How To Make 2014 The Year Of The Customer

star-trek-new-yearThe calendar slides to the first day of the new year. 2014 is upon us, and many wonder what is in store for the world of customer service. We’ve hit a pivotal transition point in the way businesses interact with customers. The walls between companies and customers are falling, and 2014 is going to be the year of the customer.

As social media starts to mature, and customer experience begins to replace customer service, what you find yourself with is companies forming relationships with customers instead of business agreements. Contractual obligations are being replaced with free-flowing exchanges.

Services at Phone.com are a come-and-go-as-you-please experience. No contracts, no obligations. As such, the importance of pleasing and interacting with customers is now at its most crucial point of existence. If a customer can leave any time they want, what are you doing to keep them around? There are several key factors to keep in mind to make this the year of the customer for your business.

  • Understand that your customers are your greatest advertisers. No matter how much money you throw down the marketing hole, the year of the customer will be defined by what your customers say about your products, not your marketing department. Grasp and leverage the importance of reviews and the dynamic nature of social media. Listen more and talk less.
  • People want experiences, not features. People want products that are simple, fun, and easy to use. If your product or service still needs a 100 page manual just to learn all the ins and outs, it might be time to simplify and streamline. People want to feel good when they use a product. Most of the time this comes in the form of simple designs that are easy to use right out of the box.
  • Leverage your customer service team. This year, make it a goal to leverage the strengths of your customer service team. Understand who makes the best impression on various channels of your customer experience. Some shine on the phone, while others shine through the written word. With every interaction being a form of relationship building, discover how your individual team members build relationships best.
  • Communication with customers begins with communication internally. Many companies find themselves compartmentalized. Marketing does their stuff, developers do theirs. In between, the front-line employees usually have no idea on what is going on behind the scenes. Keep your employees informed, it makes them feel more motivated when they know the bigger picture. Communication must be built from the inside out.

Many people make their everyday purchasing decisions based largely on an emotional experience and reaction to the service they receive. So, what are you doing to create lasting, emotional connections with your customers this year?

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