Fans Not Customers – It’s all about ‘High Touch!’
It often feels like the this isn’t the Year of the Dog, but actually the Year of the Customer Service Representative. It also feels like the days of pushing customers through a predetermined sales cycle are also over. Rather we should be thinking of the lifecycle from the point of view of the buyer. What steps do they go through and what emotions are they feeling as they do so? During this blog, we’ll explore some of these key concepts and why we think customer service is more important than ever.
In our daily catch ups and weekly team meetings we regularly make decisions. We do these against the backdrop of our Company’s core values. One of these is the simple statement that we want ‘Fans not Customers.’ By this we mean we want to work with our customers to the point that they feel like an extension of our team and vice versa. More than that, we want them to feel engaged in what we’re doing, bought in and able to influence the ongoing improvements and be wowed by how well they are treated. All of this is brought to life through human interaction. There’s still a level of automation and there’s still plenty of technology, but the key interactions are human. Herein lies the truth of High Touch customer service.
There are loads of definitions out there for ‘high touch’ customer service. At its simplest (and purest) it’s service with a personal touch. It’s service that recognises that a customer wants to talk to someone and not be driven through layers of automation to tell them what they already know. It can be as sophisticated as you want or as simple as just following up with a call after a customer has bought your product or services to see how they’re getting on. It’s the kind of activity that makes a customer feel valued, supports renewals and most importantly, creates a proper business relationship.
These days a quick look around in the business world and a lot more (although not all) businesses are sitting up and respecting customer loyalty. In days gone by, you’d get pulled in with an amazing offer, then after 18 months you’d be stuck on higher packages whilst new customers got all the attention. These days we’re all a lot more savvy and we’ll switch around if a business won’t recognise the value of business long-term. It’s all about rewarding those customers who gave you their business in the early days and stuck with you, through the good times and maybe some of the bad times. You grow stronger together.
There are lots of different ways to bring high touch customer service to life. Here are just a few examples straight out of Mi Crow HQ: –
- When a new customer comes on board we send out a physical letter – on very high quality paper – welcoming them to the Flock. This might seem very old-fashioned, but we believe it’s that sort of attention to detail that customers appreciate
- We conduct a pre-flight and an on-boarding call to make sure that every customer launches in the best possible way. Then we don’t leave them out in the wilderness to fend for themselves, but work continuously and tirelessly to stay in touch and to keep providing help wherever and whenever needed
- We sign off every email with our first name – we want you to know who we are and that we’re here to help
- We offer a comprehensive Knowledge Centre that offers independent advice to lots of common online learning questions
- We put phone calls above emails and list that as the main way to get in touch with us – even our LiveChat (webchat) is manned by a real person who works for Mi Crow
- We ask our customers what they think is missing from our business through our CAB (Customer Advisory Board) – a bringing together of customers, small and large, to see our latest developments and tell us what’s going well and what needs to better (more on this in a few weeks time)
- Plus lots of ideas for the future from annual subscription rewards through to simple touches like remembering someone’s birthday or thanking a customer when we hit our first anniversary
There is a temptation, in this day and age, to think that high touch customer service is mutually exclusive to the era of technology. The real deal is that you need both. In today’s world, customers expect all the modern facilities (ability to get in touch 24/7, automated ticketing and more), but nothing is more appreciated than human interaction.
Check out our upcoming Customer Service Collection that deals with many different aspects of customer service – new and old!