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You can put out all the marketing messages you want, give your sales teams the resources to “walk the talk” of your solution, but the real test of your brands promise occurs after the purchase: when your customer is using your product or service.
And in the event they need help – maybe the product is faulty, maybe setup isn’t as straightforward as they’d hoped – the onus is on customer service to help the buyer determine whether their experience delivered what they expected.
Customer service is the primary influencer of Net Promoter Score (NPS), the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product to someone else. These recommendations, in turn, are the number one driver of conversion rates during the buying cycle.
But for every customer – there are two “selves” to satisfy. Daniel Kahneman in his bestselling “Thinking, Fast and Slow” surmises that people place too much confidence in human judgement. He describes two “selves” – the experiencing self, which lives in the moment – and the remembering self, which holds on to select memories (most are lost, there’s far too many to retain) and uses these memories to inform decision making.
To demonstrate the difference between the two, he takes the anecdote of a man that listens to twenty minutes of a beautiful symphony. For those twenty minutes, the man is lost in the moment and enjoying the music. At the very end, he hears a screeching sound, which he says “ruined the whole experience”. Of course, the screeching sound didn’t ruin the whole experience – it ruined the memory of it.
He notes that the “pain” of a bad moment is more likely to override the whole experience for the remembering self if it happens towards the end, which is why these two selves are so critically important in customer service: long after the purchase decision is made, the experience of the product remains.
That is what customers remember, and that is why it is critical to get customer service right, to influence the recommendations that will drive new and repeat purchases.
And those recommendations are online. Impacting massively on what Google coined the “Zero Moment of Truth” – or the ZMOT.
This builds on Proctor and Gamble’s “Moment of Truth” – used to describe the few seconds in store when weeks, months and years of marketing, service and communications come together to make a consumer pick a specific product.
The ZMOT describes the process that consumers go through BEFORE they experience your product or service “in the flesh” – and the ZMOT is exactly why you need to take care of the remembering self. Customers are getting past hearing what you say about your brand – they want to hear what everyone else is saying about it.
Customer service comes in to play at the second moment of truth, when customers are using your product. That second moment of truth becomes another customer’s ZMOT, when a happy – or disappointed - customer gives back to the brand – through an online recommendation or other means of word of mouth. Here, the remembering self improves the ZMOT environment for your product and drives your business.