Customer Care: Definition, Importance, and 5 Essential Tips

min read
Customer Care: Definition, Importance, and 5 Essential Tips

Creating an exceptional customer experience (CX) should be a top priority for every company, if not the highest priority. After all, if you do a poor job of keeping your customers satisfied, and feeling cared about and cared for, they’re not going to do business with you for long, or at all. 

The risk is real, and it can really hurt your bottom line. A study by Accenture found that businesses in the U.S. lose about $1.6 trillion annually from customer churn related to poor customer service. And in a recent survey, 32% of customers said they would stop doing business with a brand they love after only one bad experience. (Could you afford to lose nearly one-third of your customers?)

Invoca’s research found that 63% of consumers will happily pay more for a product or service if they believe they’re receiving excellent customer service. That’s right: A majority of consumers are willing to pay a premium for a great customer experience. So, companies missing the mark with their CX efforts are missing out on potentially making more money.

All of this means that in today’s marketplace, where consumer expectations about CX are exceedingly high, your company needs to deliver not just stellar customer service, but also top-notch customer care. Not exactly sure what customer care entails? No problem. In this post, we’ll walk you through what it means and why it’s important. And to help you understand how to provide customer care, we’ve packaged up five essential tips to help you lay the groundwork for customer care success.

What Is Customer Care?

First, here’s a quick definition of the customer care concept: Customer care is an experience that goes far beyond customer relations or customer service. It relates to all facets and phases of the customer experience you provide, and it involves all the actions you take to help customers feel a sense of connection with and positivity about your brand, products, and services.

To understand better what customer care is all about, it can be helpful to visualize what this experience can look like in practice. Consider this example, which contrasts customer service with customer care:

A hotel guest with a pet dog arrives from a long flight for a lengthy stay at a hotel. As they unpack, they realize that in their haste to make the flight they forgot to bring enough food for their beloved pet. They call down to the concierge and ask if there is anywhere to buy pet food near the hotel, and the concierge duly directs them to a nearby grocery store. That is customer service.

Now, what if the guest calls the concierge, who — understanding the guest’s plight and the fact they just traveled six hours to get to the hotel — offers to have someone go to the grocery store for them? That is more than customer service. That is customer care. 

And, if on a future trip to the hotel, that same guest — who informed the hotel upon booking that they were again bringing their dog — finds their dog’s preferred food waiting for them in the room when they arrive, that’s exceptional customer care.

Why Is Customer Care Important?

Think of customer care as “going the extra mile” for your customers. You’re taking extra steps to anticipate your customers’ needs and find ways to delight them. That, in turn, helps you forge stronger bonds with your customers, which can help ensure their brand loyalty long into the future.

Customer care is important because it helps you grow your business. It can help you achieve superior customer retention. And extremely satisfied customers are also more inclined to provide excellent reviews and refer others to your business. Win-win-win.

5 Essential Customer Care Tips

Now that you have a clearer picture of what customer care is, and why customer care is important, here are five tips to help you make customer care a priority and formal practice for your business:

1. Create a company culture that values customer satisfaction

In a recent article about the link between customer retention and company culture, Jayme Hill-Gardner, chief operating officer of ad agency and consulting firm Diamond Media Solutions, underscored that “companies, where their employees are happy and feel they are valued, will go that extra mile for their clients.”

So, customer care starts with your employees — and the supportive, engaging organizational culture you need to provide for them. If they’re satisfied working for your business, then they’ll be motivated to make your customers feel special, too.

2. Audit the customer journey

Knowing where a customer is in their customer journey is vital to providing them with a great CX. 

Identify the various touchpoints where a customer interacts with your brand — everything from visiting your website to making a purchase to calling customer service. Map that journey (create a visual representation of the customer’s experience with your business) to better understand your customers’ behaviors and needs. Then, audit that journey to determine where you might be missing opportunities to interact with customers and make them feel cared for and valued.

3. Anticipate customer needs

Auditing the customer journey takes work, but it will help you learn how to anticipate a customer’s needs, which is a key component of delivering great customer care. (Remember the dog food example?) 

Just as important is actively listening to your customers and proactively gathering feedback from them, so you can help them solve problems before they occur and make them feel special by just knowing what they consider VIP treatment. (If you need inspiration for how to anticipate customer needs, check out this documentary about the historic, 5-star Savoy Hotel in London.)  

4. Reward your loyal customers

Loyal customers are like diamonds. They are extremely valuable assets, so you should treat them like the jewels they are by offering a loyalty program that lets them earn awesome rewards (e.g., cash, products, experiences) for giving their business to you. 

These programs can be point-based, tiered, paid, or value-based. Which one you choose depends on your business, and of course, your customers. And if you can provide a customer experience that’s hard to match, one day you may not even need to offer a loyalty rewards program. Just look at Apple.

5. Regularly gather customer feedback — and act on it

You can never collect enough feedback from customers if you want to excel at customer care. So, ask for feedback regularly — including at the point-of-sale and after customer service interactions — and supplement it with data you collect elsewhere along the customer journey. 

Most important, don’t forget to act on what you learn. One of the keys to delivering great customer care is demonstrating to the customer that you’re always listening to them.

Improve Customer Care With Conversation Intelligence

As you review the list of customer care tips above, you may wonder what technology tools you can use to help implement some of those strategies effectively and ensure your business can deliver exceptional customer care outcomes. Invoca’s conversation intelligence software for analyzing conversations between call centers and customers is up to that task. 

Here’s why: Phone calls are an especially important part of the customer experience. In fact, 68% of consumers say the phone is their favorite way to interact with businesses. These calls provide a wealth of insight into what your customers want and need from your business. And every phone call is an opportunity to provide a great customer experience. 

But you do need the right tools to truly hear the voice of the customer (VoC) in these calls, and to help ensure your customer service agents are empowered to perform at their best in every interaction. By using Invoca’s platform and making the most of its capabilities, you can:

 Automatically route each caller to the best agent to assist them

Invoca’s intelligent call routing delivers dividends by enabling companies to automatically steer callers to the best agent to assist them. 

More than three-quarters of consumers surveyed by Invoca said they’re prepared to stop doing business with a company if they have just one bad experience. So, if you want to be known for providing amazing customer care, the last thing you want to do is carelessly pass a customer off to the wrong person to handle their issue. 

Sample Invoca intelligent routing configurations

Feed your agents intent data about each caller

Another benefit of using Invoca for CX insights is the delivery of intent data to your agents, which they receive even before they enter into conversations with customers. 

For example, a customer is on your site and has several items in their shopping cart. They haven’t checked out because they have a question about the price of one of the items. So, they call the unique number provided on the page by Invoca. Before the agent even picks up the phone, they can see what’s in the customer’s cart, making the conversation easy and delivering a feeling to the customer that the business truly knows them.

Automate contact center QA to improve coaching

Coaching your contact center staff on interactions with customers is one of the best things you can do to ensure exemplary customer care — but it’s often hard for managers to find the time to coach. 

Invoca’s real-time delivery of call recordings, transcripts, and call scores provides automated quality assurance and the ability for you to coach using that data while conversations are still fresh in your agents’ minds. Of course, your agents can review the data, too, and self-coach if they prefer.

Sample Invoca automated QA scorecard

Use the voice of the customer to understand frequent issues

Phone calls are the richest source of voice of the customer (VoC) data, and Invoca’s conversation intelligence captures it for you. The solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a detailed analysis of customer calls. Invoca’s Signal AI feature, for example, lets you automatically detect certain words or phrases you want to track. And Invoca’s Signal Discovery uses unsupervised machine learning to discover macro and micro trends happening in your customers’ phone conversations.

By using Invoca to flag recurring words and phrases in customer conversations that might be important to your business, you can identify frequent issues — and take steps to address them before they become bigger problems. And while your customers may not know your business is solving issues for them in the background, they’ll be more likely to have a positive customer experience because of it, which is what providing customer care is all about.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you create better digital-to-call experiences for your customers? Check out these resources:

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