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How Customer Service is Still a Differentiator

For years companies have been trying to understand what customers want. There are so many customers wanting so many things it’s deafening. How can we open our ears yet filter out all of the noise to listen to exactly what our customers want? ICMI recently posted an article about differentiators in customer service. A summary of that article is below:

Everyday your contact center receives hundreds of customer service interactions via different channels and you’re listening and responding to them all – but are you following trends and spotting patterns? Are you monitoring your customer service interactions to pinpoint what customers want?

Customer service is not just a service for the customer; it provides an invaluable service for the business too; however, not all businesses use the service for themselves. When you monitor your customer service effectively you’re inviting your customers to the table; you’re carrying out a large portion of the consumer research you need.

Is it still a differentiator? Yes.

Customer service is still a differentiator for sure. In a recent poll, we asked this very question and the most popular answer with 90% of the votes was “Definitely, excellent customer service always stands out”.

How Customer Services is Still a Differentiator

But WHEN Is It a Differentiator?

1. When a customer complains.
2. When people choosing between competitors.
3. When there is an increase in price.
4. When there is uncertainty within the market.
5. When they are signing a new contract.
6. When it is something important and they want to reduce risk.
7. When they are accountable (business decision).
8. When the product/service is complex.
9. When the product/service is new.
10. When a customer first interacts with customer service.
11. Anytime they interact with customer service.
12. When they hear from WOM or eWOM about the customer service.

Manage Expectaions

Setting expectations for customers is key to managing the customer service needs; explaining how a company’s customer service works helps customers anticipate the next steps in the process of their request.

If you put a lot of effort into solving customer service through a specific channel ensure that your customer base knows this. In another article on Adding Non-Voice Channels to the Mix, the consideration of customers was prominent and outlined four different customers and the difference between their preferences and behaviors which highlights that your various customer personas might have different expectations on the level of customer service that is expected from one channel to the next. Different customers want different things and at different times, allow for this and manage their expectations.

Here are a few key customer service areas that expectations must be set and met:

1. Convenience

Customers today demand availability to solve a range of simple problems by viewing information on the website/app anytime. Ensure they are aware of the convenient channels you do and don’t offer.

2. Channels

There are appropriate channels for specific problems; when a problem requires more detailed handling, help your customers easily find the channel they should communicate through.

3. Smart and Easy to Use

Customers desperately want you to make their life easier so if something improves the ease of use of customer service from a customer and company perspective implement it. Have your customers expect you to do business smartly, don’t wait for them to go elsewhere because a service is easier to use.

4. Efficiency

Build a reputation for dealing with problems efficiently and maintain it, according to Smart Customer Service efficiency is much more important than delighting customers.

5. Personalization

If you are gathering a lot of information from your customers, use it effectively, and send them relevant messages only.

Train Your Customers

98% of a customers’ interaction with your customer service may be routine queries easily solved and 2% might be complex problems. Teach your customers where they can quickly solve the 98% of their routine problems in an easy and convenient way.  For the 2%, direct them where to go and make sure when they go you are ready to deal with a complex problem.

When call centers monitor customer service they can really understand how their customers perceive them. They can tackle the major trends emerging and have a chance at becoming liked. If contact centers then dig deep into their customer service interactions by carrying out root cause analysis they are one step closer to understanding customers really want.


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