Customer Service: How To Stay Ahead Of The Competition By Talking To Your Customers


The quality of the customer service you provide can make or break your business, regardless of the quality and price of your products or services. Indeed, research from American Express found that 68 percent of people in the UK are willing to spend more if it means doing business with a company that provide excellent service.

As a result, delivering world-class levels of customer service is one of the single most effective ways to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses. In particular, it is vital to use training and customer service coaching to highlight the importance not only talking to your customers, but also have the appropriate type of conversation.

The Power of the Real Conversations

The rise of social media, email, chat and other online communication methods has meant that customer services courses must now cover more topics than ever before. Nevertheless, in a recent survey carried out by West Interactive Services, 65 percent of people said they still prefer the telephone when they have a specific issue.

Indeed, telephone conversations still have a number of advantages. Unlike with social media and email, they enable customers to get instant answers. Moreover, certain demographics, such as the baby boomer generation, are simply more comfortable using a telephone than the internet to seek assistance.

Issues With Telephone Service

Despite the continued popularity of telephones, however, phone conversations remain one of the most frustrating customer service experiences and while customers do become frustrated with staff who are unable to deal with their questions, the most frequent complaint involves not being able to reach a staff member at all.

In fact, the aforementioned American Express survey also found that 67 percent of people had hung up their phone in the prior year because it took too long to speak to a real person. For this reason, the elimination of unnecessary barriers is an essential part of modern day customer services, and courses should emphasise this.

Nevertheless, the prevalence of such frustration provides your business with a great opportunity to stay ahead of the competition by ensuring this does not happen. If at all possible, you should aim for a maximum wait of around two minutes before a customer is able to speak to a live customer service rep.

What Customers Really Want

With that said, there are other areas that you should also focus on during customer service training and coaching, in order to ensure you deliver the very best service. Ultimately, in order to provide great service, it is essential that you actually understand what customers are looking for and expecting.

When asked about significant factors in a positive customer experience, respondents to a Genesys Global Survey cited competent staff as the most important factor. This was followed by convenient communication channels and personalisation. Assuming you have convenient communication channels in place, the other two should be priorities.

Competency relies heavily on making sure your customer service reps have strong knowledge of your products and services and this will primarily be achieved through regular training. However, competency also includes adopting the right tone, being able to address difficult situations professionally, communicating clearly and listening carefully to what customers have to say.

Nevertheless, beyond competency, customers also want to feel valued and as if they are being treated like an individual. Personalisation can be achieved through simple techniques like addressing them by their name, but it also involves listening to their specific needs and wants, and tailoring answers and business offers to them.