How customers prefer to communicate with your brand is continually evolving. For example, according to Forrester, customers expect to be able to reach you across multiple channels based on their timelines.
However, customer expectations go beyond simply wanting service when they’re ready for it. To make sure your interactions with them are convenient and helpful, you need a clear strategy. The following best practices can help your team offer an exceptional customer experience.
A customer’s positive experience with your brand can encourage them to keep coming back for years. Plus, loyal customers are more likely to refer others to your business.
Here are the benefits you can look forward to when your team uses a customer-centric support strategy:
Keeping your existing customer base is far more cost effective than finding new customers. However, to retain those customers, it’s important to focus on customer service standards that are known to keep customers happy.
Happy customers are more likely to offer word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews on social media, which can help you gain new customers. Leveling up your customer service strategies can help you reduce customer complaints and increase referrals. Moreover, by providing a seamless experience and incorporating a referral program with a unique referral link, you can further boost customer engagement and bring in new business.
One effective way to know how to improve your customer service is to gather feedback about how customers perceive and interact with your brand and how they’d like to see your service improve.
Developing a repeatable process for customer data collection, such as emailing a satisfaction survey at the end of each phone call, can help you pinpoint existing customer issues and how to help your support agents offer even better service.
Exceptional customer service doesn‘t just help your brand reputation and bottom line. It can also propel you ahead of your competition. By instilling service practices that create an exceptional experience, you can set the customer service standard for your industry.
These seven best practices for customer care can help your team have better interactions with your customers.
According to Coveo Research, customers lose patience when they can’t reach an agent or get conflicting information from agents. This increases churn rates and reduces customer loyalty, especially when it happens early in a customer’s relationship with a brand. In fact, the report says, “76% of customers said they would abandon a brand after three negative service experiences, a 3% increase from last year’s report."
Best practices for improving the first touchpoint include:
While fantastic customer associates are key to offering quality service, good customer service also includes making it easier for customers to solve their own problems. In fact, many customers are happier if they can find the answer without contacting you at all. Here are some tips for providing more self-service options to serve these customers:
Many customers are happy to use self-service options, but others still want a live agent to handle their unique issue with a personal touch. These customers are looking for friendly, knowledgeable, and proactive support staff who are able to assist them.
It’s important to trust your customer service reps and, when appropriate, empower them to make decisions that affect the customer. Instead of continually checking with a manager to approve every change or refund while customers wait, associates can take care of issues more quickly on their own. That leads to a better customer experience, since customers will get their issues resolved more quickly and without needing to be passed between associates.
Here’s how to empower service team members to make more decisions:
Customer data can help you understand exactly what’s working and what’s not. More data means better decision-making. Sources of data include:
Make sure customers feel like they can ask for help on their terms. Some customers will prefer to communicate through diverse support channels, like live chat on your website, while others will simply email you or send you a message via social media. When customers switch channels, your team needs a way to preserve conversations from channel-to-channel. An omnichannel approach will help you support your customers on their terms and deliver a consistent customer experience.
Speaking of consistency, although that first customer service experience is all important, every other customer interaction with your brand is vital too.
Your customer service team should treat every interaction with customers as an opportunity to generate an exceptional impression. Here are a few tips to make that happen:
To improve customer service, you need customer feedback. Although some customers may not offer constructive criticism, it’s still important to understand why they are frustrated, angry, or disappointed. It may not be easy to face every comment or piece of feedback, but it’s better to identify any issues quickly so you can address them in a helpful, proactive way.
Here’s how to create opportunities for customers to review you:
By following customer service strategies recommended above, you can reduce your customer churn (and the cost of gaining new customers), grow your customer base, and receive helpful customer insights.
The best practices we covered include getting the first touchpoint right, creating an omnichannel presence, offering self-service options, and giving targeted, supportive feedback to your team. Develop strategies to increase data collection, expand decision-making capabilities for your customer service team, focus on consistency, and ask customers for reviews.