Better Customer Success by Removing the Options

Better Customer Success by Removing the Options

Use this information to learn how to have better customer success by removing the options.

Remove the opportunity for employees to make difficult decisions. People are tired of asking questions for help and not getting immediate answers.

Apple

One company that does a great job of this is Apple. When you go into a store to purchase an iPhone or Macbook, there's never any hesitation or doubt with the salesperson regarding pricing or what they can offer. It's cut and dry. If something is on offer, the discount shown is the discount given. If a product isn't able to be serviced at the location, you're provided with the information as to where it can be serviced. Apple is an excellent example because they've removed the options.

By eliminating the options, they remove having employees make complicated decisions.

A quick (yes/no) or please select from (this/that) is all it takes from the employee.

When companies give customers too many options, it makes customer service a mess. Most customer service issues can be solved if companies work backward and review the most asked questions to employees about the products and services they sell.

The idea is to simplify everything.

For example, a credit card company doesn't have a hardline approach to late payments, and people are constantly calling in needing to speak with someone live to ask to have them credited. This takes people-power and clogs up customer-facing (higher paid) resources. It'd be more effective for the company to clearly state their late payment policy on their website and create an automated portal to ask a few questions to either qualify or disqualify the customer without having to call.

Reference example below:

We have no issue with crediting your late payment fee as long as the following statement is true:

- I haven't had a late payment credit issued in the past 24-months. If you're unsure, click here to check now.

Creating this type of scenario where a customer needs to click a checkbox to verify and understand creates ownership for them. If they're late, they're most likely late all the time, so there's no need to keep having them call every month looking to get their fees credited. By clicking the checkbox, it will save you time, and it will clearly have them remember that they only get (1) late payment credit every 24-month period. From that point, it's on the customer. The fact is, they're probably going to continue to be late, and the company will continue to collect the money without the customer getting upset every month. Think of it like ripping the bandaid off quickly rather than taking it off slowly, causing extended pain.

Great companies lay down hardline policies to alleviate confusion, and although customers may not favor it in the short term, they always understand and respect it in the end.

A maybe is never good in business. Every business interaction needs to be firm and leave the customer with no doubt.

Amazon Prime

Another excellent example is Amazon with its Prime service. You buy it, and it ships the next day. They only sell what they have available in their warehouses, so they control availability and deliverability through the proper implementation of technology. This is reverse engineering at its best. Most companies don't have a product on hand; they allow people to order it and then scurry around based on rough estimates of inbound delivery times from their vendors and suppliers while continually staying in touch with their customers with updated ETAs. Doing business in this fashion puts sales reps, customer service, and management, at high risk of upsetting the customer due to providing unknown or unreliable information. The idea is to control the outcome by controlling the situation from the very start.

CarMax

CarMax is an example of a company that does an excellent job of removing employees and customers from having to make difficult decisions. The local CarMax location has the cars they have, if you like one, the price is listed on the window, and you can buy it then and there. If you don't want one available at the local lot, you can go to another location, browse around, and you'll be presented with the same experience. The price is on the window, limited interaction is needed, which keeps overhead down, and profits are typically the slightest bit higher.

Haggling is not fun for anyone, and in most instances, everyone involved leaves with a bad taste in their mouth.

The customer feels like they may have been able to squeeze out more, while the sales rep feels like they wasted their time because they made no commission. It's a lose-lose. What a business wants to create is a win-win instead.

The easy way to create a win-win is by removing the decision-making process from the equation.

Companies must invest in technology, especially predictive analytic tools, if they're going to have mega-success moving forward. The same people usually call or email for the same issues repeatedly. Hence, the better the business is at collecting data, and then using the gathered information to predict with that person is calling about and present them with automated options to resolution, the better the entire customer service experience will be.

Implementing AI Tools

Very few companies have adequately invested in AI predictive analytic tools, and it's going to sneak up and hurt them faster than they know it. Smaller, more agile, savvy companies can outpace the giants and stomp on market share by using innovative technology. The idea that people won't be needed in the workforce is untrue. People will always be needed.

Companies need to use people in a more effective and efficient manner where they can truly make an impact.

Be sure to stay on track with any automations you implement. When things change, or updates are needed to make life easier for clients and employees, by all means, do it immediately.

Always come right out and say things exactly how they are. Never fluff or beat around the bush.

I'll go back to the credit card company with the late payments. When a customer calls in to speak with someone about removing a late payment, have a prompt that says,

"If you're calling about getting a late payment credit issued, press # 1. Once they select that prompt, state your policy on issuance of late payments, i.e., we issue late payment credit (1) time every 24-months, press option (2) to see if you qualify,"

and then close down the call in a fully automated fashion. By doing it this way, the customer clearly understands your policy moving forward, and either leaves happy or upset. The thing is, whether they spoke to a human or went through an automated process, the outcome is going to be identical.

Smart companies will always win. Old, outdated companies will get smoked. There are no two ways about it.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Create Easy Upsell Opportunities

The faster a business moves people through purchasing and onboarding, the quicker they can start personalized upsell activities. The idea is to use the information you've gathered during onboarding, to introduce additional offerings that match up with where a person or business may need additional help.

The real magic occurs when a company can interpolate gathered data to let a customer know where their weaknesses are before they even know.

Any business that gets this far out in front of deals is making mucho-profit. Higher profit means more investment in better technology, and better technology means better use and placement of people to run the technology.

Understand How Technology Works

Remember to not over-automate. Email marketing is an excellent example of a marketing method so widely overused that it's slowly losing its effectiveness. We're at a stage now where as people get smarter, the technology behind everything is almost 1-step ahead. For example, suppose a company sends out 20,000 emails simultaneously. In that case, the inbound email servers look to verify the sender and find out the same content has been sent out from the same outbound server, so they toss it into SPAM and block you from sending email in the future. Almost instantaneously, you've just ruined your chance to deliver content. It's like when a teacher handed you a test in grade school and said, be sure to read the directions in full before starting, and the directions say, "If you read this, sit here quietly and don't take the test," yet so many people jump in without reading and start filling in the answers. The proper way to perform effective email marketing is to understand how email servers work, and then work with the rules to the best of your ability.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, explained how he won competitions by reading the rules in detail, finding their weaknesses, and using them to win the match.

Understand Human Strengths

Technology lacks compassion, so human interaction will always be needed. When human interaction is necessary, use it wisely by removing the options and by setting crystal clear expectations and guidelines for employees to follow. It's time for business leaders to invest in what's really important again, the CUSTOMER.

A little touch of honesty and understanding go a far way.

Now is the time to act. The longer you wait, the more at risk you become for competitive takeover. Keep your foot on the gas every single day. Make every moment count. Make every interaction count, whether it be automated or human. Resting on what you did yesterday will not create a better tomorrow. Give time, share your knowledge, and when money is needed for assistance, provide it when possible.

Brandon SchaeferSales Training