Providing exceptional customer service can make or break your business.
The recent research study by Microsoft found that, when it comes to customer support, 54% of customers have higher expectations now than they did a year ago. They don’t tolerate negative experiences anymore. After only one poor experience with your brand, 51% of your customers will never buy from you again. Consequently, your bottom line will suffer. Stats say that businesses lose more than $62 billion yearly due to inadequate customer support.
So, how can you improve customer service?
Provide Multi-Channel Customer Support
Did you know that 69% of customers in the U.S. prefer to purchase from brands that provide customer support across multiple channels? This is exactly why you need to address your customers’ needs across multiple touchpoints. Give them the opportunity to switch between multiple online channels effortlessly and provide exceptional user experiences, irrespective of the device or platform they use.
So, what does this exactly mean?
- Optimize your website for mobile users, especially your customer support and FAQ pages. Even though we’re living in the mobile-first era, 90% of customers still face negative mobile experiences. They usually bump into sites with complex navigation, slow load time, unreachable pages, etc.
- Use social media listening. Your customers use social networks to voice their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with your brand. Sometimes they tag you in their posts, sometimes they don’t. Your goal is to track both direct and indirect brand mentions, stay on top of users’ discussions, and provide valuable, real-time feedback.
- Combine live customer support services with chatbots. AI-powered technologies are exploding, and chatbots are a perfect example of their popularity. Their purpose is logical – they provide 24/7 customer support, regardless of a user’s country or preferences.
- Provide self-service opportunities for your customers. Your customers will sometimes want to solve minor issues themselves, without contacting a customer service representative, so make sure you have a detailed FAQ page and pack your blog posts with actionable tips and valuable information.
Hire the Right Reps
More than half of your customers say that a polite customer service representative is key to solid customer service, American Express highlights. Another study emphasizes that 52% of customers would even make an additional purchase if they’re satisfied with the customer service experience.
To meet the needs of customers, your agents should be empathetic, patient, easily adaptable, and highly knowledgeable. They should also have highly developed communication skills, making customer conversations pleasant.
I’ve already mentioned above that multi-channel customer support is critical for your success. And, to achieve that, you need to hire a highly diverse team of employees that will provide exceptional customer support at every stage of a buyer journey. Most importantly, you will need to invest in numerous relevant tools for customer relationship management, project management, SMS text support, automated callback, helpdesk solutions, automated email campaigns, social media monitoring, etc.
Precisely because of that, building an in-house customer support team can be expensive. That’s why many businesses decide to outsource a customer service team to a managed service provider. These teams usually consist of customer service reps, copywriters, quality assurance engineers, and account managers, and are equipped with all the tools needed to provide positive customer experiences across multiple channels, on multiple languages, in real time.
Personalize User Experiences
Today, generic messages don’t resonate with customers. To get them to buy from you and inspire them to come back, you need to provide them with highly targeted user experiences. Stats back me up on that.
The aforementioned Microsoft study found that 72% of customers expect the agent to know who they are, what they bought before, and how many times they engaged with their brand. Two-thirds of them are even ready to share their personal information with brands to receive relevant deals and offers. And, if you fail to reward their loyalty with personalized treatment, 33% of consumers will decide not to buy from you.
- Use the information about your customers’ previous purchases and engagements to provide them with highly personalized deals and provide relevant product recommendations.
- When interacting with them via phone, email, or social networks, be friendly and use their name (sure, do so in a subtle way).
- Use chatbots to collect customer data and personalize interactions. For example, you could ask a customer to take a quiz and, based on their answers, give relevant answers and product recommendations.
- Be human. No matter if it’s an in-person dialogue or social media interaction, it’s important that your reps use simple language to make your brand more relatable.
- Establish loyalty programs and host giveaways regularly to prove you value customer loyalty.
Ask Your Customers for Feedback
Gathering customer feedback is crucial for your business, given that 91% of buyers won’t complain about their negative experiences. They will simply turn to your rivals.
Now, there is a plenitude of ways to collect customer feedback. I’ve already mentioned some of them, such as monitoring chatbot/live chat interactions or listening to your customers on social networks. These tactics will give you insights into the main problems your customers face and help you address them on time. You should also build your online presence on multiple social media platforms, Google My Business, and online business directories and encourage your customers to rate and review your services. Finally, you can collect their feedback directly, through email surveys, social media polls, or even phone calls.
To motivate people to give feedback and be honest, you should show them that you appreciate their opinions, be they positive or negative. Make sure your answers are professional, even if the comment is rude. Always remember that negative word of mouth is not necessarily bad. It’s an opportunity to understand what problems your customers face and fix them.
Over to You
Even if your business reviews are stellar, you should keep revising and improving your customer support tactics continuously. Great customer service helps you build stronger relationships with customers, gain their trust, increase sales, and retain your loyal customers. Above all, remember that a happy customer is your brand advocate, sending you referral traffic and spreading the positive word of mouth.