Customer service is one of the most crucial touchpoints in defining the overall customer experience. The customer service that you provide can not only be definitive in increasing customer satisfaction but also their loyalty and perceptions towards your brand. It is estimated that 89% of customers are likely to purchase again if they have a positive customer service experience with your brand. Unsurprisingly, brands spend a lot of resources in ensuring that their customers experience exceptional service quality.
Here are 8 effective ways in which you can leverage your online presence to guarantee exceptional customer service:
1. Humanize your voice
Automation has made things so much easier, but so much more mundane and apathetic. As a brand, you strive so hard to communicate your ethos and pathos with your customers, yet it is easy to get lost in the noise if your customer representative is one of the hundred bots that your customers interact with, every day. The brand tone and voice are some of the most distinct features that will set you apart from the rest, which is why it is important to retain them within customer service.
For instance, a customer who is unhappy with your brand and wants his problem to be solved is much more likely to respond well when there is a humane response that empathizes with his problem, and not just a bot that tells him that his problem will be solved soon. Based on research, 78% of customers are likely to do business with a company even after a mistake, as long as they receive excellent customer service.
📌Pro tip: Build a distinct brand persona for your business so that you can communicate in a humane and empathetic way with customers.
2. Avoid industry jargon
Industrial jargon is often referred to as the silent killer of customer service, primarily because from the customers’ standpoint, brands that use excessive jargon may seem unclear and well, highfalutin. Clear communication is one of the pillars on which customer support stands, and when jargon is used, the foundation weakens. Worst of all, some customers may even interpret it as being talked down to or being purposefully confused.
For example, let us assume you are a luxury hotel that is all booked up for the weekend and have to deny further bookings. Do you think saying “you are all committed for the weekend” gets the point across? Not only is it unnecessary, but it is also very confusing for people who are unfamiliar with the term. Rather say – “we are all booked up” to get your point across clearly.
📌Pro tip – If you have to absolutely use jargon, make sure you explain to them so that the communication is clear.
3. Ensure speedy responses
Responding late to customers was never a good option, online or not. But the delay in responses seems even more amplified to the customers when it is online, where they are used to getting instant solutions and responses. Whether it is on social media platforms, email, or your website, as a modern business you must ensure speedy responses. The reason is simple – people have way too many options and way too many things to do than wait around for your response. It is estimated that around 58% of customers will switch companies if they are unhappy with the customer service.
For example, a customer is already unhappy with a certain aspect of your service and has provided his feedback through a scathing email. If you reply after a day or so, chances are that he has already found an alternate service provider and abandoned your business.
📌Pro tip: Having automated responses for acknowledging queries or ticket generation can help you in situations when replying immediately is not possible (holidays, weekends, etc.)
4. Address criticism and concerns on social media
Social media is rapidly becoming the place to be – for socializing as well as conducting business. Did you know that by simply answering complaints on social media, brands can increase their customer advocacy by 25%? Your social media channels are the right platforms to interact with your audience. So in case you have been limiting yourselves to the traditional modes of query resolution for customers, you should rethink your strategy. Moreover, as a credible brand, you should welcome criticism and feedback just as much as praises on social media.
For example, a customer is relentlessly posting comments about an unpleasant experience they have had with your brand under all your posts. If you ignore them, they are likely to continue doing the same thing, their impatience getting worse with every comment they post. Rather message them on social media and try to resolve their problem.
📌Pro tip: Social media is the ideal place to humanize your brand, and show that you know that you are flawed and are working on being better. Just like people.
5. Enable effective self-service
Even before you think about implementing self-service within your customer support, you should first figure out ways to enhance your service effectiveness. Offering self-service sounds like something that would make your job easier as a customer service provider, but there is a lot of work to be done before it can be effective. You need to make sure that you create a knowledge base that the customer can access in case of an issue, and more importantly, train your customers for your product/service.
For example, a customer is trying to find an option to accomplish a specific task within your SaaS product. One way would be to get on a call with the customer or provide live chat support. However, to enable self-service, you can have specific tutorials for using each option in your product so that the customer can directly access it and get solutions that they are looking for.
📌Pro tip: Digital adoption solutions can be a great way to educate your customers about your product and to teach them how to access your knowledge center for quick resolution of queries.
6. Review Product/Service feedbacks and train employees
They say – you should never stop improving yourself. They also say – you should always strive for perfection. What we say is – they both go hand in hand. Feedback given by customers is often one of the best ways to achieve this, especially when clubbed with employee training. Customer feedback could sometimes reveal flaws that are not apparent by simply looking at the analytics.
For example, a customer might be able to point out overlooked product issues as an end-user, which a lot of your customers might be facing. In such cases, your brand has an opportunity to correct the mistake and make the customers feel valuable.
📌Pro tip: Always train your employees to note down unique issues and to find creative ways to solve them. The true mark of exceptional customer service is unique value propositions even in the customer support processes.
7. Empower customer support team with knowledge
It is important to train customer support representatives in a way that they can provide exceptional customer service regardless of the issue your customers are facing. While most queries are resolved directly by customer support, the technical queries are often redirected to product teams for resolution. Though effective, this approach can be often time-consuming, and even counterproductive for customers who are looking for instant solutions. Companies should instead aim to educate their customer-facing teams so that they are empowered to offer solutions on their own. More than 90% of customers are likely to trust a company when they have rated their service as “very good”.
For example, a customer who is constantly redirected to multiple representatives for query resolution is more likely to be dissatisfied with your service and give you a lower rating on your service compared to customers who get direct solutions.
📌Pro tip: Build a knowledge base that your customer support team can study and use to help customers solve issues.
8. Have multiple channels for customer support
In the digital age that businesses operate in today, being present in multiple digital channels has become essential for businesses to engage and retain customers. More importantly, when a customer is looking for customer support, it should be accessible on multiple digital platforms so that they can choose the most convenient option. Social media channels, a website inquiry section, and live chat are some of the primary options that you should activate for customer support.
For example, if a customer follows your brand on social media, they are likely to contact there for customer support. If the same customer is browsing through your website, they might consider the inquiry or live chat option instead. Regardless of the medium, they should get a consistent response for their queries or issues.
📌Pro tip: Have specifically trained team members to handle customer support on each channel so that they can offer exemplary customer service.
Customer service is going to be a vital parameter in the customers’ perception of your brand. An exceptional customer support process can retain customers and boost their loyalty and satisfaction with your brand. As a brand operating in a competitive business environment, you must ensure pro-activeness and effective customer service through your customer support processes.
About the Author
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest, and also works with Supple. She specializes in writing about SEO strategies, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking, and traveling.