The definition of “Customer Service” is the act of taking care of your customers’ needs: this is done by providing high-quality, professional, and helpful service before, during, and after a customers’ purchase.
Unfortunately, way too many businesses are making a sale but not following through with good customer service, and they’re forgetting that the only way to develop loyal, happy customers is to make them feel acknowledged and important. Great customer service, and handling your customers quickly and efficiently, are the main things that can set your business apart from your competitors.
Great customer service, and handling your customers quickly and efficiently, are the main things that can set your business apart from your competitors.
We’ve all had the unpleasant and time-consuming experience of getting caught up in an automated Phone Tree circle, desperately searching for the right buttons to get through to a customer service representative. It’s so frustrating and a waste of our precious time, and most consumers come away from these experiences feeling angry and unimportant because the message is very clear that their time and opinion are not valued.
It’s vitally important that your company avoids this type of inconvenience when helping customers, because let’s face it, your valuable customers should not be forced to struggle with technology in order to get your attention.
Your online customer service should not make processes harder: it should make them easier, and digital interactions should be transparent and seamless.
Because good customer service is vitally important to the success of all businesses, below we’ve listed our suggestions on how your company can streamline its approach to online dealings with customers in order to not only succeed in providing excellent customer service, but also to form improved human connections online.
1. Avoid mimicking machines
When a customer decides to contact a representative from customer service, it’s typically because they’ve exhausted all other avenues.
They need your help. Your responses must be informative, succinct, and helpful; remembering always to reassure your customer on an emotional level. Your job as a customer service representative is to empathise with your customers’ frustrations, so avoid canned and scripted language.
Acknowledge and reassure your customer with statements like “Let me see what I can do to help” or “How frustrating for you that the shipping delay has disrupted your plans”. Showing empathy is the quickest way to de-escalate a customer service situation.
Many companies are totally dependent on automated, canned or scripted responses, and these companies are in very real danger of alienating their customers.
Sometimes, even when a real person is responding, the customer still feels that the replies they receive via email or chat are automated. Most people have received replies to enquiries that are so scripted they don’t come close to answering the question.
And it’s frustrating! These frustrations can easily be eliminated by training your customer service representatives to first of all, introduce themselves by name, and then follow up with informative, empathetic language.
2. Selective Automation
There are instances where it’s necessary to automate certain levels of customer service in order to address everyone’s needs, because having a digital presence compared to a bricks and mortar business certainly makes it possible for businesses to connect with a much wider audience.
Let’s say you have a customer who’s having problems creating an account: they could well benefit from an automated email link to a page on your support site.
That being said, though, your customers should always be able to speak via phone, email, or chat, to an efficient, personable customer service representative from your company.
Automated responses do have a place in customer service, but they should never be considered a one-size-fits-all solution for one-on-one customer service. There will always be issues that can’t be addressed by an automated support system.
Let’s say a customer has decided to speak to one of your customer service representatives: are their options clearly available? Hiding your customer service contact information can only lead to greater frustration, so be very transparent about the various ways customers can contact you. Clearly state possible wait times.
Are there options available to your customers? For example, is video chat available, or can they schedule a call back? Don’t force your customers to wait in a queue for long periods of time.
When it comes to the successful running of your business, don’t rely on canned digital responses or automation because these simply dehumanize your customer service.
The only way to build strong customer relationships is to “keep it real” with empathetic language and genuine assistance during phone calls, chat sessions, and email conversations.
Always keep in mind that your customers are real people: they have feelings and they need to know that you’re listening to them.