Key Elements of Customer Service for Successful Business Growth
When it comes to successfully running and growing your business, unquestionably, it all boils down to the firmness of your corporate philosophy and your customer service. And here’s the thing—exceptional customer service is like art. It isn’t easy to clarify what it is, but you know it when you see it.
See, for most customers, it’s pretty straightforward to distinguish between good and poor customer service. Defining the difference, nonetheless, it’s a whole other story. That’s because good customer service is a subjective matter more than anything else. It solely depends on how the client is feeling at the moment and what they’re demanding your business to do. This means that even excellent customer service can be easily overlooked if the customer’s needs aren’t sufficiently met. So, how do you know if your business is providing good customer service at all?
Regardless of what industry you’re in, there are key elements of customer service shared in every outstanding service interaction. Below, we’ll lay out the most crucial customer service components that you’ll need to demonstrate if you want to provide excellent customer service at your company and how they’re correlated with your business’s growth charts.
The Importance Of First-Class Customer Service For Business Growth
To begin with, everybody knows that a poor customer experience will drive people away from your business and stop them from coming back. Does this mean that the opposite is accurate, and a positive customer experience will keep people coming back for more? Well, if the customer experience numbers and statistics are to be believed—yes, it does.
According to a PwC study named “Experience Is Everything,” 42% of the 15,000 consumers surveyed said they would be willing to spend more for a more friendly customer experience. Additionally, 52% of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for a faster and more efficient customer experience while shopping. On the other hand, 89% of consumers say they have no problem switching to do business with a competitor following a bad customer experience.
See where we’re going? Modern-day customers are willing to spend more with businesses that care about their customers and vice versa; they are ready to quit doing business with companies that don’t put in the effort to treat and service customers as they should.
Revenue drives growth and is the number one reason why customer service is essential to a business. Therefore, excellent customer service needs to be a part of your business’s DNA from day one and plays a huge role in where your business is headed in terms of growth.
Below, we’ll take a look at the key elements of customer service that have proven their value to both companies and customers at large to achieve customer satisfaction and team-wide harmony.
The 5 Customer Service Elements That Truly Define The Customer Experience
If you’re willing to improve your customer service, one approach could be to copy the key elements of customer service that huge companies and corporations throw into their service mix. While this could bring some success, bear in mind that what works for one company might not work for another. You might find yourself trailing behind by building your customer service efforts on a shaky foundation, lacking a genuine understanding of what makes for an outstanding customer experience.
To avoid this, instead of coping, take a look at the key elements of customer service that make up a positive customer experience. Afterward, once you’ve grasped these building blocks, you can rearrange, shuffle, and apply them according to your company’s unique situation.
Nowadays, there’s no denying that speed has a monumental impact on customer satisfaction, particularly in customer service. Just the thought of waiting in line is enough to break modern-day customers into a cold sweat, making speed perhaps the most crucial component of customer service actions.
Besides, the ever-accelerating technology that is everywhere around us has only shortened people’s patience span. The speediness of your customer service efforts depends on several factors:
- Contact Channel. You already know that not all contact channels offer the same levels of speed. For instance, phone waiting lines are disheartening because they leave you waiting until a customer service representative picks up the phone in limbo. Emails could take weeks to be answered. Conversely, the success of messaging support and live chat can largely be ascribed to the fact that they’re one of the fastest ways to get in touch with a company.
- Customer service agents. Fast contact channels are worthless without customer service agents who can respond to your requests immediately, make decisions, and offer solutions without research or deferring to senior agents. To improve this component of customer service, you can turn to canned messages and product knowledge training sessions to boost responsiveness accordingly.
- Automation. Unless the service is the product, customers are just looking for answers to their inquiries and requests in the shortest amount of time possible and nothing more. That means that automated customer services, like chatbots, for example, can be a fantastic way to improve your customer service department—if done right.
To address this, you can leverage the latest Y Meadows’ NLP and AI-powered customer service automation platform to alleviate the pains of the past and supercharge your customer service team to resolve customer tickets successfully in a matter of seconds. Automated, highly sophisticated solutions that use advanced NLP technology to understand written messages can apply workflow automation to resolve virtually any issue from end to end and are a win-win for both your customers and your customer service reps.
Accessibility is the second building block or component of customer service that we'll talk about and refers to how accessible your customer service is to your customers across different touchpoints and communication channels. The more you can reduce customer effort, the closer you'll be to gaining their loyalty and respect. Below, we'll go through the most common touchpoints of customer interaction where accessibility is a significant factor and how you can successfully address these issues to provide better customer service.
- Your company website must be as user-friendly as it gets. When they decide to purchase a product from a specific company, the first thing that the majority of buyers do is visit the company's website. If the website's too slow to load or hard to navigate, customers are likely to give up and visit a competitor's website. As a matter of fact, 88% of online customers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.
Your website is usually the first point of contact for new customers, so it should impress them and be straightforward to use. First impressions matter, but even more so in the digital world, where companies only have a mere 50 milliseconds to make an excellent first impression. After all, first impressions are built on speed, ease of use, clarity, and mobile-friendliness.
- Contact channels. Contacting customer support representatives is not an activity customers do for fun. If they have to contact you, it's because they've got a particular problem with your business or product, and they're not trying to jump through hoops to get it resolved.
That being said, your company doesn't have to offer every contact channel available. Offering a couple of well-thought contact channels can improve customer experience, and automation and sophisticated technology can do wonders for enhancing accessibility as a crucial component of customer service.
- Availability. Technological advancements have shifted expectations for availability as it has never been easier to interact with someone wherever they are on the planet, at any time of the day. Your clients will probably have questions and requests outside business hours, especially if you have international ones. So, if you're not ready to offer them 24/7 customer service, think about implementing innovative automated solutions and self-service options to increase your business's accessibility even further.
As the “new guru” of customer service excellence, Micah Solomon said—great customer service is fast but never rushed. Rushing with your customer service strategies will never get you anywhere and can only result in making costly mistakes and sloppiness.
Since incorrect answers can reflect poorly on the company and erode customer confidence, quality is the next fundamental customer service element that you need to engrave into your customer service philosophy.
This doesn’t mean that customer service representatives have to have an answer for every possible scenario at hand. However, providing quality customer service means that proper training and education are essential for delivering a high standard of service. Preferably, continual training should be offered to agents to nurture the kind of mindset required for customer support.
Never forget that customers always want to feel like they’re in control of the situation, and nothing can leave them feeling more cornered and helpless than inflexible policies and bureaucratic loops. Here’s how to make your customers feel like they’re the ones in charge when they interact with your business:
- Be flexible. Most people are not trying to trick you when they request a full refund or a little leeway. Nonetheless, many companies treat such demands with distrust which can lead to unwanted publicly covered scenarios. Always stay flexible with your customers, as flexibility displays compassion for your customer’s situation and is an excellent sign of trust. Trust brings loyalty, and loyal customers are considerable contributors to your potential business growth.
- Offer self-service. Most modern-day customers, especially younger generations, want to help themselves instead of waiting for a company representative to solve their issue. Self-service options such as knowledge bases or FAQs let customers take care of themselves and provide a feeling of empowerment.
- Feedback. Being able to give feedback is essential to feeling empowered. For example, let’s say that a customer experienced poor customer service. Let your customers express their feelings about your service, whether via social media, direct contact, or email so that they feel that you listen to their complaints or endorsement.
Friendliness is the last component of the key elements of customer service that we’ll cover in this blog post, and even if it’s a basic expectation of businesses that care about creating positive customer experiences, not every company gets it right. The bottom line, customer service ethics are very important. An excellent place to start is the golden rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Employees. Friendliness starts from within with your customer service representatives. You can’t require your agents to be friendly with your customers if you don’t set a positive example first. Needless to say, hiring suitable customer support agents also helps.
- Respect. As you may know, it costs $0 to treat your customers with respect, but it can cost you dearly if you don’t. Respect is not just about being courteous to your clients, but you can also show them respect by protecting their privacy and information.
- Fairness. Because unfairness triggers negative emotions and experiences in each customer. Nobody wants to experience someone jumping in the waiting queue in front of them or when someone else is served before them.
Providing top-class customer service to your customers at the moment is closely correlated with what your business will look like in the future because the way you take care of your customers will mold their perception of your business and whether they’ll come back for more.
Whatever your business looks like, make sure to put a strong emphasis on making your customers happy by building your setup around the key elements of customer service we mentioned in this blog post, and you can’t go wrong!
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