Customer service forms the crux of any successful business. It is not just about solving customer issues but also about creating a positive experience for them.
In today's competitive market, having good products or services is no longer enough to stand out. You also need to ensure the utmost satisfaction of your customers. Otherwise, they'd opt for your competitors who can satisfy their needs better.
Our guide discusses the best practices for customer service that you can apply in your online and offline business.
Interestingly, providing good customer service is not as hard as you might imagine. It's not even exorbitantly expensive. Instead, it requires an understanding of the customers' needs and wants.
Keeping these in mind, here are some of the best customer service practices to adopt in your business.
Part of the reason many customer support agents are unable to resolve customer queries is that they are not well-versed with the product or service. How can you help someone with something you're not familiar with?
The first order of business should be product or service familiarity. Let's say your company sells home appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
A customer has an issue with their vacuum cleaner, and they call your customer service. You should be able to guide them through troubleshooting steps over the phone.
Similarly, SaaS businesses must know extensively about their service. Which features does your service come with? What are the available plans and pricing options? Which plan is suitable for which customer? The more you know, the better.
A Customer Communications Review report found that 36% of customers over the age of 56 prefer phone calls for communication. But not everyone wants to call a customer support channel. Some people's phone anxiety renders them unable to make calls.
Similarly, older customers may not know how to get to you through your website's contact form. The younger ones might have issues with the email route.
Why not solve everyone's problem by providing multiple contact channels? These could include phone, email, social media, chatbots, and other messaging applications.
Also, make these channels efficient. If someone is calling you, they shouldn't have to wait for 30 minutes to be connected to an agent. Or if a customer sends an email, they shouldn't be getting a reply after a week.
One of the best customer service practices is to stay true to your word. If you promise a package will be delivered in three days, ensure it happens. Or, if you offer a refund or replacement, follow through with it.
Customers feel heard and valued when brands keep their promises. It shows them you didn't forget them in a sea of customers. As a result, they'll stay loyal and return for future purchases.
What happens when customers have a positive customer service experience with your brand? 94% of them become likely to make a subsequent purchase. That should be enough reason for you to train your customer success team to be positive when handling customers.
Yes, helping some customers can be frustrating. In some instances, a customer's issue could be the third duplicate you've attended to that day. Or maybe it's a problem that your team has no control over.
But regardless, it's important to be polite and empathetic when communicating with customers. 95% of US consumers say if they feel valued by a customer support agent, it affects their decision to do long-term business with a company. So, this positive attitude can do wonders for the sales figures.
Self-service simply means letting customers find their solutions through a knowledge base or FAQ section on your website. It's a win-win for both parties.
Your support agents have to do less work since customers can find solutions to repetitive or common issues on their own. On the other hand, the customers don't have to wait for a response from the support team, which can often be frustrating.
Self-service options can include:
Chatbots are becoming popular since they deal with repetitive inquiries, which make up 60% to 80% of all customer concerns.
But don't skimp on FAQs. In a Forrester study, 60% of customers said they've used FAQs or help center sections on an organization's website in the past year. So, make sure your FAQs are up-to-date and informative.
Did you hear the story of the best man at a wedding whose shoes were sent to the wrong location? A quick call to the online shoe retailer Zappos solved the problem. They delivered a new pair of shoes to him the night before the event.
Zappos isn't the only example. Tesla literally meets the customers where they are by going to their homes to fix their cars. Customers don't have to go to a repair shop or waste hours getting their vehicles fixed.
What does this do for Tesla? Customers talk about the exceptional customer service online and become the brand's advocates. You must have seen the tweets.
The point of these examples is that sometimes, you need to think outside the box and be creative when solving customer problems. Going above and beyond for just one customer can change the whole game. All it takes is a social media post praising your service to go viral.
Sometimes, you know there will be complaints. Maybe the new update will have a bug, or maybe the weather is going to cause shipping delays.
Acknowledge these potential complaints beforehand so that customers know you're aware of the issue. It prevents frustration because the customers can see you're already on it.
Adobe is a good example here. When there was an AWS (Amazon Web Services) outage in March 2017, Adobe knew some of its services would be down. What did the company do? They went to Twitter and posted about it before they started getting customer complaints.
Even better, they added puppy stampede GIFs to lighten up the situation. The customers were appreciative of this gesture.
Some problems cannot be seen in advance. That's okay. Solve them as soon as they occur.
Customers don't want to wait for hours or days to get their problems resolved. The quicker you can solve the problem, the happier they will be.
But it's not just about speed. You also need to make sure your solution is effective. Don't just provide a temporary fix, but instead, get to the root of the problem and solve it for good.
What would such swift customer support do? It would encourage customers to recommend your brand to their friends and family. In fact, 82% of customers actually do it based on your customer service.
What happens if you don't solve your customers' complaints, resulting in them having a poor experience? Nearly 61% of them switch to a new company. It doesn't even take multiple bad experiences; 76% of consumers will leave your business after just one poor support experience.
Customers are not mere numbers; they're actual human beings. So, it makes sense that they want to be treated like one.
Personalization can go a long way in making customers feel valued and heard. One example is to address them by their name. That's the first sign a customer notices to realize they're talking to a human and not a default messaging system.
Another way to personalize customer support is to understand your customers on a deeper level. You can achieve this through data analysis of their purchase history or previous interactions with your business. Know their preferences and needs. Then, tailor your support specifically for them.
Many people gloss over the importance of listening when discussing best practices for customer service. However, it is one of the most crucial aspects of providing top-notch support.
In a Hubspot Research, 33% of customers said their frustration with customer service stems from having to repeat themselves to different support agents. Something similar was also seen in a Zendesk report, where 68% of customers said businesses must improve their customer service agents' training.
The issue seems to be that customer service agents aren't actively listening to customers' concerns. Instead, they're just following a script or trying to get through the conversation as quickly as possible.
Also, customers are often routed to multiple agents. They have to repeat the same query to each new agent, which leads to dissatisfaction with the support.
You now know the top 10 customer service tips for your business. Now, it's time to incorporate a customer support tool in the mix to form the whole package.
JustReply is just the solution you need since it lets you resolve queries from your Slack workspace. View customer queries, assign them to the agent, resolve them, and even take feedback — all from the same platform. Get started today.