10 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service

The key to standing out in any industry lies in improving customer service. While the concept may seem straightforward, mastering it can pose significant challenges. If you dedicate the effort to improving customer service you can yield substantial benefits, improve your bottom line and bolster your reputation in the eyes of consumers. Here are 10 ways to improve customer service in your company today.

Zight | December 17, 2018 | 14 min read time

Article Last Updated: February 07, 2024

10 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service

“Loyal customers are proof that a company is on the right track. You may have the best product in the world, but to keep customers coming back, you want to treat them well”.

Companies famous for their customer service stand out. For example, Chick-fil-A goes above and beyond to delight customers by considering their needs. They now offer packaged hand wipes in their condiment section. After a meal, these moist towelettes have answered my dining prayers!

Just like Chick-fil-A, Zappos, Amazon, or Southwest, every company can provide legendary customer service.

I sat down with experts from top companies like Mailchimp, Basecamp, Kustomer, and Webflow to hear their tips on top practices in customer service.

When your customers aren’t happy, it’s essential to notice, understand why, and find ways to fix it. Here are 10 ways to improve customer service:

1. Listen to Understand the Customer’s Needs

Great customer service means that customers feel understood. The act of intentional listening is key to you understanding your customers better.

Sometimes, people’s idea of “listening” means to stop talking when the other person starts. But this kind of listening rarely helps two people get on the same page. To truly listen, you must turn off all assumptions of what someone else is thinking or feeling.

In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey highlights the value of true active listening.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen Covey, from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

Covey suggests that there is a gap between speakers and listeners. Customers speak to employees with the intent to be understood. Support agents who actively listen to understand will enhance each customer interaction.

Here are six steps to sharpen your listening skills for customers:

a). Ask questions to clarify their situation

When customers come to you with complaints about your product, the way you can better understand them is to ask questions to clarify their situation.

Ask questions like:

  • What do you feel is the issue?
  • When you said … what did you mean?

Look for patterns in the types of questions customers ask or issues they bring you. Doing this can give you foresight into what customer issues they might encounter next. With this instinct, you can anticipate what potential customers might need next from your team.

b). Use Empathy to Gain Trust

When you help customers feel like they can trust you, they will be more ready to trust your advice. You will connect with them deeper because you understand their situation and goals.

Kustomer’s support and success teams step into the shoes of their customers. As manager of both teams, Brandon McFadden says this empathy opens up opportunities for customer service teams to advise the customer as makeshift consultants.

“We take a consultative approach. We’ll say, ‘If I were you in this situation, then I would…”
Brandon McFadden, Manager of Customer Success and Support at Kustomer

Brandon’s goal is to always provide value to the customer. He never tries to upsell customers on anything. He treats customers in the manner that he wants to be treated.

c). Pay Attention to Scenarios

I saw customer empathy in action while working at a boating dealership. Each Sales Representative knew the boating industry well, but no one had as much success with customers as the Head of Sales. I paid attention as this man interacted with customers. He sincerely listened.

He learned what each customer wanted for their situations, then would tell them how he would feel if he were in their shoes. Then, he kindly showed them the door on the way out. One day, I heard a few sales guys refer to this man’s particular sales approach. They said things like ‘no one sells like he does.’

2. Help Customers Succeed

Show customers that you want them to succeed. Here are a few ways to help your customers get the most out of your product.

a). Learn your Customer’s Goals

Every customer has goals. Even though customers often seem to be looking for quick fixes, remember that each customer hopes to achieve great things through your product. Customer service representatives can train themselves to see past temporary setbacks that customers bring to them. They can remember that the customer has overall goals that they are working towards.

Identify customer goals to show that you are genuinely interested in a customer’s progress. Learn each customer’s story so you can cater your customer service strategy to them. Although many of your customers will come from similar backgrounds, each has unique goals and definitions of success.

b). Help Customers Achieve More

As you talk with more customers and become familiar with all types of scenarios, you can troubleshoot problems faster! You’ll have an internal knowledge base to reference so you can find unique solutions tailored to each scenario.

Yvette Johns, Manager of Technical Support at Mailchimp says their customer support involves a higher level of awareness around client activity. For example, suppose a customer plans to send a mass email to their customer base. In that case, a support person may offer additional suggestions on how to make an email more effective.

“Our mission in support goes beyond mere ticket resolution and extends to help our customers achieve as much as possible with our product.”
–Yvette Johns, Manager of Technical Support at Mailchimp

c). Get to Know Your Product Inside and Out

Educate customers about your product ‍

Customer education is one of the best ways to increase CSAT ratings and offset churn. Why? Because knowledge is power, especially when it involves learning how to use your product. Here are some suggestions on how to educate customers.

Share use cases

Give your customers a vision of how your product fits into their workflow. Customers get a better grasp of your product’s value when they see how your product plugs into the work of other companies.

Notify them when new features release

Your customers are so busy using your product that it can be hard to keep up with product changes. Help them bridge the gap by sending them your latest product updates. Encourage them to share feedback with your team so that each update only gets better.

Be a proactive mentor

Customers can tell when a customer service agent or support person goes above and beyond. People are elated when someone or something exceeds their expectations. Why? Because people grow accustomed to average treatment and minimum standards that people have offered them in the past.

Here are a few ways to be more proactive with customers.

Send them educational resources

Send helpful feature articles or training videos to your customers. They will love you for it. It shows you know their needs and you know solutions for them. The Customer Success Manager at Webflow, Waldo Broodryk says it is as important for service agents to familiarize themselves with the content available to their customers as it is for them to know their customers.

Monitor progress

Pay attention to customer usage whether a customer has reached out to you thirty times or never before. This awareness will enable you to perform quality check-ins with your customers.

Hold customers accountable

Customers don’t expect company employees to be as vested in their progress as they are. Show them their success matters to you by checking in on their customer journey, helping them avoid pitfalls, and celebrating when they get closer to their goals.

3. Upgrade your Technical Skills

Depending on company resources, you can better train yourself to serve a tech-savvy customer base. Countless customer service tools, apps, software, and customer service skills can be plugged into technical support.

Webflow is a website design platform that continues to evolve. As new technical features are added, team members watch training tutorials, ask questions, and sink their teeth into the feature. Webflow’s support and production teams have built up a robust knowledge base known as Webflow University. Technical training equips their customer service team to relate to customers learning the same thing!

If your company hasn’t started already, consider organizing employee training taught by employees. It’s a unique opportunity for employees to inspire coworkers with other good customer service skills and concepts they’ve learned on the side. This will help foster a culture of learning and curiosity.

Yvette of Mailchimp is impressed with teammates who invest their time learning technical skills that enhance their work. Someone on her team is an expert with API. This person took on the challenge to develop their programming skills further and build something from scratch to run the application. Yvette admired the discipline and curiosity of her teammate. Take initiative!

4. Encourage Customer Feedback

a). Create Channels for Feedback

You create your product for your customers, so listen to them! Customers who use your product experience similar situations. Sometimes, customers just want to hear from each other. It can be reassuring to learn that others have similar questions when learning the ins and outs of a newly released feature.

i). Forums‍

Establish online community forums or discussion boards where customers can ask questions, share tips, and exchange advice with peers. Encourage active participation and moderation to ensure a positive and supportive environment for knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

Like other online forums, Webflow has created a special in-app user forum for users to raise questions, comment, and receive help. Users love the peer threads because of the reward of figuring things out together alongside fellow users.

ii). UserVoice

The Adobe XD team set up a UserVoice account, where they receive product feedback from customers and learn about requested features.

iii). In-App Chat

Webflow has created an in-app chat so customers can submit and receive feedback as they work. This gives customers a convenient way to centralize conversations on their work.

b). Conduct Interviews‍

Since customers submit golden feedback to guide your product’s next steps, dig deeper into what they have to say. One way that Basecamp improves the feedback process is by scheduling phone calls or “customer interviews” to investigate issues further.

They use open-ended questions to gauge the specific context of a customer’s situation. This helps their customer service rep or team understand multiple factors that led them to submit their feedback. This initiative goes above and beyond the feedback surveys after a product experience.

c). Organize Feedback

Gathering feedback is not enough to ensure exceptional customer service. Be sure to document and organize good customer service and information to reference it in the future.

Great customer service means being prompt and transparent on timing. Creating a prioritization system can facilitate faster feedback between customers and product support teams.

Many companies label and categorize customer feedback so the impact of each customer issue is immediately clear to the product team. From there, product and engineering can choose whether to act on feedback quickly or put it on the back burner. Check out Basecamp’s impressive tagging process.

5. Streamline Communication Channels

There are different ways you can provide good customer service by streamlining communication channels such as:

a). Unified Platform Integration

Streamlining communication channels allows customer service representatives to manage inquiries efficiently and provide consistent support across various channels. Enable customers to initiate and continue conversations seamlessly across channels without repetition or disruption.

Equip support agents with contextual information and insights about customers’ previous interactions, preferences, and history across different channels. Leverage CRM(Customer Relationship Management) systems and data analytics to provide personalized and relevant customer support experiences.

According to a study by Aberdeen Group, companies with a unified platform for customer service experience manage to retain an impressive 89% of their customer base, a significant contrast to the mere 33% customer retention rate observed in other businesses.

Moreover, customers who engage across multiple channels demonstrate a substantially higher long-term value, boasting a remarkable 30% increase in customer lifetime value compared to those who utilize a single channel exclusively.

Salesforce’s Service Cloud integrates various communication channels into a single platform, allowing customer service agents to seamlessly switch between email, phone, live chat, and social media interactions, resulting in faster response times and an improved customer service experience.

b). Automated Routing and Triage

Utilize automated routing and triaging mechanisms to route incoming inquiries to the most appropriate team, customer service representative, or agent based on factors such as expertise, availability, and workload. This ensures timely responses and prevents inquiries from falling through the cracks.

Research by Forrester indicates that automated routing reduces resolution times by up to 40% and increases first-contact resolution rates by 35%.

Amazon utilizes AI-driven routing algorithms to direct customer inquiries to the most appropriate support team based on factors such as issue complexity, agent expertise, and workload, resulting in quicker resolutions and higher satisfaction rates.

c). Self-Service Options

Most customers expect a self-service option for customer support, and 60% prefer it over traditional channels.

Develop interactive tutorials or walkthroughs that guide users step-by-step through common tasks or processes. Incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, screenshots, and interactive simulations to cater to different learning styles and preferences.

A good example of this is Google’s Help Center, which offers a comprehensive knowledge base with FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and community forums where users can find answers to common questions and solve issues independently, reducing the need for agent intervention, boosting customer satisfaction and freeing up resources for more complex cases.

6. Craft Unforgettable Customer Experiences

In today’s competitive market, creating distinctive customer experiences is essential for building trust in your brand and driving purchasing decisions. According to a study by Wunderman, approximately 79% of consumers prefer engaging exclusively with brands that demonstrate genuine care for their needs.

Furthermore, the significance of customer experience in shaping overall satisfaction has grown exponentially. There are several ways to do this including:

a). Personalized Interaction

Tailor your customer interactions to create memorable experiences that resonate with individuals on a personal level. Addressing customers by their names during interactions with preferred language, whether in person, over the phone, or via email, establishes a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that humanizes the customer-business relationship.

Research shows that personalized emails have higher open and click rates and increased transaction rates, indicating the effectiveness of personalization in driving customer engagement and response. This is because building rapport through personalized communication contributes to long-term customer satisfaction and retention.

b). Emotional Connection

Build emotional connections with customers by going beyond transactional interactions and demonstrating genuine care and interest in their needs and preferences. Showcasing empathy and understanding can leave a lasting impression and foster loyalty and trust in your brand.

c). Creative Gestures

Surprise and delight customers with creative gestures and personalized touches that exceed their expectations. Unlike generic automated responses, sending personalized messages or replies demonstrates a commitment to individualized service and enhances the overall customer experience.

7. Transform Customer Mistakes into Opportunities

a). Compassionate Solutions

Respond to customer mistakes with empathy and compassion, turning potential setbacks into opportunities to showcase your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction. Going above and beyond to resolve issues demonstrates dedication and builds trust and loyalty.

b). Emotional Investment

Invest emotionally in customer interactions, prioritizing empathy and thoughtfulness over monetary considerations. Acts of kindness and understanding leave a lasting impression on customers and contribute to positive brand perception and advocacy.

c). Engagement and Support

Engage with customers authentically and supportively, even in challenging situations, to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of community and belonging. Encouraging employees to embody these values empowers them to create meaningful experiences and drive customer loyalty.

8. Proactive Communication and Anticipation of Needs

Rather than wait for customers to reach out with issues or questions, adopt a proactive approach by anticipating and addressing their needs. Utilize data analytics and customer feedback to identify common pain points and potential issues before they arise.

By proactively contacting customers with relevant information, updates, or solutions, you can demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction and build trust and loyalty.

For example, airlines often proactively notify passengers of flight delays, cancellations, or gate changes via text messages or email alerts. Airlines can minimize frustration and inconvenience by keeping customers informed and updated in real time and enhancing the overall travel experience.

9. Optimize Response Times

Another way to improve customer service performance and boost success could be to optimize response times.

  • Start by defining clear SLAs for response times and resolution targets to manage customer expectations and prioritize inquiries based on urgency and severity.
  • Implement a ticketing system that categorizes and prioritizes incoming requests based on predefined criteria such as issue type, customer segment, and impact on business operations.
  • Lastly, use automated responses or chatbots to acknowledge customer inquiries immediately and provide initial assistance or confirmation of receipt while routing inquiries to the appropriate support team.

For instance, Slack’s response time SLAs ensure that critical issues are addressed promptly, with dedicated support teams available 24/7 to resolve urgent inquiries. Their ticketing system prioritizes high-priority tickets and escalates issues to specialized teams for resolution, minimizing response times and ensuring customer satisfaction.

10. Rewarding Loyal Customers

Customers appreciate feeling valued and esteemed by a company, and one of the most effective methods to achieve this is acknowledging and rewarding their loyalty. Satisfied customers tend to remain loyal, fostering a continuous stream of business for your company.

By offering rewards and incentives, businesses appreciate their customers’ loyalty, enhancing the overall customer experience. Without hesitation, this makes it essential to implement strategies such as point systems, exclusive deals, tailored offers, and special promotions for birthdays or anniversaries.

In addition, some of these loyalty programs often collect valuable data about customers’ preferences, purchase history, and behavior. By leveraging this data, businesses can tailor their offerings and communication to individual customers, providing a more personalized and relevant experience to boost customer satisfaction.

Best Customer Service Improvement Software-Zight

Zight

We mentioned earlier how certain tools and software can be plugged into technical support to ensure excellent customer service. Therefore, it would be a disservice if we didn’t mention the top customer service softwareZight!

Imagine this: your customer support team is tackling customer inquiries with lightning speed, providing clear and concise responses that get to the root of the problem. With Zight, you can make this a reality.

First off, Zight streamlines communication like never before. Customer support teams don’t need lengthy email threads and confusing chat conversations – Zight enables your team to communicate complex ideas in seconds, ensuring that your customers receive the assistance they need with clarity and efficiency.

But Zight goes beyond just text-based communication. Zight has a free screen recorder (with webcam too!), GIF creator, AI, and annotation tool to the cloud in an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade app so you can quickly create and share visual content. Visual communication simplifies the support process and enhances the overall customer experience, leaving customers feeling valued and understood.

Zight can be utilized in the customer service strategy of creating a knowledge base since it allows customer service agents to create support materials and tutorials. They could be explainers, how-to, training, onboarding tutorials, product demos, YouTube, and other types of videos that you can use at each stage of customer support.

And here’s the best part – Zight isn’t just about improving communication. It’s about boosting productivity and collaboration within your team. With Zight, your agents can collaborate in real-time, sharing visual content and working seamlessly to address customer inquiries. This not only improves productivity but also fosters a sense of connection and teamwork among your support team.

And the results speak for themselves. With Zight, you can close tickets three times faster than traditional methods. That’s right – three times faster. By streamlining communication, reducing resolution times, and providing personalized support experiences, Zight helps you create happier customers who are more satisfied with your service.

So, if you’re ready to transform your customer service game, look no further than Zight. With its efficient communication tools, visual support capabilities, and commitment to customer satisfaction, Zight should be your go-to for boosting your customer service experience.

Conclusion

Creating a good, lasting connection with customers begins with improving customer service. Customer service lets you build a direct bond with customers. With time and care, this bond can strengthen, making customers more aware of and loyal to your brand.

Luckily, these customer service tips will help you become a better listener, understand your customers, and enhance the quality of your work. You’ll feel more productive and enjoy work more.

Did you know Zight integrates with Zendesk and Trello? Check out Zight for customer Support.

Ready to chat with us about how to save time, money and help your team communicate better?