Old School Customer Service Is the Secret Sauce

What’s Your “Secret Sauce”?

A note from our President, Chantal:

Recently someone asked me the secret to ReminderCall.com’s success, and I had to pause and think. Like every SAAS businesses, we have plenty of competition. In fact, every year, we see new competitors launch, yet we’ve endured. We’ve not thrived, we’ve been able to keep loyal customers for over a decade. In a society with the attention span of a gnat, this is no small feat—it’s huge! So what makes us so special? Well, aside from providing great service, I’d have to say our secret sauce is: we’ve kept things old school. WAIT! I hear you yawning, but hear me out.

How many times have you tried to get help with your online software only to realize that you can’t? There is no phone number to call. The “live chat” on the sidebar of the homepage gives an away message. You send an email, but you realize your question will probably have to wait until tomorrow. So will your project. Great. Where are the smiling “associates” from the company web site? Weren’t they supposed to help you? More importantly, how annoyed are you at that point? Do you feel like recommending this company to a friend?

In my opinion, real customer service has become a dinosaur. The 90’s brought us underpaid, undertrained, offshore customer service representatives. Then the 00’s, in the name of self-service, gave us no customer service at all. And although technology is great, when customers are stuck, they crave human help.

The Case for Old School Customer Service

According to the 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer, customer support can make or break a deal. Poor customer service is the root-cause of 78% of canceled transactions. Customer loyalty is at stake too. Three out of five customers stated they would move over to another brand for a better service experience. Two-thirds of customers report having hung up the phone because they couldn’t speak with a real person–let that sink in. Most customers (90% in the U.S.) want to resolve their issues by speaking to a real person, either on the phone or face to face. This suggests that even younger customers who prefer texting want companies to answer the phone.

According to a Genesys Global Survey, the two top things that make a customer happy are competent service representatives and personalized support. A report by the company Oracle, shows that 9 in 10 consumers are willing to pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. The numbers don’t lie, customer service matters.

But it’s not easy. It requires a shift in attitude. A desire to speak to the person. It emphasizes building relationships. It involves letting people know that you DO want them to succeed… and that’s powerful stuff. In fact, I think it can sometimes help propel a business to the next level.

How to Do Old School Customer Service

1. Start Caring

Whether you call it “customer support” or “customer success,” if you don’t really care, the customer will see right through it. Especially if you only reach out to them when they don’t pay their bill on time. Caring cannot be faked.

So let your competitors get rid of their support staff. Let them create more self-service FAQs and wizards, and do the opposite. Decide that you want to talk to your customers.

In this day of dodging the customer, it may seem odd to try to have a conversation. But, it’s a shift that can pay off. Just one friendly conversation can lead to loyalty, referrals, and evangelism for your brand. Plus, once you start caring, your staff will too.

2. Show Off Your Phone Number

Be different. Don’t offer just an email address or a contact form. Don’t make customers scroll all the way to the bottom of the web page to see your “live” chat window with nobody in it. When you do that, the message to the customer is: “sorry, we don’t really want to talk to you.” It’s just not a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Instead, show off your customer support number all over. Show it off, big and beautiful, on your website, your digital marketing, and your printed collateral. And once you’ve promoted your number, for Pete’s sake, answer the phone. Get enough staff to support your customers.

3. Ditch the Complicated Phone Menu

Trying to navigate a complicated phone menu system can be infuriating, especially if you need a quick fix. After pressing numerous buttons, you need to enter your name or your account number, and your phone number, perhaps the last for digits of your social security number. And when you do finally talk to a human being, they ask you for the same numbers all over again. Why put customers through this? Or how about the 8-step phone tree that hangs up on you if you make the wrong selection?

Instead, create a simplified phone menu meant to get your customers speaking to the right person as soon as possible. If they must leave a message, try to get your team to respond on the same day. Get a ticketing system and keep up with it. If you can’t man your live chat feature, get rid of it. Respect your customers’ time so they can respect you.

4. Pick Caring Employees

More than two-thirds of customers base their buying experiences on how they feel they are treated. That’s a lot of people. So it’s important to ensure that customers feel cared for during the entire process. The best way to do that is to hire agents who genuinely like people. Personal interaction, knowledgeable answers, a friendly tone–all these things make a customer feel valued and remain loyal. Hire a good team and monitor them.

Make sure that your team feels good about your company. Remember to communicate to them why your company is better than the competition. Emphasize what your product has that others don’t, such as fair pricing. Share what makes you proud so that your employees can feel proud too. This will come through in their conversations with customers.

5. Support Your Support Team

The only way to provide great customer support is to have a happy customer support staff. Train them well, treat them well and support them. It will leave a long-lasting impression on them as well as on the customers.

Do your best to make sure you don’t leave your support team hanging when they have a problem they can’t solve. It’s terrible to be in the front lines and not have any backup. Make your customer service team one of your top priorities and give them all the tools necessary to help the customer.

Going Old to Bring in the New

Here at Reminder Services, Inc., we couldn’t be prouder of our support team. I believe excellent support is what makes our business stand out from the rest. Communicating with caring, confidence, expertise, and a smile is not always easy. But there’s no substitute for the human touch. When you make it a point to talk to your customers, not only do you receive invaluable feedback, you get the one thing money can’t buy: loyalty.

Think I’m making this stuff up? Check out our reviews on Capterra and see just how important good customer service can be.