Everyone wants to provide the best experience for their customers, but sometimes details can get lost in translation. Perhaps an out-of-date phone system is blocking someone from receiving the technical support they need, or their wait time is incredibly long.
From quick fixes to revamps of old systems, there are tangible ways to solve these service issues and build a successful customer service strategy.
Misconceptions About Service
Unfortunately, there is not one simple formula to reach perfect customer service. There will always be variables and unique interactions when working with people. Great customer service depends on the ability to adapt and react empathetically to these human concerns or interests.
Therefore, the first step to having great service is to become people-focused instead of result-focused. Making changes to a customer service strategy is for the benefit of shoppers and provides them with the best experience possible. People care about experiences and are loyal to companies they have positive connections with, so the more you help your customers, the more you will grow.
People-focused strategies implement technologies for ease of communication, set honest expectations and listen to their consumers. If your company has these traits, customers are more likely to return and recommend your products or services to friends.
How to Be Customer-Focused
Consider the gaps in your internal processes to adapt to a more customer-focused strategy. Is there a quick turnaround time for feedback and concerns? Are your preparation times for service optimized for efficiency? Do your digital resources and website load quickly and provide extensive information?
Asking these questions will help the savvy business owner or industry professional decide where to strengthen their strategy.
1. Listen Carefully
Listening might be the most important aspect of customer service. One study found that the highest growing companies best understood the feelings of their base. This strengthens the bond and makes the customer feel more comfortable in your establishment or online portal.
Adapting to feedback is also a great way to connect with your base and build a profile of reputable, positive reviews. These bring in new customers through a sort of self-made advertising and help celebrate your wins.
2. Step Into Their Shoes
Another way to improve your customer service is to “become” a customer. Peruse the website and your resources, checking for any errors or outdated links. If you feel you are too close to see the tiny details, enlist the help of a friendly neighbor or family member to complete a practice run of your online resources.
Measuring customer satisfaction with these online services can lead to growth as well. A heat map can chart where users spend most of their time on a page, showing you what information catches their attention and how to capitalize on this.
3. Automate Help
How a business responds to consumer requests for information can be the crux of a positive or negative interaction. Ultimately, a quick turnaround time is crucial for the response. One way to achieve this is through chatbots.
Chatbots are artificial intelligence programs that can answer a list of queries for online users. Their work is usually light-lifting: directing customers to the right pages or answering questions about shipping. The chatbot can forward the user to a person in the right department if more advanced help is needed.
Chatbots save time for the customer and the management team and provide an interesting interface. About 62% of people say they would use a chatbot instead of waiting for a human. This means no hold Muzak and no waiting in long lines.
4. Rich Communication
Rich communication service (RCS) values the customer experience in its aid to users. Through people-focused interactions, customers can book appointments and meetings with the touch of a button or share pictures through chat windows for a more in-depth conversation. Artificial intelligence software can provide resources and recommendations for other products and process payments with other transactions.
Google and Apple rolled out their versions of rich communication software to improve hospitality worldwide. Quicker response times, interactive media and ease of bookings all provide stellar customer service.
Rich communication also promises security and safety. Google and Apple have verified checks for businesses that promise security and a solid reputation for consumers.
5. Make Each Interaction Unique
Remember that interacting with customers does not always have a script or clear action. People are all unique, and so are their needs. During in-person conversations, listen carefully to the consumer’s thoughts and feelings on the matter. Validating their experience goes a long way in strengthening your relationship.
There are tangible ways to reinforce the individuality of your shoppers during virtual interactions. Install a customer profile system so users can track their previous activity and conversations, as well as store favorite products or shipping information. Valuing individuality means the customer will remember and remain loyal to your brand.
6. Create Actionable Steps
Make tangible changes to your strategy once you have your feedback. Maybe the chatbot is malfunctioning, for instance. Schedule concrete times to review customer input and reviews and create an action plan for making improvements.
Another actionable step is to coach your team to be the best they can be. You are probably not alone in facing a customer base, so unite the whole operation in providing clear and kind communication.
Lead by example and provide training on a company mindset of positivity, adaptability and empathy. Additionally, ensure everyone knows the proper procedures and problem-solving skills. Most people become frustrated or upset when having to explain their concerns multiple times. If the front line can help out, then this becomes a successful interaction.
Improving Your Customer Service
Communicating with customers is a necessary part of business ownership and marketing. Every conversation is different, but here are clear steps to take to achieve a base of happy, loyal people who frequent your establishment.
Stay people-focused and prepare for the innovation of your customer service strategy with these steps.Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.