In a Customer Service and Business Results survey, 88% of respondents revealed customer reviews influence their buying decisions.
Clearly, a customer complaint on social media holds massive potential power. Perhaps even the ability to damage what you’ve worked so hard to build up.
Sometimes things fall through the cracks. It’s understandable. That’s life. Consequently, expectations aren’t always met. You can mitigate against this though. You just have to ensure fantastic customer support.
And here’s eight steps to help you do just that:
1. Cultivate the right skills
In a report by MyCustomer, 32% of customer support representatives stated they lack sufficient knowledge to effectively assist customers. This shocking revelation raises serious questions about the competence of customer support personnel.
Whatever you do, avoid being part of this 32%! Train your staff. Instill best practices in your support representatives until they become second nature.
2. Effective communication
Great customer support relies on effective communication.
Doing this means listening. Focus on what is being said. It’s the only way to ensure concerns are fully understood.
Where things aren’t clear, ask questions. Even if you think you have understood correctly, check. Speak clearly, at a moderate pace, make sure they understand exactly what you are saying.
3. Be empathetic
Build personal connections using empathy. A good customer support representative can put themselves in the customer’s shoes, really understand their situation.
Customers will be going through a range of emotions. They may be curious, anxious, agitated or even frustrated. Whatever the situation, it is imperative not to react to that and maintain a professional attitude.
Say a customer is upset their card was debited more than the total check out the price. Think about it. Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you feel if the same if it happened to you?
Acknowledge the issue. Keep in mind their feelings. In the end, leave them in no doubt the issue will be resolved.
4. Display expertise
A Customer Experience Impact Report shows50% of customers are only willing to give brands a maximum of one week to resolve their issues before they stop doing business with them.
One week is plenty of time for a competent customer support team.
Dealing with incompetence is infuriating. Ignorance is no excuse. You should be demonstrating authority in the area. Train your support team properly!
5. Provide omnichannel support
Creating a seamless experience is the ultimate goal in customer service. Omnichannel support helps you get there.
We live in a fast-paced world, where consumers’ attention is constantly flitting. Simplify the process. Provide access through different support mediums. Create maximum convenience.
Good omnichannel strategies include:
A study by Forrester shows self-service usage across the web and mobile applications increased from 67% to 81% between 2012 and 2015 in the USA. Using online communities/forums to help increased from 31% in 2012 to 56% in 2015.
A self-service approach is mutually beneficial. It decreases the burden on the customer support team whilst providing convenience for customers.
⦁ Live Chat
Live chat tools are a quick and easy route to deal with customer queries. Usage has increased over the years as people cotton on to the efficiency it provides.
Customers welcome seeing live chat on a website. Little wonder when it frees them from arduous email exchanges. A few hours waiting for a reply can feel like an eternity to a worried customer.
A slow response is one of the major reasons customers leave a site. Always in a hurry, they want answers and they want them now. Live chat gives you the speed of response you need. In a snip, customer concerns are resolved, leaving them free to get on with their day.
Integrating with CRM creates an even better customer experience. Support representatives can leverage customers’ previous interactions. Before a live chat starts, customers provide their full name and the system can then search their browsing history, digging up relevant information. This means a more personalized experience. Definitely a good thing.
It helps to be proactive in your offering. Display a visible live chat icon on your website. As a visitor arrives, send an automated welcome message. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Customers are often anxious when it comes to dealing with problems themselves. Even with the guidance of support representatives, they may struggle. Without system access, it could all end in tears.
Co-browsing breaks down these barriers. The screen-sharing feature lets agents play a more active role.
This may give rise to privacy concerns. In fact, research shows many online users like to remain anonymous. By restricting the screen share only to the relevant tab this is already taken into account.
The customer is in control. Agents can’t simply roam around as they please. User identity can be protected by concealing their name. The agent can only see what the customer wants them to see.
No need for fiddly download and multiple screenshots to explain the problem. It’s so smooth it’s like nothing ever went wrong in the first place.
6. Create opportunities for feedback
Feedback provides a competitive edge in business. Its importance cannot be understated. No matter how hard you strive to resolve customer queries, something will slip under the radar. No better way to find out than by hearing from those you serve.
Some ways to collect customer feedback include:
Send emails periodically to your customers. Seek their opinion about your products and/or services. Remember that complex questions have a low response rate, so keep it simple.
⦁ Online survey tools
The online survey is popular. No surprise when you consider how easy they are to create. The convenience ensures a high response rate too.
This works particularly well for large data sets. Hundreds of questionnaires can be filled out online and there are several tools out there to help you do it.
7. Relate to customers
Customers like to know that they are interacting with humans. Enhancing your support team with digital technologies is great, but never lose sight of the importance of human touch.
Be personal. It’s important your customers find you approachable.
Social media is a great starting point. Here you can engage your customers and be friendly.
Ask customers to share with you on your page. When they do, make sure you respond.
8. Nurture your customer reps
Don’t neglect your customer support representatives. They are your front line. How they feel, good or bad, could well impact their performance.
Prioritize their happiness. It really has an impact. A Social Market Foundation study shows happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy ones.
Never forget, your support representatives need supporting too. Give them the encouragement and rewards they deserve.
Reap the benefits of good customer support, the effort really is worth-while. An organization that does right by its customers stands a much better chance of becoming a success story.