When it comes to service, is there a difference between a customer and a client?
At Zmags we strive to deliver an unparalleled world class service. The service we continue to offer has grown our service offering into a real unique selling point for Zmags as an organization – a happy customer breeds a healthy growing business.
Internally, though, we like to regard our client base as our bloodline, who in turn use our software to deliver a user experience to their customers. There are a lot of definitions of “client versus customer” available, but in essence when it comes to delivering online software, there is very little difference.
You tend to associate a client with someone you have meetings with and you partner with to grow a prosperous long term relationship, whereas a customer is someone you look to support and surprise with service to foster brand loyalty and spread that experience with friends and family.
In reality, the Zmags Customer Service Team (as we call ourselves) does both. We partner with our clients and our Account Management Team to offer personal consultancy, product training for all digital catalogs and solutions, webinars and best practices as part of our Customer Success Program. As part of this Program we offer round the clock Customer Support and a Community Portal to ensure that our customers have what they need to deliver to their customers on time.
So does this coin a new breed of service? Probably not. But it demonstrates that whoever you are offering that service to, there is significant value and importance in making sure it exceeds expectation on every level.
Markets move fast, and innovative online products enter the competitive field very quickly as cloud based solutions are scaleable, fashionable and heavily funded.
Treat every service interaction with the professionalism you associate with client services and the personal touch you associate with customer service. The value you create will help drive a successful business.
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
-Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Customer Service, as Mr. Walton sees it, must be married with corporate objectives and the bottom line. I would be inclined to agree.
The customer experience is certainly becoming (or already is) the next competitive battleground or playing field.
Fortunately for Zmags, we have always seen the customer experience as the way to foster brand loyalty and we pride ourselves on the service any of our customers will receive when they interact with our team.
Ultimately, if our customers are successful we are successful. So it’s essential to partner with them, support them, and learn from them to drive us forward from both a service and product standpoint.
We benefit from the word of mouth that a “wow” customer experience provokes and we learn from any negative experiences to improve the customer service throughout the organization.
The bottom line, especially when we compare our services to our competitive landscape, is that offering a fantastic customer service not only supports the product offering but can in essence be a standalone product itself. Meeting expectation is easy; exceeding it is what will ensure that you stand out and have a competitive advantage. Our key drivers are to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectation, to measure & learn from it, and to communicate both back to the customer and the organization.
Providing a Customer Service
- Net Promoter Score – great way to measure not only your service but how likely this service is to positively or negatively impact the business
- Irritant Matrix – Make sure that Support Tickets and feedback is measured and acted upon in the right way.
- Surveys – Feedback, feedback, feedback! Ask your customers for honest feedback and reward them for it.
- Always close the loop – respond to all feedback with gratitude and an action plan
- Beta Programs – Involve your customers in new product developments; they know the product well and love to feel part of the journey.
You may be competing in terms of Price, Product, Place & Promotion but you’ll be nowhere without a Perfect Service.
In a hyper competitive market, marketers compete on providing a better shopping experience for their customers. One of the best ways to deliver a pleasurable shopping experience is making the purchase process easier for your customers.
This can be done in many ways, including:
1. Leverage Multi-Channel Opportunities
User behavior has undergone a big change. More and more users now undertake multiple activities spread over devices and channels.
Marketers should leverage such multi-channel sales opportunities by providing web users the ability to make purchases during any point of their user experience. For instance, allowing the user to click on the dress she likes while browsing the digital catalog and purchase it would be key to conversions. Or, at the very least, let the user place the dress into the shopping cart with one or two clicks. Very few smart phone or tablet users have the ability or patience to search for the same dress in a dedicated ecommerce website, which would ultimately lead them off your site.
Since social media is so important in this digital age, it makes sense to integrate social with ecommerce.
In the example above, clicking on the dress, which leads to a registration page where the user will have to enter tons of information would be a put off for the customer. What would be even worse would be the registration page leading to a home page away from the dress. Provide alternatives such as accepting an Open ID login such as Facebook. That way, the only information the user would have to fill out would be their purchase information.
This integration not only contributes to making the purchase process easy and fast, it also helps in providing a personalized experience.
3. Ensure seamless and easy navigation
Ensure that the website work across devices by adopting technology suitable across all touch points. The iPad, for instance, supports HTML and not Flash. Asking the user to download a plug-in or the page displaying an error message will drive customers elsewhere.
Again, the user trying to purchase the dress she liked when browsing the catalog should be able to add the dress to the shopping cart and check out at their time of convenience. There is nothing frustrating that the shopping cart disappearing if the user navigates away from the page.
Have you gone through your shopping experience? If you were a potential customer, would you think the process was easy and seamless?