There are a million things that differentiate businesses from one another, and a million more that divide industries entirely. Within this sea of opposition, they all share one truth: customers are their lifeblood. Whether you are in the business of pharmaceuticals, sustainability, or sending rockets to the moon, you are driven by people. You exist to serve them—and without them, you cease to exist at all. This isn’t to scare you; it’s to help you recognize that your customers—and the relationships you foster with them—can make or break your company’s success. Luckily, with us on your team, harnessing these relationships to maximize the customer service experience (and your bottom line) has never been easier.
Your company can offer the best, most premium products on the market. Without premium customer service to match, they risk a lifetime of collecting dust. Above all else, customers need to know that they are authentically cared for and valued by the companies they patronize. Fortunately, businesses can showcase this in a number of ways! But before we can talk about how we can provide exceptional customer service, we must answer the question: what is great customer service?
Great customer service means that you consistently provide your customers with hands-on, efficient, and readily accessible support throughout the buyer’s journey. This entails having deep insight into what your customers want and need—before they even know themselves.
It’s been found that a staggering 70% of customers heavily consider the quality of their customer service experience before purchasing from a company. 70%! Additionally, 81% of customers say that they are more likely to purchase from a brand again if their experience with that brand’s customer service was positive. With numbers like these, it is evident that the quality of your customer service can make or break your relationships with your customers—and therefore, your business. Again, not to scare, but to spotlight.
We’re invested in your success every bit as much as we are in our own. Here are five key tips to consistently deliver great customer service.
1) Know your product and service by heart.
To effectively sell and service clients, your customer support team must know your products/services like the back of their hands. What is the scope of your product’s capabilities? What are its best features? How can these features elevate people’s day-to-lives? What sets it apart from similar products or services in the market? Why should customers choose to patronize your product or service over your competitors? These are just some of the questions you need to be able to answer when it comes to showcasing what you have to offer.
Undoubtedly, the best sales and customer service teams are those that know every aspect of their product or service and can then respectfully reiterate them in user-friendly terms. These teams are more likely to provide excellent customer service because their expertise allows them to have a more hands-on approach to solving their clients’ problems. Not to mention, quick, in-depth responses are universally viewed as more credible by the inquiring party.
Additionally, knowing your product or service by heart can help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise along the way. Being able to solve problems in real-time, rather than hesitantly placing customers on hold, goes a long way in building trust for the sales agent, support specialist, and your company. If your customer trusts you, they are more likely to buy from you again and recommend you to others. By tapping into what their customer base wants—and then mastering the delivery of said wants—companies can increase their sales and achieve high rates of customer satisfaction.
2) Be friendly and approachable.
Regardless of industry, all sales representatives must orient themselves as friendly and approachable. This very well may be the most important rule in delivering great customer service, and it should be considered a cornerstone of positive customer experiences. If your sales team appears cold or comes off as rude, customers will inevitably be dissuaded from purchasing from your brand. Just like you, your customers work hard for their money. And we as a people get more particular about where it goes with every generation.
Treating people who are looking to—or worse, already have—invested in your products like a burden is the quickest way to lose future business. Not only will they turn to your competitors, but they’ll also bring anyone who will listen with them.
How do sales and customer support teams prevent this? The solution is surprisingly simple. You treat people like, well, people! No one wants to feel like just another number on a spreadsheet. This entails practicing empathy and getting to know your customers on a more personal level. While this approach may take more time and effort than a generic, one-off conversation, it will go a long way in fostering positive and long-lasting customer relationships. In fact, 73% of customers cite that friendly sales and customer support teams make them want to patronize a brand again in the future.
As an organization leader, you must ingrain friendliness, empathy, and positivity into your company culture. If you did it right, your team will be wonderfully diverse. This means that some of your employees will be natural talkers, and some will be more introverted. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Your customer base is a rainbow, your staff should be too. Regardless of communication styles, it’s your responsibility to provide them with the proper support to deal with customers. Consider offering customer service seminars, hosting teaching sessions, and having consistent check-ins to see how your team members are doing. These collaborations also present ample opportunities to help your team brush up on their product knowledge!
3) Respond in a timely manner.
In the digital age, customers expect near-instant responses. Not only out of convenience, but out of respect for their time. Think of it like that one friend who comes and goes, taking weeks to respond to texts. They’re not a bad person, but they’re definitely not who you call when push comes to shove. Inconsistency is the root of distrust. Don’t be that guy!
Apart from responding promptly, consider implementing a proactive customer support system. This helps your brand quickly address any questions or concerns your customers may have. It will also help you prevent issues and provide appropriate support to your customers.
Most customer support systems are reactive, tackling concerns and issues only when they arise. While this approach is effective, it is less efficient and timely than providing proactive customer support. Since excellent customer service relies on the speed of customer-agent communication, it is crucial to implement a system capable of facilitating this.
Consider incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website. Granted, it can be hard to beat human-to-human interaction, but a chatbot can provide your customers with instant answers to any time-sensitive questions they may have. You wouldn’t need to have your customer service team on call 24/7 to keep the lines of communication open for customers around the globe.
4) Listen and be open to customer feedback.
If you want to fine-tune your product or service and your customer service system, gathering feedback from your customers is a must. This is especially important since customer demands are constantly evolving with the times. You need to be able to keep up with what your customers want and need to provide an excellent customer experience.
Asking for your customers’ feedback will go a long way in making them feel heard and like their input matters (because it does!). Actively showing your customers that you value what they have to say further strengthens your brand’s relationships.
There are many ways you can collect feedback from your customers. Perhaps the most commonly used method is a customer satisfaction survey, where customers can rate the quality of customer service they received. You can also implement focus group discussions and interviews for a more in-depth look into your customers' thoughts.
However, customers may be hesitant to give feedback. They may find the process to be too long or too tedious to make it worthwhile. To combat this, consider providing incentives to customers who do give feedback. This may come in the form of discounts or special offers, which the customer can use during their next shopping experience with you. You can also try to gamify your feedback gathering method to make it more interactive and appealing to customers. Come on, who doesn’t love a good game break after a long day—especially when the prize is free money?!
Remember, the point of getting customer feedback is to improve your product and the ways you provide customer service. It can be overwhelming to apply all of these changes at once, so we can encourage you to take it one step at a time. Focus on the most feasible action points, and put them to work however best suits your business model.
5) Personalize the customer experience.
Today's consumers demand a uniquely tailored customer experience—68% of them, actually. They also expect you to know them better than they know themselves. Here’s the kicker: you can! Utilizing their data analytics essentially gives you a step-by-step playbook for all of their wants and needs.
Data analytics, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and the best-equipped customer support agents to date, have revolutionized the shopping experience. This is why offering a one-size-fits-all solution is no longer acceptable. Brands need to continue elevating these tactics to continually provide customers with even smarter online shopping insights. Smarter shopping insights are akin to elevating the customer experience.
Many online shopping portals collect and monitor data from customers to provide a more personalized browsing experience. For example, if a customer searches for a particular type of computer, they are likely to receive results about the best deals for that computer or similar devices. They are also likely to see ads about computer accessories or special offers. This is just one way a personalized shopping experience can present itself.
Additionally, self-service customer service stations are a great way to personalize your customers' shopping experience. In fact, 70% of customers expect to have a self-service portal available to them. With these, your customers can utilize your resources to find answers and solutions without needing immediate support assistance. Many customers even prefer this option because it helps them make key purchasing decisions much faster and on their own time.
Of course, developing an effective customer experience strategy takes some time. It is also a constant process of finding what works for your brand and each individual customer. This trial-and-error is part of personalizing the customer experience and ensuring you build lasting, meaningful relationships with your customers.
The Customer Always Goes First.
The secret to providing excellent customer service lies in always putting your customers first. Your business heavily relies on your customers' perceptions and experiences of your brand. Your customers' satisfaction with your products and services will have a major impact on your growth and longevity. As much as they can negatively influence your company, your customers also have the power to help build your business's reputation through word of mouth and online reviews.
A satisfied customer is significantly more likely to return for future business with you. If you apply these tips to your sales and customer support processes, you will undoubtedly find yourself with stronger customer relationships. Here at Helpware, our goal is to help you resonate with your customers to curate superior customer experiences.
With API and integration-enabled human task services, Helpware can tailor solutions for your business’s needs. Our Digital Customer Experience service can supercharge your customer service experience, allowing you to connect and communicate with your customers effectively and instantly. With multilingual support, outsourced customer success teams, technical support, and email support, Helpware can positively impact your customer service system.
Learn how we can help you develop superior customer service for your business. Reach out to Helpware today!