Three Long-Gone Customer Service Standards

John Krautzel
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As technology changes the face of buying and selling, customer service has also shifted. Modern businesses, when faced with rising competition and a tough economy, often leave quality service out of the picture. This trend presents an opportunity for companies to transform the customer experience by returning to traditional service standards.

Though technology has improved the retail process in many ways, it often eliminates the human element. In the past, business representatives made an effort to personalize each transaction. They greeted customers with a smile, exchanged pleasant conversation and remembered the names of regular visitors. These in-person interactions created a relationship between the buyer and seller that made it easier to offer a more personalized customer service experience. Now, however, shoppers can check out without ever interacting with a human—even in a store. Businesses must go the extra mile to reintroduce the human connection. According to Entrepreneur magazine, one option is to add a handwritten note to an online order shipment; doing so surprises the customer and creates a more personal experience. This type of unexpected touch can create word-of-mouth buzz and keep shoppers coming back.

Before the advent of on-demand ordering, businesses maintained a smaller inventory. Employees were more familiar with the products, enabling them to give more effective advice and assistance. Modern companies, particularly those that sell online, might have little to no experience with the products they sell. For customers, it is frustrating to call or email a company's customer service for help and reach a person who clearly knows nothing about the item in question. Customers have come to expect ineffective employees at foreign call centers who provide no help. As a business, this climate presents a valuable opportunity. When your customer service representatives listen to a customer and provide knowledgeable advice, it establishes you as a valuable resource and leads to long-term customer loyalty.

Once upon a time, customers could expect a certain level of compensation when they were disappointed or inconvenienced by a company. To repair the customer service relationship, businesses offered a discount, a free product or financial remuneration. This small token reassured customers that their business was important and mitigated the negativity of the original experience. Unfortunately for customers, compensation is one of the service standards that has fallen by the wayside. Instead of acknowledging the customer's difficulty, customer service agents simply offer a solution and move on. As a result, companies that offer small compensatory incentives stand out from the crowd. Choose items or discounts that are truly valuable to the customers to entice them to become repeat shoppers.

In an age of impersonal technology and uninspired customer service, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to stand out. By investing the time and resources to return to traditional service methods, you can create a rich experience that keeps customers coming back.


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