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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do You Know What Good Customer Service Feels Like?

Why do we bother to create a positive customer service experience?
All buying habits are psychological in nature. Sure, people need or want to buy something because of the product, but where they buy and if they return are based on their customer service experience during and after the transaction. We want to be able to control the loyalty of our customers. So how does that happen?
Excellent customer service LEADS TO Customer Satisfaction, which ultimately drives loyalty, sales, and the bottom line.
You probably remember a time when you experienced good customer service. That is because every customer service experience is just that - an experience. I could give you a textbook definition of customer service, but you would likely forget it and just remember an experience you had and how it made you feel.  The good news is that you can control the experiences your customers have and therefore create a positive one that will likely bring them back. Remember ALL customer experiences are experiences. Even the good, the bad, the ugly, and the neutral. Let's explore a little.
customer service
Bad-Bad experiences are really just experiences that are below the expectations the customer had when they walked in, but still may be somewhat acceptable. This happens when only a small portion of the experience goes awry. You may not  lose the customer for good, but for them to return there will need to be another factor to draw them in, possibly location, or more likely price. Really bad experiences will cost you that customer and will damage your reputation. In the world of Social Media, this is disastrous. People have on average 230 friends on Facebook alone and if they post something about you, you're done. 
Ugly- The difference between BAD and UGLY is that in BAD, there is no real attempt by the company to rectify the situation. In an UGLY experience, you will not see this person again unless you are able to rectify the situation and make it right. This however, does not guarantee the return of the customer, it might save your reputation in the sphere of the customer and they may refrain from telling all their friends about their poor experience. An ugly experience, if handled properly, may end up turning into a great experience if the customer is open. You won't know until it is all over. 
Neutral-This is a very dangerous experience because the business will never know if the customer had a good enough experience to make them come back. A neutral experience is what the customer expected or it was satisfactory. This will not win you loyal customers. If you do not create a compelling reason for them to return, there is a good chance that next time they will go somewhere based on another factor, maybe location or price. Neutral experiences are damaging because there is no added value to their experience that will make you stand out over your competition. 
Good-people may or may not share their experiences, but you have created an experience that their subconscious will remember the next time they need or want to buy something you offer. There will need to be a compelling reason for them to not return. Good, positive experiences even allow for small future mistakes.
What memorable customer experiences have you had? How did they affect your future buying decisions.
As mentioned in my podcast, communication is the real driving factor behind customer service and satisfaction. Tune in to hear the rest of the discussion and visit Leap Year Marketing or Marketing Mojo Radio Facebook pages to tell us about your own experiences.

Joanne Randall
Marketing Mojo Radio Podcast

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