Customer support is a vital aspect of any business. Without customers, the company will not thrive. As such, it is every company’s job to make sure that they deliver excellent customer service. Poor customer support can have a huge bounce back not only on their revenue but also on their reputation. A study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs reveals that dissatisfied customers share their bad experiences with 9 to 15 people. Research also estimates that companies could be losing as much as $62 billion each year as a result of poor customer service.
Customer support is crucial to keeping customers loyal to your business. When they are happy and satisfied, they will recommend you to others. Nowadays, it takes more than a great product, competitive pricing, and effective marketing to achieve customer loyalty. To keep customers coming back, you need to understand some do’s and don’ts of customer support.
Do’s In Customer Support
- Show Empathy
- Take Ownership In Resolving Issues
- Offer Solutions, Not Excuses
- Always Follow Up
- Take Customer Feedback
- Show Gratitude
- Go The Extra Mile
Don’ts of Customer Service
- Blame The Customer
- Make False Promises
- Overcomplicate The Issue
- Ignore Complaints
- Lose Your Cool
- Treat Customer As A Transaction
Do’s And Don’ts of Customer Support
Customer experience is fast shaping up to be a differentiator among companies. Today’s breed of customer demands more customer support from businesses. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Here are some do’s and don’ts of customer support.
Do’s Of Customer Support
Customer support does not stop once the customer has already made a purchase. Effective customer support is crucial in customer retention. In general, it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire new customers than to retain current ones. Here are some customer support do’s that your agents should understand to deliver effective customer service:
1. Show Empathy
Empathy in customer service is putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. They come to you because they are frustrated, disappointed, or angry with a poor customer service experience. They may also feel neglect and other negative emotions. Effective customer support means not just being a voice on the other end but also relating to their problems. In a highly stressful situation, customers want businesses that consider and understand their needs.
A recent study revealed that 96% of customers view empathy as important in customer support interactions. The sad fact is that many businesses fail to get it right. 64% of US consumers feel that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. If the customer does not feel connected or valued by your brand, the whole customer experience will be affected.
It is not always possible to give customers a satisfactory solution but showing compassion is an indication that you value and care for them. Using simple phrases like “I’m sorry you had to go through this,” or “I’d feel upset like you if it happened to me” can help show empathy to a customer. Showing empathy can help increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
2. Take Ownership In Resolving Issues
Effective customer support is not about finding who is at fault but acknowledging that you made a mistake and owning up to it. Taking ownership of the customer’s problem will help restore their faith in your brand. Like any relationship, apologizing can go a long way. It can make your customers feel validated. Remember that customers don’t buy services or products. What they are looking for are solutions to emotional states or problems.
Mistakes happen and it is important to own up to them. When things go wrong, it can be tempting to point fingers at someone else for the mistake. Customers do not care who made the mistake, they are looking for a solution to their problem. Good customer service skips the blame game. If you made a mistake, apologize for it, and fix the problem.
When customers see that you are truly apologetic and eager to make things right, they may continue to do business with you. Customers appreciate honesty. If they see that you are owning up to the mistake, they might give you a second chance and do business with you instead of leaving a bad review or approaching your competitor.
3. Offer Solutions, Not Excuses
Customers come to you because they have a problem that they want to be resolved. When something has gone wrong, you should give it your best to resolve the issue. You need to find a solution that will best address their needs. Good customer service is all about solutions, not excuses. Customers do not want to hear excuses so if you keep saying them, they might look for a competitor that will not make excuses.
Customers reach out to you because they trust that you will provide them with solutions. Instead of saying, “That’s not my job” say, “I’d be happy to solve that problem”. They have already been through a tough time with their order and making excuses will only make matters worse. If you cannot resolve their issue, admit it and pass them over to your colleague who can.
Different organizational barriers could keep you from delivering great customer service such as staff shortage, computer problems, vendor delays, and other issues. Customers know that these things happen but it should not be used as an excuse for bad customer service. They want solutions and want to know how you will make it up to them for the inconvenience they encountered.
4. Always Follow Up
Just because the customer has already received the product they ordered does not mean customer service is done. The truth of the matter is that great customer service makes sure that the order of the customer really works. You want to make sure that everything is working well with the customer.
Regularly following up with the customer can help build trust and reassurance. Following up can be as simple as writing a personalized thank you note or sending birthday greetings. However, a regular follow-up should never be used as an opportunity to make an extra sale. The purpose of the follow-up is to check in and ensure that the customer is satisfied with your product.
Following up with a customer can help boost the overall customer experience. If the customer had a positive experience, a follow-up gives you the opportunity to thank them and let them know you appreciate their feedback. On the other hand, if the customer had a negative experience, a follow-up is the perfect opportunity to apologize and make things right.
5. Take Customer Feedback
Some businesses dread receiving customer feedback but they shouldn’t. Without it, your company will not know if your customer is getting value out of your product. Customer feedback is designed to reveal a customer’s level of satisfaction. In addition, it helps your marketing team understand their areas of improvement. Receiving customer feedback is important because it helps build brand loyalty.
Just how important is customer feedback? Well, customer feedback is a powerful tool for providing you with crucial insights into every part of your company. Unfortunately, an astonishing 42% of companies don’t survey customers or collect feedback. In the first place, how can you put the customer first, if you do not make an effort to listen to what they say?
So make it a habit to collect customer feedback. There are many tools for getting feedback such as follow-up emails, SMS surveys, or customer interviews. Your social media channels can also be a good platform for getting feedback. By listening to their feedback, you can make customers feel involved and important. Customer feedback reveals potential issues from unhappy customers that your customer support team can work on.
6. Show Gratitude
Showing gratitude is one of the best customer support attitudes that you should instill in your customer support team. With the tough competition in your industry, you have several reasons to show gratitude to the customer for choosing to do business with you over the competition. Without them, your business could have long folded up so you can appreciate their business with a simple “thank you”.
Showing gratitude can help in building a strong customer base. Studies reveal that as many as 68% of buyers would switch brands if they felt indifferent toward them. Customers respond positively to acts of gratitude because it shows that they are being valued. In the long run, this could mean more revenue for your business.
While an in-person “Thank you” is not feasible all the time, there are other ways you can show appreciation. Sending thank you emails is the most common way to express gratitude but offering free shipping or discounts is another important way. You can also send gifts with a thank you note.
7. Go The Extra Mile
Going the extra mile means going above and beyond your normal duties to keep customers satisfied and happy. It means taking the necessary measures to meet or even exceed customer expectations. As the battleground shifts to customer experience, businesses need to make sure that they keep their customers satisfied to ensure their loyalty. When customers are happy, they will keep coming back and do business with you.
Going the extra mile can go a long way in ensuring your business growth. Businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% when they provide a better customer service experience. Keeping in touch with customers and not vice versa is an example of going the extra mile. Being proactive and checking in on random customers is another example and will be highly appreciated by customers. Taking the extra mile will help set your business apart from the competition.
When your customer service team takes the extra mile, the customer will get more than what they thought they were paying for. A customer service agent takes the extra mile if they take a few minutes to ensure that all customer queries are answered so they would not need to call back. They would not mind if their productivity will be affected as long as they are able to address customer concerns.
Don’ts of Customer Service
At the same time, there are also some don’ts that you need to avoid in order to ensure the loyalty and business of your customers. Let’s check out these don’ts that you should not be doing at all costs.
1. Blame The Customer
Even if it is the customer’s fault, blaming them will turn customer service into a negative experience. They may already be aware of it so you should not make it even a bigger problem for them. They are reaching out to you because they acknowledge that they need help. Whether they are right or wrong, the impact of their purchase decision will be felt by your organization.
It is a natural reaction by any individual to shift the blame to someone else because we may fear that owning up to a mistake or error could harm our career or make us look bad. But blaming the customer or someone else will not solve anything. It will not fix the problem that caused the delay in delivery or help you meet the deadline.
Again good customer service is all about finding solutions, not fault. “Passing the buck” can deplete trust with customers. At the same time, it can put your company in a bad light. In addition, it can make your whole company incompetent. Instead of pointing fingers, look for solutions.
2. Make False Promises
Nothing can be as bad as blaming the customer as making false promises. Giving broken guarantees like a low price, fast service, and uninterrupted or hassle-free service can lead to a negative customer experience. It may be a good tactic to draw in customers but once they find out that it is only a gimmick, you might lose the trust of your customers and eventually their business.
When you promise something to customers, make sure that you will deliver. In today’s digital world, customers have high expectations from products and businesses. Unfortunately, only 7% of brands are able to fulfill expectations. Making promises that you cannot deliver on may likely result in a pool of irate customers.
When in doubt, underpromise and overdeliver and not the other way around. So if you promise delivery of a product overnight, make sure that it is delivered as promised. Not doing so will have a disastrous effect not only on your customer relationship but on your whole company as well. Also, never set unrealistic expectations. If you are not sure that you cannot fulfill a promise, then by all means do not commit to it.
3. Overcomplicate The Issue
Today’s breed of customers is much more sophisticated, experienced, and technically savvy than before. But they still expect your customer service process to be easy and straightforward. Don’t underestimate your customer’s inexperience when they are looking for a straightforward service. You need to make sure that your customers have easy access to support when it is needed.
Customers don’t have the luxury of time to look for the answers that they need. Also, they don’t have the patience to explain their issue on the phone several times. 72% of customers say explaining their problems to several people is poor customer service. To make it easier for your customers, avoid using jargon and speak slowly as possible.
In addition, provide customers with the right tools that can help them solve the issue at hand such as phone, email, FAQ, self-service, social media channels, and others. If the issue is too complicated for them, provide them with easy access to the tech support team to fix your situation. Be prepared to work with the customer in solving their issues. This could help build better and healthier relationships.
4. Ignore Complaints
No matter how hard you try, you can’t always satisfy customers. Complaints are inevitable so just accept them. Take it as an opportunity to find and fix a problem. They help you find areas that need improvement. In the long run, complaints help your customer support team to become better and identify and solve pitfalls better.
While tackling complaints, don’t handle too many of them simultaneously. This might compromise the quality of service that your customers expect. It is important that you prioritize them according to their level of urgency. For instance, if the complaint only involves basic questions like product queries, how products function, and app navigation, it may be possible to handle more than one complaint.
Responding to complaints is a great opportunity for you to improve the customer experience. 83% of customers feel more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve their complaints. Yes, you may not resolve their problems entirely but being there to listen to them can go a long way. According to the Maritz study, 58% of customers had a higher opinion of a company than before for responding to a complaint. So never back down on a customer complaint.
5. Lose Your Cool
Different types of customers come to you with different issues. Some are toxic customers that can easily make you lose your cool. While some of them are patient, others are not. There are customers who are abusive and will make personal remarks. No matter how heated the situation has become, you should keep your cool and maintain a polite and professional demeanor.
Handling difficult customers is part of customer support. Regardless, you should always stay calm. Customers are never mad at you or someone else in your team but the situation. You need to have this mindset and remind yourself of it. If you find yourself in a heated argument, you can take a step back to regain your composure.
Keeping your cool will help you deliver better customer service. The best way to deal with a difficult customer is to apologize and manage the problem as swiftly as possible. If the customer is irate, respond with empathy as it shows them that you care. Cool the customer down by providing them with a solution.
6. Treat Customers As A Transaction
As a former Apple retail chief once said, “Care about a customer’s heart, not just their pockets.” Customers are not a one-time transaction. They come back to your website or store over and over again. Without them, you will not gain any revenue. For this reason, you need to do your best to build strong and long-lasting relationships. Show them that their business is important and keep on delighting them.
At its core, good customer support is about maintaining civility, nurturing relationships, and good manners. Be good to them and they will be good to you as well. Treat them fairly and with respect. Always keep in mind that customers are the reasons why you have a business at all. Treat them as humans with feelings and not just credit card numbers.
When you treat customers as a transaction, you put limitations on that individual. You should not put them in a situation where they are being measured or a part of someone else’s measurement. As much as possible, detach measurement from customer relationships. The relationship you build and share will have benefits for both parties.
Customer support should be one of your top priorities. Let them experience that they are being valued and cared for and you will reap the benefits of maintaining and nurturing customer relationships.
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