Customer Care: Producing Tangible Benefits for Intangible Services

'Shopping trauma!' photo (c) 2006, Les Chatfield - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Think about your favorite product. What immediately springs to mind?

For clothing, maybe it’s the color, shape or way it fits.

For soap or lotion, maybe it’s the smell or the way it feels on your skin.

For food or drink, maybe it’s the taste, smell or texture.

For other things, maybe it’s attractive packaging, or a brand name that you’ve come to love and trust.

Now think about some of the important services you or your business may need. Insurance. Your phone or Internet provider. Health care. Digital music downloads. What immediately springs to mind now?

For many services, there is nothing to be actually seen, smelled, touched, heard or tasted. That makes it harder to come up with a clear image in your mind about that particular thing. If you’re in a company selling those services, this should make you stop and think. Without any tangible characteristics to appeal to the physical senses, it is much more difficult for your customers to differentiate between you and your competitors. So people turn instead to things like price, reliability and performance, and start balancing those factors against each other. [Read more...]

People don’t want your customer service. (video)

'Sad Cookie' photo (c) 2011, Spectacles - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/In business, we’re all generally pretty smart. Actually, very smart. We’ve done the market research and planning, carefully planned our store layouts and finely tuned our Websites. We all know our customers, their buying habits, their likes and dislikes, and even what they like about us and our competitors. We all know how to win customers and keep them for life.

We just have trouble convincing our customers of that.

Despite all our research and planning, sometimes there comes a day when we all realize that we’re just not as smart as we thought we were. We’ve spun an irresistible array of magical offers, but our customers still aren’t impressed or even hanging around to see what else we’ve got. At such times, it’s important for us to be humble and admit that maybe we’re the ones who need to be educated, rather than our customers. It’s not the time to tell them about all our offers or features or benefits. It’s not even the time to unveil more discounts or throw in a second item for half price. Hey, it’s not even the time to add the Ginsu steak knives.

It’s time to listen and learn and really care for those customers.

[Read more...]

In the insurance industry, customer service is everything!

trust fallTrust is a funny thing. It can take an extremely long time — months or even years — to build up, but can be destroyed in the blink of an eye with one bad experience.

Think about a cat. You can give it treats every day, building up its trust in you and creating loyalty, but if you spray it with the garden hose just once, chances are that cat will never trust you again for as long as you live.

Building trust is especially important in the insurance industry. When someone decides to purchase insurance, whether for their home, vehicle or life, they are putting their trust in their insurance provider to take care of them if something goes wrong.

Everybody wants to feel like they will be protected in times of trouble. A big part of that is finding an insurance company that will listen, understand, and always be there to offer the highest level of support, no matter what. In other words, finding a company that you can trust.

Just consider the frustrations that many customers face. If you phone your insurance provider and your call doesn’t get answered right away, or you can’t understand what the customer service agent is saying, or worst of all, the person on the other end of the line is unhelpful and doesn’t seem to care about your issue at all, how would that make you feel?

[Read more...]

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