Mass personalization in customer care works only if your name is “mass”. Other customers may have been fine with a different kind of response, but they probably did not have the exact problem or question the customer in front of you or on the phone has.
With the decline of dollars earmarked for marketing activities, customer care is becoming an even greater differentiator for your business. How are businesses going to scale customer care? Here are three practical ways:
1. Listen aggressively to the question or problem, then provide exceptionally good customer service. For example, if something is not working, find out what it is exactly, get a technician to look it up and provide a status report on when it will be fixed. Then confirm all of it with the customer. Listening is a very important part of communications and it needs to be employed more often.
2. Hire the best people, train them well, and support their decisions. Scale does not mean only large numbers. It also (and mostly) means effectiveness. For what are large numbers going to do if you fail miserably across the board? Each good decision takes you a step closer to a satisfied customer and happy customers tend to tell everyone about your company - we like to look good when we provide referrals.
3. Close the loop on communications. Everyone in your company should be cross trained in customer service. It should be a requirement that senior management spend time on the front lines every month, listening to customers, helping with issues, and energizing their teams. This part will be easy to scale if you have a whole team dedicated to it instead of just the people who have a customer service title.
The Economist recently posted a discussion on behavioral pricing, to which Umair Haque at Harvard Business Review responded that we cannot organize tomorrow’s economy like yesterday’s. It’s not profitable to trick consumers. As he states:
as our research at the Lab notes, the fact is: companies who can build authentic, honest, open, collaborative relationships with consumers are significantly more profitable (and sustainably profitable) than companies who treat consumers deceptively, antagonistically, and manipulatively.
We could add personalized to the list as well. This has also been my belief: true power is the power to create.
Valeria Maltoni | Conversation Agent