Customer service is the backbone of any successful company. In this RisePath article, we learn what it is, why it is important, and how professionals handle it i.e. the pointers for customer service.
Customer service is having a moment right now. In today’s highly competitive, digital-first world, offering responsive, relevant help to your consumers is more crucial than ever. Being where your customers are — and helping them solve their problems — should be a top focus for every organisation, whether it’s via email, texting, social media, or the phone. To get started, here’s what you’ll need to know:
What exactly is customer service?
Customer support is a group of people who assist customers who are having problems with a company’s products or services. It all boils down to ensuring that consumers are successful in resolving the difficulties they came to your company to resolve.
What does customer service entail?
Depending on your company, industry, and who your clients are, customer service may take several forms. The goal of customer assistance is to improve the user’s experience with your product. It is at the heart of any customer-centric business. It’s all about developing trust, which affects everything from customer loyalty and retention to brand and marketing. Build trust through empathising with them, being honest, having clear expectations, and advocating for them inside using data and insights. Customer service should evolve into a long-term business strategy. That involves offering customers the tools they need to be successful throughout their relationship with your brand, not just reacting to their difficulties.
Customer support vs. customer service
So, really, we’re just talking about customer service? Not at all.
What makes customer service different from customer support?
Customer service encompasses all interactions that improve the customer’s experience and their relationship with the firm. It is one sort of engagement and is provided by all businesses, but it is not required by all. The difference between customer service and customer support, is that a customer support team can fix a technical issue in the short term, but providing good customer service helps build relationships and establish a true partnership in the long run. If customer support is the how, such as debugging an issue, customer service is the why—why it’s suggested to set up your cloud account in a certain way, or why today’s problem could become a greater problem in the future if certain measures aren’t done.
Why is customer service so crucial to your company?
The short answer is that customer service is critical because support agents are critical for swiftly and effectively resolving customer concerns and increasing customer happiness. Customer retention, customer lifetime value, and brand reputation are all affected as a result of this. However, it is very dependent on your specific business and industry, as well as the people you are aiding. Consider the following:
- In your industry, what do customers anticipate in terms of customer service? In eCommerce or tourism, for example, these will be different than in insurance or banking.
- How can it assist to elevate the customer’s voice throughout your company?
- How can you include your support personnel in important business decisions such as product roadmaps and marketing strategies?
Customer service characteristics
According to a 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report, these are a few essential characteristics of excellent customer service:
- Supporting your customers through their preferred channels
Customers want to communicate with you using the same channels they use to communicate with their friends and family, therefore being able to assist them through their preferred support channel is one of the best ways to provide excellent customer service.
- Providing proactive assistance
Excellent customer service frequently entails anticipating your customers’ wants before they ever inform you.
- Providing round-the-clock assistance
Customers believe that 24/7 help is an important part of exceptional customer service, according to 47%. When humans are not on the clock, a knowledge base or a chatbot are two excellent options for providing customer care.
- Quickly resolving issues
Quick resolutions are cited by 73 percent of consumers as the most important aspect of good customer service.
- Creating unique interactions
Customers desire a personalised experience in 75% of cases.
5 pointers for providing good customer service
Customer service implies exceeding customer expectations on a daily basis. And it pays to meet customers’ expectations. Here are five strategies to provide outstanding customer service.
1. Make support staff strategic allies.
When a technical problem arises, there is always a technical solution, and a customer service professional is available to assist. However, the type of assistance provided, as well as when, how, and to whom, might distinguish a support team. Taking the effort to put customers up for success is essential follow-through for a modern support business. Perhaps you should inquire as to why they didn’t click the box or take the time to explain the critical steps that are triggered when they do.
2. Make sure that soft skills are as vital as “technical” talents.
Humans should assist technology rather than the other way around. That indicates that human touch is required to solve human problems using their preferred technology. However, this isn’t always the case in reality. Support leaders across sectors, tend to hire first for technical abilities and promote those who have mastered them. During a support conversation, there are numerous opportunities to engage with customers and exhibit empathy for their problems, hence soft skills play a major role.
3. Incorporate empathy into all interactions.
In a support organisation, empathy aids agents in reading between the lines. Empathy reminds agents what it’s like to be the customer whose entire day—and possibly an entire department or line of business—hangs in the balance, even if they’re on their 700th call or chat of the week about the same issue. Maybe they’re new to your company or your product, or maybe they’re just having a bad day; support agents don’t always know, but it’s a good idea to leave room for whatever it is. Even the most technical know-how and extensive knowledge of a product can not assist a consumer in need unless it is matched with rapport. Customers, particularly stressed customers, are not always willing to do what a support agent says, which necessitates building a compelling argument for why they should care. The potential of a larger problem down the line is often the driving force behind their concern. Nothing says “strategic partner” like someone who can assist you spot a problem before it becomes a bigger one.
4. Improve customer service results and KPIs
CSAT, net promoter ratings (NPS), and attrition rates are some tried-and-true key performance indicators (KPIs) for evaluating customer service. However, it is beneficial to examine KPIs on a frequent basis to see where they may improve. The number of tickets resolved was an indicator of support success in the early days of support software. Organizations are redefining how they measure performance as conventional “support” services become more linked with other channels and business processes. This has an impact on how support teams assist their consumers.
5. Encourage your support staff.
The nature of technical assistance necessitates a level of product and service specialisation, which can lead to repetitive work over time. Strategic support leaders strike a balance between the need for specialisation and the assignment of fresh and varied initiatives across the team, preventing “heart-hardening,” which occurs when agents become bored and isolated in their particular speciality or role. Boredom can be alleviated in a variety of ways, including allowing support agents to take ownership of particular duties, teaching others, or providing them weekly time on live channels. With such a diverse range of issues and personalities to deal with on the phone or in a chat window, even seasoned support staff veterans may benefit from a spell in 1:1 live service. Another strategy is to train support agents to address all support situations without attachment to a certain outcome. While customer service representatives cannot guarantee that the problem will be resolved immediately, they can guarantee that they will be collaborative and communicative throughout the process.
Customer service best practices from experts:
Here is some extra advice:
- Be approachable. Treat your consumers as if they were friends or family. A robot is disliked by everyone.
- Be quick. As soon as possible, respond to the customer’s questions. Nobody enjoys waiting for an answer.
- Even the most demanding customers should not be passed off! Encourage each agent to respond to all consumer inquiries. They should find out if they don’t know the answer or process.
- Make an effort to go above and beyond. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but it should provide the customer with a little more than they asked for.
Customer service that is good explains the why, not just the how.
It’s easy for those with greater technical skills to succeed in a traditional support function; it’s far more difficult to comprehend yourself and other people. Customer service will always necessitate in-depth product and process knowledge, but incorporating a dash of customer service may encourage agents to focus on the customer and develop the other skills required to assist them. A customer support team can take a more client-centric approach and provide long-term support beyond the issue of the day by rewarding soft skills, developing empathy and extreme rapport, reviewing results and KPIs, and supporting agents in all of the above. While the distinctions between “customer service” and “customer support” have blurred, both are necessary for providing high-quality customer experiences.