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Updated Jun 26, 2024

Why Efficient Customer Service Is Better Than Friendly Customer Service

Greeting your customers with a smile is important but efficiency matters even more. Learn how to provide efficient service for your customers.

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Written By: Jamie JohnsonSenior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows you can’t please everyone. When you’re dealing with a large number of customers daily, it’s challenging to give everyone the experience they expect. Additionally, in the age of social media, minor issues with customers can get blown out of proportion online quickly and become big headaches for your company. However, efficiently solving problems can generate goodwill and loyalty and nip potentially disastrous situations in the bid. 

While a friendly face is essential, creating an efficient customer experience is even more important, giving you an edge over the competition and showcasing your brand’s professionalism.

Efficient customer service vs. friendly customer service

Friendly customer service is precisely what it sounds like — your customer service employees are pleasant and make the customer feel welcome. But being friendly isn’t enough on its own. Your representatives must be able to handle problems quickly enough to satisfy the client.

Efficient customer service means reps are knowledgeable about your products or services and can give customers the answers they need quickly. If a problem arises, they resolve the issues and leave customers satisfied. This scenario is much better than providing a friendly staffer who doesn’t know how to solve the customer’s problem or preserve the sale.

As kind as it is to greet customers with a smile, providing reliable, effective service is critical and may entail overhauling your support infrastructure and procedures with a combination of in-person and online tactics. However, it’s worth it: Providing efficient customer service is a win-win proposition that will improve customer satisfaction dramatically, retention and your bottom line. 

FYIDid you know
E-commerce powerhouse Amazon is built on the foundation of efficiency. The website design is warm and welcoming and the platform provides a customer delight level of service. However, customers keep returning because it's often the most efficient way to purchase the products they want.

The benefits of efficient customer service

Here are the five most significant benefits of providing efficient customer service:

  • Efficient customer service helps you keep customers: Good customer service can mean the difference between a one-time buyer and earning repeat business. When customers are happy with the experience you provide, they’ll be less likely to leave for a competitor. 
  • Efficient customer service generates referrals: If customers are satisfied with your service level, they’ll be more likely to refer your business to friends and family. Referrals boost business without requiring additional marketing expenditures. 
  • Efficient customer service can increase profits: When your high-quality, efficient customer service leads to referrals and additional business, it means you’re spending less to acquire new customers, boosting your profits. Additionally, returning customers spend more, further impacting your bottom line.
  • Efficient customer service gives you a competitive edge: Excellent customer service that efficiently solves problems differentiates you from competitors who are less skilled in support. According to Zendesk’s customer experience trends report, over 50 percent of customers will switch to a competitor after just one negative encounter with your business.
  • Efficient customer service can enhance your reputation: Efficient customer service is an excellent way to strengthen your company’s reputation and improve your public image. Satisfied clients will spread the word about your business’s attention to their needs via online reviews on Yelp and other review sites. You can solidify your online reputation further by responding to online reviews — good and bad — to demonstrate how much you care about your customers’ experiences.  
TipBottom line
Consider outsourced customer service if you need to reduce your team's workload, save money or provide after-hours coverage. However, ensuring you work with a reputable partner who understands efficient customer service is crucial.

How to deliver efficient customer service

No matter your company’s size, you can implement the tenets of efficient customer service by adhering to the following best practices.

1. Keep your promises and be consistent.

It’s essential that your business keeps any promises it makes to its customers. Failure to follow through can damage customer relationships and your company’s reputation. 

Customer service consistency is particularly crucial for businesses with multiple business locations. You must ensure all branches and facets of your organization deliver the same messages and levels of service. For example, consider Starbucks. This global company’s message, service level and products are relatively consistent across all locations. The company sets and enforces consistent customer service standards across the board, enhancing consumer trust and loyalty. 

2. Be available to customers via online channels.

Efficient in-person customer service is vital for brick-and-mortar businesses. However, online customer service is equally critical. If a problem arises, some customers will contact you via social media, live chat or email and expect a speedy response. 

Response times and expectations will vary by channel:

  • Live chat: According to Comm100’s Live Chat Benchmark report, the average customer wait time for a live chat was only 23 seconds. Your customers will get frustrated quickly if they must wait much longer. 
  • Email: According to SuperOffice, 46 percent of customers expect a response to service requests and inquiries via email in less than four hours. However, the average response time is closer to 12 hours — if a company responds at all. This disconnect is a recipe for inefficient customer service and dissatisfied customers.
  • Social media: According to the recent Sprout Social Index, 69 percent of consumers expect a response to social media service inquiries within 24 hours. Additionally, 70 percent expect a personalized response and 76 percent “notice and appreciate” companies that prioritize their customers’ needs clearly. 

Speedy online responses can be challenging for many businesses, particularly if they’re trying to manage multiple social media platforms and company inboxes. Fortunately, the best customer relationship management software solutions provide robust customer service features and social media integrations to help businesses address customer inquiries and complaints from a single platform quickly.

Additionally, training your customer service staff to efficiently answer the most commonly asked questions can increase responsiveness and improve outcomes.

3. Provide self-service resources for customers. 

Some customers don’t want to speak to a customer service representative and would rather solve the problem on their own. Given adequate resources, many customers can do just that, potentially lowering the number of customer service staffers needed and reducing the hours agents spend answering straightforward questions. 

Quality online self-service options can quickly direct clients to the answers they need, allowing you to provide efficient, expedient customer service — and save customer service resources and personalized experiences for more challenging issues. 

Self-service tools are a scalable solution to many customer service problems. For example, you can provide a detailed and regularly updated knowledge base on your company website where customers can find answers to frequently asked questions. You could also offer a forum where customers can ask questions and chat with other clients to help resolve issues. 

Did You Know?Did you know
The best call center services can monitor live chat, phone and social media channels to help you provide efficient customer service. These platforms often incorporate robust AI tools to further increase efficiency.

4. Be proactive in providing efficient customer service. 

Another way to provide efficient customer service is to anticipate problems before they occur, which saves the customer from having to contact you with questions. Using customer data analytics is a great way to assess your client base so you can strategize accordingly. 

Providing proactive customer support is powerful because it allows you to go beyond to meet and exceed customer expectations. This kind of service fosters customer loyalty and can help you turn your customers into lifelong fans. 

5. Support your staff so they can provide efficient customer service.

If you want your customer service reps to provide efficient service, you must give them the necessary tools. If staffers are only equipped to solve problems within narrow parameters, they can’t be truly effective. 

Ensure you empower your staff to offer solutions and provide them with the budget and resources necessary to solve customer problems. Additionally, consider rewarding your employees for efficiently handling customer problems. This creates an employee-centric company culture with employees who are willing to go above and beyond for the company’s customers. 

How to measure customer service efficiency

The best way to determine if your company provides efficient customer service is by tracking and measuring your customer service processes. Here are seven metrics you can use to gauge customer service efficiency:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): The CSAT is a commonly used score that measures customer satisfaction with a company’s products or services. It’s based on customer feedback and ranges from 0 to 100.
  • Customer effort score (CES): The CES measures how easily customers can locate the information they need or find a resolution to their problems. You’ll learn this information by sending a customer survey where they can rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 7.
  • Customer churn: Customer churn refers to the number of people who stopped being customers within a specific period. This information could be based on lower purchase amounts or declining repeat purchases. 
  • First response time (FRT): FRT is the time it takes for customers to receive a response from your customer support team.  
  • Average resolution time (ART): ART measures how quickly a customer’s issue is resolved. It’s one of the most essential metrics to look at since it measures the effectiveness of your customer support staff. 
  • Ticket volume: Ticket volume is the sum of your support tickets within a certain period. This metric can help you identify trends and areas for improvement.
  • Call abandonment rate (CAR): The call abandonment rate is the percentage of customers who hang up before a customer service rep answers their call. A high CAR indicates long hold times, likely leading to poor customer satisfaction.
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Written By: Jamie JohnsonSenior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Jamie Johnson has spent more than five years providing invaluable financial guidance to business owners, leading them through the financial intricacies of entrepreneurship. From offering investment lessons to recommending funding options, business loans and insurance, Johnson distills complex financial matters into easily understandable and actionable advice, empowering entrepreneurs to make informed decisions for their companies. As a business owner herself, she continually tests and refines her business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise is evident in her contributions to various finance publications, including Rocket Mortgage, InvestorPlace, Insurify and Credit Karma. Moreover, she has showcased her command of other B2B topics, ranging from sales and payroll to marketing and social media, with insights featured in esteemed outlets such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, CNN, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and Business Insider.
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