Why? People are now swamped with choice. But in our fast moving world the one thing we’re short of is time. People don’t seem to have time to keep trying new things, so if they trust a brand they’re bound to stick with it as long as they are satisfied.

Therefore the need to build meaningful relationships between brand and customers is our prediction as to where customer service is heading in 2015. Sure, we can comfortably predict that technology will continue to develop to offer more channels and ways of doing business. However this will only succeed where it serves to add real value to the customer experience. Forget gimmicky gadgets, tricks and fads, customers want trust as well as speed in our choice rich yet time poor world.

Customers only remember the Wow! or the Ouch! service experiences. They rarely remember or talk about the OK experiences that they have. Wows create brand advocates. Ouches create brand saboteurs.

So given the choice of which lasting memories create, these have to be the positive Wows rather than the negative Ouches. Long lasting relationships are about love and admiration, trust and warmth.

So how can you develop long lasting relationships with your customers? Here’s our checklist to help give you a head start:

  1. Make sure that you brand has credibility. Train your people with the product and service knowledge they need and make sure these standards are clearly defined and met.
  2. Ensure that your service delivery and product quality is reliable and consistent. Customers do not like inconsistency and unpleasant surprises. Your processes as much as your people need to be customer-centric, designed to your meet customers’ expectations at all times. .
  3. Know and understand your customer as well as you can. What do they like and how do they like it? Make your customers feel special by using technology intelligently and people skills sensitively.
  4. Focus on your customers’ needs as much as your business’ needs. Make sure you maintain a sense of balance between meeting your commercial needs and your customers’ expectations.
  5. Look for opportunities to Wow! your customer. Don’t just wait for things to go wrong to exceed expectations. Yes, recovering an Ouch! experience has to be done but service excellence goes way beyond complaint recovery. Instead, look to spot those small opportunities to give that little unexpected extra – remember train and reward your people to do the same.

We predict relationship building will take on even more significance in 2015. If you need to make a New Year resolution then how about this:

‘Invest in your people to look after your customers and they’ll take care of your business”.

Paul BeesleyPaul Beesley
Senior Consultant
Beyond Theory: business training & coaching

Paul is an expert on employee engagement and customer experience. He has a real passion for helping employers understand the links between highly engaged employees and great customer service. Beyond Theory delivers innovative business training and coaching to improve business performance through high quality people development. You can contact Paul on 01604.212505 or by emailing him at paul@beyondtheory.co.uk

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