The drama of television advertising… A captivating opening image followed by a series of emotive visuals. Strategically emphatic sound delivering rhetorically suave messages, with intonation so on point, it makes the hair on your arms stand up. Immersive, hooking viewers to a notion. Awakening a dormant desire or conjuring up a new one. Consumers subconsciously reaching for their wallets as they absolutely must have this essential device. How could they possibly have lived without it? And how does service excellence relate to this?
It seems, however, that traditional marketing may not be packing quite the punch it used to. People have lost faith in gimmicky and overstated mass marketing campaigns. According to a recent survey conducted by customer service technology platform Gladly, just 8% of customers base their purchase decisions on company-issued advertising.
Fellow consumers set the tone
In today’s global village, with a plethora of offerings at our fingertips, just how do we wade through the anonymity to choose what to buy? Some 55% of consumers rely on reviews on websites and social media – strength in numbers. Others, 36%, rely on advice from family and friends. These are the people who know us best and can vouch for a product or service that is likely to meet our requirements. Then, of course, there are influencers. The people who know (if not dictate) what is on trend. For many, they define the aspirational, speaking to a life we wish we had – and are willing to spend a pretty penny striving for.
Recommendations, then. But what makes a product or service worthy of recommendation (other than a hefty reimbursement in the case of Instagram stars)? What is it that consumers want?
They want to be treated like unique, valued individuals. They want fast answers and seamless transitions. They want convenience, to be able to choose the channel via which they communicate with a company, whether that be talking to an actual human being rather than being fed though an electronic loop of standardised triage questions, sending a quick e-mail, live-chat, SMS or social media. They want consistency. These aspects pertain less to the offerings themselves and more to the forthcoming, proactive and hospitable atmosphere that envelopes them: service excellence.
Service excellence speaks for itself
Service excellence is being greeted by name. Service excellence is receiving a follow-up phone call to ensure you are satisfied with your most recent encounter. Service excellence is your provider knowing what you need before you do. The small details that make a big difference. Selling points in their own right.
A worthwhile pursuit
As another of our article entitled Seven Critical Steps to Make Service Excellence a Reality quite rightly points out, however, companies must make the effort to provide a framework that enables these small details to be mastered.
It is a value system, a service culture that must permeate the entire company, from hiring practices to corporate standards.
With service excellence being an abstract concept and a soft target, you may be reluctant to invest in it, butit pays for itself in many ways. When you lavish attention on customers and orient all business activities towards fulfilling their needs, service excellence has the power to both streamline operations and make a company into a household name. Consistent attention to detail and reliably good service can also act as a shield against market volatility.
And word gets around: the above-mentioned report found that 80% of customers will recommend a company to their family and friends if they are happy with the service, while 40% will post about it on social media.
You could argue you can’t afford not to invest in service excellence: 67% of customers said they would actively dissuade family and friends from making a purchase if they weren’t happy with the service, with 42% saying they would make this known on social media. Given the propensity to share negative reviews over positive ones and 92% of customers saying they would switch provider after three or fewer bad experiences, investing in customer service could be deemed damage limitation.
Is service excellence the new marketing? Relativizing the efficacity of drama-filled advertising and acknowledging that people will turn to other people for guidance in navigating the abundance of options out there, there is merit in acknowledging that the most effective way to secure repeat business is to ensure your business is the best it can be. True service excellence can make your product or service stand out by making for memorable moments. The stuff of daydream-like accounts of wonderful evenings out exchanged between best friends, ending in “you simply must book a table”, or of experiences so good you just can’t help leaving a stellar review.
Value your customers. Make them the centre of your world. Then watch your business blossom.