The quality of customer service tops the list of requirements that companies have when they come to me in regards to their challenges. Why does it matter so much? Because excellent customer service can help you boost customer satisfaction, loyalty, the amount of money they spend with you and retention rate. These happy customers may also spread good words about your company and attract the attention of other customers - new ones.
So, how can you ensure your customer service is as excellent and flawless as it can be?
Overcoming the challenge of exceeding expectations
The answer is simple - you must reorganise your customer support organisation so it better aligns with the expectations of the modern customer. But getting to that stage isn’t so simple. More often than not, the companies I talk to are politically and organisationally rigid.
They’re not internally ready or able to support the modernisation of customer support. They often don’t believe it’s a technology issue either. But actually, software solutions that can deliver the full 24/7 omnichannel customer experience do exist and are fairly mature.
The steps to improve customer service
Let’s discuss one simple example of poor quality customer support.
A retail customer has a bad experience in a coffee house and at 10pm, decides to take to Twitter to complain. This is a common scenario in the retail sector - disgruntled customers often vent their feelings of frustration on social media.
The sarcastic and humorous tone in the negative post catches fire and is re-tweeted hundreds of times. Now tens of thousands of people have read this story. There’s a high chance a news outlet will pick up the story and a hashtag will be trending on Twitter shortly.
If the coffee house can't monitor and respond to the outbreak on social media channels caused by an event like this, this could cause a major dip in business. For example, if the company waits until they next open at 10am (the following morning) to respond, it's likely the negative post will already have spread across the internet.
If they do well to respond quickly but get the response wrong, this error will be widespread and could exacerbate the situation. Let’s say they tell the customer to move the issue to a private traditional channel, such as email or phone. The customer may take this response the wrong way. They might see through the coffee house’s request and assume they’re being shepherded offline so the company can save face (even if that wasn’t the company’s intention, conscious or otherwise).
To manage this, the coffee house needs to...
- Respond on the channel used by the customer
- Respond as soon as possible
- Be positive, supportive and if possible, humorous in the response (this can work wonders when executed correctly. But obviously make sure the tone of the response matches the tone of your brand)
- Be seen to have resolved the issue
Now, not every customer complaint will go viral on social media. And indeed, it’s uncommon for the above scenario to happen. However, you must treat every customer complaint the same - as though it can go viral because you never know which one might.
Your key takeaway: Revolve around the customer
It’s called customer service for a reason. The best customer service examples are the ones that constantly revolve around the customer. That might mean:
- Offering customer support round-the-clock, whether that’s employing customer service agents who will work out of business hours or offering automated services to take over for that period (e.g. a chatbot to answer the FAQs and present resources that may help customers)
- Providing a seamless customer experience if customers need to be transferred to multiple agents for their case to be resolved (e.g. they don’t need to repeat their details several times, the next agent can pick the case from where the previous left off)
- Offering a range of channels for customers to get in touch with your company, not just the standard email or phone
In conclusion, excellent customer service is out there. I’ve seen some great examples of B2C brands responding in good time and hiring people who can deal with social media in a “fun” way. The right software investment matters too.
You must use a software solution that’s capable of managing issues across a large variety of traditional and social channels. Think along the lines of omnichannel support, scripting support for agents, SLA-based issue management, full audit-ability, escalation routines and more.
Do you know what the modern-day customer expects from brands?
Excellent quality customer service is akin to the holy grail. You must never lose sight of this and you’re always keeping up with (or better, staying ahead of) customer demands. In our visual graphic, we compiled statistics from recent surveys and studies to build a picture of what the 21st century customer expects.
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