How to deliver amazing customer experiences

Winning a new customer is good. Turning them into a repeat customer is better. Developing a loyal customer is best. And loyalty comes from amazing customer service.

People will pay more for great customer service too, so loyal customers are more profitable. Why? Because everyone likes to feel special and no-one wants unnecessary hassle.

This isn't news: nine out of ten organisations already say customer service matters. What is news is that a third (thirty percent) of customers actually feel they receive a great service experience.

The pebble in the pond

On the other hand, failing to meet a customer's expectations is bad. They're unhappy and you've likely lost a customer. But it doesn't end there…

Unhappy customers tend to tell their colleagues and affiliate companies about it; becoming a megaphone for any and all complaints.

So how can companies mend these service discrepancies that leaves their finances and brand reputation lacking?

Care Everywhere

Customers want seamless transition between different channels of support. They want whoever they speak to, email or online chat with to know their case history. They want the right answers at the right time. And they want to feel like you, as a company, care about their concerns.

The idea that infrastructure and attitude can deliver this is what Microsoft calls 'Care Everywhere'.

How to make 'Care Everywhere' a reality

One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is viewing a customer's purchase as a transaction rather than an interaction.

A transaction has an ending. The concept of an interaction is that it is part of something much larger, says Shep Hyken, author and customer service expert.

Here are seven top tips to help you bring 'Care Everywhere' to life and move from reacting to transactions to building relationships through interactions with Dynamics CRM.

1. Have one view of the customer. A complete view of a customer, accessible from a single system, makes it much easier to provide a personalised and contextual interaction. Those aren't just buzz words: knowing what someone's bought before, or if they've already emailed you, can have a big impact on how well you can serve them the next time they get in touch. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can give your business the capability to easily create and maintain a clear view of customers from first contact through purchase and post-sales.

2. Empower employees. On average, customer service centres use between seven and twelve systems, meaning representatives spend valuable time replicating information and searching for what they need, instead of helping the customer. Weight Watchers solved this problem by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a three-hundred and thirty-one percent return on investment along with a twenty percent reduction in average hold time. "Dynamics allows me to shape my team around constantly adding business value, not keeping the lights on" says Mike Olsson, Director of CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM brings everything you need into a single app, available on any device at any time. This includes the information that representatives need to actually help the customer. It allows you to build a knowledge base that gives everyone access to a consistent source of information. This knowledge base can be updated as employees encounter new questions from customers and find answers by collaborating internally using tools like Skype for Business and Yammer.

3. Let customers take the easiest path. Often, customer use more than one channel when interacting with an organisation – so it's probably no surprise that supporting multi-channel customer service can improve customer satisfaction. Customers expect a seamless transition between using self-service help on the web, through to emailing or calling a live representative. This means it's vital to have a tool, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which recognises a customer – no matter how they are interacting with you – and records information that is immediately available to whoever needs it.

4. Cross-sell and up-sell. Watching for buying patterns and case histories that offer opportunities to promote a new product that will be of genuine interest to a customers is key. The Saudi Investment Bank uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to do just that. "The figures speak for themselves".

5. Look for signs of bad service before they become complaints. Watch for abandoned carts or repeat visits to certain web pages and try to anticipate what's holding customers back from converting. It could be something as simple as a missing piece of information. Email them to ask and jump in where they didn't even realise you could help. Microsoft Social Engagement lets you monitor social media for brand, competitor and product mentions. You can use the results to trigger workflows or simply respond with useful information to solve problems as soon as you see any sign of customer concern.

6. See how you're doing. You can't easily improve what you're not measuring. Measure your customer satisfaction, first call resolution metrics and more. But also take a step back and look for patterns that could reveal deeper problems that trigger customer service interactions in the first place. You can easily feed the data in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM into Power BI and create dashboards and data visualisations that highlight trends and how one area of customer service is impacting another. Make sure you're asking the customer how you're doing. Microsoft tools can help you conduct feedback surveys, which are vital for cutting through the metrics and retaining the human touch that's so important for great customer service.

7. Do better. Customer service is a high-stakes opportunity for any business. Don't let your customers' experience be a negative one. Minimise effort and frustration by using the right tools and maximise opportunities for building relationships and trust with your customers. You'll be amazed in the difference it can make to the bottom line.

We will be hosting a free Microsoft Dynamics CRM event to help you "Put Customers at the Heart of your Business" on Tuesday 7th July 2015. Want to join?  

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