When it comes to client service, some companies are definitely getting it right. Big brands like Trader Joe’s, One Medical, Hilton, and Subaru have recently been recognized for exceptional client service — going out of their way to empathize with clients, ensure the client experience is as pleasant as possible, and gather client feedback to incorporate into product innovation and improvement.
So…what’s the secret to their success?
Client service first companies tend to adopt a client-centric business mindset from which all other service tools, policies, and initiatives flow. We’ll take a look at the key features of a client service culture, and introduce what we’re working towards in our own organization. But first, let’s talk about what exceptional client service doesn’t look like.
The basics don’t cut it
Many businesses think that doing the bare minimum for clients is good enough. Maybe that’s having a frontline client service team that takes calls and answers emails. Maybe it’s including some programmable chatbots to help with the volume of calls and emails. Maybe it’s having some kind of return policy or money-back guarantee.
But the problem with thinking only in terms of the basics — and not what you can do to go above and beyond — is that eventually, this approach becomes a competitive liability.
According to HubSpot’s research, 80% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience. That means they’ve probably started doing business with that company’s competitor. The same research also found that 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase more, and 93% were more likely to be repeat clients, at companies with excellent client service.
Think about that for a moment. Offering basic client service doesn’t necessarily mean you’re offering bad service, of course. But if your competitor is the one going above and beyond, and you’re not, anything you’re doing can start to seem poor in comparison. In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, the basics simply don’t cut it anymore.
“Wow” is the key
If you want to provide “wow” client service that helps you gain a competitive advantage, starting with a client-centric mindset or building a client service culture — however, you prefer to think about it — is key. It seeds the necessary attitudes, practices, and mechanisms in your organization that can elevate the client experience.
Some of the key features of a client-centric organization include:
- Recruiting and hiring practices that center on candidates with a strong sense of responsibility to clients and who understand the value of a good client experience.
- The desire to cultivate empathy toward clients by figuring out ways to intuit and respond to each client’s needs.
- The ability to give employees access to client insights so they can learn more about who their clients are and personalize their interactions with them.
- An employee performance management plan that includes incentives — such as bonuses and other cash rewards — for employees to improve client outcomes.
- A client advocacy program that harnesses the enthusiasm of existing clients by using their stories and experiences to create relevant and engaging content and communications.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer on the exact tools to use or the exact programs to put in place since every organization is set up differently and has to meet a variety of client needs. But by first developing a client-centric mindset, you can then clearly determine the rest to suit your culture, clients, and objectives — and be able to truly provide “wow” client service that could earn you recognition too.
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