Customer Service: Mind the Gap
Speak Their Language
Customers want to feel appreciated, cared about, well-informed, respected, acknowledged, recognized, important, special and understood, and they expect that from every channel. Take the customers at Great American Business Products, a B-to-B seller of property management products. They feel understood and always find an empathic ear. Reps there speak their language because they learn from the same people who teach at property management schools. Many are former managers themselves.
Behind the scenes, as a major part of Great American's culture, there are some guidelines and technologies that help the reps continue to "amaze" customers with their knowledge of their industry and products that can help them be more successful, points out Director of Marketing Barbara de la Riva. Customers know the reps are fully empowered to handle any problem on the spot, so they take heart in knowing that, should there be a problem, it'll be fixed on the spot with no hassle.
As the CEOs of Cushman Fruit Co., Cabela's and Overstock.com (among others) would all attest, a passion for customers needs to be in the heart of those running the company. That passion's importance needs to resonate in every aspect of running the business. Culture eats strategy for lunch. If yours isn't focused on the well-being of people as well as profit, it'll derail your best efforts to create a positive customer experience in any channel.
Learn From All Channels
Moving seamlessly from channel to channel requires abandoning your silos and learning from and sharing with each other. You have to change the way you measure, incent and praise people, while adjusting to customers' changing needs.
"Learn something new about the customer, regardless of channel, at every interaction, and then do something about it," advises Scott McIntyre, former director of multichannel development at consumer electronics retailer Best Buy. "Large multichannel companies often have individual channel goals that compete against each other on operational, cost and revenue metrics. Ultimately, this causes tension and mistrust with customers, leading to higher cost of service and ultimately erosion of their brand loyalty."