By Michelle Gelfand
Imagine this scenario:
You’re shopping for a camera and ask a passing store employee to answer a few questions. He responds, “This isn’t my department,” and continues on.
At another store, you find the same camera and speak with a knowledgeable customer service agent who answers your questions thoroughly and clearly. When one of your questions stumps her, she takes time to research and find an answer.
Which store are you likely to buy your camera from? Where will you return for future purchases? Which store will you recommend to friends and family? There’s no question about it—customer service influences consumer behavior.
At DriveSavers, we have customer service nearly perfected. A recentthird-party survey of our customers revealed an overall satisfaction rating of 94 percent and a loyalty rating of 95 percent.
How do we do it? First, we don’t have an automated phone system. Every call is answered by a live person. While our overhead is greater than that of a company that uses an automated phone system, the high customer conversion rate that results from personal attention more than makes up the difference.
But answering the phone in person isn’t the whole picture. To provide exceptional customer service, there are four absolute essentials that a company of any size, selling any product or service, should instill in every employee.
1. Knowledge of the Product/Service
Nobody can successfully sell a product they know little about, much less answer questions or provide advice. That’s where training comes in.
At DriveSavers, every new employee goes through a 360-degree training program called “The Life of the Drive.” For two to four weeks, a new employee spends time with every department, from Shipping to Cleanroom Engineering to Customer Service and everything in between. Employees learn exactly what happens with a job from start to finish. In addition, customer service team members receive training on new technology every quarter to ensure they can address customer questions.
As a result, every member of the DriveSavers team is able to perform their job in the most knowledgeable and efficient way, and customers who call in always get to speak with someone who is educated and can give informed answers.
Every employee at DriveSavers is able to speak to a customer as though they’ve been involved with the customer’s job from the beginning. As a result, customers know they are receiving individualized attention.
How do we accomplish this? Exceptional internal communication.
Every interaction with a customer, every development with a drive in engineering is recorded into a database that DriveSavers employees can access. It’s not enough to have the capability to record this information; employees must actually use the system and be diligent about entering details clearly. Through this database, employees can communicate knowledgably with each other and with any customer who calls or comes into the facility.
You can drill the importance of customer service into your employees, but if they don’t care about the company or the customer, or if they feel their job has no purpose, all the talk and training in the world isn’t going to matter. What will make your employees care as much about customer service as you do? Making them care as much about the company as you do.
At DriveSavers, there are baskets of organic fruit and an onsite gym. Medical, dental and vision benefits are available to every new employee on their very first day with no waiting period. These incentives and others help ensure that every employee feels appreciated. In return, DriveSavers employees are grateful and dedicated to making the company successful. When you care for your employees, they will care about your company’s success and profitability.
Employees also gain a sense of purpose by knowing how DriveSavers makes a difference in customers’ lives. By recovering data from failed hard drives and other storage devices, we have saved customer’s jobs and even entire businesses, as well as precious personal data like family photos and digital keepsakes. Personal “thank you” notes from grateful customers are shared throughout the company, inspiring a sense of purpose in every employee.
Empathy is an integral ingredient of outstanding customer service. One of DriveSavers’ managers has a favorite saying: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
In our experience, trust is one of the most important factors in business. It ensures customer commitment, loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. Remember that people will only choose to work with a company they trust.
DriveSavers employees are trained to be great listeners and solution-oriented problem solvers. In this way, every customer can be satisfied that their questions and concerns are taken seriously and effectively addressed.
Every Customer Counts
Customer service experiences inspire trust, gratitude and loyalty toward a business. Through word-of-mouth, every customer has the potential to bring you more business. Try to create a “customer service culture” of knowledge, communication, purpose and empathy in your business. With exceptional customer service, your profits will increase. Customer service matters, and you’ll know when your company gets it right.
Michelle Gelfand is a Marketing Communications Specialist at DriveSavers Data Recovery.