Friday, 30th September 2011
As someone who works in research and loves information, I especially like finding data that can turn conventional wisdom on its head. Quirk’s Marketing Research Review recently attempted to debunk “10 common myths” related to marketing and customer service. It turns out that some common misconceptions are actually based on empirical evidence, but have just been carried too far. Others, as they point out, are just “plain wrong”. Here are a select few that can be useful to keep in mind for anyone with clients or customers. Read the full article for more in depth discussion.
Myth: The key to success is to exceed customers' expectations, delighting them whenever possible. Fact: Delight customers only when cost is reasonable and payoff is significant. Even just a friendly brief conversation that creates an emotional connection can result in two or three times more customers becoming advocates.
Myth: Answer the phone fast - any time on hold makes people mad. Fact: It is more important what happens after you answer the phone than how fast you answer. Answer in less than a minute and then make sure you handle the call to completion on first contact.
Myth: Everyone wants to talk to a human; web and automated services are always less satisfactory. Fact: Web and automated services are preferred in some cases and by some customer segments. However, it depends on who the customer is and what tasks they are trying to achieve. Learn about your customers' preferred communications method – possibly even for different types of questions. Ask them!
Myth: The customer is always right - never say no. Fact: The customer is not always right and you can say no. You CAN give bad news to customers but only with a reasonable explanation.
Myth: The best way to improve service is to get frontline employees to do what they are told and to have a better attitude. Fact: A majority of customer dissatisfaction is caused by other factors that often prevent employees from providing effective service. Execute a true root-cause analysis of dissatisfaction. In most cases, the process, product or customer is at fault and needs to be fixed.
Myth: Service is nice but price wins customers. Fact: Some customers will always prefer price but most prefer great service and will pay for it. Many customers may say, "You're expensive but you're worth it because I seldom have problems".
Sometimes research is useful to corroborate what you know or what your intuition tells you. Other times it can really turn things on their head and help you stand out from your competition. Don’t be afraid to ask!
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