How important is customer service, more specifically — quick and quality customer service?
A lot, actually!
For any successful business, creating a good product and selling it is only half the battle. Providing your clients with unparalleled customer support is equally vital as it is a crucial brand differentiator. This blog will tell you all that is there to know to usher excellent results in customer service.
Consider this statistic from HubSpot research: ‘90 percent of customers rate an immediate response as essential or very important when they have a customer service question. 60 percent of customers define immediate as 10 minutes or less.’ Patrons are more likely to switch to competitors if they experience delayed response and disjointed service delivery. Scary, isn’t it?
If clients do not have a positive experience with your company, they will leave. A study by a global consulting firm says that only one in 25 customers complain if they are unhappy about a product or service. And for customers that don’t complain, they just stop doing business with you. That’s why the fear of customer churning has intensified the competition to retain them.
It requires more effective leadership to reassess the tools used to provide better customer service while understanding how new strategies can be implemented. On top of that, with growing call volumes and ever-increasing client expectations amid economic uncertainty — it’s easy to see why now is a pivotal time for customer service teams.
Are entrepreneurial success and customer success correlated? Yes, they are. And customer success happens through excellent service provided to clients.
Let us look at this connection a little more closely.
Customers are the mainstay of successful businesses
Whether you’re a small business or a department within a large company, customer service counts. Providing world-class customer service may sound like a tall order to some, but that’s not the case. Successful businesses are built on a strong foundation of honesty, a customer-centric organizational culture, and a reliable customer service department that delivers proactive and immediate customer support anytime on the channel of their choice — phone, email, text, chat, and more. When planned and executed well, customer service adds value to your brand, increases your customer base, and promotes brand loyalty.
Here are a few proven ideas that can be implemented to usher excellent results in your customer service and make your business a big hit among the masses.
7 reasons why Customer Service is critical for any business
- Improves brand reputation
- Amplifies word-of-mouth marketing
- Nurtures customers through retention
- Fosters customer loyalty
- Stimulates product/service improvement ideas
- Increases revenue growth
- Aids business growth
First, test your commitment to customer service
Evaluate your brand’s commitment to serving customers. Conduct a self-assessment of your company to understand your preparedness to serve customers with these five questions.
1. Are you aware of your brand value and how customers view you?
Differentiating between businesses based on mere comparisons of product specifications, features, functions, and value-added benefits is a thing of the past.
With goods getting commoditized in bulk, distinguishing between brands is one solid way for consumers to identify the select few businesses that have the customer’s best interests at heart. This strategy focuses on a few well-performing enterprises while eliminating many mediocre companies. Those brands that offer the most fulfilling and rewarding experience to patrons remain profitable and become crowd favorites.
In fact, nowadays, during the discovery stage in customer journeys, prospective clients want to know if your brand has existing consumers talking about your product or service online. So they can learn more from other customers’ experiences. And then decide on making a purchase or avail a subscription.
Also read: Are Online Shoppers Ghosting Your Business? Here's How to Break the Jinx
Meanwhile, businesses must be confident of their quality of customer service and aspire to create value in every interaction with consumers. Dive deep into your customers’ profiles. Obtain insights into their behavior, psychographics, and even some geographic and demographic info.
If you are a business owner or someone who’s in charge of running one, then (a) Find out what customers have to say about your brand. (b) Ensure your organization always makes it into customers’ list of curated brands.
Finally, take a good look at the brands competing against you. Ask yourself — How might a competitor provide the specific value that customers want at a lower cost? Consider your buyer’s alternatives, even if they want to stay with you.
2. Does every staff member understand their role, the desired outputs, and how their role contributes to customer experience?
It does not matter how awesome your product is — if customers don’t achieve their objectives, they will eventually leave. Invest time in hiring and building your customer success and customer service departments early on. Do not delay. Most organizations become incapable of providing quality CX if their team members lack information about clients and are not clear about what their role actually is. Your sales and service teams must have a clarity of purpose and a set of metrics (KPIs) that align with their responsibilities.
3. Are you satisfied with the service standards you offer your customers, and more importantly, are you meeting your targets?
Customers have high expectations from brands they do business with. Speed, convenience, consistency, and personalization are non-negotiable expectations of customers from any brand. You should put yourself in your customer’s shoes and visualize their goals, then help attain them. Look at gaps to fill in the market and position your brand different from your competitors. Don’t miss any opportunity to revisit and revise your clients’ aspirations periodically.
4. Do you know what customers think of your service, and do you collect feedback and act upon them?
How does your brand show up compared to your competitors in the minds of your customers? Do they believe your product or service adds value to their lives? How to continue providing value without disparaging competing service providers?
Talk to customers, listen to their feedback, treat complaints as opportunities, give customers what they are asking for, or if you are unable to, explain why and offer alternatives. Collect feedback and take action on them — feedback thus obtained from “voice of customer” channels reflects specific pain points and assists in constantly recreating good customer experiences.
5. Do you reward your customers for their loyalty?
A customer loyalty program is a system where a business rewards its customers who make frequent purchases. Loyalty programs are offered by retailers and other corporations as a way to attract and retain customers. A typical example of a brand celebrating customer loyalty is Starbucks. The company has managed not only to retain its customers but also to expand its customer base through exemplary loyalty programs.
What do customers look for in brands? (Know your customers’ expectations)
After self-assessing your preparedness to serve customers, you should know what customers want when they choose to do business with you.
The rising cost of living, ongoing supply chain disruptions, and the anticipation of further inflationary pressures are making people think a little more carefully than usual about their spending. Consumers today are clear on what they want — extraordinary service at all times. Surveys have shown that over 52 percent of consumers have switched providers in the past year solely because of bad customer service.
Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes will go a long way to provide the kind of proactive customer service that has consumers lining up to do business with you. That means having a clear understanding of customer expectations.
Customer Expectations for 2023 and beyond:
- Customers expect all departments to be seamlessly integrated for quick resolution and support
- There is increased demand for quicker response times and personalization
- More customers make purchase decisions based on CX
- Customers undertake multiple journeys and expect brands to be aware of and remain sensitive to all of them
Outstanding customer service leads to great customer experiences and fuels financial growth
Customer care is no longer the cost center of businesses; it’s the new price of entry. Remember that your brand's most powerful marketing engine is customer service. If you wish to succeed in avenues like e-commerce, direct-to-consumer sales, and marketing, customer service is your best ally – helping you retain customers, nurture advocates, create memorable experiences, and drive a more profitable relationship.
Organizations providing customers with fantastic experiences outperform their peers in the long term. Offering great experiences to clients visibly improves financial performance. Let’s see how.
Businesses are mindful and pay extra attention to detail when serving their loyal/longtime customers. These customers are not price-sensitive. To savor unique experiences, they tend to stick around longer and are open to ideas to use other products and services.
How to build a service-oriented customer-focused team?
To become a customer service champion and CX leader, an organization must first create a customer-centric culture. There is a direct correlation between superior customer service and brand loyalty, which means your customer service department can become an important stakeholder in your client acquisition and retention strategy.
Your objectives and goals for your customer service department should align your teams around delivering seamless, personalized service that builds trust and consumer confidence besides improving customer loyalty.
Academic studies have pointed to a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and the financial performance of businesses. As businesses transform and new trends emerge, it becomes all the more necessary to understand your customers, what their needs are, and where you stand with them in their journey. The skills listed here are everything customer support agents need to provide outstanding service in 2023 and beyond.
Also read: What Are Customer Touchpoints – And Why They Matter
8 skills customer service professionals need for 2023 and beyond
- Problem-solving and troubleshooting
- In-depth product knowledge
- Attention to detail
- Knowledge retention and information prioritization
- Patience, Resilience, Flexibility
- Ability to multitask
- Responsiveness and active listening
- Excellent collaboration capabilities
And to reduce workload, you can utilize helpdesk software backed by productivity tools that help your customer-facing teams excel and put your brand in the CX hall of fame.
What are the core competencies for a fantastic customer experience?
A diverse range of skills is needed to excel in delivering good customer service and making people feel valued. To become a customer service champion and a CX leader, an organization must have a customer-centric culture that aligns around uniform customer goals to sustainably create a value-driven impact over time.
Here are four pointers that can help business leaders develop a robust CX strategy by ensuring all departments within the organization work in tandem for the customer's good.
- Purposeful leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
- Compelling brand values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers.
- Employee engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization.
- Customer connection: Customer insight across the organization.
Now, you have the knowledge of how to create a customer-centric culture that prioritizes service and the overall experience. It’s time to look at the smart tools that can help you bring excellent results in customer service in 2023 and beyond. These tools are:
- Multichannel helpdesk: Exceptional social media platforms can now not only create enhanced experiences for consumers but also allow them to make purchases in a split second, which helps them save cost and time. The internet lets customers share their feedback in multiple channels, including forums, comparison websites, social media networks, and more. Without taking the necessary steps, these complaints can snowball, and even go viral. If you respond to messages online, it can be seen as though you care for your customers and are trying to help them.
A multichannel helpdesk helps you monitor a host of communication pathways. It enables you to listen to the voice of your customers and get proactive in customer complaint handling and provide exceptional service.
- Real-time assistance with co-browsing and video chat: Sometimes, customers seek assistance in real-time to resolve issues. Co-browsing allows customer service agents of a brand to access a customer's computer to see what they're seeing and understand their intentions and interactions.
- Workflow Automation: Using automation can help you improve your customer service and create valuable interactions that lead to profitable customer connections.
- Automation helps you to provide instant gratification to your customers
- Improve customer satisfaction with efficient and convenient service
- Increase customer loyalty through personalized interactions
- Enhance your overall customer experience and stand out from your competitors
- Conversation Bot: For 2023 and beyond, brands will work to serve customers in real-time with conversational AI. From self-service to live agent assistance, conversational AI connects people and machines—often across vast networks and multiple channels — allowing brands to engage customers in meaningful conversations and help them achieve their goals. The Conversation bot understands natural language and user intent to offer personalized responses.
The outlook for customer service in 2023 and beyond can be summarized as follows:
- Automation and self-service to ease staffing shortages — automating contact centers and help desks reduces the need for human agents without sacrificing customer experience.
- Phygital experiences are here to stay — A mix of physical and digital experiences will help brands connect with consumers meaningfully.
- Consumers will curtail all unnecessary expenditures — In 2023 and beyond, you can see that consumer spending will drop significantly. As non-essential spending decreases, clients will evaluate all brand experiences. This means that businesses have to be proactive and give importance to every customer interaction, as even a single instance of poor service can result in churn.
- AI-powered immersive experiences will become the new norm — Immersive AR and VR experiences help customers step into a new world of shopping. Customers can experience, try on and see for themselves how a product or service can help them solve their problems without leaving the comfort of their homes or office.
Customer success is directly proportional to the quality of service companies provide their clients. To overcome challenges and work on new opportunities, understanding customer demands and the trends being reported can help brands to adapt and deliver amazing experiences consistently.
ThinkOwl supports brands in their endeavor to provide world-class service. It is a helpdesk software with a difference. ThinkOwl builds a strong relationship between customers, agents, and your brand by collaborating between them and helps easy communication. All important facts and information about your customers are available to your client service teams at their fingertips.
Sign up now for a 30-day free trial.