DISRUPTING YOUR COMPETITION WITH BETTER SERVICE
A few years back we were in a room full of managers from a banking client we were helping with customer service issues.
The topic was touch points: those moments when a customer has experience with your brand, either direct or indirect.
Touch points can be many things:
- Your website
- A phone call
- A mention in a news story
- An advertisement
- Or a referral from a friend
- A text message or Snap Chat
The question on the table was how many touch points were in a customer’s journey to get a loan from their bank.
Some guessed 15 or 20, and an enterprising younger manager guessed 30.
The number was 61!
After much discussion, we were able to identify 12 touch points out of the 61—20%–the managers believed needed improvement.
Customer Feedback Gave Us Completely Different Feedback
They liked the company but found it hard to do business with.
And, there were way more than 12 touch points that needed attention!
That story occurred in 2011.
Today, they probably have 20% – 30% more touch points. For example, a chat capability wasn’t even on the development list at that time.
How Disruption in Customer Service Can Be a Powerful Tool for an Insurance Agency
With customers having so many ways to learn about and communicate with your agency, it’s impossible to control every touch point. But, there are things you can do that will give you an edge of your competition.
One of our favorite gurus on customer service is Shep Hyken.
Beyond being a great speaker on the subject, Shep grinds out a weekly blog that always has nuggets of insight. Recently he took a stab at how smaller businesses can be disruptive and improve customer service.
Shep said something that really got our attention:
“You don’t have to be a big company to disrupt. You can be a tiny company. Disruption is not about disrupting an industry. It’s about disrupting your competition. Doing something that is so noticeable that it pulls customers to you.”
Five ways Shep believes you can compete – and disrupt – your competition:
- “Stop comparing yourself to your competitors – This is a big one. Start comparing yourself to the best customer service companies you do business with. Today’s customers know what great customer service looks like. The companies and individuals who deliver amazing service set the benchmark for everyone.
- “Be amazing on social media – Social media is meant to be social. And, when it comes to customer service, it’s not just about responding to complaints. It’s an extension of your marketing and allows you to connect with your “community. It’s an extension of your marketing. Be appropriately bold and visible.
- “Respond quickly to every customer inquiry or comment – A quick response time can make a customer say, “Wow!” It shows you care, that you’re paying attention and that you want to do business. A quick response time creates confidence, which is one of the keys to creating customer loyalty.
- “Embrace technology – There are some awesome technologies out there that allow you to better connect with your customers and provide them a better customer experience. Something as simple as a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program can help you keep track of your customers, what they have bought in the past and any issues they have had. Chatbots, when used properly can give your customers quick answers to their most common questions. There are many new technologies coming down the pike, but keep in mind the technology needs to make your customers’ lives better – not just yours.
- “Be Convenient – We’ll wrap up this list with a powerful concept that may be the biggest disruption strategy today. The concept of convenience is the new wave of customer service. There are many ways to be convenient for your customer. Call your customer. Don’t make them call you. Go to your customer. Don’t make them come to you. Have business hours that are focused on your customers’ schedules, not just yours. Make doing business with you easy. All things being equal, the company that is more convenient to do business with, wins.”
As is the case most of the time, the most powerful business tools are the ones that make the most common sense.