A playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experiences
The customer experience is the new marketing. That’s what Micah Solomon, best-selling author, customer service industry consultant, and Forbes contributor, asked as he opened a recent webinar based on his new book, Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away): The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience.
His point was that in the “old days” of Marketing, marketers would rely on the 4 Ps—Product, Price, Place, Promotion—to market out to the consumer. And that’s really all the consumer had to go on in making a buying decision.
Today, that has changed. Customers have stopped believing what your company says about itself. Your marketing message has to match what their friends in real life, or the people they listen to online, experienced.
Now, customers make their decision based more on
- How you treat them, their friends, other people in their lives, or (in the case of B2B) in their industry.
- How well you’ve designed the customer experience.
- What their connections and the people they listen to online are recommending.
The impact of customer service is magnified in B2B. In B2B,
- The individual sale is often bigger.
- The per-relationship value is almost always larger.
- The industry segment is often a tight-knit group of companies.
In B2B, customer service invokes a multiplier effect. The damage caused by unresponsive wholesale supplier, service provider, or vendor can be devastating. If a subcontractor fails to support its customer, catastrophe can result for everyone along the chain, including (but not limited to) the end user.
You also have an unprecedented opportunity. When you get people talking, especially digitally talking, your marketing can expand. And expand.
Micah offers 5 principles for serving today’s customer:
One. Today’s customers are the enemies of stupid. So don’t make them call you for stupid stuff™.
- Replace your static FAQs with something searchable and AI-powered.
- Build a robust MyAccount they can access 24/7. (In TeamSupport, this is called Customer Hub.)
- Get your details right in Google.
- Streamline all transactional details.
- Strive for a frictionless, no-delay, no-paperwork customer experience.
- Meet your customers where they are (be channel-agnostic).
- Have all of their information visible to all support agents so they never have to repeat themselves.
Two. Build a purpose-driven culture. Remember, function is what we do. Purpose is why we do it.
The Mayo Clinic’s credo states their purpose plainly: “The needs of the patient come first.” And that takes precedent over each employee’s job function. Make sure leadership in your organization sets the tone. In other words, don’t give an employee a hard time if they aren’t meeting a KPI because they took care of the needs of the customer instead.
Three. Aim to create moments of “everyday wow.” That means, bringing more value to every conversation. Even today, when more customer interactions happen digitally or over the phone, and less in person in a retail environment, you can be cheerful (you can hear a smile), empathetic, and offer service that is over and above answering a question and getting the person off the line in order to move on to the next.
Four. Customers are at the center of their own universe. Make sure they feel like they’re at the center of yours.
Five. Help even when you can’t help. Especially in times like today. Or in ways you weren’t intending.
Zappo’s demonstrated this when they started their “Customer Service for Anything” initiative. They literally encourage their customers to ask them anything; it doesn’t have to be about shoes!
Micah leaves us with this: 93% of customers make decisions based in full or in part on word-of-mouth recommendations.
(Apparently 7% don’t. Micah’s uncle is one of them!)
Watch the webinar on demand.
About Micah Solomon
According to Inc. magazine, Micah Solomon is “the world’s #1 customer service turnaround expert”—the person whom companies call on to transform their customer service and build a true customer service culture.
He is a senior contributor to Forbes and his expertise has been featured in Inc., Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CNBC, the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Micah’s most recent book is Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away!): The simple playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experience, a new bestseller from HarperCollins Leadership. Find Micah at micahsolomon.com and contact him at email@example.com.