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Raising The Bar – 7 Strategies To Reverse The Decline In Customer Service

Written by: Daria Chernysheva, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Daria Chernysheva

Did you experience bad customer service recently? How bad was it? Were you taken seriously as a customer? So, I guess, the customer service wasn’t that great, was it? 


White and black service signage

But… Customer service is the backbone of any successful business because it shapes customers' perceptions, their loyalty, and their willingness to recommend the brand to others. Yet, in recent years, there has been a noticeable decline in the quality of service that consumers receive. Long hold times, scripted responses and disinterested representatives have become the norm, leaving customers frustrated and disenchanted. 


The main reasons for decline in the quality of customer service are


  1. Increased emphasis on cost-cutting measures: In recent years, many businesses have focused on reducing expenses, leading to a decline in customer service. Cutbacks in staff, reduced training budgets, and outsourcing customer service to low-cost providers can result in lower quality service and diminished customer satisfaction.

  2. Over-reliance on automation and self-service: While automation and self-service options have their benefits, relying too heavily on these technologies can lead to impersonal and frustrating customer experiences. Customers may feel frustrated with long wait times or struggle to find the specific help they need, resulting in a decline in overall service quality.

  3. Lack of emphasis on employee engagement and empowerment: Companies that do not prioritize employee engagement and empowerment often face challenges in delivering excellent customer service. Disengaged employees may lack motivation to go above and beyond for customers, leading to scripted responses, lack of initiative, and inadequate problem-solving skills. Without a supportive culture and opportunities for growth, employees may become disillusioned and deliver subpar service.

However, all hope is not lost for the companies if they are willing to invest time and money in improving their customer service. Let’s explore strategies to reverse this decline in customer service and raise the bar for businesses.

  1. Empower and Train Customer Service Representatives One crucial aspect of improving customer service is empowering and training the frontline representatives. Investing in comprehensive training programs that focus on communication skills, problem-solving and empathy can elevate the customer service experience. Employees should be encouraged to go above and beyond to help customers, without being limited to rigid scripts or procedures.

  2. Prioritize Personalization and Human Connection Despite automation and self-services, and especially after Covid, customers crave personalization and human connection. Businesses should strive to provide personalized experience at every touchpoint, from greeting customers by their names to addressing their specific needs. Employing technologies like customer relationship management (CRM) systems can help gather relevant customer information and enhance personalization.  But at the same time…

  3. Utilize Technology to Enhance Service Embracing new technologies can transform customer service experiences. Utilize AI-powered chatbots to handle basic inquiries, freeing up human representatives to focus on more complex customer issues. Moreover, self-service options like interactive knowledge bases or comprehensive FAQ sections can empower customers to find quick solutions independently.

  4. Actively Listen to Customer Feedback Listening to customer feedback is a valuable asset in understanding their needs and pain points. Implementing efficient feedback systems, such as customer satisfaction surveys, allows businesses to gauge customer satisfaction levels objectively. By actively listening and incorporating customer feedback into their processes, companies can identify areas that need improvement and make necessary changes.

  5. Streamline and Simplify Processes Complicated and time-consuming processes contribute to poor customer service experiences. Businesses should aim to streamline their processes, making them easy and efficient for both customers and employees. This can involve simplifying return or refund procedures, reducing response times for inquiries, and eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.

  6. Foster a Customer-Centric Culture Creating a customer-centric culture starts from within. By aligning the values and goals of the organization with the objective of providing exceptional customer service, businesses can foster a culture where everyone understands the importance of exceeding customer expectations. This can be achieved by recognizing and rewarding employees who consistently deliver excellent customer service.

  7. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Setting clear KPIs related to customer service allows businesses to measure their performance accurately. Metrics such as average response time, customer satisfaction rate, and customer retention rate provide insights into the effectiveness of service efforts. Establishing benchmarks and goals helps drive continuous improvement in customer service. 

Now, let’s have a look at a company which has an excellent customer service:

Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, is often cited as a prime example of a company that successfully enhanced customer loyalty through exceptional customer service. Founded in 1999, Zappos quickly stood out for its commitment to delivering the best customer experience possible.


One way Zappos has set itself apart is through their legendary customer service call center. They employ a team of "customer loyalty team members" who are trained not only to assist customers with their purchases but also to go above and beyond in solving any issues or concerns.


Zappos focuses on creating a positive emotional connection with their customers. Their representatives are encouraged to engage customers in friendly conversations, build rapport, and listen attentively to their needs. They are known for extending their support beyond the boundaries of a typical service call, often helping customers with unrelated or personal matters.


The company offers free shipping, a generous 365-day return policy, and a hassle-free return process. They understand that the customer journey doesn't end after the purchase, and they strive to make every interaction positive and memorable.


Also, Zappos made a serious investment in creating a customer-centric culture. They place a strong emphasis on company values, ensuring that every employee, from the CEO to the warehouse staff, understands the importance of exceptional customer service. They have implemented a unique hiring process, where cultural fit is given priority over skill set, to ensure all team members are aligned with the company's customer service philosophy.


These efforts have paid off significantly for Zappos. The company has gained a loyal customer base that raves about their outstanding customer service. They have become known as a brand that genuinely cares about its customers and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.


In today’s world the decline in customer service may have reached alarming levels, but businesses have the power to reverse this trend. By implementing the smart and practical strategies, organizations can raise the bar and provide exceptional customer service experiences. Please remember, improving customer service is not just about satisfying customers – it's about building loyalty, boosting brand reputation, and ultimately driving business success.


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Daria Chernysheva Brainz Magazine
 

Daria Chernysheva, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Daria Chernysheva was born in Odessa, Ukraine and moved with her family to Hamburg, Germany when she was 9 years old. After her graduation, Daria became an expert in Online Marketing, Digital Transformation and Business Management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Economy and Business Psychology from Leuphana University Lüneburg and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Business and Brand Management from London School of Business and Finance (LSBF). Over the course of 15 years of working experience, she worked for different large international IT and Consulting companies in diverse countries, such as Italy and Ireland. Daria knows several European languages.

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