ECommerce is growing like wildfire, offering exciting business insights via analytics and data. Sometimes it is easy to forget that there are people on the other end of the transaction. No matter how much information companies provide before the sale, most customers will still need help. 83% of consumers expressed a need for some help on their online shopping journey.
“The customer is king” is an old saying, yet it has never been more relevant than it is now. Unhappy customers can swipe left or click a button, and poof! They take their business elsewhere. Even worse, they can share their discontent with their local and social media networks. The data confirms that service-related problems are a critical touchpoint. Relative to price or product-related issues, a customer is four times more likely to switch to a competitor for service-related problems than price or product-related.
Another survey showed that after a negative customer service experience, 73% of customers in the telecom space shared negative opinions about the company via word-of-mouth, and 22% of them also shared their experience on social media.
Now for the good news! There are measurable steps companies can take to improve customer service. Investments in customer service can boost brand loyalty and revenue growth.
One study found that the brands that provide the best customer experiences achieved 17% compound growth between 2010 and 2015. Brands with the most unhappy customers posted a paltry 3% growth over the same period. Optimizing the customer service experience for both employees and customers boosts brand loyalty and revenue growth.
Developing a customer success management solution is essential to customer service excellence. A strategy based on five fundamental vectors is vital for the highly competitive fields of telecom, health care, SaaS, eCommerce, and more. Let’s look at the five critical features a little more closely.
Are you ready to get started or improve your telecom customer service KPI performance? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Customer Service Metrics Cheat Sheet for how to measure customer support performance metrics today.
Collaboration is Key for Customer Service Success
To borrow a popular parenting expression, good customer service begins at home. Therefore company culture and supportive internal customer service reps directly translate to customer satisfaction. Anyone who has ever had dinner at a poorly run restaurant can relate to this. Even if the food was good, did you go back? Most likely not.
Customer Service benefits from a team approach and collaboration more than other departments. Knowledge sharing between departments and agents empowers reps to respond more efficiently and solve problems faster. When customer data is siloed and walled off, it is frustrating for both the customer and the support personnel. Companies should look for ways to integrate customer data to reduce friction from the customer’s point of view.
Integration Behind the Scenes
Modern eCommerce companies compete within a fragmented marketplace. Customers use multiple devices, sometimes in the same transaction. They come and go from many places online, are easily distracted, and are pressed for time.
The more consistent your brand messaging is across platforms, the better. Consumers feel let down when the pre-sale marketing context differs from after the sale. One stark example is in many healthcare brands where the marketing to enroll customers is professional, empathetic, and engaging. After people sign up, the experience with opening an account or tracking a bill, for example, is the polar opposite of empathy in many contexts.
Tips for integration include understanding customer context. Utilize current tracking metrics to capture all your customer’s activities and events, both before and after they enter the customer service ecosystem. Be sure customer reps have a unified view of the customer service journey within your company, too.
Creating a centralized knowledge base for all employees in client-facing and social media roles leads to a consistent brand voice.
Social Outreach for Customer Service Success
Humans are social creatures by nature. We want to feel heard, seen, and valued. Your customers like to belong to groups that reflect well on their self-image and make them look good in front of others. Sports affiliations are one example. Brand loyalty can be another, as more than 70% of customers feel loyal to a brand or a company. Brands can capitalize on that by providing customer service experiences that increase brand loyalty and discourage them from “checking out” the competition.
You don’t have to limit the conversations with customers to just when they need help or are having a problem. Keep the conversation going across multiple channels.
Provide a positive, personalized, and engaging conversation. Give employees autonomy to send customers small thank you gifts or unexpected bonuses or coupons. One example is a tech customer rep who heard a baby in the background and asked the customer how it was going. She surprised the client with a box of diapers and a nice note, which she then shared on social media. This thoughtful act turned a customer service interaction into a brand-building social share.
Live Chat and Voice Support
People hate to wait on hold, and that alone is a big reason why live chat and phone support are essential to streamlining the client experience.
Optimizing a personalized service experience leads to satisfied customers. A survey shows that 33% of clients say that efficiently answering questions is the most important skill for a customer service agent. Customer service reps need to have product knowledge and access to information about the customer’s situation to respond quickly.
In the real world, the starting salary for customer service reps is not very high. Low pay and stressful work are two reasons that contribute to high turnover. Innovative companies can turn this into a competitive advantage by screening applicants for valuable soft skills.
Companies can reduce turnover in their customer service team by creating a respectful, positive, team-building environment. Valuable areas to focus team training include persuasive speaking, clear communication, a bias for positive language, effective listening, time management, and specific product or service knowledge.
Kayako’s Single View
Have you ever been in a customer service loop where you had to explain your issue to different people two or three times in the same call? If so, you can see that this is very frustrating from the customer’s point of view. No one likes to confirm their account access when they have done so already or have to repeat their situation yet again to a supervisor. Forcing customers to repeat themselves also makes the company look like the right-hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.
The solution is to empower your customer service reps by capturing the customer’s entire journey in one screen to deliver proactive customized support. Kayako’s Single View is a good example of a tool that enables a unified detail of a customer’s progress. Single View integrates information across platforms and apps.
Not only does this provide a better experience for customers, but it also eliminates losing customers who grow frustrated with having to repeat themselves and opt-out altogether to go to another company instead.
Is Investing in Customer Service Really Worth It?
Delivering excellent customer service is complex. It is challenging to automate because customers expect fast, personalized experiences. At the same time, they want some automation to help them complete simple tasks and not wait on hold. Customers expect companies to offer a balance that optimizes their experience. From an efficiency perspective, automation and equipping customer service reps with the right tools are essential. Is it worth it?
Business experts and study data say “yes.” One survey reports that customers with the best past experiences spent 140% more than those who had poor experiences. Keeping customers happy increases customer lifetime value and strengthens brand loyalty.