Seven Common Customer Expectations for Customer Service
While all customers are unique, and use different values to make purchasing decisions, there are seven common customer expectations for customer service, which I call the 7 C’s of Customer Retention:
Caring Attitude — employees that are caring, friendly, helpful, exhibit empathy, shows each customer they are valued, apologizes for company errors.
Customized Practices — flexibility in applying company policies, simple documentation for account opening, forms that are easy to understand and use, suspension of disputed charges, willingness to extend additional services, ability of employees at all key contact points to know and understand the customer’s relationship with the organization.
Competent Customer Contact Personnel — staff who communicate well and accurately, take action, meet commitments, keep customers informed of status, are fully aware of all the organization’s products, services, procedures, and policies.
Call/Visit Once — the customer’s initial contact person handles the problem, or gets it resolved. This person makes necessary decisions and the customer only needs to explain their problem once (even if moved to another service provider). All contacts know the customer’s account status, as well as the nature of the problem under resolution.
Convenient Access — your operating hours of stores, branches, outlets, offices, and call centers are structured with the needs of your customers in mind. Your access numbers are easy to get through, are answered promptly, and the length of time on hold and the number of transfers internally before the problem is resolved are kept to a minimum. Your web site is easy to understand, navigate, use, and the ordering process online is simple and caters for international orders (if you are willing to ship goods and products outside your home country).
Compressed Cycle Times — customers receive an immediate response to enquiries, products and services meet customers’ timing requirements, adjustments or changes to account details (such as address changes or billing corrections) are made before the next billing or statementing cycle, and your organization provides consistently quick turnaround (especially for problem resolution).
Committed Follow Through — the customer’s initial contact person commits to what/when/how, follows up to confirm actions being taken, checks on customer’s satisfaction level with these steps, and your organization takes corrective action to prevent reoccurrence of an error or problem.
These 7 C’s of Customer Retention are the minimum requirements your customers have. If you do not deliver well against these criteria, you cannot expect to have high levels of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, or customer retention.
We have a handy 7 C’s of Customer Retention Checklist we use with our clients that we can email to you. Just leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.