From love to hate: where is the border between pushy and competent customer service?

Knowledge of customer needs and the ability to listen and act upon these are the main tasks for companies that aim to provide a unique customer experience. It is no longer news that organizations which take the time to study customer behavior are achieving success on an international level. How do you build effective channels of communication with the consumer while also getting ahead of your competitors and become a dominant force on the market? Read on for more details.

4Service carried out a large-scale comprehensive study and determined which types of customer service were considered intrusive and through which channels of communication customers were willing to communicate. Some 2,200 people aged between 18 and 56 from different economic backgrounds participated in the survey. The survey showed that a third of respondents responded positively to e-mail mailing lists. Some 21% believe that SMS alerts are much more informative than a call from a company.

However, promotions and on-site offers were positively received by only 3% of respondents. Have most of the standard methods of communication with customers stopped working? Let’s discuss.

What channels of customer communication are most effective?

It is easier to understand which channels of communication with the client work today if you know the target audience. The fact is that, generally, all customers can be divided into 2 groups:

  • Fans of live communication. These are people who do not appreciate communication with robots. It is much easier and more comfortable for them to call a Manager or operator of the call center directly or to write in a complaint book/leave a review.
  • Digital generation. These are primarily young people who prefer using online messaging platforms to real face-to-face communication. Their motto is often: “Get what you want as soon as possible!”

They rarely give feedback even if they are not happy with the service. The main tool to communicate bad feedback about service or a place is to share this information among friends and acquaintances on social networks or forums.

Effective channels of communication for real feedback/opinions include: 

  • Call centers. These allow you to instantly communicate with a real persona, something that remains very important for many customers.
  • Giving feedback and leaving comments on a company’s website and/or social media page, where each customer can ask a question or express their own opinion.
  • QR codes and the ability to mark a location point on a map and leave feedback in a couple of minutes is used by the younger generations.

How to build unobtrusive communication?

E-mail remains the best channel of communication with customers. It is an effective way to start a conversation with customers and customers have the right to respond to the letter when it is convenient for them. A company has the opportunity to formulate a proposal in detail and to request feedback (or a response to the letter) after an adequate time has passed. According to the results of the study, 80% of customers consider messengers to be a modern tool for communication with a company. Almost all respondents identified WhatsApp and Telegram as the most convenient messaging platform for communication.

Where is the line between pushy and competent customer service?

The primary task for a developing company is to anticipate the desires of customers before the need arises and feedback appears. To do this, you need to know what your target market needs.

The examples of competent service in the offline sphere are as follows:

  • Increase of location points for delivery services
  • Reduce queues and waiting times for customers by increasing staff numbers
  • Offer a service for instant customer feedback, informing them about the readiness of the order, delivery, etc
  • Informing the customer about delays, changes in the delivery time of the order.

Most customers aged over 30 are not ready to wait for their orders and try to contact the company through all possible channels of communication if there are changes in delivery times/delays. If these cases arise, it is likely that the customer will not offer the company any repeat custom.

Unobtrusive customer service means the customer obtaining just enough information about a company to meet their needs without getting spammed with unwanted offers/services. However, this is a fine line, to meet targets with advertising campaigns without overwhelming the customer.

How it works:

  • Don’t call! The survey found that a phone call is the most intrusive method of communication.
  • Inform customers about important things! A company’s latest offer is likely to be ignored but informing customers about the delivery details of their order will increase a customer’s loyalty with the company.
  • Apply a personalized approach! 41% of the survey’s respondents responded better to advertising material that was addressed to them personally and was tailored to their interests.
  • Not so often! Some 60% of participants stated that regular advertising dissuaded them from making purchases. However, a well-placed offer the day before discount launches and holidays can encourage 7 out of 10 potential customers to make a purchase.

Research on intrusive communication channels showed that the situation can differ significantly depending on the market segment. For example, almost all messages received from banks are perceived positively and as important, and the percentage of customers reading their messages is higher than communication from other companies. Build Customer Journey Map to find out all points of interaction with the client, conduct research and surveys in an unobtrusive form on social networks or on company websites. This will allow you to find an effective channel of communication for the sphere of your business.

— says Alena Kokina recommends.

Action plan. How to build communication effectively

Step 1. Feedback

Provide an opportunity for the client to promptly leave feedback and share their opinions. The main factor is omnichannel marketing, the client chooses the communication channel that is most convenient for them (whether this is a hotline, QR code, messenger). This helps companies to understand the need of the client in real-time and to identify detractors, those who did not get what they wanted in the location, to settle misunderstandings and leave good impressions about the service.

Step 2. Competent categorisation

It is important to group customers and update the history of their interaction with the company on a regular basis. Be on the same wavelength with customers, call them for feedback, while looking for new ways to communicate with them. Promoters do not always collect accurate customer information. Work with your audience directly after purchase and establish communication in social networks.

Step 3. Quick response to feedback

Always respond to customer feedback and complaints, whether positive or negative. React to the situation instantly; do not leave a dissatisfied customer alone with their problem. Your task is to solve their problems and provide support.

Step 4. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

Analyze what your customer sees the first acquaintance with the brand to the moment of making a purchase and post-purchase. A good example of customer-oriented service is the knowledge of the history behind the relationship, the formation of a personal approach, the provision of exchange with excess and when a customer has received more than expected.

Think over the details. A good example of customer service is a small gift for the delay of the goods, free fruits and sweets at the cash desks and receptions, so that the client does not feel negative while waiting in line.

4 signs of a high level of service

For 74% of consumers, quality service is associated with discounts, profitable promotions and loyalty programs, as well as a guarantee of quality customer service. 

Today, a sign of a high level of service in any field is:

  • Speed of response to customer’s questions, requests or problems.
  • Attractive and profitable loyalty programs: bonus cards, seasonal promotions, etc.
  • The willingness of the company compensates for their mistakes.
  • Courtesy and pleasant service from the staff at all levels.

To maintain a high level of customer service, it is important to pay attention to each customer. Competent companies establish comfortable communication channels, primarily for the customer rather than itself.

The future belongs to companies that foresee customer needs and wishes and implement modern communication tools:

  • Accompany the client at all stages – from acquaintance to purchase.
  • Connect fast feedback services, use mobile applications with a single platform to quickly collect information.
  • Measure NPS of customers and employees.
  • Communicate with employees, they are a conduit between the company and the client. By interacting with consumers on a daily basis, they know what the customer wants. 
  • Implement and maintain service standards, it is the employees who broadcast the ideas of the company and can both increase customer loyalty and reduce all marketing work to nothing.
  • The business owner should receive complete, up-to-date information, not filtered by managers.

What online tools help to establish customer service right now?

The application of all marketing tools helps a business to grow and develop.  The study showed that it is more efficient for businesses to use digital tools to automate the process of communication, implement changes faster and online. 80% of modern marketing tools instruments are already digitalized. 

The main task of business owners and managers is to collect relevant feedback from their customers and employees. This information allows you to track the current state of affairs of the company and build a successful strategy.

Many specialists in the market are trying to set up new communication channels, often through a CRM system. There is no perfect solution because each customer sees the interaction with the company in its own way. 

An option that takes into account all the nuances of existing tools is an optimized platform for evaluating the spectra client experience from 4Service Group.

Why Spectra is good for business:

  • This is not a standardized solution. The system adapts to the characteristics of each business, its target market and the specifics of the industry, combining different communication channels.
  • All important data is collected on one platform. This allows you to see real-time information from 8-10 communication channels on one device. NPS assessment is as objective as possible. CSI-shows the real situation in the company.
  • Speed. Spectra allows you to immediately inform the responsible employee, in the case of a new comment or negative assessment of the company, and, in case of lack of reaction from employees, notify the Central office of the existing problem. Spectra automates notifications at all stages of problem solving and customer feedback in a post-service format to increase loyalty.
  • Work 24/7. Solving controversial issues in real-time. Spectra allows you to solve the problem while the customer is at the location, helping to remove any negative feelings about the company with the customer. If necessary, the system is able to notify all managers about the situation in order to speed up the issue of solving the customer’s problem.

Launching the Spectra system, like any other comprehensive data collection platform, requires some return from the company. They should be interested in solving the customer’s problems and also be ready to receive and transmit feedback, otherwise the information will not be processed and the customer will not get the desired result from the use of the new communication channel.

— says Alena Kokina, project Manager SPECTRA, Product Manager 4Service Group.

The Spectra system does not impose any restrictions on business. It is relevant for several areas, from a small hairdresser who wants to hear the needs of her customers, to a large network business and the Top 10 banks in the country that do not have the resources to manually process customer requests from all existing communication channels.

Service and well-built channels of communication with consumers are your advantages on the market. Brand capital is formed by people who trust the company and are ready to make purchases again and again.

Study your customers, build relationships with them and always be on the side of the service.
4Service Group specialists are ready to provide free advice on research and implementation of the Spectra platform.


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