Customer service experience is the new battlefield where businesses are waging war for greater market share. According to Gartner, 81% of companies say they will compete mostly or fully on customer experience alone. Why is the customer service experience suddenly so important?
According to research conducted by Deloitte, here are four big reasons why you should offer superior customer support.
- Customers are likely to mention a positive customer experience to an average of nine people, while they’ll likely tell 16 people about negative ones.
- Customers who enjoy positive experiences spend up to 140 percent more than customers who report negative ones.
- Customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to remain customers for five years longer than customers who had negative ones.
- Providing positive support experiences can reduce your cost-to-serve by up to 33 percent.
Here’s how you create an exceptional customer experience.
7 Ways to Create a Great Customer Service Experience
Creating an outstanding customer experience depends on a number of factors, from an agent’s customer service skills to a call center’s response times. Some are in your control, some aren’t. Fortunately, there are definitive ways you can WOW your customers and virtually guarantee they feel appreciated after interacting with your customer service team. Below, we detail 7 ways you can create a great customer service experience for almost any customer.
1. Know Your Customers (Better Than They Do)
This tip may seem obvious but that’s exactly why it’s one of the easiest for businesses to ignore. Without understanding your customers, you risk saying the wrong things to them or communicating with them through the wrong medium.
For example, different generations of customers need to be approached in different ways. Baby boomers will want all the information they can get to resolve their problem, while Gen Y-ers will want their problem solved as quickly as possible. To deeply understand who your customers are:
- Leverage social media and pay attention to what your customers like, dislike, and buy.
- Ask your site visitors or email subscribers for their feedback on their experience with your brand.
- Conduct keyword research and look at the websites or ads Google displays for those keywords (which gives you insight into what people are probably clicking on).
- Read positive and negative reviews of your products (as well as your competitors’) to understand why people do or don’t buy.
- Create a customer persona based on the data you compile and continually update it as you learn more about your customers over time.
2. Outline Your Ideal Customer Service Experience
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, right? Well, then, creating a detailed write-up of what an outstanding support experience looks like will help you create smarter pathways and touch points for delivering outstanding service to customers.
This document will obviously be tailor-made for your specific industry, but it should probably include characteristics such as:
- Reduced hold and wait times.
- Quick responses to customer queries or support tickets.
- Rapid replies to customer feedback.
- Enhance the customer service experience with detailed FAQs.
- A functional chatbot.
- Easy-to-find customer support phone numbers and emails.
- Empathetic and apologetic customer service reps.
Ultimately, the ideal customer experience is one where the customer achieves their objective or solves their problem with as little conflict as possible while feeling better about your company afterward.
3. Develop a System for Measuring Customer Service Experience
To measure whether or not you’re actually delivering outstanding support, you can use one of two methods:
Both deliver valuable information but differ significantly in the insights they provide. NPS gauges how loyal a customer is to your business – whether they’re willing to “promote” your business to their friends and family. CSAT measures how satisfied a customer is with your products or services – how likely they are to buy from you again.
To implement the Net Promoter Score, send out a survey and ask a single question:
“How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend, family member, or colleague?”
- Provide a scale of 1-10.
- All answers with a 9 or 10 are your promoters. They’re the ones most likely to remain your customer, spread your company through word-of-mouth, and leave a positive review.
- To implement CSAT, include this question at the end of a survey or ask customers this question alone:
- “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our company/product/service/customer service you received?”
Provide a scale with 5 possible answers:
- Very unsatisfied
- Very satisfied
Responses of 4 or 5 are your truly satisfied customers. You shouldn’t rely solely on either of these scores alone, rather, try to collect data on both to get a complete picture of your overall customer service experience.
4. Develop a Cross-Platform Customer Support Ecosystem
In its 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft found a few interesting facts:
- 55% of all customer interactions typically begin online.
- 46% of customers ages 55+ begin a support interaction online compared to 65% of customers 18-34.
- On average, 18-34-year-olds regularly use five channels in their customer service interactions, while those ages 55+ use only three.
These statistics prove that you need to meet customers where they are – everywhere. Social media, email, phone, FAQs, video chats, and anywhere else they want to reach you.
5. Allow Customers to Easily Solve Their Problems Without Contacting Customer Service
According to Forrester Research:
- 53% of US adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find answers to their questions quickly.
- Survey respondents said they used web or mobile self-service more than they spoke with an agent over the phone.
- Among online US adults, use of help pages or FAQs on a company’s website increased from 67% in 2012 to 81% in 2015.
- For US adults, online forum/community use jumped from 31% in 2012 to 56% in 2015.
This data suggests that you should maintain a robust, web-accessible knowledge base that’s easily searchable and serves up an answer to virtually all of your customers’ questions.
6. Reduce or Eliminate Wait and Response Times
Customers hate waiting; almost more than anything else. 66% of customers cite long wait times (while on hold) as their top irritant according to Consumer Reports. And Arise reported that nearly two-thirds of US consumers (out of 1,500 respondents) said they’re only willing to wait 2 minutes before hanging up. 13% said no hold time is acceptable.
Clearly, you have to do everything you can to ensure you meet customers expectations regarding hold times. From an in-depth FAQ section on your website to an increase in call center agents, find ways to cut wait and hold times. The faster you can deliver answers, the better for you and your customers.
7. Develop a Likable, Memorable Brand Voice
If you make customers fall in love with your brand, they’ll be much more likely to have an enjoyable customer service experience. Do this by developing a brand voice that speaks directly to your customers funny bone, heartstrings, or self-image. For example, PouPourri uses quirky, absurd humor to engage their customers and build a loyal following (making it that much easier to leave them satisfied). Try to create and maintain a consistent voice across all your marketing and branding materials, from TV and online commercials to your website’s About Us page.
A Bonus Method for Delivering a Better Customer Service Experience
Most of the tips we covered in this post had to do with words, either written or spoken. And while words are super important, they’re not the only way to deliver quick, reliable answers to customer queries. Visual communication is equally as important as verbal or written communication when helping a customer understand or implement a solution.
In fact, according to Demand Gen Report, 91% of buyers prefer visual and interactive content rather than traditional formats (i.e. text-based content). Which is precisely why we built Zight (formerly CloudApp). Zight (formerly CloudApp) brings annotated screenshots, GIF creation, and a screen recorder to the cloud in an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade app so you can quickly create and share visual content.
We help customer support teams:
- Easily create support materials and tutorials
- Optimize customer support workflows
- Provide customers with detailed answers and close Zendesk tickets faster
- Improve your team’s CSAT scores
- Track bugs and document problems
- Improve customer support initiatives
Learn more about Zight (formerly CloudApp) for Customer Support here.