable deals.
4. Make things personal
Nothing improves a customer’s experience like making them feel like an individual among the masses. However, this can be a challenge – especially when you have hundreds or thousands of people in your database.
A good place to start is by populating all your communications to your customers with a few details, such as a name or company name – especially your automated responses. These simple touches can make a huge difference in how they engage with your content.
The right business management software should also let you segment your databases to tailor your messaging for your customers. So you can send targeted messages to customers based on where they’re located, what product they buy, or when they’re likely to be due for a re-order.
So, to summarise: Best in class businesses are achieving consistently exceptional customer service by putting clever technology to work for them. You can do the same by:
- Leveraging pre-built workflows for specific customer service scenarios (like the onboarding process, or after the first purchase) to ensure that the process is completed consistently every time, delivering a high level of customer satisfaction
- Capturing your customer information in a centralised location that is accessible to your whole team, empowering them with the information they need to drive more value from your customers, while delivering far better customer service than before.
- Automating the simple things (like quote follows up, and thank you emails) – to help you be more responsive to your customers, and to take the pressure off your staff to do everything themselves.
- Combining your customer knowledge with sophisticated communication tools that can help you talk to your customers like the individuals that they are, but at a far bigger scale than you could do on your own.
I’m sure you’ll agree that customer service is not something you want to leave to chance. So if you’re serious about making improvements in how you engage and sell to your customers, and are looking for a software solution for the job, let me introduce you to HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.
HARMONiQ is a unique platform that allows you to:
- Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all customer services processes accessible by all staff.
- Provide your staff with one source of truth for all customer information, and an easy way to manage their follow-up tasks and provide personalised customer service every time;
- Automate simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow-up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls to ensure no customer gets left behind; and
- Seamlessly segment your contacts, create targeted marketing lists, and ensure your contacts get emails with messages targeted specifically to them, complete with personal touches such as First name and Company Name.
These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional customer service. As a truly customisable and scalable software, HARMONiQ ensures that the software will continue to grow alongside your business. To learn how else HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional customer service, click here to organise a demo.
If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology to deliver exceptional, consistent customer service, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.