Effective customer service can have a huge impact on the success of your business. It can make a difference between losing and winning customers. Studies show that delivering excellent customer service can increase sales by more than 20%. On the other hand, poor customer service can cost your business up to $62 billion per year. Each customer interaction provides opportunities for increasing brand loyalty.
Customer service can lead to customer satisfaction. Low satisfaction levels means lower customer retention and loyalty levels and vice versa. When customers are happy and satisfied with your service, they are more likely to share their experience with two or three people. However, if people experience poor customer service, they are likely to tell it to ten to twelve of their friends.
Improving your customer service experience is important for business success. 90% of customers find customer service important when choosing a brand. In this article, we look at 10 strategies for improving customer service.
Tips On Boosting Customer Service
- Create A Memorable Customer Experience
- Practice Active Listening
- Learn Customer Empathy
- Use Positive Language
- Understand Customer Needs
- Seek Customer Feedback
- Offer Self-Service Channels
- Set Up Key Performance Indicators
- Reward Loyal Customers
- Ensure Fast & Convenient Support
Tips On Boosting Customer Service
Customer service is about giving customers what they want, when they want it, in the best possible way. If you are struggling with your customer service, you have come to the right place because we will help give your customer service a huge shot in the arm.
1. Create A Memorable Customer Experience
Delivering excellent customer experience will become the next battlefield for businesses to earn the trust and loyalty of customers. Studies have shown that 79% of consumers prefer brands to only do business with brands that show they care about them. Another study revealed that customer experience will overtake product as the main brand differentiator.
When it comes to customer experience, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Just because one type of service fits one customer does not mean it will work for all. So start focusing on offering amazing experiences to your customers. Here’s how you can personalize the customer experience:
- Address Customers By Name. Use the customer’s name when talking with them – in person, over the phone, through email, or when coming up with customer surveys. Nothing is more friendlier than calling the customer by their name. Research also reveals that people become ecstatic when they hear their name called.
- Send Personalized Messages/Replies. When a customer purchases your product, signs up for a free trial, or sends an inquiry, you can personally reach out to them and ask if you can help them. Research by Experian revealed that personalized emails have 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click rates. Moreover, 96% of marketers say that personalization can help improve customer relationships.
- Give Customers A Choice of Channels. Today’s customers expect your business to be there when they need you. Thus, they are looking for an omnichannel service experience. According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of consumers prefer shopping through multiple channels.
- Send Thank You Notes. Never underestimate the power of thanking your customers for doing business with you. 60% of businesses lose customers because they feel the brand was too “indifferent” towards them. Consider shipping your product alongside individual thank-you notes.
2. Practice Active Listening
Customers come to you because they have a problem they want to resolve. But sometimes they just want to rant about a product. They just want someone to listen to them. It is important for you to be the one who will resolve their problem. Customers want to be heard, feel understood, and be served. This is where active listening skills can come in handy.
In active listening, you first allow customers to speak and air their complaints. Once done, you ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand what they are saying. Then you finish with a quick summary to ensure everyone is on the same page. Then once you are sure of the information, you respond to the customer and give your resolution.
Active listening involves all the senses because we give our full attention to the speaker. Being an active listener is all about showing interest in what the speaker has to say. You make use of both verbal and non-verbal communication through maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling. The aim of active listening is to make the customer feel more at ease so they can communicate more easily, openly, and honestly.
3. Learn Customer Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand how the customer is feeling and where they are coming from. Being empathetic is an important customer service skill because it will make the customer more receptive if they feel understood by you. In addition, it will de-escalate conflicts and create a more enjoyable interaction with your company.
Customer empathy has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the customers they interact with lost their jobs, closed their businesses, or grieved the loss of a loved one. During this time, even minor situations carry a much heavier weight. Just a little empathy can make a huge difference in turning a visitor into a loyal customer. It can be used to improve many stressful situations.
Listening to the customer is just the first step. The most important thing is the interaction to ensure the success of customer service. You need to understand that how a customer feels after their interaction with you will increase customer loyalty. Empathy will help you focus on increasing customer satisfaction. Recent research revealed that 96% of customers say that empathy is important during a support interaction.
4. Use Positive Language
Customers contacted your customer service because they have a problem that they want to be resolved. They are already in a stressful situation and they would want nothing more than some encouragement and understanding. Using positive language can help lighten the situation. What you say to the customer can help build and strengthen trusting relationships. Verbs should be used positively. Using the future tense is another positive language since it does not dwell on the customer’s past issues.
When speaking to a customer, you need to be authentic, positive, memorable, and always stay calm and positive even if the customer is angry. Using phrases like “Great question, I’ll find that out for you” and “I’d love to understand more about…” keeps the customer in the present moment.
The customer may already be frustrated with your product or service, and the last thing they want to hear is an agent blaming them and saying things like “it’s not our fault” or “You should have read the manual.” Regardless, they came to you for help, so give it to them.
5. Understand Customer Needs
Understanding customer needs is important in effective customer service. In the first place, how will you be able to serve customers if you do not know what they need? After all, everything your customer service team is doing is based on what the customers need. By understanding customer needs, you can formulate an effective customer strategy.
The best way to understand customer needs is to ask them. You can conduct a survey, send an email, a phone call, or whatever available resources are at your disposal. Your competitors also play a crucial role in understanding what your customers need. For example, if they offer a new product or service, customers expect you will also offer a new option.
Having solid customer data will also help you understand their needs and offer solutions that address those needs. Finally, you need to identify your target market and its demographics. You need to create a buyer persona to help you identify who your ideal customer is. At the end of the day, your products and services must be able to solve customer problems.
6. Seek Customer Feedback
Listening to customer feedback not only makes them feel valued but also leaves a positive impression about your brand. Good customer feedback generates positive reviews. On the other hand, negative reviews are not that bad because they create opportunities for improvement. Customer feedback helps you find out what customers think about your organization.
It is not enough that you seek and read customer feedback. They have a powerful impact on the purchase decision of customers. It provides social proof to potential customers. 93% of consumers say that online reviews can influence their purchase decisions. Whether it’s a testimonial or online review, you need to encourage customer feedback.
You can give them a short and simple feedback form or survey and give them an incentive if they complete the survey. The easier and shorter the survey, the more responses you will likely receive. You will find out that some customers will be willing and eager to help you out, especially if you want to build on the things they like and value you for.
7. Offer Self-Service Channels
Customer behavior has changed a lot these days. They now want to try and help themselves first before reaching out to a live agent. In fact, 81% of customers attempt to take care of issues themselves before contacting a live representative. Customers want quick answers and if they could get it themselves, they would. So you can help them find the answer to their questions with self-service channels.
Self-service channels are designed to resolve simple inquiries. Through the platform, the customer can access information and perform mundane tasks without requiring the assistance of a customer support representative. Changing passwords, tracking your order from an ecommerce store, and paying a bill online are examples of self-service tasks.
There are many self-service channels that you can consider for your business. One of the most effective self-service channels you can incorporate into your customer service strategy is knowledge base. 91% of customers say they would use a knowledge base if it meets their needs. Aside from a knowledge base, chatbots have also been popular self-service channels for various tasks like data collection & classification, resolution, routing, and feedback. Statistics reveal that 45.9% of consumers expect chatbots to deliver an immediate response to their query.
8. Set Up Key Performance Indicators
One of the best ways to set up your customer service team for success is to provide them with performance metrics for measuring their performance. Decide on which key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll track. Setting KPIs will help provide direction on which activities you can focus on. They help you achieve your business objectives.
However, when setting up KPIs, don’t make the mistake of measuring too much. The problem here is that if you don’t know which KPI to measure, it will be difficult to track your progress. If you don’t know what you are trying to measure, it will be hard to tell whether you are succeeding or failing.
Depending on which areas your team is good at, you can track the following:
- Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT)
- Negative Response Rate (NRR)
- First Contact Resolution
- Average Resolution Time (ART)
- Employee Engagement
It is important to note that KPIs are not just numbers and metrics. These performance indicators help you understand the performance and health of your business so you can make critical adjustments in your execution. In addition, KPIs help you achieve results faster.
9. Reward Loyal Customers
Offering rewards is still one of the best ways to ensure customer loyalty. With stiff competition in the market, it can be harder to acquire new customers than to retain them. Statistics reveal that 69% of US consumers say that customer service is important in brand loyalty. For this reason, you need to ensure that your customer service meets the expectations of your customers. You can deliver high quality service to your current customers rather than try to acquire new ones.
Rewarding loyal customers is a sign that you value them for their continuous business. But first you have to admit that not all customers are created equal. This means that you need to offer different rewards for different customers. Rewards are not just all about discount cards and others. You need to be creative to ensure that your customers will stay and keep doing business with you.
Customer loyalty programs are a good way to acquire new customers as well. In fact, over 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program. But always keep in mind that loyalty programs do not have to always revolve around freebies. Customers always want to feel that you appreciate their loyalty to your brand and give them a reason to keep returning for more.
10. Ensure Fast & Convenient Support
As mentioned in this article, customers expect fast support on your end. When they reach out to your customer service team, they are looking to be served in the quickest possible way. Time is of the essence for customers and they don’t want to wait for a customer service representative to be available. Also, they do not want to be tossed around to different reps when resolving a problem.
Customer support does not end when they have completed an order. You still need to follow up on them to ensure everything is okay with the product they purchased. If they have a complaint, you must act quickly and resolve it immediately. Any barriers and time delays can hurt your customer experience. Make it easy for your customers to reach customer support.
If your customer service team is already too overwhelmed with calls, you can always outsource for additional help. Reducing response time is crucial to effective customer service. If they cannot get help from you, they will likely go somewhere else that can give them the help they need. Work on your average first response time to boost overall customer experience.
Every business should make customer service their top priority. Without them, it is impossible for your business to thrive. You may have the best products but without customers to buy them, they mean nothing.
Why Should You Hire airisX?
Companies come to us to optimize existing customer support channels and/or to leverage new ones. We focus on incorporating existing processes into your desired channels, and help you scale to other ones as your requirements grow.
airisX is your collaborative partner, not just a vendor of services. We offer transformational growth through our highly skilled architects and innovators. Our success is measured by your growth and not our revenue numbers alone. Learn about our proven track record. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find an outsourcing solution tailored to your business needs.