Customer service is one of the most important aspects of owning a business. It's not enough anymore to sell a product and let the consumer enjoy their purchase. When the Age of Information arrived in the late 1990s, everyone's expectations of customer service changed drastically. Businesses were forced to find new ways to improve and expand on their existing support framework.
It turns out that the way you handle your customer support strategy has a dramatic impact on your customers' overall experience with your brand. It also influences what consumers say about you online and even affects the perceived value of your company. In other words, a product seems far less valuable if there's no competent service team to help consumers with questions.
We are going to look at three ways you can enhance your customer service strategy and team:
- Types of customer service teams, and how and why they work together
- Why you should use chatbots alongside your live chat team
- The benefits of analyzing feedback forms
Understand the three types of customer service teams
Speed and accuracy play a massive role in the way people see companies. Now that we can communicate with people around the world in seconds, customer patience is all but gone. When a consumer has a question, they expect someone to respond to their concern in 10 minutes or less.
The best way to improve your speed and accuracy is by connecting all of your customer service channels. Most businesses have three different teams that communicate with consumers. Marketing teams are responsible for finding and adding customers to the company lead list. The sales team is there to close the deal with leads and prospects. Finally, the support team is there to provide service to your customers after they've made a purchase.
Cross-train service teams and share CRM software
Many companies struggle with finding a balance between these three important groups of people that work with your customers. Let's say someone contacts your business because they have a question about their purchase, but they accidentally get directed to your sales team. The customer has been on hold for five minutes and spends another seven minutes explaining their issue to the representative.
If the sales agent can't help because it's a post-purchase customer, they will have to transfer the caller to the support team. The consumer is already frustrated. Now they will be placed on hold again and will have to explain their problem to another agent. This customer will probably remember this experience, and it could have a severe impact on whether or not they shop with you in the future.
You can solve this problem using several different tactics. First, we recommend cross-training all of your customer service agents. Then, they can help consumers who get routed to the wrong department if they have a question that has a fast and easy answer.
Besides training everyone to handle fundamental problems in each department, it's also helpful to work within one CRM system. Some businesses have separate chat channels that they use, specifically in sales and support. When a customer needs to be transferred to another department, it's nearly impossible for the agent using a different system to understand the purpose of the call without another explanation. If you use one channel for all your customer-facing teams, all notes and previous conversations are shared between them. When a customer calls in, all of their information on past calls and messages are available, which makes helping customers easier.
Editor's note: Looking for the right CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
Add a chatbot for common questions and concerns
Stress is a major contributing factor when discussing your teams' quality of work and productivity. If you could reduce the burden of your support team while improving the user experience of your customers, you would, right? Chatbots are an excellent way to enhance the overall quality of your service and can have a positive impact on the way consumers interact with your brand.
There's a common misconception that when businesses switch to chatbots, they get rid of their core customer-care team. The truth is that companies still need real people on the front lines helping customers. Instead of using a chatbot to take over your support, consider it as a resource that can quickly solve common concerns and questions your customers may have. This allows your team to focus on helping the customers who have complex issues.
Chatbots can handle basic questions about product promotions and pricing, and can direct customers to your blog when they have questions that you've already answered. This incentivizes business owners to create content that provides value by educating and answering consumer questions. Also, consider that high-quality content can drive your traffic by over 2000 percent!
Once you start using chatbots to help customers with everyday issues, you should see a drastic improvement in your customer service team. Instead of dealing with 500 or more tickets a day, most of which are repetitive questions with a simple solution, your staff may have only to handle 50 complicated tickets per day. The reduced stress and additional time will help your support team focus on individual customers, while the people with common questions get instant answers. It's truly a win-win situation for businesses and consumers.
Analyze customer service feedback
Examining feedback forms is one of the best ways to improve your support team. Positive feedback is excellent, and your staff should feel good when someone submits a glowing feedback form. However, if you're looking to use this information to improve your service team, the negative forms provide the most value. You can learn what kind of barriers your customers are facing and how you can better bridge the gap between their initial purchase and success with your product. Depending on your business model, particularly those in the SaaS field, closing the gap may take years.
If you're regularly checking customer satisfaction forms for areas of opportunities, you may begin to notice many people having the same thoughts or concerns. For example, you might discover that consumers feel like your marketing team doesn't explain the benefits of the product; this is an area for improvement. Similarly, you can find design flaws through these forms. If customers complain that it took them a long time to find the chat channel, you may have to consider the placement and fix your design.
When you're aware of the common problems your customers are facing, you can prep your service team to address these concerns when talking to future customers. The result is a support representative that's confident, concise and helpful.
Improving your customer service team is an ongoing process. You'll never master it because it's continually evolving. For example, think of how phone-support teams were forced to switch over to online support after businesses recognized that this was a better way to reach their customer base.
There's no doubt that this change made both the employees and business owners realize that things can change drastically in a few short years. Since you can never master support, the best you can do is continue to improve. You have to remain flexible and willing to adapt to both the needs of your customers and the blisteringly fast-paced growth of technology.
It's hard to say where customer service technology will be in the next 10 or 20 years, but you have to remember that as long as you are willing to put customers first and strive to improve your support team, success is at your fingertips.