The 4 Pillars of Customer Service Excellence

By Shauna Geraghty

0 min read

Customer Experience Excellence

Customer service and customer support professionals constantly ask themselves, “How can I deliver the customer service excellence that will keep my customers loyal, happy and engaged?” At Talkdesk, we take CX very seriously and want to explore new ways to deliver excellent customer service.

For this reason, we invited Matt Dixon to help us answer this question during our fourth edition of the Talkdesk Customer Experience Webinar series. As an Executive Director at the Corporate Executive Board leading customer service strategy initiatives, as well as author of The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground of Customer Loyalty, we knew Dixon was the person to ask.

Here are the customer service excellence takeaways from this fascinating webinar:

If you want to make an impact on your customer’s future loyalty, the great debate begins with delight vs. effort. Though you may intuitively expect loyalty to increase as you move from meeting your customers’ expectations to exceeding them, the reality begs to differ. Dixon’s research demonstrated that when brands go out of their way for customers, loyalty increases very little, if at all.

The problem with customer delight is that it’s a very ambiguous concept. What is one’s person’s delight is another person’s “meets expectations.” Further, according to customers, delight doesn’t happen very often. In fact, it happens only 16% of the time. The rest of the time, customers report having their expectations met or feeling underwhelmed.

Why then invest resources, time and energy on trying to wow your customers when it isn’t having that much of an impact? Dixon favors offering customers an effortless experience.

According to Dixon’s research, providing customers a low-effort customer service experience has a much greater ROI. It is estimated that 94% of customers with a low effort experience reported that they’d likely to do business with that business again. This is striking compared to the 4% of customers with a high effort experience. When it came to negative word of mouth, the opposite trend occurred: 1% customers with a low effort experience reported they would say something negative about the company in question compared to 81% of customers with a high effort experience.

It’s clear that striving for customer service excellence is very important, yet going over the top to wow them has little added value for them or your company. Focusing your energy on offering the low effort and painless experience your customers appreciate appears to be the best route.

Here are the four pillars of low-effort service Dixon shared in the webinar:

1. Channel Stickiness

Are your customers able to get everything they need from a single support channel? It’s important to gage how sticky your channels are in the sense that your customer can easily resolve their issue on a single channel as opposed to switching around.

One big hurdle brands are facing is an overly busy and complex self-service support site or FAQ page that does more to confuse the customer than help them solve their issue themselves. According to Dixon, customers would prefer to have greater guidance on which channels to use for solving different problems, this allows for a superior UX.

2. Next Issue Avoidance

A high first contact resolution rate is a great indicator of a healthy contact center. What will really get a customer support team closer to 100% are ones that can begin to foresee issues before they happen. Many callbacks happen because of failure to resolve the customer’s issue the first time around, but Dixon’s research revealed that many more callbacks actually occur due to problems within the ecosystem of the customer’s issue.

The value is in not only resolving the issue at hand, but preparing other issues or questions the same customer may have in the near future. Progressive companies are not just thinking about first call resolution, but next issue avoidance.

3. Experience Engineering

This pillar has little to do with the issue or steps it took to solve the problem, but how the customer perceived the experience. When you get down to it, soft skills training is vastly more important for customer support agents. Many companies are starting to provide their customer facing teams with interpersonal training and language skills rooted in behavioral economics and human psychology. Using the appropriate vocabulary can drastically help agents manage the customer’s emotions around any given situation.

4. Frontline Control

In order to get control of the customer experience, companies must give control to their customer representatives. According to Dixon, creating scripts and quality assurance measures have their value, but still, real world situations are much more unique, spontaneous and nuanced than any script could foresee. It’s not about hiring representatives that are good followers, but good decision makers.

Customer service excellence is a high priority at Talkdesk. Not only to we pride ourselves on developing the best call center software that offers a seamless UX, but our customer success and customer support teams are constantly evaluating new ways to offer our customers an effortless experience.

Click the button below to listen to the full recording of the webinar.

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Shauna Geraghty

As the first U.S. employee, Shauna helped to scale Talkdesk to over 1,000 employees in 7 offices globally. During her tenure, she has built Talkdesk's Marketing, Talent and HR functions from the ground up. Shauna has a doctorate in clinical psychology and has applied foundational knowledge from the field of psychology to help propel Talkdesk along its hyper-growth trajectory.