What is the most critical factor in building excellent customer service leading to outstanding loyalty?


A) Immediate response to customer questions
B) Scripted responses so the phone is always answered the same way
C) A smartphone app
D) Exceeding customer expectations
E) None of the above

The answer is E) – None of the above. The perfect answer would have been: Make it Easy. How you ask? Remove obstacles. That is it. The silver bullet. The whole enchilada. That is clearly easier said than done however.

So, somebody did a study, as detailed by hbr.org, to figure this out. The actual article in Harvard Business Review was titled: Stop trying to delight your customers. They studied 75,000 service (chat, email, web and voice-prompt systems) or over-the-phone interactions to figure out what correlates customer service to customer loyalty.

Two interesting findings:

1.      Delighting customers DOES NOT build customer loyalty. Reducing the necessary actions to achieve a solution does. Find out about our Loyalty Telematics solution here: link

2.     See Rule Number One. THIS is all that matters. If you build a culture around this, you will see positive benefits that can

“help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, and decrease customer churn.”
— hbr.org

 What!?

You are thinking...this is not right. My shop is different and I have been taught differently.  Customer Service is all about exceeding expectations. Read on...you are not the only one who thinks that.

We all, hate it when you call your wireless carrier or credit card company and are put on hold. You just took 7 minutes to explain the problem. Now you have been referred to another department, to whom you have to explain it to, AGAIN!  Conversely, ask yourself, how many stories do you know of where a customer says, "That shop made my life too easy. I'm never going there again".  Nobody says that. Deliver an easy experience.  

Start fiddling with the Easy button. Staples was on to something. 

 

What most people think...

Let’s go back to the question about the most critical factor in building excellent customer service leading to outstanding loyalty: 89 out of 100 customer service heads (surveyed according to this article) got the answer  dead wrong. They all chose D) exceed customer expectations, just as you may have done. 89%, that's significant.  Time to shift your thinking.

Most everybody thinks that getting customer loyalty right is about exceeding expectations.
— HBR.org

The problem is if customers are coming to you, then they need an answer. Your customer doesn't know what to expect, so how can you exceed their expectation? The articles fully enumerates this train of thought. I had never thought of customer expectations that way until after reading this article.

 "Remove obstacles" is what the article says. Transfer of responsibility, having to repeat information and calling back later are all things that make it easy for a customer to just say, "'No" to you. With a Loyalty Telematics system you can make life easy for your customers. You can help them monitor their vehicle health and connect with them in real-time. The utmost convenience to your customer is information. With a Loyalty Telematics system you can help them solve problems when they are at home, on the road or just trying to take care of their child away at college.

 If 68% of your customers already have a smartphone (link). So why don't you have a telematics system in place? 

So, I'll admit I cheated a bit, I didn't give you a key choice earlier: E) Make it Easy, but if you were shaking your head while reading those options above, then I need to quote you in my next article anyway.

Conclusion

So let's wrap this up for the automotive service facility. In times when people are increasingly busy and over-scheduled "Making It Easy" should also extend beyond just your shop. Enter Telematics. At CAARMO we call it Loyalty Telematics. We thought the concept so powerful a concept, we trademarked it. Make It Easy for your customer to communicate with you when a problem occurs with their vehicle or when a scheduled 60K service is coming up. You know what they are coming in for and you are perfectly positioned to help them. If all your customer has to do is look at their smartphone, which they do ~150 times a day anyway (which BTW equates to roughly every 6 minutes) to interact with you...well can you make it any easier?

Customer loyalty in 3 words: Make it Easy

Thanks for your time reading. I hope this added something of value. Please leave a note to help me gauge what I should be writing about. I look forward to chatting.

Vinay Raman is the co-founder and CEO of CAARMO. 

 

 

BTW, We have a LinkedIn group with almost 100 members focused on this set of topics. Come join and discuss with us:

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