According to a 2016 Forrester research study, nearly 95% of companies surveyed said they viewed exceeding customer expectations as a strategic goal for their organization. 75% companies also said they saw customer service excellence as a key differentiator from their competitors. In an age where your customers are used to instant gratification, you cannot undermine the importance of ‘positive consumer experience’ for the viability of your business.
But, if so many organizations say they want to deliver the “best consumer experience,” why do we hear so many complaints? Why isn’t every company Amazon or Zappos? Something is getting lost in translation.
So, how do you exceed your service delivery expectations?
According to well-known marketer and best-selling author, Roy Hollister Williams, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it? For acquiring service delivery excellence, understanding what your customers want must be crucial. It isn’t just jargon companies use during PR. Customer service is about managing your customer expectations. Today, your customers' expectations have been shaped by their other everyday experiences. They can hail a cab from the couch, instantly, they can order food from their bed, instantly, they can shop for clothes on the road, instantly, they can pay bills from anywhere, instantly. Consumers in 2017 are more demanding than ever. Enterprise software, curiously, finds itself trying to meet or exceed these customer expectations, too.
But, there are a few myths you need to be aware of in the IT service delivery domain if you want to remain competitive and truly exceed expectations. Here are a few of them.
Myth 1) Customers Value Speed Over Quality
Remember how we spoke of customers expecting instant gratification? Yes, they expect fast service, but do they expect fast(er) service at the cost of quality? NO.
A customer service study by RightNow found that the number one reason customers abandon a service was due to "bad quality and inefficient customer service," which was 18% more than customers complaining about "slow service speed." To put it into context with an example, when you visit a high-end restaurant, most people are prepared to wait 30-40 minutes for a meal, but when you visit a McDonald's, you expect instant service even though you’re paying considerably less at the latter.
That is a great lesson in managing expectations and valuing quality over speed. Both have their own individual markets and niches and you need to know what your market is, which brings us to the next point.
Myth 2) Personalization in Customer Service Doesn't Matter
In their hunt for speed, most organizations treat customer service as a "get in and get out" type of deal. But, that is a lost opportunity in bettering your services. Being in constant, crisp, and honest communication with your client is a big part of being agile and is a major point in achieving your customer success goals.
Mostly, you will tend to get calls from your clients when your service delivery is going either really well or very poorly; you will never receive it for mediocrity. It is rare that a hotel gets a review for just readying the room for the guests. That is what they expect. The hotel gets complaints if the service staff was rude or gets compliments if they offered a personalized experience.
When you get the call from your customer, even if it is for a complaint, take the time to know them and understand their issue. This way, you can rectify the situation so you don't have to face it again. Research shows that customers are willing to pay a premium on services if the level of service is exceeding expectations. They want a "thorough and personalized service" over any service that feels "rushed and hurried."
Myth 3) Money is the Ultimate Decider
Money can be a deciding factor in a customer's purchase decision, yet it isn't the only thing that matters. Money is a fact of life, and do consumers want discounts? Yes, they do.
But, have you ever wondered why advertisements for beer or alcoholic beverages don’t show how much you can save on every carton? Instead, they focus on the good times you can have with it.
A study by prominent psychologist Kathleen Vohs on "priming" through money found that the mere mention of monetary benefits can have extreme results in consumer behavior. When you "prime" your clients to choose you simply based on how cheap your services are, you are setting yourself up for failure. In IT, as markets change dynamically, there needs to be room for change.
Overly inexpensive services often come at the cost of quality. Or, that is what the perception most consumers have. You will have to tread a thin line between being cost-effective and knowing that hiring world-class global talent and maintaining best-in-class enterprise software comes at a certain price. Having the lowest price, cannot be your USP for consumer experience, there needs to be more.
So, those were our top-3 myths prevalent in IT service delivery today, and what their realities are. We hope to have shed some light through this article on what truly exceeding customer expectations is. How do we know all of this?
We at ProV take pride in practicing what we preach. Our superior dedication to our clients have landed us numerous awards including the Stevie Award for Sales & Customer Service. Our motto at ProV has always been to be “big enough to know, and small enough to care,” irrespective of our size and revenue. Our relationships are deep, because we never want to lose our personal touch with our clients. We build relationships over lunch, dinner, or coffee, with more than just “money-talk,” and we’re always up for a hug at the end of every “business meeting.” To learn about how problems in service delivery can hurt your business, download our FREE guide below. To learn more about how we provide the total consumer experience with near flawless service delivery, drop a comment below or contact us today.