For a long time, I’ve taken the viewpoint that customer service is one of the best forms of marketing any business can invest in. But for many of my colleagues, understanding the right way to improve service or how to improve service in an impactful way is difficult.
At Booking Protect, we have undertaken a multi-year project to redefine service using technology and in the world of bookings.
These ideas that we have uncovered can apply to any service business.
You need a service vision: Our customers will always say they want better service and they deserve it. But one of the big challenges a lot of us face is not understanding exactly how to define better service.
We had that same challenge early on with Booking Protect. We thought just offering peace of mind would be enough to win us fans.
What we found is that peace of mind and keeping our promises wasn’t nearly enough.
We also needed to understand what success looked like from our customers’ point of view.
For many of our customers, this meant that the process was streamlined, fast, and personal.
These ideas are at the foundation of how we have reshaped our service offering to our partners and our customers.
Why did we do this?
Because we reshaped our vision of great service to reflect what would have the highest impact on our customers.
For your business, this might mean understanding the concerns of your customers or the things that cause them great frustration. Take the example of our partner, Mervis Theatres, they recognized that the era of super shows was causing them trouble with their customers because they weren’t able to accommodate their customers if they needed to swift tickets or couldn’t make it.
This meant that offering some sort of peace of mind became much more important as tickets went on sale earlier, cost more, and difficulties in resolving issues increased.
Due to this, working with Booking Protect allowed them to alleviate some of those challenges and risks for their customers in a simple, cost-effective manner.
You must have a sense of empathy: During the winter, the UK faced some of the worst winter storms that we have seen in many years.
This caused massive challenges in travel, holidays, and work.
Needless to say, it was stressful for everyone.
In many cases, during times of high stress, it can become logical to just follow the normal procedures and the normal course of business in dealing with customers.
We took a much different tact.
During the “Beast from the East” we proactively loosened many of our policies and requirements for filing claims, enabling people to make claims proactively, and relieving some of the stress and strain that the storms were causing people. The impact of this played out heavily on our Trustpilot page where we received many 5 star ratings that remarked out the ease of working with us and how much of a relief it was to not have to jump through hoops during such a rare winter storm.
Compare this to the example recently set by Ticketplan when they asked for a death certificate and a doctor’s note from a woman with Asperger’s who suffers from extreme anxiety to refund three tickets that barely totaled the cost of the doctor’s note and the death certificate and you can see the difference in quality of service and empathy can have on an experience.
Your business can easily inject more empathy into the process by consciously making a point of asking themselves, “How would I feel if this were happening to me?” when situations or special events happen.
Maybe more importantly, you can improve your service by simply empowering your team to take actions within certain boundaries that make things right with a customer.
You have to invest in service: Customer service isn’t just something that you wish and have it come true. Customer service needs real investment from everyone in the organization.
We recognized that to deliver customer service that exceeds anyone else’s in the industry, we were going to have to invest in it through giving our people the right time, tools, and support to ensure that they could deliver world-class service to our global clients.
At each step, we followed our vision for exceptional service up with a commitment.
From a support standpoint, our entire team has bought into our vision of customer service as the key differentiator for our business. This means that everyone acts in a manner that reflects customer first…that starts with me. And, when the leader of the team is committed to the effort, it is very easy for everyone else to model that behavior.
We also made a substantial commitment in the tools that our team needs and uses. The headliner is our proprietary technology solution which enables our team to handle each claim in a personal manner, but we have also invested in training and other tools to ensure that service is what we are known for.
Finally, this combination of leadership and tools combines to ensure that we are timely in the delivery of claims service to our customers. Our 48-hour claim completion policy has enabled us to propel our service to a world-class level and one that our partners consistently point to as being a significant advantage in working with us.
For your business, the thing to recognize is that great customer service is a commitment. In today’s world with budgets tightening, it might even seem like a good place to start cutting, but with social media just a fingertip away…not investing in customer service can be one of the most costly mistakes any of us make.
More importantly, to begin to commit the resources to customer service that you know can make the difference for your business, you have to have a vision for what service looks like, be willing to consider and act with “customer first” as a guiding principle, and, maybe, most important, make the investments in your teams, technologies, and partners that will help turn the idea of service into action.
Are you looking to add a higher level of customer service to your business? Email me to chat or to get my ebook on delivering outstanding customer service.