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Tagged: customer service

Customer Satisfaction: What are the right KPIs to measure?

October 4, 2017

 

 

Guest-blogger Andrew Huber of Harland Clarke discusses 7 rules to follow in determining the right KPIs to measure in customer satisfaction.

 

It’s widely accepted that there can be tremendous value for businesses that rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure, manage and communicate organization results.  KPIs are a valuable tool to tell you if you’re on the right course toward meeting your strategic objectives, or if you need to make adjustments to get back on track.

But one of the key questions that managers grapple with is determining which key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure, and how to deploy them successfully over time. This is especially true when it comes to the measurement of customer satisfaction.

Why determining customer service KPIs can be tricky

Focusing on the wrong KPIs means you’re spending time and money measuring, monitoring and trying to improve metrics that aren’t critical to your financial institution’s objectives. The same is true of poorly structured KPIs, or KPIs that are too difficult and costly to obtain, or to monitor on a regular basis.

Select too many, and you’ll be overloaded with endless pages of data too extensive to be effectively managed or used to improve customer satisfaction.

To avoid common headaches that occur when trying to determine which KPIs to measure, it’s best to adhere to the following 7 rules:

  • Each KPI has its own applicability, and limitations. Each can stand on its own as a useful tool for measuring certain customer interactions, but a comprehensive measurement model is necessary to give a complete picture of account holder experience.
  • Determine what KPIs to measure based on the key drivers that your account holders consider important. Just because something is measurable doesn’t make if meaningful in the context of your account holder’s expectations.
  • Define KPIs accurately and clearly, ensuring that the aspect of the customer experience being addressed is both quantifiable and measurable.
  • KPIs should link back to a customer satisfaction objective and measure something you can impact.
  • Ensure that KPIs deliver comprehensive, actionable insight that is linked to and applied to particular employee interactions or processes on an on-going basis.
  • Focus on trends in your KPIs more than specific data. The direction of change usually matters most.
  • Reviewing on a quarterly or annual basis can provide both positive and challenging insights.[1]

 

Identifying the key drivers of customer satisfaction for your specific account holder base and aligning them with these – or other – metrics that align with your objectives can be the start of a successful KPI program.  Successfully applying the insights you derive from your KPIs can improve key drivers, leading to greater customer satisfaction, stronger brand loyalty and, ultimately, better performance.

But Don’t Get Too Set in Your Ways

KPIs should not be set in stone, but rather evaluated consistently over time and modified where necessary. Revisit your assumptions. Financial institution goals and objectives change, as do those for customer experience. Don’t continue to use KPIs that are no longer meaningful or useful.

While there are an infinite number of metrics that can be used to build KPIs around customer satisfaction, there are several that have gained wide acceptance across industries for providing valuable insight.

Examples include: the Net Promoter Score (NPS), the Customer Satisfaction Score, the Customer Effort Score and Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.

One size doesn’t fit all. When it comes to selecting the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring customer experience, it’s important that the KPIs you use provide valuable customer insights aligned with the goals of your financial institution, not your competitor down the street.

If a metric isn’t key to you, it’s not a “key” performance indicator.  Select KPIs that are relevant for your industry, and, just as importantly, for your organization.

[1] Patterson, Matthew. “How Top Customer Service Teams Measure Performance,” Help Scout, April 16, 2016

How to Create a Successful Customer Experience Strategy

September 8, 2017

 

 

CSP is happy to have guest-blogger, Andrew Huber of Harland Clarke return this month and share his insights on creating a customer experience strategy that is successful.

 

“How are we doing?”

This question is at the foundation of any organization’s quest for continuous improvement. For banks and credit unions, the answer encompasses more than an institution’s financial statements.

In customer-centric organizations, the role of customer feedback is critical to sustaining and deepening account holder relationships, and contributing to long-term profitability.

But, are we there yet?

While many financial institutions say they want to improve the customer experience, are they taking the necessary steps to get there?  A true voice of the customer strategy is a multi-faceted process whose focus is to understand the customer experience via actionable data and analysis on multiple levels.

Below are three important things to keep in mind if your financial institution desires a truly comprehensive customer survey experience.

3 Considerations for Creating a Useful Voice of the Customer Strategy

#1 – Consider All Customer Experience Touchpoints

First comes the design and deployment of surveys using a variety of methodologies. The focus is on gathering, measuring and interpreting customer experience feedback at every touchpoint, from new account openings in the branch to the call center and online channels. Every customer experience touchpoint must be considered, in order for your business to plan for it.

#2 – Ensure You’re Gathering the Right Data

Surveys are just the start.

One of the keys to a successful customer experience program lies in the data accumulated from everything that’s happened to this point. The data gathered needs to be both actionable and all-inclusive. In other words, it needs to include real-time knowledge across significant customer satisfaction metrics that can be applied directly to specific operational and frontline areas that impact the account holder experience. Measuring net promoter score may only scratch the surface of what your financial institution would like to learn.

Learn important satisfaction metrics to measure outside of net promoter score in the white paper, “Customer Experience: Beyond Net Promoter Score.”

Download Your Copy Here.

#3 – Figure Out (in Advance) How You’ll Analyze the Data

While the core value that such a program can provide shouldn’t be underestimated, there can also be a thin line between a comprehensive service that yields insightful customer understanding and one with reams of survey data but little customer insight that can be used to directly affect bottom line performance.

This is why it’s important to answer these questions in advance of implementing your survey strategy: once you’ve gathered the data, then what? Who will mine the data for actionable insights?

If you don’t have a data scientist on staff, consider outsourcing to a third-party.

In today’s customer-focused world, dissecting and analyzing the customer experience can provide key insight that banks and credit unions can use to ensure they are truly putting the customer first. This mindset paves the way for multiple benefits including:

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Greater loyalty and retention
  • Better performance

What Does Customer Experience Mean For Financial Institutions?

August 2, 2017

 

 

CSP is happy to have guest-blogger, Andrew Huber, Program Manager at Harland Clarke, share his insights about customer experience (CX) and the need for financial institutions to deliver outstanding service at every touchpoint.

 

 

You likely know that the key to any strong, long-lasting business is delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX).

Unfortunately, when it comes to financial institutions, there can be a big disconnect between the experience they think they’re providing vs. the experience account holders are receiving. For instance, 41 percent of banks and credit unions consider themselves “relationship focused,” while just 13 percent of consumers say the same.

So how can financial institutions stay competitive and deliver an outstanding CX? Especially when, in the age of mobile devices and social media, everyone wants something tailored just for them?

The answer is surprisingly simple (and yet incredibly difficult) – financial institutions must deliver outstanding service at every touchpoint in the customer experience, from in-branch to call center and from online to mobile device.

This white paper reveals that account holders remain loyal to their financial institutions for five main reasons:

  • They were treated well
  • They experienced good communication
  • They received high quality advice
  • Their problems were resolved quickly
  • They had a personal relationship with at least one financial institution employee

Financial institutions have a strong incentive to keep account holders happy: increasing customer retention just 5 percent can show a 25-95 percent increase in profits. This is because acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive than keeping an existing one, with customers having a positive experience spending 140 times more than ones who have a bad experience.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Regardless of the context, people are loyal to who and what makes them happy, they’re more willing to recommend the source of their happiness, and they’re likely to want more from this source. Their financial institutions are no exception.

Creating a positive CX sounds easy enough, but these statistics only convey the benefits, not how crucial it is to get customer experience right.

In one study, 41 percent of account openers and 33 percent of account closers cited customer experience as the number one reason for making their decision, outranking competitive interest rates, low fees and location.

It can take years to build a positive customer experience, but a single negative experience, a single episode of poor customer service, or a single complaint that goes unaddressed can cost a financial institution an account holder — or more, thanks to the power of social media.

CX Best Practices
Want to ensure your financial institution is prepared to deliver an outstanding CX? Find eight best practices to implement in this white paper, “Customer Experience: Best Practices for Growing Revenue.”

> Download your copy here

 

3 Tips for a Positive Workplace & Positive Customer Relationships

April 26, 2017

While you’re hard at work trying to maintain lifelong customer relationships, it can be easy to overlook the relationships among your staff. It seems obvious that a friendly work environment leads to greater productivity, decreased stress, less turnover and increased satisfaction—and in fact, research shows that this assumption is true. Happier employees lead to a more positive customer experience, as well.

A positive workplace starts with a strong manager. Start by surveying your employees to gauge their satisfaction. What do they really think about their job? Then try to build in the tips found below.

Boundaries

Clearly communicating your ideas and expectations at the beginning of a project save you from a conflict later in the process.

  • Try replacing open-ended questions like, “Do you want to start or shall I?” with “I’d like to start with x and then get your opinion.”
  • Create a space or time wherein employees can feel free to express their ideas and concerns safely. If confidentiality is important, consider using a comment box and then reading entries anonymously at meetings.

Customers benefit from companies that enforce clear boundaries, because they know what to expect.  Consistent results from a well-communicated plan of action go a long way to build relationships with your customers, too.

Gratitude

Everyone likes to know that they’re valued and appreciated.  Cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude can encourage employees and help them understand their integral role in the office.

  • Begin conversations by recognizing something positive your employee has done recently. They’ll likely be more receptive to suggestions or critique if they know you’re aware of their successes too.
  • Make sure your praise is specific and/or spontaneous. Let your employees know you’re paying attention to their work.

Have you ever walked into a bank and the teller was clearly miserable?  Your customers associate the positive and negative emotions they experience with the brand itself.  By ensuring your employees have a smile on their face, your customers will be smiling too.

 

Fun

Dale Carnegie, a famous thought leader in corporate thinking, said “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

American culture often does not include “fun” as a regular component of the work day.  Work shouldn’t be fun, right?  In fact, incorporating fun into the workplace used to be more common with company picnics, birthday parties, and friendly office wagers.

  • You can maintain a professional atmosphere while still having fun. The key is to designate a time and a place.  Scheduling a regular happy hour can give employees something to look forward to after a long day at the office.
  • Assign “birthday cake duty” to one of your employees to make sure birthdays are recognized and everyone can take a sugary break in the afternoon for a slice.

Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re a burden to your employees.  Let people know that you’re working hard and playing hard on their behalf.  This gesture also goes a long way in humanizing your brand and service, further cementing lifelong, loyal relationships with customers.

If you’re interested in reading a little more on this topic, check out our articles on how to boost employee morale:

https://www.csp.com/encouraging-cross-departmental-collaboration/#.WP9ysYgrJPY

https://www.csp.com/10-examples-of-employee-engagement-in-action/#.WP91oIgrJPY

4 Questions to Ask When Appealing to Millennial Customers

April 10, 2017

Millennials may access customer service in new ways, but many of their priorities remain the same as previous generations.

Millennials may access customer service in new ways, but many of their priorities remain the same as previous generations.

Millennials are taking over the world—literally. As of April 2016, Millennials have edged out Baby Boomers as the largest generation in America. That means Millennials are a driving force behind modern evolutions in customer experience.

The largest, most diverse, most educated generation of Americans to date have incredible spending power. Their familiarity with and reliance on technology defines the Millennial experience and means major changes for businesses and brands looking to court their loyalty.

So how can you become a favorite among Millennial customers?

Millennials still want reliability, friendliness, responsiveness, and quality – they just want even more of it than previous generations were satisfied to have.

No generation before has seen such a rapid progression and diversification of technology. While older Millennials still remember the dial-up days, the younger set are coming of age in a time of ubiquitous and instant availability of favorite resources and channels. Millennials see technology as a lifestyle, not a toolbox.  

If you’re looking to strengthen your appeal to Millennials, your business should embrace a similar mindset. Your business already uses technology to communicate quickly and efficiently. The next step is to embrace the wide variety of apps, devices, and networks that make your brand easy to access and share. The following questions are a good way to gauge if your business is ready to attract Millennial consumers.

IS IT FAST?

Millennials know what they want, and they want it now. Influenced by their always-available, multi-tasking, multi-device lifestyles, their attention span is rather short. Millennials have little patience for clumsy user interfaces or apps that struggle to load. They don’t want to wait for answers! They make decisions quickly and will gravitate to businesses that help them accelerate their progress.

IS IT SOCIAL?

Millennials are always connected to the Internet and therefore, always connected to each other. Businesses quickly realized that the key to engaging Millennial markets is to connect via social media.

Millennials begrudgingly accept the presence of brands and businesses in their social networks, but they expect businesses to behave socially. Personal interactions with businesses make them feel heard and valued.

Rather than picking up a phone, Millennials favor direct Tweets, Yelp reviews, and Facebook posts to describe their experience with a business. An active social media presence demonstrates your business’ willingness to personally connect with customers and keeps your brand fresh in someone’s news feed. 

IS IT MEANINGFUL?

Millennials maintain a heightened awareness of social issues and causes. They’re not interested in money for the sake of money—they want their dollar to mean something when they spend it. Consequently, businesses that include an element of social justice in their work are more likely to successfully engage Millennials.

IS IT AUTONOMOUS?

Millennials are self-starters. They want to feel empowered by their business interactions. Many customer experience disruptions come from Millennials as they initiated their own startups to fill niches not served by the existing market. They’re not content to say: “This is the way things have always been done.” 

This generation saw the birth of “crowdsourcing and online reviews as a significant influencer on purchasing decisions. Conversely, Millennials also value the availability of self-service options, especially those that get them to their destination faster by cutting out the middleman. They’re not opposed to picking up the phone or having a face-to-face customer service interaction, but it’s usually not their first choice. In fact, they may snub a business that doesn’t give them enough opportunity to help themselves.  

Brands Millennials Love

Venmo and other P2P (person to person) payment apps are a recent example of the way Millennials prefer to handle their finances. Venmo provides a slick, no-hassle interface, connects users directly to social networks, and is completely autonomous. Venmo has also partnered with GiveDirectly to make it easier than ever for users to donate to their favorite charity. 

TOMS Shoes is another good example of a brand that successfully engages Millennial markets. Their “One for One” campaign elevated an ordinary purchase of new shoes to an act of goodwill. TOMS also has a strong social media presence. They encourage customers to share stories and make them feel like they’re a part of the TOMS mission to improve the lives of others. 

 

These new insights into Millennial habits in combination with your own Voice of the Customer research will create a customer experience tailored to Millennial demands. In Part Two of this series, we review the areas of the experience to prioritize and provide examples of specific actions to take and offerings to consider when engaging this desirable demographic.

Localizing Customer Service & Customer Experience

February 22, 2017

Brand standardization used to be a priority, but retail businesses are increasingly foregoing out-of-the-box functionality and appeal in favor of individual touches based on location – a practice referred to as localization. There’s even a name for the niche branch of customer research that enables localization. Geodemography is defined by the Business Dictionary as the “process of analyzing survey data of a specific geographical area to profile economic and demographic characteristics of [the] population living there.”

Localization might mean using existing architecture instead of building another replica of your standard store model. (Some communities even enforce this in an effort to preserve local culture and history.) It might mean offering special discounts to employees of some of the area’s largest employers. Local sports team sponsorships, neighborhood events, and even high-tech tactics for garnering positive reviews for Google Maps and Yelp are all part of localized strategies.

Localization is not just applicable to marketing, though. Or really, it is, so long as you realize that the customer experience is a critical component of marketing.

localizing the customer experience
Why does localization matter? Shouldn’t we be guaranteeing the same customer experience no matter which of our locations customers walk into or call?

Well, yes and no. Yes, you should be guaranteeing the same quality of customer service. And a standard of familiarity is customer-friendly, too. You don’t want customers who are confused about where to find things or whom to talk to.

But providing a superior customer service is often about going the extra mile. That means anticipating customers’ needs and wants before they make contact with you. It requires knowing your customers well enough that you can tailor their experience specifically to them.

Geography is as much part of customers’ identity as other vital demographic statistics like age, sex, and income. It’s intrinsically linked to other identifiers, from socioeconomic status to school spirit, but it can also transcend those identifiers as a unifying factor. We are all in this (town) together.

Locality lends itself to in-jokes – you’re clearly not from around here if you don’t know that _____ serves the best pizza/wings/happy-hour nachos, or if you’ve never taken a date to _____. Whether it’s through hometown pride or well-intentioned humor, when local businesses participate in the customs of their surrounding communities, patrons and passerby alike will notice.

So when you’re designing your customer experience down to the last detail, that should include details specific to the locations of your branches. When you combine local knowledge with Voice of the Customer research, you create a customer experience that, literally, can’t be duplicated.


You may also want to read:

How to Impress an Off-the-Clock Customer Experience Expert

January 12, 2017

omaha gas station/food shop

Welcome to my favorite gas station / food shop in Omaha.

It only makes sense that as specialists in customer experience and service, CSP staffers are especially attuned to their own interactions with businesses. Here, Brittni Redding, Director of Client Education, describes one business that has earned her loyalty and what others can learn by this example.  

You can really tell quite a bit about the culture of an establishment by assessing the “climate,” or the feel when you walk in the door as a customer.

I have a uniquely memorable experience when I get my daily coffee at a gas station near our offices here in Omaha, Nebraska.  When I walk in the door, the first thing I notice is that all eyes are up from the task at hand, and I’m greeted warmly.  I also notice that the environment is clean and well stocked – if a customer walks through with wet or muddy shoes, it’s mopped up immediately. These may seem like bare-minimum details, but they already set the tone for what kind of service I can expect from this business.

brittni redding with coffee

Starting my day off right!

Keeping the coffee urns full is clearly a top priority in the morning.  You can observe every single employee checking and checking and checking.  One time, (and I mean only once) the original roast ran out for me mid-pour.  I chose another brew and politely notified the cashier during check-out.  His response? “We didn’t get you what you wanted today, so that coffee is on the house.”  Score one for me and another for this business!

My favorite part of this daily visit might be one of the regular cashiers. Chuck dresses up various days of the week in a loud flowered shirt and straw hat (or as Uncle Sam on Election Day) and always says to me “Hey, hey!  How are we doing today?” I can’t recall a time when I didn’t see a smile on his face.  He also always notices if I stray from my normal purchase of a large coffee and granola bar and asks about how the additional snacks fit into my day.  “No time for lunch today?” he’ll say, and we’ll go on from there until he closes by wishing me the best day ever.  He is SO happy!  Every. Single. Day. 

This is how you make customers smile!

My co-workers, who have been patrons of this particular gas station for many years before I joined the team, told me about it when I first started.  Clearly the service has an impact on referrals!  The turnover is minimal, given they have seen the same workers there for years – a good sign that the internal climate for employees is as good as the external impression I get as a customer.

Some key elements that I see at play at this gas station/food shop:
  • a clear picture of their main purpose (the customer), which is shared by all employees, not just one or two “top performers,” as evidenced by their genuine and authentic approach to ALL customers
  • autonomy and empowerment at the shop level to allow employees to make customer-centric decisions, which could correlate to a trust-based internal culture
  • openness to new ideas and willingness to progress through fun social media promotions and crazy outfits. The company itself runs fun promotions via social media every Friday.  Telling employees a chosen phrase, like “Go Big Red” (in honor of the Huskers) earns you a 25-cent coffee.
What really blows me away is that this is a gas station we’re talking about. 

You can go anywhere for gas and food, right?  Yet many times I have gone out of my way to give this particular station my business. Stepping back into my professional shoes for a moment, I’m measuring their “culture” as a result of how I feel as a consumer during my interactions with the business.  My colleague Jeff Dahms (CSP’s Vice President of Research and Development) would undoubtedly prefer some hard numbers related to turnover, business performance, sales, etc. – but the point remains, when the culture of a place is right, the customer feels it.


You may also want to read:

Self-Service Customer Support: How Companies Help Customers Help Themselves

September 9, 2016

Customer self-service continues to rise in popularity as companies adapt to customers’ demand for convenience and independence. Customer service experts agree that self-service is one of the biggest developments for 2016.

In 2015, Microsoft’s annual Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report surveyed 4,000 consumers. When asked what they expected from customer service, 90% of those consumers stated the importance of self-service options. 2015 was also the first year that respondents in the Forrester Consumer Survey reportedly used the FAQ pages on a company’s website more often than talking to an agent over the phone.

Online support: FAQ and Search

post-it-1547588_1280The Forrester study shows that online information is a great example of an area where self-service is booming. 72% of consumers call self-service support a fast and easy way to handle support issues. Examples of successful online methods include the use of dynamic Frequently Asked Questions forms: support forms that respond to the specific needs of each customer, rather than stating a list of fixed answers.

Design and content go hand-in-hand. You can support customer self-service by simply moving the Search box on your website, and optimizing content for frequent customer searches. While 92% of people use search engines to find solutions, over two-thirds of them say they get frustrated with the placement of search bars on company websites, or can’t find the information they need and call customer service after all. Online support systems can be economical, but they need to be smart and flexible in order to work.

Self-service banking

Although online services have affected customers’ need to physically visit branches, a significant number of customers still visit their bank regularly. While most simple transactions can be completed online, more complex transactions almost always take place in branches. In order to cater to a variety of service demands, most modern banks are now shifting to the concept of full-service locations that integrate digital and personal customer service.

Some banks, including Chase, have experimented with self-service kiosks at their branches. These kiosks can handle many of the same transactions as an ATM, with additional capabilities like issuing cashier’s checks and debit cards, printing statements, and transferring funds between accounts. Not only does this free up tellers to perform higher-value tasks, it also gives banks the opportunity to cross-sell their products and services.

Self-service kiosks began gaining attention in 2015, so it’s still early to tell whether customers are showing a distinct preference for kiosks over human tellers. But it seems likely that some degree of in-branch self-service that’s more sophisticated than a traditional ATM will be part of the banking customer experience in the future.

Call centers are another service touchpoint with potential for automation. Alongside call center employees, some banks are using interactive voice response (IVR). This system allows customers to “talk to” an automated menu of options and guide themselves to a solution. Much like kiosks, this frees up call center reps to handle the more complex callers, and increases the bank’s capacity to take a high volume of calls at once. IVR systems have grown more sophisticated, too, enough to greet customers by name and better understand what customers are asking on the first try, even when they stray from the expected script.

Retail self-service checkouts

One of the most common and visible examples of the changing nature of customer service is self-service checkout lanes at retailers; from big DIY stores like IKEA to supermarkets and drugstores.  To customers, the appeal of the self-service checkout is the option to move at their own pace and zip to the end of the line. To retailers, these lanes also help reduce the cost of staff.

However, self-service checkouts come with their own set of challenges. Theft is a big issue, for example: a recent study by the University of Leicester found that self-service checkouts criminalized normally-honest shoppers, who “resort to theft because it is so easy and the technology so frustrating.”

Help your customers help themselves

Self-service customer support provides companies with exciting opportunities, but it can’t be done half-heartedly, and it’s not a matter of set-and-forget. In order to realize its full potential, self-service solutions need to integrate smoothly with other customer service channels. As they are implemented, it’s essential to continue monitoring your customers’ experience by collecting feedback. Help your customers help themselves. In the end, it will help you.

8 Do’s and Don’ts for Engaging with Customers on Social Media

August 2, 2016

Customer service via social media has been a growing trend as more and more businesses realize the power of these platforms. But conducting yourself as a business on social media is far from self-explanatory. Here, we review eight tips for engaging with your customers on social media. 

If you’re a business with a social media presence, you want and expect customers to engage with you online. Nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population had a social media profile in 2015, and that number is expected to grow. Figures like that are telling; social media presents a significant opportunity for interacting with your customers. You can gain meaningful information when they react to what you publish. But, whether you intended it or not, customers also often treat social media profiles as alternative customer service channels.

The twist is, unlike phone calls or visits to your location, customer service interactions on social media can be very public — all eyes are watching. And because certain industries like finance are highly regulated, addressing these comments publicly can be challenging.

Following these do’s and don’ts for using social media to resolve customer inquiries will help you provide excellent social care while building a stronger commitment to your brand.

Infographic Engaging with Customers on Social Media

DO Employ These Strategies When Using Social Media to Resolve Customer Inquiries
  • Do go where your customers are on social media. For many organizations, the heaviest hitters are Facebook and Twitter. But sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn rank higher for certain industries. Make sure you’re concentrating your efforts on the right channel so your engagements are mutually beneficial for you and your customer.
  • Do have a social media policy and ensure the right employees are trained on it. Your policy should outline how your organization will interact over social media, and what employees can and cannot post. Ensure your legal or compliance department weighs in so the policy meets the necessary industry regulations.
  • Do regularly review engagement analytics. Pay close attention to how people respond to your content via comments, shares, and video watch time. Study what’s working well, and what’s not. Understand the issues being raised and use that information to help you identify priorities, plan staffing accordingly, and arrange appropriate resources.
  • Do maintain the same high standards of customer care on social media that you do on other customer service channels. Respond quickly (studies show many social media users expect a response the same day) and clearly. Avoid ambiguous answers. Once a problem is resolved, thank the customer for reaching out.
DON’T Run Into These Social Media Customer Service Pitfalls
  • Don’t run afoul of regulations. Certain industries like banking, where customer accounts contain highly sensitive information, have strict rules for how they communicate with customers online and how information is transmitted when operating digitally.
  • Don’t neglect comments. This leads to high rates of user dissatisfaction. A study by Conversocial showed that 88% of respondents would be less likely to buy from a brand whose social media site contained unanswered customer complaints.
  • Don’t be inconsistent. Ensure your customer addressing you online receives the same resolution for the same question as the customer calling over the phone.
  • Don’t let issues linger too long. If a posted comment leads to a lot of back-and-forth or requires that personal data be shared, take it offline onto another channel, whether that be direct message, live chat, email, or a phone call. The ultimate goal for both you and the customer is a resolution.

Managing social media customer inquiries successfully requires teamwork across a number of disciplines, including marketing, compliance, IT, and customer service. According to Bain & Company, “customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers.” When you consider those figures, it pays to create a cohesive plan for managing your social media comments.


RELATED: How Loyal Are Your Customers?

Customers who engage with companies over social media, reports Bain & Company, “demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies, granting them an average 33 points higher Net Promoter Score℠, a common measure of customer loyalty.” Read 4 Things a Net Promoter Score Can Do for Your Business.

How to Grow Loyal Customers into Brand Advocates

June 8, 2016

The blueprint of a brand comes to life with the accumulation of loyal customers, and it expands its reach by shaping those customers into advocates. This two-tier configuration is a launching pad.

There are two parts to the first tier. First, the customer needs to believe the services have quality. One successful transaction can plant the seed. Additional successful transactions build confidence; even when some error occurs on the side of the company, the loyal customer is ready to overlook it.

This trust ties directly into the customer’s level of allegiance. All it takes is one bad deal to push your customer to a competitor — but the loyal customer will standby because there’s usually something in it for them.

Loyalty cards and programs can be used to measure customers’ habits and keep them close.

86 percent of those in a loyalty program feel their efforts are worth the prize. 83 percent say the program keeps them anchored to the brand. It seems like every business has a rewards card or member program, and that’s because they work. The 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty study revealed 86 percent of those in a loyalty program feel their efforts are worth the prize and 83 percent say the program keeps them anchored to the company.

Financial service companies still lead the way with loyalty-based programs. The two most important factors to customers are being able to easily use their rewards, and being able to choose them. Cash-back rewards are the most attractive feature due to their unlimited nature. This type of freedom can launch debit card usage upwards of 200 percent.

Once a person commits to the brand, it’s important to keep the high-quality rewards in play – the competition is steep, with a surplus of 430 million credit card loyalty memberships in the U.S.

To grow loyal customers into advocates, first, institute a relationship and foster it.

The transition sparks when customers begin to tell friends about how easy it was to obtain a decent loan with low interest rates, raving about the employee who was able to seal the deal.

The humanization of the customer experience cannot be overlooked. To have a quality product or service is not enough to keep the customer interested. There are simple ways to evolve your professional relationship with the customer:

  • Use their name as often as possible, including the first name when appropriate. Inclusion begets confidence, and confidence allows the customer to be more open to taking risks and trying new things.
  • Learn their reasons for using your services or choosing your products. If they’re opening up a savings account for their oldest child on his twelfth birthday, ask when their other children have birthdays and send personal reminders accordingly.
  • Ask them for their opinions relating to your brand by having them walk you through their experience. Face-to-face conversations can reveal more.
  • Pay attention to reviews and feedback. Not all content will be positive, so keep your eyes open for weak links. Put more effort into building those up while maintaining the high level of satisfaction in other areas.
  • Treat every interaction with your customers as the very first interaction and continue to learn more about them. They become more valuable with time.

An advocate not only acts as a free advertisement, but he or she will also continue to make purchases and use services – at least twice as much as the average customer. Some case studies have shown upwards of 10 times as much continued buying behavior.

Draw customers in with quality, and keep them with distinction.

In 2014, a startup investment company, OurCrowd, shared its secret to boosting customer loyalty: blending content with community. By powering and sharing content, you increase communication and, therefore, trust. Furthermore, OurCrowd discovered content wasn’t a one-dimensional marketing tool, but a bridge that filled the gaps of knowledge.

 

Look closely to discover what is missing in the link between your brand’s mission statement and the customer’s experience. Educate your customers, showcase your expertise, grow together and create a transparency that will boost customer relationships.