Bakers Journal

Features Business and Operations Point of Sale (POS)
The future of customer service


January 17, 2013
By Jeff Mowatt

Topics

Jan. 17, 2013 – Technology is changing the face of
customer service. Traditional ways we used to interact with customers,
win their trust, and keep them coming back are becoming irrelevant. Jeff Mowatt offers three of the most significant trends in customer service, and
how you can position your business to capitalize rather than capsize in
response.

Jan. 17, 2013 – You have no doubt noticed that technology is changing the ‘face’ of
customer service. Traditional ways we used to interact with customers,
win their trust, and keep them coming back are becoming irrelevant.
Here are three of the most significant trends in customer service, and
how you can position your business to capitalize rather than capsize in
response.

Trend #1 – Self-serve slavery

What apparently started with self serve gas stations has now become
the norm. Customers are now booking their own travel, doing their own
banking and even scanning their own groceries at self serve checkouts.
There are pluses and minuses for customers, but with the impending
labour shortages, companies are likely to continue cutting back on
staffing and opt for customers serving themselves.

Your Move – Shift from order-taker to trusted advisor

In most organizations, there is virtually no role remaining for
employees who merely act as order takers. When customers have done
their homework on Google and have decided exactly what they want, then
with today’s technology there’s no longer any need for employees to
process simple transactions. The place where companies need employees
is with more complex purchases. The role of staff here is not
to provide customers with lots of information. Information is free on
the internet – and free is perceived as worthless. The role of staff
with complex purchases is to analyze the possible options that are
available, then interpret which ones might be the most suited to that
customer’s unique needs, and finally, advise the customer on up to three
options that will solve the customer’s problem. Companies will prosper
by replacing five clerks with several self serve checkouts and one Trusted Advisor.

Trend #2 – Driven to distraction

It used to be that good customer service would generate positive
word of mouth advertising. That’s no longer the case. Today’s
customers are too busy at work, in traffic, running errands, working
out, and chauffeuring kids to pay attention to service. When we do have
a moment to spare, we are plugged into wireless devices; effectively
insulating ourselves from our immediate surroundings. What that means is
that good customer service is no longer talked about – it isn’t even
noticed! Good customer service has become wallpaper.

Your Move – Become remark-ably different

In my seminars I suggest to managers, “Don’t be better, be
different.” In other words rather than trying to beat your competition,
try to change your service so that you become REMARK-able. Fortunately
this is easier than most people think. In most cases, this means
equipping employees with a few customer communication tips and
strategies that get noticed. For example, when a customer asks an
employee to do something, the average response might be ‘Sure’ or “OK.”
We suggest that instead employees respond with, “I’ll take care of it”.
That response indicates that not only is the employee going to get it
done, but they’ll do it literally with care. Your service gets
noticed not because you’re working harder, faster, or cheaper, but
because you learn to convey greater value.

Trend #3 – The amplification of anger

Social media has become the new form of "word-of-mouth."
Traditionally, if your organization's service wasn't great, you might
upset a few customers, but organizations learned to live with it. Now
however, through social media and sites dedicated to customer reviews,
disgruntled customers have a public platform to amplify their outrage.
Keep in mind that a comment that's spoken may be forgotten; but
a remark written in cyberspace may last forever. Add the human
tendency to take the written word more seriously than a spoken comment.
Mix in the sheer volume of people connected through social media, and
you have a formula for a perfect storm where a single unhappy customer
can inflict serious brand damage.

Your move – become a recovery master

When mistakes happen, and your product or service falls short of
expectation, you’d of course give them a refund or exchange. But that’s
not enough. On top of the exchange or refund, give the customer something for their inconvenience.
Any gesture or token of appreciation that addresses the customer’s
hassle-factor can transform an upset customer into a tweeting trumpeter
of your virtues. That’s the kind of viral marketing we’d all love.

Bottom line – these trends in technology show no signs of slowing.
Customer service is no longer about processing a transaction. It’s
about being a Trusted Advisor to ensure people are buying the right
items and they know how to use them. And it means ensuring that every
customer is genuinely satisfied with their choice. When you think about
it, those strategies have always been smart. Now they’re critical.


This article is based on the book Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month,
by customer service strategist and professional speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff
for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com or call 1-800-566-9288.


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