“It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi.
What according to you is the most important factor that can make or break your company’s reputation?
According to a report by Business Insider, 70% of consumers say they decide to support a company that delivers timely customer service.
There you go! It’s customer service.
It is rightly said that if you want to retain your customers and maintain a lifelong relationship with them, customer service is a must and should treat them as if you are that customer. Customer service either makes your brand or breaks your brand. It completely depends upon you how you treat your customers and whether you meet their expectations or not.
In this guide, we will talk about customer service and how you can master it to make your business thrive.
What is customer service?
Customer support is the face of your company, the first one with whom customers have interaction. No matter how good your product is, one of the major things that customers are going to remember is the experience they have with your company.
A strong business will already have excellent customer relations. A wise company, on the other hand, will always ask, “what is good customer service?”
Good customer service is based on carefully listening to the needs and desires of your customers. If you are not looking for ways to improve your customer service, your relationships will stagnate.
Evolution of customer service
Customer service has evolved over the years and the biggest difference between today’s customer service and service 10-12 years ago is that today’s customer expects and knows what he wants and expects from a brand.
Premium service should be built-in from the initial sales or marketing encounter and continue until the customer asks for assistance, post-purchase, and then back again. Your business must incorporate service throughout the journey at every interaction point to position itself for success.
Why is customer service important for your business?
Customer service is what sets your business apart from your competitors. It has the potential to make customers loyal to your brand, products, and services for many years to come. Great customer service leads to a wonderful customer experience, especially when your support team goes beyond simply responding to client issues and starts anticipating problems. When your customer service team is given the freedom to go above and beyond for consumers, they can create exceptional experiences for your consumers and make your brand stand apart from your competitors.
You have to make customer service a priority otherwise customers will knock you out of the list. In fact, 77% of customers stay loyal to the brands that provide high levels of customer service and our research shows that customers are more likely to switch brands due to just one bad experience.
Different types of customer service
How do you decide which customer service is the best for you and your brand because the customer service you provide to your customers defines your brand too?
We have outlined some most common types of customer services for you and which one is best suited for your business. Let’s dive into it!!
Walk-in store customer service
10 years ago, we didn’t have these instant ways to get in touch with the customer department through emails, phone calls or through IVR. At that time we only knew about one type of customer service and that is- walk-in stores. Customer service has surely evolved over the years and today we have tons of options to get instant customer support.
Customers who have to visit a physical location to get their complaints addressed find this form of customer care to be sluggish and inconvenient. But thankfully, this is changing, since this sort of customer service is becoming increasingly rare.
Phone and emails
Don’t you use this customer service in your daily lives? Email support may appear to be a little out of date but it is still a valid method of customer service. Email assistance allows customers to contact your customer service staff without having to speak with another person. In addition, an email is a wonderful approach to explain difficult situations since you have all the time you need to put out an overview of your matter.
Phone customer service is undoubtedly the most adaptable option- each and everyone has access to it nowadays and understands how to use it. Don’t we appreciate that we are able to contact someone who’s able to fix our problem instantly? Nowadays whenever we have a pressing need to settle a problem fast, the first thing that comes to our mind is the phone call to the customer department. Having direct interaction with humans gives us faith that the problem will be handled and resolved quickly.
Taking all of this into consideration, your business must have email and phone support for the customers.
Social media support
Social media has become a go-to channel for everyone and it has made things super duper easy for each one of us. It works as a customer support tool too, what else do you want?
Facebook now allows you to provide company evaluations, making it even more crucial to leverage social media. To get the most out of it, you must keep an eye on all of the accessible channels at all times. The best way to do this is to have someone on your customer service staff devoted to answering social media questions and to utilize effective social media tools to alert you anytime your brand or product is mentioned.
How can you make your customer service more friendly and pleasant?
A strong business will already have excellent customer relations. A wise company, on the other hand, will always ask, “What is good customer service?”
Good customer service is based on carefully listening to the needs and desires of your customers. If you are not looking for ways to improve your customer service, your relationships will stagnate.
We have accumulated some ways through which you can make customer experience more pleasant for your customers:
When you receive a support request and know you won’t be able to provide a solution, write a quick, personalized response acknowledging the request and stating that you’re working on it. An immediate and automated response from your ticketing system is insufficient here, we’ve all experienced it.
Customers are aware that more complex queries require more time to resolve. There is a time difference between how quickly you respond and how quickly you solve their problems. Customers don’t want to be stuck in a ticket queue, but they are willing to wait as long as it takes to resolve their issues. You should, too!
Maintain a positive attitude
Attitude is everything, and having a positive attitude helps a lot when it comes to providing excellent customer service.
“The right attitude changes negative customer experiences into positive customer experiences”. Because the majority of customer interactions are not face-to-face, your attitude should be reflected in your body language and tone of voice.
The tone of written communication is easy to misinterpret, and email or live chat can come across as cold. The brain interprets someone else’s emotional tone using a variety of signals, including body language, facial expression, many of which are missing online.
Know your product well
As a customer support agent, you’ll spend your entire day troubleshooting for customers, which necessitates product knowledge. A thorough understanding of your product is an essential customer service skill.
You should ideally believe in your product, be able to discuss features and use cases in depth, and demonstrate to your customers how the product can benefit them- not to mention troubleshooting anything that isn’t working properly.
Your job is to assist your customers in getting the most out of their purchase and feeling like they got good value for their money. Make it your goal to learn everything you can about your product so that you can astound your customers with timely recommendations for using new features and services.
Make sure your reps are engaged
You can have the best customer service skills and training in the world, but it won’t matter if your sales reps aren’t engaged. Improving employee engagement is another way to ensure a positive customer experience.
Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to come forward with their issues, so consider an anonymous suggestion box or an employee engagement survey to find out what motivates your employees.
You should know how your customer support team feels about working conditions and remuneration, career development opportunities, training, and their colleagues. After taking the feedback from employees, see where you need to work to make workplace conditions more favorable.
Take feedback from customers
“Thank the customer for their time and let them know the feedback is appreciated”. You will never be able to anticipate every customer issue, no matter how proactive you are. Create an easy and accessible way for customers to provide feedback so you can learn about the good, bad, and ugly experiences they have.
Whether it’s a phone survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on your website’s “contact us” page, providing a way for customers to provide feedback makes it easier to learn what needs to be improved. It also prevents dissatisfied customers from venting on public platforms such as your social media handles. Whatever step you choose, remember customer feedback is crucial for customer satisfaction.
But how do you collect feedback from your customers?
Don’t worry, we will be talking about some of the different ways you can collect feedback from your customers later on in this guide. But first let’s talk about the interaction cycle between you and your customers. Every interaction you have with your customers is a chance to build strong relationships, rejoice with them, and also earn their loyalty.
What is the customer interaction cycle and why is it important?
Customer interaction is between a customer and your organization. Customers may phone you for assistance or send you a message on social media if they have a query. Customer engagements can also take the shape of self-service articles written by your support team, proactive emails sent to customers, and even people engaging with your chatbots.
The number of channels via which communication may take place is growing all the time, and in today’s linked culture, it can take place at any time. It is critical to have a structure in place to guarantee that opportunities to interact with consumers are not lost. Customers have unique communication requirements while dealing with businesses. When a client contacts a company, they are searching for a number of things, and a customer interaction strategy helps to make sure these needs are met.
The customer interaction cycle is a five-step process that a firm may use to connect with consumers throughout an encounter. These five phases constitute a methodical approach that ensures positive outcomes.
As they say “the first impression is the last impression”, starting off on the right foot begins with a warm greeting to the customer. While welcomes are frequently brief, they set the tone for the remainder of the engagement and assist the client in forming their initial impression of the service. A simple remark may drastically alter the direction of a conversation.
If your agent is not available at the desk to immediately respond to the customer’s call, you can give assistance through email and it’s after office hours, it’s vital to confirm that the communication was received. Auto-responses are an excellent method to inform consumers that they were successful in contacting you and that they will hear from someone soon.
The following phase in the customer contact cycle is focusing on the client’s needs and striving to understand them. It entails analyzing how people feel and gathering information.
Active listening is another important aspect of understanding. This entails being present and paying close attention. It entails tuned in and avoiding distractions until the consumer has completed his or her task. Repeating what has been heard helps the client to affirm that it has been accurately comprehended. Keep in mind that every consumer is valuable.
Now comes the third stage, Agreeing, to assist a consumer both parties must agree on the desired goal of the encounter. This is when the consumer is given information and alternatives, expectations are formed, and a solution is found.
To satisfy the consumer, it’s critical to have a solution-oriented mindset. Some consumers may want things that are just doable. When this occurs, it is best to be honest about limits and then focus on what can be done. If there is a chance to accomplish something comparable to what they are asking for, it is often as acceptable to the consumer as the original request.
The next stage is to deliver when an agreement has been reached. When delivering it, it’s critical to be explicit about what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen.
If it will take some time to properly address the issue, you can keep the customer informed by informing them of what is occurring and why, as well as when they may expect to hear from someone again.
This way, the customer is not left in the dark while the solution is being developed. There should be no loose ends after delivery, and the consumer should have everything they require.
Finally, last but not least, the conversation should end with a closure that encourages the customer to contact you again in the future. Thanking consumers for contacting the company lets them know that they are valued.
Gratitude may go a long way toward making consumers feel appreciated.
The final step in closing should be to check in on the client’s level of satisfaction to ensure there is nothing further the consumer needs. This may be as simple as asking them whether they are content in the present. Following up with a customer satisfaction survey is a step further.
Companies may produce great results with client encounters by effectively completing these five stages. Following up a day or two after the sale to inquire about the experience might give assurance that the outcome was favorable.
Master the art of customer service
Turn the bad experiences around
When consumers have a bad experience, they will tell their friends and relatives about it. They’ll even tell strangers, their voices magnified by social media and other digital means. When customers contact your company, it’s an opportunity for them to improve the experience and avoid negative news.
Winning customer back
It might be tough, but it is occasionally possible to get consumers to return to your establishment after they have gone. If an encounter is handled with care, what went wrong is repaired, and the client is left feeling heard, they may reconsider purchasing from the company again. This opportunity to sway a customer’s opinion would not be feasible without a conversion
Increase customer loyalty
“An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness”. Customers nowadays have a plethora of alternatives for where to spend their money. The quality of interactions may distinguish a company from its rivals. Even when selling comparable items or services, it’s feasible to stand apart by favorably interacting with clients. It is sometimes stated that maintaining a client is far more cost-efficient than gaining a new customer. Loyalty has a significant influence on the bottom line.
Enhance your service
Customer interactions are also an excellent method to learn how to improve your company. Every contact is an opportunity to learn. Many encounters might reveal trends, indicating what needs to be corrected to maximize your product and service for all its consumers. Every encounter and touchpoint with your consumers is a chance to engage or establish a connection with them. Similarly, managing client contacts should always be an important component of your customer communication strategy.
Authenticity goes a long way in customer service. When you are providing customer service as a firm through calls, emails, live chats, you must provide a consistent, genuine experience. Much of this begins with your customer care staff, but you, as a founder, are the most responsible person.
Feedback makes you better and better
Like I said earlier, feedback makes it easier for you to improve your brand and where work needs to be done. It helps you to gain knowledge about what customers expect from your organization and every business leader wants to provide the best customer service and wants his or her product to satisfy customers’ needs. Customer feedback helps you to live up to the expectations of customers and also fulfill them.
So read on to find out the most common ways by which you can collect continuous feedback from your customers.
Polls and survey
Putting up polls and surveys are the easiest way to get customer feedback and suggestions. You can create fun polls and surveys to make them interesting for your customers. Polls aren’t very time-consuming, they only take a few seconds or minutes. And to make it more interesting, you can add fun content related to your product development, so that customers do not find it boring.
Social media is the most popular way or choice to know what your customers want and to collect their feedback. Use social media to know what people and your customers think about you and your products. The most common social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Make use of these platforms to engage with your customers and let them know that you care about them.
We all know how Emails play a significant role in connecting organizations with clients. Another way of getting customers’ feedback is through emails, you can send mails to your clients in the form of a newsletter, survey, poll, and also an online form every once in a while. Not only this is a considerable way to stay in touch with your customers but also to solve their problems related to your services and what needs to be improved.
Don’t underestimate the power of SMS surveys, it’s one of the most powerful and easiest ways to get feedback from customers, also it doesn’t take much of your customer’s time and customers are always in need of speed, right? SMS is a great way to communicate with your customers and also a better alternative to emails.
Excellent customer service examples from some world-wide companies
Tesla believes you should meet your customers where they are at. By traveling to the customer’s home and repairing their automobile, the company practically meets them where they are. It is handy for the consumers since they do not have to wait in a repair shop and can make their appointment on their own time. Tesla is an example of outstanding customer service.
Adobe caters to the complaints of the customers and responds to them before they really happen. For instance, when adobe had an outage with amazon over a web series, they tweeted about it before receiving consumer complaints. The tweet also included a video of puppies to distract the customers and also to brighten the atmosphere. The majority of the customers questioned the continuation of the series, while the majority of the responses centered on the cute puppies.
Amazon’s existence is working towards making low costs, quick availability of products and service are all geared at dominating the market. But how does Amazon manage to do this?
They prioritize the consumer. Even though this statement is mentioned in almost every customer care manual, Amazon really does it. Customers are prioritized in Amazon’s return policy: if a shipment is lost in transit, Amazon will send a replacement. If a client has a problem, they have access to a dedicated help website as well as a variety of ways to contact customer service.
Apple and Amazon both are worldwide giants and both industries begin with the customer and construct everything else around them, but they go about it in different ways. Where Jeff Bezos promotes building systems around the needs and wishes of consumers, Apple has made its people the center of its service.
- Great customer service prioritizes people above products or services.
- Hire your consumers when you can.
To serve customers with excellent service, you need to understand them first and David Ek, CEO of Spotify did the same. He noticed how many people are pirating music online and understood that people just want to have access to all of the world’s music in one place. David EK developed a technology-based service that turned streaming music into a legitimate company. Spotify makes it simpler to lawfully listen to music rather than illegally download it.
To make customer service more interesting and fun, customers who ask the firm questions through Twitter are rewarded with personalized playlists that address their inquiries.
- Utilize technology in novel ways to provide clients with exactly what they want, when they want it.
- Customers should be rewarded with enjoyable, customized service.
Delight customers with your customer service
Every organization has its own approach and ways to provide customer service to its customers. How you make your customers feel impacts the overall growth of your business. Take cues from the above guide and give your customers the experience they deserve.