New Dimensions of Customer Friendliness

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Customer-friendly service has always been a priority for a business. Keep the customers happy and you earn repeat business and loyalty. Customer friendliness used to revolve around service, which includes speedy response, quick problem resolution, courteous and respectful interactions. These factors are still relevant and important today. However, there are three elements of customer friendliness that have become more critical in earning high marks with customer satisfaction. They are:

Ease of access across channels

With the plethora of sales and communication channels available today, customers expect businesses to provide multiple ways for them to access the business. There are the expectations that a business has:

  • a website to provide adequate information on what it offers
  • an easy-to-navigate website for information searches
  • a phone number, an email address, a contact form or online agents for inquiries

The access ought to be straight-forward and simple regardless of the whereabouts of the customer or the device he chooses to use. This means businesses need to deploy the proper design and technology for each channel and access device.

Expedient delivery of useful and relevant information

Self-help has quietly become a powerful strategy business has fostered through technology deployment. Many of us are happy to look up the necessary information and take action ourselves. This relieves the business from having to staff the support role. The secret to success is that the information or instructions must be concise and presented in layman’s language. Otherwise, frustration leads to poor customer experience.

For a retailer, information on products, products comparison, returns policy and instructions ought to be crisp and clear. You won’t want to have your customers go through hoops to find what they need.

Consistency across geographic locations

Customers expect that there is consistency in their purchase experience with a business. Regardless of their location, they anticipate the level of service to be the same.

I use Staples for my business printing needs. When I run a workshop in different locations in North America, I prefer to have the materials printed in the city where the workshop is to be held. I submit the materials a couple of days ahead and the job would be ready for pickup when I arrive. The last thing that I want is to be caught with surprises. Consistency makes your customers’ lives easier and it certainly helps your business also.

The definition of customer friendliness will continue to evolve with the innovative ways businesses serve their customers. What was adequate 5 years ago might not be sufficient today. The best a business could do is to always consider how its customers would execute their selection, purchase and consumption so that it can tailor the approach to serve them.

© Connie Siu 2014. All rights reserved.

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