Editors Note: This article was updated on August 27, 2020, originally published on September 18, 2018, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Growth is among the goals of every company and is even more significant for startups. But with growth come challenges. Scaling customer service is among the thorniest of those challenges.
A startup’s most pressing problem initially is product-market fit. At this stage, customers provide feedback that can help you tailor your product or service to the market’s exact needs.
But, eventually, customers will want something more from your company; they’ll want better support.
Excellent customer service provides numerous benefits to companies, including increased customer loyalty and enhanced brand image. It also builds customer relationships and improves customer satisfaction. In short, excellent customer service boosts profitability.
Getting your customer service team to provide epic service, however, is easier said than done. Many executives and managers find it among their toughest business challenges. The best way to provide good customer service is getting to know your customers, and getting closer to them.
Below, we provide a list of proven tips any big or small business can use to provide great customer service. Apply these six strategies to improve your customer service.
Customers often have unique behaviors. Helping team members understand customers thoroughly is critical to providing good service and increasing customer loyalty. Search and determine how they like to be served. It will help you decide where to prioritize actions—live chat support, self-service, social media, or phone support.
Start by developing personas on your customers to get to know them better.
Another action your business could take is to try revisiting customer segmentation. Segmenting your customer base in a new way can help you see them in a new way. Another tactic is looking across all customer segments and identifying unique ways to reach them with offers and educational materials.
Engaged employees deliver engaging customer experiences. How do your customer service agents respond to customers? Were they excited to speak with them or, were they apathetic?
To boost employee engagement, offer meaningful incentives encouraging specific behaviors. Gamification and coaching programs are great ways to do it. Also, map out the customer’s journey and then outline the steps the support team needs to help them get there.
Your team mustn’t be overloaded with work they can’t handle in time. It is very probable that if they are overwhelmed, they won’t give the service they are capable of doing. Your team’s efficiency will be damaged if you don’t correct this scenario before it happens.
Hiring a new employee or outsourcing your customer support should be taken into consideration in a reasonable time. Finding, onboarding, and training new employees takes time. It may take as much as two to three months until your new employee is ready for primetime.
Customers expect your team to be up to date with their account and needs. The more data you give your team, the better they can help customers. It is even better if you are giving it to them in real-time.
Build systems that capture critical customer information and provide it on-demand when your team needs it. Also, share information between departments, especially marketing, sales, and product development.
Using software that everyone can see helps track things and speeds response times. By using transparent software, when one shift leaves, the next can pick up where they left off. It also helps agents learn from each other.
Tools such as AI tools, chatbots, helpdesk software streamline processes. That means customers get answers faster, and your agents solve problems quicker. Streamlining your support effort also reduces your customer service team’s workload—not to mention its stress.
Some companies lose track of their customer service goals and get caught in a constant cycle of change. Your business must focus on evolving strategically. Also, commit to learning about your customers, and leveraging the feedback from the complaints customers make to enhance your services.
Evaluate your services from time to time. Make sure you’re not relying on impersonal methods, like Likert scales alone, to generate feedback. Instead, get the customers’ feedback by asking them directly how their experience was. Once you get that feedback, use it to make the changes needed and improve your customer service.
Your agents’ customer service skills should be continually upgrading. Emphasize continual learning and improvement by employees. Invite speakers to come in to talk about customer service topics. Have senior managers discuss how customer service fits in with the company’s overall goals.
Also, try revisiting the department and personal goals and what they need to do to meet them. Then create an action plan to achieve them.
How do your employees sign off with customers during phone calls? Does the agent say, “Bye,” and hang up? Instead, have them acknowledge the customers. Ask employees to make sure customers have everything they want and keep the door open for a return visit.
Let your callers know that your team is always happy to help and that they’re welcome to return. The end of a customer’s call is just as critical as the beginning. That is why it is crucial to make it memorable.
Phone etiquette is one area of focus when improving customer communication. But it would be best if you were looking at all channels of communication, including social media, chat, and in-person. How you communicate is one of the key strategies for customer service improvement. Your strategy should outline which channels you will utilize and protocols for how to deliver customer service.
Making customers happy should be in every business’s priorities. If customer service isn’t a priority at your company, you need to make it so.
Use these customer service tips to help your team members get closer to customers and go that extra mile. Getting closer can help employees exceed expectations when engaging with customers. Doing so can enhance relationships with your customers, boost loyalty, and increase profitability.