Is your customer service good enough?Opinion ·
You may have launched a fantastic product, but if your customer service is mediocre and unreliable, your brand will get a bad reputation and lose customers. These are the primary reasons why investing resources in creating an excellent customer service experience is the secret to the long-term growth of a business. 73% of business leaders have reported a direct link between quality customer service and overall business performance.
Today's customers are not as unaware or uneducated as they were decades ago. They are smart, empowered, they know their worth, and are aware there are endless choices in the market. On the other hand, the customer service industry that was previously managed in-person or through snail mail is now dominated by the latest technology, AI-powered chatbots, virtual representatives, social media, and more.
Based on the latest trends in customer service, customers should be able to control when, how, and where they interact with representative staff. People want to be treated like humans and not numbers, they want companies to make them feel special and personalize the experience. Studies show that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase exclusively from brands that demonstrate a real effort in understanding them and provide personalized service.
Almost 66% of customers expect brands to understand their needs and make sure their products and services fill them. For this reason, an effective way to improve your customer service should involve providing a curated experience. Following this trend, businesses are increasingly shifting their focus to customer service, and more than 63% of companies are spending more resources on their customers.
Taking into consideration all these changes in customer expectations, brands should ponder upon an important question: Is our customer service good enough?
In today's blog, we will discuss what it means to provide an excellent customer service experience and how brands can ensure every customer has an incredible journey.
What is customer service?
Before answering the question, "is your customer service good enough?" Let's make sure you know what customer service means. While the definition of customer service is constantly evolving, there are some things every company should know.
Customer service is the assistance you provide to your customers both before and after they have purchased your product. It involves giving set-up instructions, helping the customer use the product the best way possible, resolving problems and complaints, or answering general inquiries.
However, providing excellent customer service goes beyond resolving client issues and completing requests. Customer service today is about delivering proactive and prompt assistance to clients whenever they need it via their chosen channel, including phone, email, text, chat, and more.
Enterprises across industries now see customer service as a strategic function, and that is how crucial it is. Agents are viewed as brand ambassadors and client champions by their employers, according to at least 75% of them. Every customer service interaction is a unique opportunity to increase brand loyalty and boost positive word-of-mouth.
But why is customer service so important? The answer can be summed up in a word: retention. Customers who are happy with you are more inclined to remain loyal to you, and your bottom line benefits from this. Maintaining existing clients is considerably less expensive than finding new ones.
Customer service is a primary differentiator that distinguishes your brand from competitors that are providing comparable goods or services. Numbers are supporting this statement, in fact, 80% of consumers agree that a company's experience is just as essential as its goods or services. In the same way, mediocre customer service increases churn. For instance, 80% of customers will stop visiting a store after three negative encounters.
How do we define good customer service?
Following best practices, such as respecting customers' time, being friendly, and offering informed and helpful information, is important to provide outstanding customer service. But, this is not enough.
Good customer service is defined as going above and beyond meeting expectations. Many brands use words like "wow," "amaze," and "delight" when referring to exceptional customer experience.
Meeting customer expectations is difficult because they have been increasing dramatically over the last few years. Understanding what customers want in 2022 is a good place to start. The qualities of good customer service are speed, convenience, and friendliness. If you want to read more about customer service trends in 2022, click here.
The difference between good and bad customer service can be evaluated through the four pillars of quality customer experience. Here is what they look like:
1. Connecting customer service to the broader organization
In 76% of cases, customers expect consistent interactions and alignment across departments. This means that there should be no difference between interacting with a sales representative or via self-service channels.
Customers don't want to be redirected from one agent to the other or find inconsistencies in the information provided through different channels. Customers want consistency. Thus, integrating customer service activities through a customer relationship management (CRM) system is crucial.
When a client calls, the agent should be able to see all the pertinent information they need on one screen, including demographics, order history, preferences, and more, so they know how to assist. Additionally, if necessary, they should also know who to call on from another department to assist in resolving the problem.
2. Offering omnichannel support
Excellent customer support is available via phone, text, social media, and email. Customers demand quick, convenient, and high-quality help regardless of the channel. Thus, brands should strive to create consistent omnichannel customer support.
3. Training employees on hard and soft skills
To efficiently resolve situations, customer support agents nowadays must actively listen, demonstrate empathy, show deep product knowledge, and provide each customer with a customized experience. To perform their duties effectively, 55% of brand representative agents feel they require better training.
Brands should help their employees in their complicated tasks by offering constant training. Putting effort into developing both hard and soft skills, such as:
- Interpersonal skills: In the end, what matters most is how you make other people feel. Customer support staff should be taught the fundamentals of communication, such as listening, using encouraging language, persuasion, and empathy.
- Product expertise: Inform all staff members of any upgrades or new releases. Encourage employees to research the company's policies, offerings, and services.
- Technical know-how: Make sure your customer support team can easily use your technology. Teach them the most recent features and operations. To improve the experience for every employee, ask the agents for their comments and feedback.
4. Striking the ideal balance between speed and quality
63 % of customer support agents believe balancing speed and quality is challenging. Omnichannel routing allows managers a bird's-eye view of contact center activities while routing cases to the appropriate agent. This guarantees that agents work on the appropriate cases for their expertise and availability.
Automation is a tool agents can use to assist customers who require assistance quickly. Automated workflows direct agents while they act. These workflows can be modified to assist clients in finishing a task on their own through your self-service channels. You may demonstrate to a consumer how to start a return.
These four pillars can help you measure whether your brand has a good customer service approach or a bad one. Considering these key aspects you can answer the question we started with, "is your customer service good enough?"
Now, let us look at some ways to improve your customer service.
How to improve customer service?
Here are some of our tried and tested ways to improve your customer service:
1. Be a product expert
As a customer support representative, you must help clients solve problems they encounter during their user journey. Thus, you have to be an expert on the products.
Comprehensive product knowledge is a crucial customer service competency. Ideally, customer care executives should be confident in presenting the product and give advice on how to best use it. They should be able to intelligently discuss features and use cases, demonstrate to consumers how the product can help them, and fix any issues that may arise.
The responsibility of agents is to ensure that the consumers receive actual value for their money and get the most out of their purchases.
Layerise can help your customers in providing your customers with all the information about the product and troubleshooting problems easily.
2. Reach out to customers in the channels of their preference
Although you might be tempted to "take that conversation offline" if a client tweets a complaint to avoid discussing it publicly, it doesn't work that way.
The customer may have tried calling your toll-free number and experienced a lengthy hold time. Or perhaps they simply favor using social media for client support. People choose channels based on the complexity of their problems and how quickly they need a response.
On the same platforms they use to communicate with their friends and family, meaning the ones that are more convenient for them, customers want to interact with you. Therefore, one of the best ways to improve your customer service is to be able to assist a customer on their preferred support channel.
Your customer support agents must be able to handle questions posed through phone, email, messaging, live chat, social media, and other channels. It helps if your system keeps track of these interactions and enables agents to switch between communication channels without hiccups.
3. Maintain a positive outlook and have empathy
A positive attitude goes a long way in offering top-notch customer service since attitude is everything. Positive customer experiences can be achieved by adopting the proper mindset.
Since most customer interactions happen in virtual spaces, your language and tone of voice should convey your attitude. To give a customer a wonderful experience, you need to be able to relate to them.
Empathy is the first step to offer your customers an excellent experience. It involves placing the customer at the center of your actions and being motivated to assist them rather than viewing them as a hassle to deal with. It's an important customer service ability.
In some cases, the tone of written communication can be misinterpreted easil. The body language and facial expressions—many of which are missing online—are among the clues the brain utilizes to decipher another person's emotional tone. Therefore, use emoticons to express friendliness and fun, and pick up the phone if an email or chat conversation becomes tense.
Chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate of all communication channels. It enables voice, video, and image sharing and is rich in communication. Layerise Chat makes it effortless for you to serve your clients and monitor their satisfaction.
4. Be proactive
Knowing your customers' wants before they even mention them is a key component of providing excellent customer service. Proactive customer service is when a company steps forward to assist a client before the customer approaches them for assistance. It entails attempting to fix issues as soon as they arise.
Proactive customer service has numerous advantages:
- You can frequently avoid problems even before they arise. You are taking action to assist the consumer right away rather than waiting for them to complain. That keeps your customers delighted and saves your support team time.
- A customer support agent can make real-time product recommendations if you leverage client data to understand their preferences. This approach can create more upsell opportunities and greater client loyalty.
5. Empower customers with self-service tools
Customers frequently prefer to handle their problems autonomously because they don't always want to speak with someone to do it. Before contacting a live operator, 81% of consumers try to handle things on their own. According to another study, 71% of people want to be able to manage most customer care concerns on their own.
The best way to introduce self-service support is by creating a portal where customers can sign up, ask questions, track the response status, communicate with agents, etc. In these portals, customers can always find support throughout their user journey.
For example, If customers do not know how to set up their new coffee machine, they can log into the portal and find all the information about the configuration of the device and instructions on all that needs to be done to start using the products, with video tutorials if necessary.
Layerise can be defined as an enablement tool that combines technology and data to improve the customer experience. It has several features that can help your company to introduce excellent self-service support.
6. Create a personalized experience
More than 40% of customers demand better service. They don't want to feel like just a ticket number and get frustrated when they don't receive personalized attention.
Customers like interacting with people rather than businesses and seek close relationships. You must use data to tailor the consumer experience to establish that kind of connection.
The majority of customers nowadays demand a highly customized experience. They want brands to know who they are, what they have previously purchased, and their preferences.
According to an Accenture study, 83% of customers are eager to provide businesses with their personal information if they believe it will increase personalization. A foolproof method to demonstrate to your customers that you know and care about them is to deviate from the script and provide a personal touch whenever possible.
With Layerise, you can get an in-depth view of your customers based on geographical, demographical, preference, and behavioral variables. Understand what your customers do and track their satisfaction. This will help you better understand your customers to design an onboarding experience that is tailored to them.
How does Layerise help you improve your customer service?
Now that you have answered the question, "is your customer service good enough?" you will be happy to learn that Layerise can assist you in improving your customer service.
Here are some ways in which Layerise can elevate your customer service approach:
- Give your customers a direct voice You can provide real-time customer service through Layerise chat. Using a chat interface to interact with your customers boosts customer satisfaction, thus increasing retention in the long term.
- Support effectiveness You don't have to gather fundamental details about the consumer or the product they are having problems with when you use Layerise Chat. This information is immediately displayed for you in our chat.
- Educate and support your customers With Layerise, you can make user-friendly, sophisticated, and functional guidelines. Inform customers of product features and any updates or maintenance procedures. Help them with linguistically neutral guides.
- Marketing Campaigns You can build automated advertising/marketing campaigns according to your target audience. You can make your send-outs personal and relevant to boost conversions.
If you want to learn more about how Layerise can help you improve your customer service, book a free demo now!
Examples of good customer service
Although customer expectations are at an all-time high, some companies have consistently stood out and left their mark. Let's take inspiration from some of these brands!
Apple does everything possible to maintain its customers' loyalty. They even have a personalized support website where you can browse every Apple device you've ever purchased and get assistance for it.
The cornerstone of Apple's customer service strategy is always speaking to customers in a cheerful, positive manner. Moreover, demonstrating empathy for them and providing each problem the same amount of attention, regardless of how trivial or complicated it may be.
The luxury automotive division of Toyota, Lexus, is renowned for its exceptional customer support. They adopt a customer-focused approach everywhere, from the website to the employee ID cards: "Lexus will do it right from the start. Lexus will have the finest dealer network in the industry. Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home. If you think you can't, you won't. If you think you can, you will. We can, we will."
Lexus used customer service from the beginning to compensate for their lack of brand recognition and legacy and this strategy has been paying off. They represent one of the best car companies in terms of customer care and personalization. Every car owner who enters Lexus for a car wash is greeted with lattes, fresh cookies, and friendly service representatives who help them as much as possible.
IKEA's products can be found in households all across the world. Phrases from its brilliantly crafted and funny advertisements have crawled into everyday lingo for millennials. This implies that IKEA is more than just a furniture store, it is a cultural force.
IKEA's legendary long-term success is the result of its adherence to a specific set of values that directs its every action: The brand is there at every stage of its customers' lives to foster loyalty. It takes into account all of their wants and needs. It provides them with products, online and offline experiences, and customer support options that satisfy their demands. It engages customers visually, tangibly, and practically.
If you've ever been inside an IKEA, you know it's more than simply a store. It is an experience. To provide better client experiences, they make consistent improvements to their stores, which now have cafés and kid's play areas. Overall, it offers an immersive customer experience.
A distinct and memorable brand image is crucial to building trust.
Make sure your customers receive the highest level of service.
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