What are the most important steps you can take to increase retention and make every customer interaction a delightful experience? The answer is to follow these best customer service tips to deliver excellent customer support.
Accenture report says $1.6 trillion is lost by companies in the United States due to customers switching as a result of poor customer service. When businesses give high credence to customer service, only then they can build customer loyalty and retain customers for a longer time.
Customers always remember brands by the kind of services they offer. If your customer service strategy is not structured well, you will lose business no matter how good is your product or how proficient your team is.
20 Customer Service Tips to Follow
The best customer service tips shared below can help you to train your support team to deliver superior quality service and boost customer satisfaction.
1. Provide omni channel customer support
Omni channel customer service integrates different channels such as text, social, website, email, and instant messaging to deliver a unified brand experience to the customers so that they can experience the similar service quality across multiple channels.
You can seamlessly engage your customers over their preferred channels and provide the best omni channel customer experience.
Companies that deliver excellent customer support actively engage customers over their preferred channels. The key benefits of implementing an omni channel customer support strategy are:
- Be available to deliver customer support 24×7 across different channels
- Allow your customers as many ways to reach out to you
- Improve team productivity by reducing the time of offering support
- Allow to measure all the activities and gain deep insights into customer behavior
Let’s understand better with an example. If your customers are more email users, then you have to provide great email support to meet their satisfaction level. Similarly, if they are more active on Twitter, you will have to be accessible to them over there.
And the same goes for all the other channels. There are many channels and you need to identify what channels are preferred by your customers.
Oasis is a popular UK retail brand. They function online as well as have stores across the globe. The major highlight of the store is how nicely they have integrated both the online and physical stores together to provide overall omni channel experience.
What did Oasis do to provide omni channel support
- They integrated all their touchpoints (online and physical stores) to deliver a unified experience to customers.
- They created a gallery of user-generated Instagram content to encourage customers to model the clothes they’ve bought from Oasis.
Hence, the business goal should be to make the customer journey hassle-free and provide many options across all channels to effectively engage customers to deliver a better omni channel service experience.
2. Engage customers with live engagement tools
Improving the way you communicate with your customers helps to develop a long term impact on your business. 58% of companies don’t have formal customer engagement strategies. For many brands, customer engagement comes from a combination of different channels and platforms.
So, when it comes to acquire customers and retain them, you should invest time and effort in a customer engagement strategy that lets you interact with your customers in an effective manner. Using live engagement tools like co-browsing and video chat helps to deliver better chat experience.
With the help of best live engagement tools, your support agents can guide customers effectively in real time and provide a delightful experience in the following ways:
- Real time identification of the problem and providing the right solution reducing the response time.
- Get the first-hand knowledge of the complexity of the issue and deliver support in an effective manner.
- Face to face communication with the agent makes chat conversation interactive and worthy.
- Personalized chat conversations with live engagement develop trust and loyalty in customers.
Video chat is the best option for communicating any kind of technical process for better understanding of the customers. It can be combined with live chat and co-browsing to make the chat effective and reduce the resolution time to 2-3x.
Thus when customers are engaged with the live engagement tools, the chat conversations become interactive that boost customer satisfaction rates and improve customer experience.
3. Automate your customer service with chatbots
Automation is an important part of businesses in the current time to improve operational efficiency in order to reduce costs while enhancing the overall customer experience.
Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support cost and can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times and answering up to 80% of routine questions.
Benefits of automated customer service:
- 24×7 support: Chatbots allow brands to engage with their customers 24×7. It handles customers queries when human agents are not available.
- Less number of helpdesk support tickets: Chatbots help to answer all the basic queries that are based on providing information that results in less number of support tickets.
- Collect customer information: Along with having chat conversations with customers, chatbots also collect basic customer data such as name, email, etc. that is further analyzed and processed as per requirements.
- Human involvement for complex queries: When chatbots find the queries complex to answer, they are transferred to the right human support agent for effective resolution.
For example, Fundstiger has launched chatbot for easing the loans service for customers.
Chatbots are best to handle basic customer queries on the first go. But when it comes to complex queries bots fail to answer, and it directs the conversation to the right human agent.
As complex conversations need human involvement in order to understand and resolve it in the first contact. You can give your customers the best of both the worlds, with the chatbot managing the managing information based queries and human agents to manage complex conversations.
4. Measure your customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction not only impacts your business growth, but it also impacts the customer retention rate. It is key to create long term relationships with customers. You have to woo your prospects to win over as your customer.
Customer satisfaction leads to loyalty. 95% of customers will “take action” after a negative experience like sharing concerns with friends and family or churning.
So, it is important to measuring customer satisfaction. It helps you to know the current position and the areas you need to improve. Collecting feedback and acting on it is the best way to measure customer satisfaction.
You can collect customer feedback through different methods like email or live chat with rating view after the session.
Positive customer satisfaction can be achieved by the following:
- Address your customer by name: Communicating using the first name helps to humanize the conversation and create a friendlier interaction.
- Give your name to your customers: Giving your name to your customer. It assures them that they are talking to a real person, not a chatbot.
- Show empathy: Using phrases “I can see why you’re upset” shows the customer that you empathize with their issue and understand how they are feeling.
Metrics to measure customer satisfaction
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS measures your customer satisfaction and loyalty. On a scale of 1 to 10, customers are asked about their willingness to recommend your brand to family or friends. NPS survey questions are triggered through various survey channels like email, web, text, etc during any stage of the customer lifecycle.
- Customer Effort Score (CES): With this survey methodology, you can measure ease of experience with your company by asking customers, on a 5 point scale of “Very Difficult” to “Very Easy”.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT metric directly measures the levels of customer satisfaction. The score is calculated by dividing the number of responses that are rated above 4 with the total number of responses.
The above metrics can be implemented to measure overall customer satisfaction, as well as the satisfaction in the specific area of your business, product or offer.
5. Measure your team productivity
As said – what gets measured, gets improved.
One of the most important thing that you need to keep your eyes on is to measure the productivity of your support team. The different KPIs to measure team efficiency are as follows:
- First response time: It is the time between the chat made by the customer and when it is responded to by the agent.
- Average resolution time: The average time taken by the customer service rep to resolve the problem once it is taken over.
- Total conversations: The total chat conversations handled successfully by the support professional out of how much was assigned.
- Conversations across channels: It helps to understand which channels are more popular and be given importance when it comes to meeting your KPIs.
The above metrics helps you get a complete overview of how much productive your support team is and ensures that you have your hand on the pulse. So that you can act according to the results.
The reasons for measuring the Return On Investment (ROI) in customer service are as follows:
- Good customer experience boosts sales conversion and if you get an idea of what extent and how exactly you can improve CX helps you to drive even more sales.
- The customer service departments and reps are often overlooked and overworked. If you invest in them can certainly change that to a great extent.
6. Lower your response time
The average response time for customer queries is one of the important attributes of good customer service. Ifbyphone research finds 59% of customers are more likely to buy when brands answer their queries in under a minute.
Responding within business hours is always the best practice. If the problem is easy to fix, that’s even better. Don’t put it off. Delayed response time is one of the top 3 reasons why customers leave your website.
- Acknowledge your customer issue: Make sure your customer knows that you have listened and understood the issue even if the mistake might not be on your side.
- If you can resolve the query right away, do it: As it is said: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
- If you can’t resolve the problem immediately, set a time of resolution: When your customers know you are working on a solution, it will bump up customer satisfaction.
In order to maintain the response time you can set KPIs like, “Answer calls within 20 seconds,” and “Process emails within 2-hours of receipt.” Your KPIs should be specific and measurable.
Live chat software is one of the best tools to reduce response time.
You can maintain the response time with live chat in the following ways:
- Know the complexity of the customer’s problem and deliver the right resolution in the first contact itself.
- By using canned responses to the FAQs helps to make chat conversations effective and help customers in quick decision making.
- Comprehend customer problems instantly and give the right solution by using live engagement tools.
- Track visitors activity with real time visitor monitoring, and provide personalized solutions for the problem.
Live chat improves the customer experience by offering a quick response as compared to other communication channels such as email, phone or social. Less response time means better customer satisfaction.
7. Take your customer feedback seriously
Customer feedback is an important part of every business. It means their requirements to improve customer satisfaction and keep them loyal to your brand. Also learning from customer feedbacks is equally important to deliver superior customer service.
Customers tend to show loyalty towards the company that has met or exceeded their expectations, both in terms of customer service and the products that they have purchased. Feedbacks help to identify the gaps between customers and businesses.
Customer feedback plays the main role in many business facets:
- It helps to improve your brand quality
- You can measure the customer satisfaction level
- You can build and improve your customer communication strategies
The right way that a business can conclude its performance by asking customers what they think. Once the information is gathered it should be acted on to fix the specific issues that are identified from the feedbacks.
By knowing customers expectations and analyzing customer feedbacks you can retain your customers with your business. It helps your business to grow by improving the services and products.
8. Automate your internal tasks for higher productivity
Automation is talked over widely in the current year. Automating customer service tasks improves the response time and increase the productivity of your business.
Customers are becoming highly demanding and their top expectation is an instant response. Microsoft says globally, 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago
Follow customer service tips to automate business tasks:
- Use canned responses – These are responses for the common customer queries, used to reduce the handling time and make customer support effective.
- Knowledge base – Knowledge base empowers your customers with self service portal to get the help they need and hence improves response time and reduces the number of support tickets.9. Humanize your customer service conversations
Genesys survey made over more than 9,000 consumers asked about what mattered to them most when it came to doing business with companies and 40% of them said “better human service”.
There are many ways to humanize your customer service interactions:
- Address your customers with their first name to give a friendly touch
- Make your customers feel comfortable with warm-up conversations
- Send personalized “thank you” gestures to your customers
- Use live engagement tools to deliver to engage them in real time
Humanizing customer service is all about making your customer feel they are interacting with a real human being. It is important because when your customers feel they are getting personal service they become your loyal customers.
So you can believe that providing humanized support is one the easiest customer service tip you can implement, which directly affects your customer experience.
10. Make use of right customer service tools
Choosing and implementing the right customer service tools is important to encourage customers to have greater interaction with their brand.
Here are the suggestions for selecting the right customer service tools which can be users for various customer communication objectives
- Live chat – Live chat delivers instant support to the customer’s queries over the website as well as mobile applications. Tool: REVE Chat.
- Email – Email is the oldest and important way to connect with customers. Tool: Zendesk
- Phone – Phone is the instant way to connect with customers in case of urgency. Tool: Aircall
- Social media – Connect with your customers over social media and offer consistent support services. Tool: Hootsuite
- Customer feedback – Collecting feedback is very important to deliver better service and improve the brand quality. Tool: Qualtrics
- Chatbot platforms – Chatbots helps to automate the repetitive tasks and offer 24×7 support whenever your human representative is not available.
Use the above mentioned tools that will delight your customers and create memorable customer experiences.
11. Proactively reach your customers
Proactive customer support refers to predicting and addressing customers proactively based on their behavior. Being proactive helps you to identify issues in the initial stage and fix them. Study by inContact concluded that customers are satisfied and positive with proactive customer service.
Importance of proactive support approach
- Improves customer loyalty – GDS international group report says companies following proactive approach noticed an increase in customer retention rates by 3-5%.
- Reduces support requests – Proactive service allows to know the customer’s problem and guides them using different tools to deliver the right solution. It reduces the total number of customer support requests.
- Boosts customer retention – Proactive support develops a good relationship between the customer and business. You need to meet your customer expectations by delivering good customer service across all channels.
Source: Temkin Group
Examples of proactive approach
- Canned responses for FAQs – Preset answers for the common customer queries help agents to guide customers that reduces the response time with effective engagement.
- Live chat for real-time support – Using live chat and other live engagement tools such as co-browsing and video chat can help to offer real time support for form fill up or transaction check out.
- Self serve customers with support content – Provide step by step guide to your customers with FAQs, tutorials, how to videos that are considered to be the best ways to provide self-service informative content to your customers.
12. Support request to the right team
Just imagine saying “No” to a customer’s question. It will totally diminish the value of your support service. Of course, you won’t always know the answers, but, it’s a 100% about how well you manage the “No.”
If you don’t offer to be helpful to a customer in need, that only frustrates them more.
Follow the practice: Focus on alternatives
- “That’s a great question. I want to be sure I give you the right answer, so I need to double check with someone. Can I call you back?”
- “Before I answer your question, I need to check a few things on my side. Can I follow-up with you later today?”
- “My colleague is an expert in that area. Could you hold just a moment while I check with him?”
The tone is really very important as it affects communication. The common mistakes that customers make are using passive aggressive language (“Actually…”) or confusing customers with slang or technical jargon.
Which one of the following statements sound more appropriate to you?
- You are being transferred. Your call is very important to us.
- Hey Amy, I’m going to introduce you to our customer support expert who will be better able to answer your question!
13. Give credence to customer’s complaints and collect feedback
The key to improving your customer service and growing your business is to learn about both the good and bad experience of your customers. Practically, it is very difficult to get in front of every customer problem no matter how good you are on it.
So, what can you do?
You can create multiple touchpoints that are easily accessible for your customers to give feedback for your products and services. Customer feedback is the best source to improve your brand overall.
You need to ask customer feedback regarding products, check in with your customers regularly. Feedback is something you should ask at the right time and the right way
- At the chat conversation ends – you can ask the customer to provide feedback about the chat experience.
- After a transaction checkout – ask your customer to provide their valuable feedback.
- When the customer service request ends – feedback can be requested to your customers.
- After a demo – ask to provide feedback about the understanding of the product or service.
- While inside the product – you can ask the customer about the product features and easy navigation.
Not collecting the feedback is enough but acting on it is more important to improve the brand and deliver better customer service. Essentially, once you receive customer feedbacks, you are supposed to
- Discuss the feedbacks internally to have a better understanding and improve upon customer pain points.
- Share the feedback with the potential team members across the different departments to know more about customer expectations
- Identify the gaps between your brand and customers. Based on that you can plan new business strategies to bridge the gaps.
Good customer service is about taking out the best opportunity out of the customer’s complaints or feedback and using it to improve the bonding with your customers.
Let take the example of Disney, known for their excellent customer support, have a great approach to service recovery. It is a five-step process, with easy acronym H.E.A.R.D.
- H- hear
- E- empathize
- A- apologize
- R- resolve
- D- diagnose
With all these steps, you can easily turn around poor customer service.
14. Train your customer support team
It is very important to invest in refining the emotional intelligence, understanding, and training of the customer service team. Imparting the customer service etiquette to the team helps to make every customer interaction to deliver an optimal experience.
Have company wide personal up skill sessions. This is easier if your customer service department enables ongoing training. You need to check the following grounds:
- Product knowledge
- Time management
What should companies focus on when training the support team?
A well-planned customer service strategy increases conversion rates. You have to train your team efficiently to handle all kind of customer queries with great ease.
Follow some customer service tips for training for the below skills:
- Interpersonal communication:
- The support agents should be patient and empathetic. They should use positive sentences, for eg. “you are completely right”, “I agree with you” to make the customers feel special and trust that their problem will be resolved.
- When agents are polite and gentle towards customers it ends up with positive results. Using courteous phrases like “Let me find out for you”, “I’m glad that was able to help you” acts as wow factor.
- Product knowledge:
- The customer support team should effectively handle queries and requests for support, product and service knowledge.
- Make sure to acknowledge and advise your support team when there is a product or service upgrade. Upgrade the knowledge bases and update the agents about the same.
Thus, your team will continue to improve their ability to serve your customers and to provide top-notch support you expect to be associated with your brand.
15. Make everyone part for customer service
When the top management to all the departmental teams is involved in customer service, it changes the dynamic significantly.
Why? Because the knowledge of issues and features is much more widespread throughout the team.
Why is it beneficial?
Because right from the management to all the teams, everyone should be aware of the customer’s pain. Everyone can suggest and be a part of setting a new process in order to deliver better customer service.
When you involve all the teams altogether, the ideas and new strategies that come up helps in providing improved services and customer experience.
16. Consistent across all channels
Never overlook the consistency part while interacting with customers over different channels (website, social media, email, etc.). Your support team should be well trained in communication ways with your customers. It should not vary from one channel to another.
It is very important for customer service teams to maintain consistency in tone and approach across all the channels and the processes they follow. To use the CARP method is one best way:
- C -control the situation.
- A – acknowledge the dilemma.
- R – refocus the conversation.
- P – problem-solve so the customer leaves happy.
For example, if the customer approached first time over Facebook messenger and the kind of service he received differed from what he received over the website it becomes a bad experience. The inconsistency of information and lack of instant support across multiple channels frustrates customers.
Consistency across different channels over all channels helps in the following ways:
- Escalates business growth by adding more customers by delivering 24×7 real time support.
- Delivers a better customer experience to customers by effective services at right time and developing a long-lasting relationship.
- Providing instant resolution boosts customer satisfaction and turn customers into brand advocates.
- Identify your customer’s preferred channels and be available to assist them round the clock.
17 – Evaluate your team KPIs
Not measuring the team productivity but evaluating the team KPIs is essential to their maintenance and development. It is also important to find out whether the KPIs are reflected in your businesses or not.
It also helps in tracking your progress so that you can assess how successful you were in developing the KPI in the first place.
Some KPIs have objectives that are difficult to achieve. Some fail to track the underlying business goal they were supposed to achieve. The regular checking and evaluating is important for you to decide to follow or change your KPIs.
18 – Provide Premium support for loyal customers
Not all customers are the same. Some customers are associated with your brand for a long time and are loyal to your company. Basically, they are the customers who are satisfied with your support services and are even ready to pay more.
According to industryanalysts.com 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
You need to better manage VIP customers. You can filter enterprise or long-term customers to ensure timely responses. They may have different needs; set them up for success by getting them with what they are looking for.
For e.g. premium banking services
Garanti Bank, the leader of the Turkish banking sector, allowed its loyal customers to decide the name of the new branch. For this purpose, the bank used Pisano’s real-time digital surveys that offered the premium customers 4 name options in those surveys.
Garanti made it possible for its customers to feel like a member of Garanti Bank family by constructing a special customer experience journey.
19. Make design an integral part of customer service
A visually appealing interface is an integral part of customer service. It plays an important role to provide a delightful digital experience. The brands that take this concept seriously and invest in design outperform their competitors.
Business Insider reports – over a 10-year span, the stock price of companies that placed a premium on design excellence outpaced the S&P Index by almost 220%.
Forrester data says brands that value creativity exceeds their design-negligent competitors. Great design needs an understanding of how your brand fulfills your customer needs.
Let’s take Airbnb for example – During the company audit, Airbnb website failed to impress because of dull photos and properties descriptions.
How Airbnb managed to change that?
Airbnd took its website design seriously. Instead of allowing users to upload property pictures, it hired professional photographers and content writers to create property profiles.
And it worked! The new beautiful looking profiles actually doubled the company’s revenue in a week.
20. Follow up is very important
Follow up with your customers is very important to ensure their issues were resolved properly and that they were satisfied with the service. You can follow-up in various ways.
- You can give them a call
- Send them an email
- Use a feedback survey
Following up helps your customers know you really care for them and you are on their side.
Final thoughts on customer service tips
Hopefully, the above curation of top customer service tips covers all important aspects that you should be implementing in your support team
Pick out which tips work best for your business and carve a niche around it. If you follow these best practices and tricks for customer support, you will be surprised at how loyal your customers become to your brand.