Good Is Not Good Enough
April 15, 2016
Striving for Excellence
The phrase “good is not good enough” has been used so much lately it has almost become a cliché. It has never been truer though, especially when it comes to customer service. One of the worst things you can hear is that your customers are “satisfied.” A customer who is merely “satisfied” is a not a loyal customer and can be easily drawn away by your competitors by convenience or lower prices. Smart businesses understand that they need to offer a superior customer experience to retain client loyalty.
There are a number of actions you can take to improve Customer Experience.
Most experts agree that one of the most effective campaigns is to get your employees to buy in to the effort. In particular, forward facing employees must be aware of how they are perceived by the customers they encounter, and company leadership must provide the proper guidance for those employees to excel. To quote the bandleader in the movie Whiplash, “good job” are the two most harmful words in the English language. While it is probably not a good idea to go the extremes presented in the movie, it is true that the words “good job” imply to the employee that what they are doing is good enough, and any extra effort to excel on their part is unnecessary. Encourage leaders to provide constructive feedback through positive mentoring. Walk through a situation that was just a “good job” and point out ways the interaction could have been even better. Good employees will appreciate guidance that helps them achieve success much more than just a pat on the head.
Know Your Customers
It would be difficult to provide an exceptional customer experience without understanding their needs and wants. Take the time to talk with your clients. Most people will tend to tell you what they think you want to hear, so you may have to ask a few probing questions to get beyond a simple “everything’s fine” response. When you do get them to open up, be sure to listen. Resist the urge to explain away any shortcomings or launch into a sales pitch, and focus on your customer’s particular pain-points. By engaging in frequent pointed conversations with your clients, they will tell you how to exceed their expectations.
Be Professional, But Get Personal
Your company probably won most of your clients by your salesperson establishing a relationship with a primary decision maker. Keep building on those relationships with your client. Interactions with your clients should certainly be professional, but remember that ultimately you are dealing with people who will usually respond favorably to personable gestures. Call them by name, remember birthdays, and congratulate them on successes. When the situation calls for it, handwritten thank-you notes and gifts to show your appreciation go a long way to endearing you with a client.
Measure, Then Measure Again
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides instant access to your client’s information and transaction history. As your business grows, the software allows you to collect customer data from multiple sources to better target marketing efforts and improve the quality of customer interactions. CRM should be used with caution, however. A recent Gartner study revealed that the customer experience can actually degrade by over-dependence on CRM. Like any properly used tool, your CRM can be invaluable, automating follow-up tasks to keep on top of servicing your customer as long as your customer doesn’t begin to feel like he’s being “automated.” There are also methods of measuring customer satisfaction levels that work in conjunction with CRM. One method, CSAT, uses customer satisfaction surveys to measure your client’s level of satisfaction with their most recent encounter. It is a popular way to get customer feedback immediately following a call or visit to your company, and is considered a short-term measure of customer satisfaction. NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is considered a long-term measurement. It is a customer survey based on a single question: “How likely is it they you would recommend our company/products/service to a friend or colleague?” Customers are asked to score your company on a scale of one to ten. Those who respond in the 0 to 6 range are detractors, 9 and 10 responses are promoters, and 7 and 8 are passives. The NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The score purports to measure customer loyalty on a scale of -100 (everyone is a detractor) to +100 (everyone is a promoter). It is generally believed that it requires a combination of the CSAT and NPS methods for an accurate measurement of customer satisfaction.
CalTech’s leadership has implemented our Improving Customer Experience (ICE) program, a system comprised of several tools and philosophies to improve and measure our clients’ total experience. We have been extremely successful at achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and client loyalty. This claim is not only verified by our CSAT/NPS measurement surveys, but by the way our business grows—through client referrals. A referral from a current client to a potential new client is the highest compliment we can receive. CalTech strongly believes it is our obligation to our clients to assure them our best effort and expertise goes into their technology investment recommendations. Our CIO-level mentors act as a part of our client’s team, guiding them to strategic technology decisions that match with our client’s business plans, not ours.
At CalTech, it is a fundamental part of our corporate culture that our team strives to bring an exceptional customer experience to every client. Service ticket calls are answered accurately, courteously, and in faster-than-average time. Our Tier1 support group is heavily staffed with qualified, well-trained engineers who can answer calls quickly and resolve issues completely so clients spend less time on the phone. Tickets are prioritized appropriately, and when necessary, escalated for prompt resolution. CalTech engineers understand that when a client calls about an issue, their business—and potentially our client’s customer satisfaction level—can suffer, and that does not make loyal and enthusiastic customers. We have invested millions researching, testing, and tweaking our CRM systems to ensure consistent and efficient service delivery, and have invested millions more to build our training, HR, and document management systems to support our processes, hire, and retain, the right talent.
Like the Whiplash bandleader, the last thing we at CalTech want to hear is “good job.” Our goal is to go above and beyond our clients’ expectations. We want to hear “Wow!”
You can hear more about how CalTech strives for excellence in the video, presented by CalTech CIO, Robert Houser.
CalTech provides exceptional IT support and services to the following surrounding areas: Dallas, TX., San Angelo, TX., San Antonio, TX., Tyler, TX., Austin, TX., Houston, TX., and Kansas City, KS.