7 Customer Service Tips to Refresh Your Customer Experience for Spring
Spring is here again, and with it comes the promise of warmer weather, fresh breezes, the chirping of birds—and, of course, the annual ritual of cleaning up after a messy winter.
We’ve already talked about how the motivation for spring cleaning can be used to help ensure your contact center is ready for the year ahead. Today, let’s look at a few ways to make sure your customer service plan is also spring-fresh and ready to take on the challenges of the year’s busiest months.
7 Customer Care Tips for Spring
1. Leverage Tech Tools to Improve Your Metrics. One of the most essential aspects of customer care is providing the people who interact with your brand the best and fastest possible responses to their questions and comments. That includes making sure your customer-care metrics, such as faster response times and resolved calls, are as good as they can possibly be.
Seems obvious right? Unfortunately, too many businesses fail to make the best use of today’s technological tools to achieve these goals. This is even more confounding when you consider that we live in a time when the tools to help businesses do just that are abundant, thanks to the runaway success of customer relationship management (CRM) tools, such as Salesforce.com and the many similar platforms that have sprung up in its wake.
Our customer service tip: Put in the time and effort to research the best possible CRM tool to suit your unique needs, and you can expect to be amply rewarded by the improvements experienced by your customers.
2. Use Data to Deliver Personalized Service. CRM software doesn’t just empower you to improve key metrics like response time and resolution rates. It also gives you the chance to track everything you know about your customers to ensure they get truly customized and personalized service every time they interact with you.
Few things are more annoying than having to explain your precise situation over and over again to representatives of the same company. With the smart (read: nonintrusive) use of data tracking—like keeping tabs on purchase history or frequent shoppers—means your customers are spoken to by name with each email. Even better, it means they know that they can rely on you to truly understand their needs and give them an experience they won’t find from your competitors.
This contributes to operational efficiency, too: Instead of using all of your resources to target all of your customers at once, the smart use of advanced data and analytics will let you narrow down your efforts to speak specifically to certain people at certain times.
Our customer service tip: Create a database to make certain customer interactions are not only tracked but mapped together so your agents have their entire history at their fingertips with each interaction.
3. Embrace Automation. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have something of a bad reputation among some business managers, due largely to a misperception that customers dislike dealing with chatbots or automated forms. In fact, the opposite is true: Recent studies have shown that, not only do customers prefer automation in some instances of customer care, but they’re now actively demanding it.
Automation doesn’t just mean implementing a chatbot to instantly answer simple questions, but also putting in place basic tools, such as a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) page on your website. And this isn’t just good for customers; it’s also great for your own operational efficiencies. By automating certain simple and mundane tasks, you free up staff to spend time on more important matters. This, in turn, is likely to lead to greater professional satisfaction for your team members.
Our customer service tip: If you’re not yet offering automated services as part of your customer care, it’s time to refresh your strategy.
4. …But Don’t Neglect the Human Factor. As important as it is to put in place automated services to give customers a fast-and-easy way to resolve simple inquiries, it’s also vital to have a live agent on hand to provide more comprehensive responses to their questions during business hours.
Smart companies have mastered the art of integrating automation with live agents in such a way that customers can start with the former yet easily and seamlessly upgrade to the latter whenever needed. You can read more about the importance of balancing automation with live agents here.
Our customer service tip: Always make sure you have a top-level, live agent on hand to field advanced customer service inquiries during times of high utilization.
5. Start Measuring Customer Satisfaction. A satisfied customer is a loyal customer. Not only that, but smart companies have learned to leverage happy customers as “brand ambassadors — people who work to help promote your business to others by positive online reviews, social media raves and good old-fashioned word of mouth. Still skeptical? Consider a Gartner report concluding that 80% of future revenue comes from just 20% of existing customers (via CMO).
Customers also like to feel like they’re important to you. So, along with whatever marketing messages you may already send their way—promotional emails or exclusive Facebook deals—it’s a great idea to also include messages asking them how much they like the service they’re receiving from you.
Our customer service tip: Be specific. Ask customers exactly what they like and what they want improved and you’ll get the best insights into how to take your satisfaction rates to the next level.
6. Focus More on Your Culture. The happier your customer service team is, the more likely they’ll be to ensure that your customers are happy, too. And in an era when the best customer care agents are in high demand, with a wide variety of virtual job opportunities waiting for them just over the horizon, offering your team a great culture is more important than ever before.
If you’re unsure of how to do this, think of your workplace from their perspective. What are their working conditions? Is the software they use to field inquiries up to date? Do they have the option of joining team-building exercises designed to help them work better with each other? Are they motivated to portray your business in the best possible light when speaking to customers?
Our customer service tip: Create a calendar of team-building events to give your customer care staff a higher opinion of working for your business.
7. Turn Negativity into Positivity. Everyone gets an occasional bad review. Even America’s most popular brands like Amazon and Apple have their share of (often vocal) detractors. And, like it or not, your business isn’t an exception to this rule: Sooner or later, you’re going to get an angry phone call or email—or, worse, a public shaming via a bad Yelp review or a damaging social media rant.
Understanding this is an inevitability will help prepare you to deal with it in a way that yields positive results. Especially when posted on a public forum, negative feedback is best addressed not with reciprocal negativity, but with magnanimity and an expressed desire to improve. This goes a long way toward not just smoothing over angry customers, but to show everyone else that you legitimately value feedback and are always working to improve the service you provide.
Our customer service tip: Never respond angrily to an angry review, tweet, or any other form of feedback: Take the high road and you’ll impress not just the offended party, but (more importantly) all the people watching from the sidelines.
Need Help Spring Cleaning Your Customer Care? We can help.
If achieving any of these customer service tips seems like more than you can handle, it’s time to call in the experts. At Working Solutions, we have more than 20 years of experience helping businesses put in place the best possible customer experience, and we’re standing by to do the same for you.
Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.Contact us.