It should come as no surprise that customer service plays a key role in almost everything you do. Your customers are your revenue and what keeps your business afloat, so it makes sense to give them everything they want from you and more. In fact, it goes without saying that those businesses who don’t show their customers the respect they’re looking for will quickly lose out and suffer as a result.
A continually negative customer service experience can fundamentally undermine a business, irrespective of how wonderful the product/service actually is. There’s only so much modern consumers will accept from a company before they choose to jump ship, even if it means finding a more expensive or even inferior offering.
While customer service skills have always been an essential part of good business operations, their importance to short and long-term business success is growing rapidly. Here we take a look at just why they’re more important in 2019 than ever before.
Competition is increasing
Your business has always been up against competitors, but as the global market develops and becomes increasingly connected, the number of companies you’ll be competing against is rising too. This jump in competition means it’s not only harder to get new customers through the door, but also means there are more alternatives should your consumer base be dissatisfied. As such, your customer service skills in 2019 are absolutely critical.
With so many options at the touch of a button, the opportunity for customers to spend their money elsewhere is greater than ever, so the experience you deliver needs to be as good as possible.
With this in mind, customer service skills are essential, as they often play a large part in the experience your customers have with your product/service – particularly when things go wrong.
Your ability to react and assist your customers with engaging customer service skills will strongly influence how long they stick around.
Customers are louder than ever and will make bad experiences public
In 2019, a dissatisfied customer is a dangerous customer. Armed with the power of social media in the palm of their hand, your customers have everything they need to tell the world about your performance, particularly when it’s bad. The modern customer regularly shares negative experiences with friends, family and the wider world, and this can quickly snowball into a full-blown negative reputation if it occurs too often.
Strong customer service skills help to avoid these incidents, even when things go wrong. Whether it’s just helping customers make the most of the offering, or ensuring they’re cared for in the event of an error, customer service is critical to minimising negativity and maximising the customer experience. The faster and better a problem can be solved, the lower the chance negative sentiment will be shared in the public domain – protecting your reputation and future opportunities.
Customer expectations are growing
As customers become more global, they’re exposed to greater levels of opportunity and potential, this makes them aware of what can be achieved and in many cases, raises expectations. The customer of 2019 wants more for less and they’re seeing companies deliver on a daily basis – Netflix and Spotify are both great examples. Whether expectations are realistic or not, customers are holding the companies they use and engage with to higher account, and so it’s essential competitive businesses rise to this challenge, or face the consequences of delivering disappointment.
With good customer service skills supporting your business, you can meet and even exceed the expectations of your customers. This not only drives return custom but elevates your brand and satisfies your customers view of your company and its offerings.
Customer service is becoming a key brand differentiator
As markets become increasingly crowded and new businesses rise up with an increasing focus on niche offerings, it’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate in the market. Getting lost amongst the crowds is a very real threat in 2019, so it’s essential to deliver some form of a unique selling point, and great customer service is doing just that for many businesses.
With high-quality customer service skills powering your business you can stand out from the masses and build a customer base simply through good word of mouth. Highly positive experiences may not travel as fast as bad experiences, but they can have just as much of an impact on business success. It only takes one good referral to generate ROI on great customer service and typically it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Something as simple as raising the customer’s query internally and calling them back could be enough. It’s worth remembering, most of the time, you only need a little effort and care to deliver great customer service.
Customers are moving away from products to ongoing services
As mentioned above, the likes of Netflix and Spotify have grown significantly, and are representative of a cultural shift, in 2019 consumers are buying less products and turning to services. This means, instead of a one-off up-front fee, they’re paying regular installments, which means greater customer service is required over a longer period of time. As value is attached to retention, high-quality customer service skills suddenly become priority 1,2 and 3.
When a product is sold, and the consumer receives bad customer service, the company keeps the money and often moves on, but with a service model, this doesn’t work, the consumer must receive ongoing customer service to ensure they keep paying their fee. Failure to care for their needs will result in a direct reduction in revenue.
Customers want to help themselves
Good customer service skills don’t just come in the form of a person engaging with another person, they also come from providing the right solutions so your customers can get what they need on their own. This may come in the form of a FAQ page or even a full-blown knowledge base like Document360, your customers want to find the information that will help solve their problems and you want to minimise the human resources to satisfy your customers. A knowledge base solution helps achieve both goals and moving into the future will only grow in importance as consumers look to help themselves more than ever.
2019 will see the standards of customer service skills rise again as businesses recognize the opportunity to drive growth and success by delivering better customer experience. With brand building, market recognition and increasing consumer standards, companies must rise to the occasion and deliver quality customer service, or risk losing their loyal following to a company that will embrace customer care. The benefits of good customer service skills are obvious and as society continues towards a more service-oriented culture, the quality of customer service delivered will determine future business success. The very best businesses in 2019 will embrace high-quality customer service and ensure customers have what they need when they need it.