Regardless of the industry that you operate in, the number one priority of any company is its customers.
An unhappy customer leads to a limited, fractured relationship and a loss of any potential brand loyalty and future sales. If your business is customer centric, then focusing on customer service should be a top priority. Even if you haven’t put much emphasis on customer service so far, there is always room for improvement to enhance the customer experience. Here are 5 ways you can improve your company’s customer service.
Encourage and Teach Empathy
Not feeling understood is perhaps the number one complaint customers have about a company’s customer service. A customer may reach out to your customer service for several reasons—they may have questions, a complaint, need verification about something related to the product, etc. Feeling as though they are not understood can be incredibly frustrating. This is where empathy comes in.
When customer service reps are empathetic with customers, they try to understand what the customer’s issue is and where they are coming from. This helps the customer feel understood and can entirely change the narrative of the interaction. There are many ways that customer service reps can empathize with customers. One way is by using active listening.
Active listening requires your sales reps to rephrase and clarify what the customer is saying. This helps them feel as though the rep is trying to understand what they are going through so that they can get the help they need. This can be further enhanced by using phrases such as “I can see how that would be frustrating,” “that must have been upsetting,” etc. This again helps the customer feel understood and helps get the necessary information required to help the customer get what they need.
Knowing where to start is one of the first steps at improving your company’s existing customer service. The easiest way to do this is to actively seek out customer feedback. Through customer feedback, you can determine what your company is doing well and what areas need improvement. Technology offers many different ways to collect customer feedback.
One popular way is to have customers complete surveys immediately following a customer service interaction. Another popular method is to follow up with customers for feedback via email after a customer service interaction. You may also choose to encourage customer feedback via social media, an online form on your website, in store feedback forms, etc.
Regardless of the collection method, customer feedback is an invaluable tool. It will show you areas of customer service that are a point of frustration for customers. This should be your starting point. It also highlights areas where customer service is excelling. Analyzing what makes this area of customer service excel can provide a foundation for improving the other areas identified via feedback.
Going that extra mile and adding personal touches to the customer service experience can make all the difference. One of the easiest ways to do this is to be a ‘real’ person. While automation is a blessing to businesses as it can drastically improve productivity and reduce expenses, it can be beyond frustrating for customers when they have to go through menu after menu just trying to get to a real person that understands what they are going through.
Outsourcing is a great way to reduce expenses. However, if outsourcing means that your customer service reps are simply reading from a script as a response to customer issues, you’d be better off just having an automated system.
Customers want a real person that understands what they are going through and can actually help them. This requires customer service reps to be thoroughly trained on numerous issues that customers may face and be given some level of power to be able to assist them.
This is one aspect of customer service that many companies tend to overlook. Your customer service can only be as good as your reps. The higher the level of employee engagement amongst your customer service reps, the better your customer service will be. This means working to make sure your employees are engaged. Two ways of doing this are by ensuring reps are properly trained and that they have the tools they need.
Proper training means that customer service reps have thorough training on the various issues customers may face. This is true for each department that deals with customer service. If your reps do not have adequate training they will not be able to fully help customers with their issues. This can lead to frustrations for both the customer and the employee.
It is also essential that you give customer service reps the tools that they need to succeed in helping the customer. This means giving customer service reps some level of power to offer refunds, order replacements, schedule service requests, etc. It is extremely frustrating to both reps and customers if there is nothing the rep can do to help resolve the customer’s problem.
Implementing an element of follow up to all customer service interactions can drastically improve customer satisfaction and result in overall improved customer service. Once a customer’s issue is resolved, follow up allows your company to gather customer feedback but also make sure that their issue stays resolved. This can be done shortly after the customer service interaction.
Another method of follow up is to simply check-in with customers after a certain period after a purchase is made or a customer service interaction. This helps in several ways. First, it helps keep your company at the front of the customer’s mind. Secondly, it gives you an opportunity to pre-emptively address any issues that the customer is experiencing. They may not have called or notified you about the issue. However, by taking the initiative to reach out you can control the narrative and help shape the customer’s experience with your company’s brand.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
Working to improve your customer service can take your business to the next level. It can lead to better sales and increased brand loyalty. A company with excellent customer service, such as a site like Marble.com, aims to incorporate these various elements into their customer service strategy.
If your company is looking for ways to improve their business, especially customer satisfaction, then these elements are a great starting point for creating a truly great customer service experience.