In my previous post (click link to view), I discussed a few factors which may affect how a customer perceives the customer service that they receive from an organisation. I discussed psychological theories such as ‘negative bias’, which illustrate the key significance of providing customers with a positive experience from the get-go
I also illustrated just how important it is to provide a positive customer experience, which is demonstrated in our Salesupply ‘Customer service & e-commerce 2018’ white paper (click here for a download). Salesupply have explored a few of the statistics surrounding customer service, and we have found that 66% of customers will change seller if they have a negative customer experience, with 40% of customers avoiding the seller for two years or more. Therefore, it is evident that keeping your customers happy is greatly important.
Understanding your customers is crucial for interpreting their behaviors, and determining what level of service they want/need from an organisation. One tool which experts find increasingly productive for business is to apply the principles of behavioral psychology to carefully plan products and services to improve the quality of customer interactions.
Although many businesses probably don’t give behavioral psychology a lot of consideration when developing their customer service, you might be surprised to hear that it can play a significant role in not only product development, marketing and sales, but also in customer service.
As a psychology graduate, and a full time customer service executive, I have investigated the relevance of behavioural psychology within my role and I have come up with 5 main tips that we can utilise to improve the level of service that our customers are experiencing.
1. Be aware of the Six Human Needs
This theory formulated by author and personal coach Anthony Robbins suggests that human beings are (or can be) motivated by the desire to fulfil six core needs
- Certainty/Comfort: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
- Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change and new stimuli
- Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
- Love/Connection: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
- Growth: expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
- Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Once we develop greater awareness around the Six Human Needs, we can then consider other ways to meet these needs in a resourceful way, and create new patterns that can lead to lasting fulfillment and customer satisfaction.
2. Know your customers’ habits
Understanding your customers, their behaviours and their emotional needs is key to the success of your customer service team. Understanding how the customers tick, on an individual basis, allows us to pinpoint what drives their behaviour, and reach out to them in a manner that will make them feel understood and valued. Certain factors that you can take into account are:
- Where are your customers located?
- What are their spending habits?
- What motivates them to buy?
- What is their average age, gender, occupation, interest and hobbies?
- Do they work in certain industries?
- Are they influenced by seasonal trends?
- How to they access and use your products and services?
- Have they used your products or services before?
- How likely are they to refer your business to others?
3. Increase Personalisation
Automation may have increased the speed and efficiency of customer service, but whilst working on you customer satisfaction, nothing can quite replace the personal touch. As I discussed in my previous post with the ‘psychology of customisation’, personalisation makes people happy. The level of satisfaction felt by your customers may increase by using simple personalisation tips such as
- Using the customer's name-
- Including your own personal experience
- Asking the customers opinion
- Offering the customer choices
- Offering the customers choices on the channel of communication they can use (i.e. email, phone call, chat)
4. Give the Customer Control
Leading on from my previous point, as discussed in my previous blog, one reason why customers appreciate personalisation is because it gives them a sense of control. People like to have a sense of control, whether it be real or imagined. This perception of control is a strong behavioral stimulus that can result in positive attitudes regarding your company, contributing to increased brand loyalty. Certain things can alleviate the customers perceived sense of control and provide them with a feeling of empowerment. For example:
- Allowing customers to select service times
- Keeping them proactively updated on the status of orders or deliveries
- Offering choices on how customers can interact with your service teams (i.e. phone, email or webchat)
5. End on a High Note
Last but not least, research has shown that customers place a lot more emphasis on the end of an experience, making a positive ending to their interaction more important. Simple strategies can be implicated to ensure that a customer leaves their customer service communication with a positive conclusion (even if the outcome is not quite what the customer was after). For example:
- Briefly recap what you talked about and what was accomplished.
- Explain what happens next. For example, you might say: "Your order will be shipped in 24 to 48 hours."
- Invite the customer to get in touch with you again for anything else she needs.
- Close with a courteous phrase like: "Have a nice day" or "I enjoyed our conversation."
- If on the phone, wait for the customer to hang up first.
In conclusion, I think is a fair argument that behavioural psychology can play a huge role in ensuring that you are understanding the customers wants and needs to your best ability, and provide the highest level of customer service. A happy customer is a loyal customer, and a loyal customer is the best business strategy of all.
In my next blog, I will continue with my investigation, and discuss how other areas of the psychology field can be used to help your customer service flourish.