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Is Your Support Team Damaging Your Customer Experience?

Today, we are in an age of business dubbed the “Age of the Customer”. Businesses today are more focused on customer experience than ever before.

Customers interact with your business through your customer support team. Your agents are how your customers will remember your brand. Thus, this team is the voice of your business.

You can have a superior product and skillful employees but, the customer’s level of satisfaction is a direct outcome of the quality and skill of your customer support team. Therefore, in order to improve your customer experience, you must upgrade your customer service standards.

So, what is the most useful solution? Improved customer service with the help of machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) software.  

What can NLP solve?

Frustration

Not surprisingly, customer service jobs are quite challenging. The myriad of problems, queries, and complaints faced on a daily basis often leads to frustrated customer service representatives and unhappy customers.

So, what is causing the frustration?

1. Absence of the necessary tools

As technology improves, businesses have two responsibilities:

  • Creating an effective customer experience
  • Maximizing efficiency.

Due to customers having increasingly busy lives, the need for businesses to invest in the latest technology to streamline tasks and mitigate unnecessary communication has become vital for success. Despite this being the case, 60 percent of customer service representatives surveyed said that they did not have the necessary tools or technology to handle all of their problems.

Today, customer support agents have to use a variety of systems in order to answer one ticket. For example, a single customer request may require data from multiple systems like email, support ticketing, customer order  history, shipping, billing, etc.

Finding the right technology to solve your problems can have a huge impact on not only your customer experience but employee morale. By implementing Y Meadows’ software, the number of systems your agents have to use decreases substantially making your agents’ jobs easier and less tedious. Y Meadows’ software uses NLP and machine learning to identify the nature of the customer issue, access your company’s systems, and accumulate relevant information from multiple channels before the agent is ever engaged.

Therefore, when the customer service representative initially accesses the customer query, it will have been enriched with the information necessary to address the customer’s issue. Automating onerous tasks that bog down the customer service process, frees the agent to give more attention to complex issues while shortening the time a customer waits for a response.

2. Not knowing the answer to a customer query

There will be times when customers catch your agents off guard. It is not practical to expect your customer service team to know every answer to each of the different questions asked by customers.

Take the case of a customer inquiring about the status of their delivery in the common scenario where logistics are handled by third party couriers. Often the customer service agent simply does not have the necessary information at hand. Nevertheless, responding to the customer with, “I don’t know,” is…not good.

According to an American Express survey which asked, “What is the most annoying phrase heard from customer support?” respondents chose, “We’re unable to answer your question. Please call XXX-XXX-XXXX to speak with a representative from XXX team.” The one thing your customer service team should attempt to avoid is requiring the customer to spend more time and effort trying to get a resolution. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study found that decreasing customer effort increases customer loyalty as well as the likelihood of the customer spreading positive word-of-mouth.

Although your customer support agent may not know the answer to a customer’s question, the agent should avoid dismissing customers with canned responses. And, though it may be tempting, the agent should refrain from guessing or providing an imprecise estimate in an effort to garner a fast response time. Providing an incorrect answer to an already aggravated customer is never a good idea. Instead, with the right tools, this is an opportunity for your team to build the customer relationship by directing them down the path to resolution.

Fortunately, Y Meadows’ software has the ability to help. Not only is this software capable of  providing your customer service representative with vital background information, but it will also propose a customized action plan based on the nature of the query to guide your agent through the resolution process. This guidance alleviates frustration on the part of both the customer service representative as well as the customer and improves the quality and consistency of your customer experience.

Empathy and Understanding

With 47 percent of customers saying they will stop buying from a company if they have a subpar experience, it is ever more important to not only meet your customers’ needs but exceed them. The key to this is meeting customers on their emotional level.

How so? With empathy.

Empathy has the power to make an aggrieved customer feel better. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, if a complaining customer is successfully handled in less than 5 minutes then they will continue to do business with the company.

So, how can empathy be instilled?

  • Customer journey diagram

A customer journey diagram is a visual story that illustrates the steps customers go through when interacting with your brand. If your customers have a bad experience at any point in the customer journey, the effect can create irreparable damage to the customer relationship.

That being said, it is important for customer service agents to be aligned with your customers throughout their entire experience in order to understand what your customers go through. This will enhance the quality of your customer experience by providing a seamless experience at all touchpoints and across all channels.

Y Meadows’ low code software includes a feature to help create custom journeys for each case your business has, called ‘The Journey Builder’.

Our Journey Builder is a tool that can be used to help customer service agents identify processes based on the customer inquiry. Customer service agents can follow, understand, and even modify the journey over time. When building journeys, focus on understanding the customer experience from the outside-in rather than the inside-out. In addition, assess how customers interact with your brand over multiple touchpoints. Positioning your customer service team to view your business through the eyes of the customer is the first step in instilling a sense of empathy toward the customer.

  • Active listening

Another component in fostering a sense of empathy is ensuring that your customer service team is equipped with active listening skills. These skills help your agent to meet the customer at their emotional level in order to convey a sense of understanding.

One way to do this is by using the acronym ‘HEARD’. HEARD stands for Hear, Empathize, Resolve, and Diagnose. This technique will help to calm customers while the agent provides them with a solution. Furthermore, empathy can be shown in a variety of ways. Adopting sayings like “I would feel frustrated too in that situation,” “I appreciate your patience,” and “Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” are also effective ways to show your customer that you are empathetic of what they are going through. If your customers feel as if your support agents do not care or understand their problem, they will find a competitor who does.

  • Understanding tone

Properly dealing with angry or upset customers is an essential skill for customer support agents. But, before being able to properly handle a situation with a disgruntled customer, your agents must be able to assess the customer’s feelings in order to successfully meet their needs.

What if there was a way to measure customer sentiment? Sentiment analysis can be used to gauge how upset a customer is over a written message. Sentiment analysis is a natural language processing technique used to determine the emotional tone behind a series of words.

For example, sentiment analysis measures subjective information like opinions, emotions, and attitudes to determine whether data is positive, negative, or neutral. While sentiment analysis can be used for a variety of purposes, one of the most important advantages comes from its ability to sort large amounts of data efficiently and effectively.

At a high level, this allows businesses to monitor trends and help detect changes in overall opinions toward your brand overtime. This insight can help companies improve the most triggering issues for customers by identifying which cases make customers the angriest. Y Meadows’ software does just that by classifying customer queries within a range of emotional intensities using our new feature, The Fury Index. Y Meadows‘ Fury Index is based on a scale of 0-100. A score of 60 represents neutral while a score of 100 constitutes furious. Furthermore, it has the ability to classify messages across a range of intensities.

For example, if a dissatisfied customer emails your support team, the sentiment analysis tool would be able to determine whether the customer is upset, angry, or even outraged. At the customer service level, this allows the customer service team to prioritize critical cases. In addition, it helps the customer service agent to prepare the appropriate tone of their response prior to interacting with the customer.

Final Thoughts

The customer support field is challenging in the best of circumstances. Competition is high and issues are bound to arise. Having the right information at every step in the customer journey is essential to providing a seamless experience for not only your customers but employees.

In order for customers to return, they must be satisfied with their experience. Without the help of technology, customer support agents are bound to make mistakes. And mistakes generate a decrease in customer experience, loyalty, and revenue. Thus, adopting a user friendly software like Y Meadows in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness while mitigating mundane tasks is vital for success.

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