Just imagine: a happy customer has been dreaming of some particular product, and finally found a company that offers it. They browsed the colorful images on the website, easily placed the purchase, but had some questions regarding shipping. Still in a great mood, the customer decided to call the support service. That’s where something went wrong. The customer had to wait a while on the line, was transferred from one representative to another, and finally was treated rudely. Their great mood vanished completely.
96% of consumers worldwide mention customer service as an important factor that affects their loyalty to a company. If you lose clients and have a low retention rate, you might need to implement some customer-oriented strategies to create a better experience. Learn more about customer service improvement from our material.
About Customer Service
While this term is self-explanatory, many people still struggle to exactly define it. In short, customer service stays for the assistance and advice your company provides to the clients before, during, and after the purchase.
Any phone call, e-mail, in-person interaction, or self-service system has an impact on the customer satisfaction level. Your clients should receive timely attention, get useful advice from polite representatives, and spend the least time possible on having their issues solved. Maintaining these interactions on a high level is crucial if you focus on good customer relations.
Why You Should Focus on Great Customer Service
Any business is dependent on their clients, so maintaining great customer service should be your top priority. Satisfied customers are more loyal to your brand, can leave positive reviews, refer friends to your brand, and thus promote your company.
Here are some reasons why good customer service is crucial for any business:
- It helps to retain your customers, and repeated clients spend 67% more and make larger purchases compared to new ones;
- It represents your brand image and values via direct communication;
- Three of four clients share their positive experiences with friends and family, referring new customers to your company;
- Satisfied customers will bring you more revenue as they would pay up to 16% more for a better experience.
9 Ways to Improve Customer Service
There are several common problems related to customer service. They include lack of empathy, poor agents’ knowledge, too much automation, long waiting time, etc. To eliminate these issues, here are some tips that can help you to provide excellent service to your customers.
Employ a Professional Team
Let's start with an obvious but important factor: hiring the right customer service agents is an essential step for any business. An inexperienced and unskilled team can ruin your reputation and fail to apply other strategies, so it’s critical to ensure they will do their best to attend to your clients’ needs.
There are several requirements for customer service representatives:
- Empathy and patience – so they could handle various requests on the same high level;
- Adaptability – the ability to sense a client's mood and use the appropriate approach;
- Clear communication – the customers should always understand your messages;
- Work ethics – all clients have to be treated on equal terms;
- Knowledge – your employees should be well informed on your product details to provide a reliable response.
If you are looking for outsourcing your call center, learn more about the people you are hiring, ask for experience and skills, and research them on the internet to be sure they are professionals.
Pay Attention to Training
You can’t just hire a team of customer service professionals and think that they will take care of things on their own. Even experienced agents should be trained to enhance their productivity and increase customer satisfaction with your services.
Start with the company culture and explain it to your new employees. Your representatives should know the work ethic guidelines, understand the company policy, and know all the procedures. Next, educate them about your customer base and target audience, teach on the recorded calls and best practices, and provide training manuals, use cases, FAQs, etc.
Keep in touch with your employees throughout the training, monitor their progress, and provide feedback to make this process clear for them. Remember: 62 % of respondents say that the customer service agent’s knowledge and resourcefulness is a key to positive experience, so make sure your employees exceed consumers’ expectations.
Provide Multichannel Support
If you want to make your services comfortable for clients, communicate with them on the channels they use. Your customers need to have the option to contact you the way they contact their friends and family. Make sure your support team provides service by phone, email, social media, messengers, etc.
You should have a good understanding of your target audience to know which channels are the most important in each particular case. For example, 74% of millennials prefer a company that responds to social media inquiries. So if you target young people, prepare to pay attention to social media or face dissatisfaction.
Understand Your Customers
Your support team should have comprehensive information about your clients' demographics and expectations. You can even create customer personas based on your average consumer to grand your employees better envision of who they will face.
What is more, 72% of customers expect your representatives to know who they are and what they have ordered, so a detailed client base is essential for any service team.
Use a Personal Approach
Do you know that one-third of customers abandon companies due to the lack of personalization? If personalized service has such a high impact on the consumers’ experience, you should enure these interactions.
Some companies assign a personal support representative to each client, but this is not the only option. You can provide your service team with comprehensive information about the customer so they will know their personal info, purchase history, and preferences.
Gather Customer Feedback
You should never ignore clients’ reviews, suggestions, and complaints: they can grant you valuable insights into how to improve customer service. You may need to add some info to your website, expand the FAQ section, instruct your call center agents better, etc. It may seem too time-consuming, but just think about how it might improve customer satisfaction.
What is more, by responding to such issues you show that you care about your customers and put a value on your communication.
Make It Easy
The tough competition between brands make consumers extremely demanding, and more than half of them already have higher customer service expectations compared to the previous year. They get used to instant support via chatbots, checking out in one click, next-day shipping, and other services that simplify their lives.
That's why your customer service team should make sure the client's experience is as effortless as possible. Your agents should offer to call back, clearly understand customer queries so they don't need to repeat themselves, and try to solve problems immediately. The less time and effort your customer spends on getting something fixed, the better.
Offer Proactive Services
Don’t wait until your customers have a problem they can’t solve, act proactively to prevent the issues. Think of the consumer journey and try to predict what problems can occur. For example, you can send them payment reminders, personalized loyalty offers, and free trials. Such proactive services are liked by 77% of consumers.
Just remember that such interactions should be timely, personalized, and informative for your consumers. In this case, you do not just exceed customer expectations, but also reduce inbound calls and improve the efficiency of your agents.
Take Advantage of Metrics
If you want to evaluate your service KPI, pay attention to metrics. They can build a true picture of the current situation.
The list of useful metrics includes:
- First contact resolution;
- Call abandonment rate;
- Average time in a queue;
- Speed of answer, etc.
Monitor and analyze these data to identify the weak sides of your customer service so you can work on their improvement. You may need to hire more agents, provide better training, or involve better software. Just don’t stop after the first changes, and keep an eye on your metrics to understand whether your strategy is effective.
Great customer service results in satisfied clients who are more loyal, can bring you more income and even promote your brand. So, hire a professional team and train them, create consumer personas of your target audience and provide personalized service, learn from customer feedback and call center metrics to quickly change your strategy if necessary. Use these customer service tips to provide a fantastic experience to your clients.