Customer service, in its simplest terms, is defined as assistance and advice provided by a company to people who buy or use its products or services. But what is good customer service? Well, for one thing, it is extremely important. According to NewVoiceMedia, “U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service,” (source: Vonage). Good customer service will be the difference between keeping your current customers and losing, not only this customer, but any future potential customers that hear about a bad customer service experience.
It shouldn’t take much to get your customer service up to par by trying the following 5 tips:
1. Gain knowledge on products and services
Product knowledge is essential. Your customer service team needs to understand how a product works so that they can resolve issues faster, ensuring customer satisfaction. Employees that are extremely knowledgeable about products or services will be able to better explain benefits and resolve issues with them. They may even come across as excited and passionate about the product or service, which can be contagious for customers on the other end of the interaction. Simply putting forth the effort to learn as much as possible about that which your team is providing customer support for can make a huge difference in the long run.
2. Send personalized emails
You can have every intention to provide top-notch customer service, but still fail your customer by doing something as simple as sending a canned email response instead of a personalized one. Adding your customer’s first name in the email shows them how they are cared for, thereby improving communication effectiveness. According to research led by Experian Marketing Services, personalized emails have 29% higher open rates (source: Retently). Utilizing a CRM with mail merge features will aid your customer service team in distributing personalized emails quickly and proficiently. Robust CRMs such as that offered by Agile CRM has an added feature allowing for extremely easy drafting of emails with an intuitive email builder that could further your team’s ability to provide good customer service. With so much bulk email being sent these days, personalizing correspondence will help with customer relationships nearly 100% of the time.
3. Use positive language
There are definite differences in replying to customer concerns with negative language and positive language. Understanding the difference will help your customer service team use more effective language, which is more likely to be successful when dealing with customers. For example, instead of telling a customer, “No, that can’t be done” a more effective response would be, “unfortunately that’s not an option right now, but a similar solution is XYZ.” Or instead of telling them to calm down, tell them you understand how frustrating it must be and you are able to help. If you don’t know the answer to something, let them know you will find out instead of just telling them you don’t know. Another good tactic would be for your customer service representatives to write down a few positive phrases and place them somewhere visible in their workspaces to use whenever appropriate. It’s amazing how quickly a positive, validating response disarms angry or displeased customers almost immediately.
4. Provide 24/7 support to customers
It may seem like a no-brainer, but providing customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year is more than just providing a way for customers to send a complaint anytime. Handling issues in a timely manner all day, every day should be a priority. For instance, as soon as a customer comes onto a live chat window, the support team should be available and able to resolve issues as quickly as possible. Implementing a CRM that quickly helps to fulfill client requests at the same time as improving their customer experience is essential. Solutions such as Agile CRM have features that will help with the speed and resolution of requests and allows for automatic email replies as soon as a request is submitted, creating a more positive customer experience. Offering fast and convenient customer service will show customers that their time is valuable and a short wait will show that there isn’t a huge amount of issues with your product or service.
5. Boost your emotional intelligence
Consumer giant American Express uses emotional intelligence tools to increase satisfaction when dealing with customer support. In a blog from December 2017, they define the two most important factors of emotional intelligence as: 1. awareness of self and others, and 2. empathy and relationship management. They explain that being aware of how you come across to others and to be able to sense how others feel about you during an interaction will help improve your team’s customer service skills exponentially. Are you rushing your interaction by not letting them finish sentences? Are you noticing if they sound impatient? Being aware of how you may sound or how they may be reacting can help interactions on many levels. Your customer service reps would also benefit from picturing themselves in their customers’ shoes, or empathizing. Simply listening, validating and expressing concern can help interactions as well. Finally, self-management can help employees better manage their emotions, keeping stress at bay and helping them feel more relaxed. Emotional intelligence can help customer support reps solve issues in a positive emotional state, helping ensure an enhanced customer experience.
The importance of good customer service cannot be overstated. Giving an option for customers to provide feedback may help you determine how well your team is doing. It also shows that you, as an organization, truly care about making sure your staff is doing a good job and are willing to make changes, if necessary. Following up on the feedback, both the good and the bad would even take it a step further. After all, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is or how many customer service representatives you have on staff. If their skills are subpar and they don’t receive the support they desire, they will find a company that will. Following some or all of these tips will help improve the effectiveness of your teams and increase customer satisfaction.