6 Customer Service Practices Your Business Should Adapt Right Now
Keeping your clients happy does not stop with providing high-quality products or reliable offerings. Top-notch customer experience is a vital part of the equation since this is what can truly set your business apart from the competition.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs underestimate the impact of a single bad customer service experience from their clients. On average, satisfied customers tell nine friends about their positive interaction with a brand, but angry clients tell sixteen people about their negative experiences.
Building a good relationship with your clients lies in your ability to understand their needs. When you can delight and empower your customers consistently, they will surely come back for more of what you have to offer.
Once you have the basic customer service formula down, client retention and lead generation also get easier. Reports revealed that over 75% of people would do business again with a company that has excellent service, and 56% would recommend it to their network.
The Pillars of Good Customer Service
Every company will have its formula for good customer service, but the top valued aspects of excellent customer service, regardless of industry or channel, are as follows:
Quick Response Time
Around 66% of adults feel that the best thing a business can do for them is to value their time. Clients call for support to have quick solutions to their problems, so your team must focus on developing a streamlined workflow that boosts the efficiency of your customer service.
Proper Client Feedback Collection and Analysis
Customer needs will change from industry to industry, but top-notch customer service teams will know how to use feedback collection tools to understand their clients. The better you are with this, the more adept you become at creating personalized solutions that will improve customers’ experience with your brand.
Make it easy for them to share feedback by sending surveys and interviews via email and your website. The data you collect will give insights on which avenues to modify or explore so you can boost your offerings.
Provide Self-Service Resources
Customers appreciate finding solutions to problems they encounter on their own. Instead of calling a customer service representative and being put on hold, they can easily refer to categorized support blogs, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages, or product training materials to solve problems at their own time.
Your customer care team will also benefit from this since they will not have to answer repetitive questions or deal with too many similar cases. It frees up their time that they can instead use to resolve more complex or unique consumer issues.
Demonstrating Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
Did you know that over 73% of consumers stick with a brand because they have friendly employees or customer service representatives?
Genuine human interaction is highly valued in customer service. Your team must be emotionally intelligent and trained to demonstrate empathy and warmth when dealing with clients so that interactions don’t feel purely transactional.
Making clients feel seen, heard, and cared for allows your team to diffuse challenging customer interactions you may encounter quickly. A frustrated or angry customer will be able to feel at ease if your agent succeeds in de-escalating an event that could have taken an ugly turn.
Having Omnichannel Customer Support
Businesses that give consistent customer service across various channels will retain 89% of their customers, while those without omnichannel customer service only retain over 33%.
Providing omnichannel customer support means you account for every preferred platform or device that a client will use to connect with your brand. The key here is to make it easier for them to contact your customer service team, regardless of the platform they are using.
Your customer support team must be able to respond to requests or interactions via phone, email, social media platforms, live chat, apps, or other communication channels preferred by your clients.
Innovative Problem Solving
Some problems encountered during client interactions may require creative problem-solving skills. There are playbooks and protocols to follow, but a great customer service representative will think outside the box and be determined to help clients find unique solutions that will satisfy their requests.
Best Customer Service Practices to Adapt
Now that you know the pillars of good customer service, here are some of the best customer service practices that can increase customer satisfaction and enhance your company’s income-generating potential.
1. Know your customers in-depth
Taking a deep dive into your target demographics’ profile is the very foundation of good customer service. Knowing what kind of consumer you are trying to attract makes it easier for you to provide high-value products and services. It will also help align your brand positioning and messaging, resulting in greater team efficiency and better sales outcomes.
You can create buyer personas based on market research and insights you can gather through surveys or interviews with actual customers. Here are some of the basic factors you must look into and answer when creating a client profile:
- Identify their business industry or sector
- Identify their job position in that industry
- Make a list of their objectives
- List down the common problems they encounter
- Identify their allotted budget for products and services that you offer
- Specify the competition they are facing
If you already have an existing client base, here are some practical ways to gather data so you can create accurate buyer personas:
- Sift through your contacts database and identify how specific customers discover or consume your digital content
- Utilize forms on your website or social media to gather vital information
- Gather sales team feedback on leads they encounter and ask about collective generalizations on the types of clients your brand serves best
- Interview clients or prospective customers to know why they prefer your offerings
2. Ensure that your customer service representatives know your product
This seems obvious, but customer service agents may sometimes not know enough about the product to assist clients effectively. Your representatives must know your offerings inside out to be prepared for whatever question is thrown their way. Needless to say, appropriate product or service training should be offered to them.
When your agents are knowledgeable about your product, they can also add valuable insights to enhance customer experience. This demonstration of comprehensive product knowledge by your staff elevates trust in your brand and is guaranteed to positively impact your business bottom line in more ways than one.
3. Personalize your service
Providing customers with personalized service makes them feel valued. This practice shows dedication to your customers and deepens your relationship with them.
Current database systems and tools should provide your customer service team with ready access to buyer histories. Information may include previous purchases, preferences, or other issues customers may have encountered when dealing with your company.
Aside from calling them by their names when they call customer support, you can get creative with personalized content and product recommendations.
For example, Korea-based beauty brand Ohlolly curated beauty products for customers and shares skincare routine tips for their loyal clients. They also request feedback on brands in their product line so they can provide better recommendations.
Actively listening to what your clients have to say grows brand loyalty and keeps buyers hooked on what you have to offer them next.
4. Improve feedback processes and overall service with automation
Time management and efficiency are your most valuable assets when it comes to customer service. Leverage the power of automation so that you can scale your consumer interactions without losing the quality of your service.
To prevent complicated situations, work on having a unified customer experience that relies on agile and responsive systems. Your customer relationship management (CRM) and other systems software must be consumer-centric so that your team can map out client journeys and provide support in the best way possible.
Take, for example, Santa Cruz Bicycles that manufactures high-performance off-road bikes. As a startup that experienced sudden growth, their support team became easily overwhelmed when demands for their product increased. Because of this experience, they had the sense to adopt customer service tools that eased the pressure on their support team.
They started using a shared inbox and a customer feedback loop to gather and share client reviews with the whole company.
5. Check-in with your customers and listen to what they have to say
Customer support agents will inform key personnel when improvements on products or services need to be made once clients touch base with them through your help desk. Being proactive and encouraging your clients to get in touch if they have questions or feedback goes a long way. At Shortstack, they have added hundreds of features on their website, most of which were requested through customer service.
Aside from using feedback mechanisms to improve products and services, brands can further solidify their place in their customers’ lives by standing up for causes that matter to their consumer base. When ride app Lyft announced their commitment to helping alleviate climate change by making their rides carbon-neutral, they considered that this was an important topic to their consumers.
6. Say “Thank you” and “Sorry”
Whatever the situation, remember to thank your client for reaching out and giving feedback. Thanking them for calling you shows that you place importance on how they took valuable time out of their schedule to make the call or send you an email.
Not saying “sorry” after a bad experience is one of the top customer service mistakes that aggravate customers. Therefore, when things go wrong, a simple apology demonstrates empathy and reassures customers that their concerns were heard.
Nourish Consumer Relationships with High-Quality Customer Service
Running a tight ship in the customer service department involves a lot of hard work. Consumer interactions will vary day-to-day, and not all calls or emails will have a positive tone.
However, you can still make every interaction count by demonstrating full product knowledge when they ask for solutions, showing genuine empathy for their concerns, and consistently gathering feedback so that you know which areas to improve on. Doing so ensures that you can invest your business resources in practical growth opportunities.
The best part about optimizing your customer service is that they will derive pleasure not just in consuming your product or availing of your services, but in the whole experience of doing business with you, as well.