The quality of customer service can make or break a buyer’s relationship with the seller. According to the 2017 Customer Service Barometer study published by American Express, more than half of all surveyed Americans had scrapped a planned purchase due to bad service.
The study also found that even a single instance of poor service is enough to push over a third of all American customers to a competitor. Businesses never set out to offer poor service. However, as they grow, they struggle to keep up with their quality and customer service is often one of the first dominos to fall.
Thankfully, there are tons of tools and apps that a business can make use of to provide fabulous service at scale. We asked marketers and business owners to comment on the tools they use to keep customer service levels up. Here is a roundup of their thoughts.
Involve the Dev team in customer support:
“One of the customer service challenges businesses face is gauging which problems to fix first. Each team in your organization has a long list of things they want to improve on, but prioritizing this is always a problem. The reality is that you have a large number of stakeholders, all pulling to get their "sections" given priority. What happens, in this case, is that certain customer service problems are never addressed, because they never get to the top of the queue.
For companies that have an in-house technology team, one way to quickly fix customer service challenges is to involve the development team in the customer service department. Essentially, you rotate some developers, putting them in the customer service team for some of their time.
What happens is that the people developing the product get to experience customer-end problems first hand. This specific insight can help them plan their product-fixes to align with the next product iteration.
With online helpdesk and chat tools, it is possible for developers to use and be a part of the customer service team even if they are not in-house. Support team members can assign tickets from their inbox to the developers for them to work towards resolution of these issues.”
David, Founder, CollectiveRay
Use incentives to seek responses to customer feedback
“A challenge that many businesses face in terms of customer service is understanding their pain points and the solution they are looking for. I use two ways to help me with that - surveys and interviews. There are many free survey tools you can find online, but if you want your customers to actually fill it in, it helps to offer them an incentive, such as a free online course or a discount code for your product or services.
I interview potential customers and experts in my industry on my Creating Brand YOU Podcast using web conferencing tools like Zoom. It allows me to understand my customer’s needs with the added incentive of promoting them and their business to my audience.”
Priya Florence Shah, BlogBrandz Digital
Showcase FAQs prominently
“As it is with every other facet of running a business, the 80-20 rule applies to customer service as well. In effect, it means that 80% of customers look for answers to 20% of questions. These questions are typically related to your store opening hours, pricing, operational processes, refund policies, and so on.
A good way to cater to these questions is by showcasing them as FAQs prominently on your website or other platforms that your customers come from. In my case, we make use of Google My Business to provide answers to all the popular questions from our customers. This way, anytime a prospective new customer searches for our business online, these questions show up readily. This saves a lot of their time as well as frees up our bandwidth to answer other customer queries on priority.”
Rob Evans, Graviteq
Offer multiple contact options and expected timeframes
“The challenges businesses face is how to efficiently respond to customer issues whilst maintaining a human element and keeping costs to a minimum.
When a customer needs assistance they usually need it immediately and they are often quite stressed at this point. Their time is valuable and they do not want to spend time searching for contact details; then having to call a premium number, only to go through rounds of complicated menus whilst being told repeatedly by an automated voice to visit the company’s website.
Many of these issues can be solved by offering an online chat option alongside their phone number. As with Amazon’s excellent customer service, you may even offer the option of being contacted directly. Having multiple contact options as well as expected timeframes not only demonstrates that the company cares but it also instills a feeling of confidence in the customer. This makes for an easier resolution and enhances the company’s brand reputation.
With competition in all sectors fierce, if a business does not comply with the expectations of their customers, they need to prepare for the customer to share unfavorable reviews and take their business elsewhere. I know from my own experience that expectations of customer service are very low, so having the USP of delivering exceptional service can really enhance a company’s reputation as well as increase their sales.”
Joanne Munro, The VA Handbook
Integrate continuous feedback loops
“Managing customer expectations can be a big challenge and demands good alignment with the product and engineering teams. Such alignment can be based on quantifying things like feature requests and usage as well as a clear escalation process and categorization. In a recent blog post on the topic, I wrote, "(An) area that that really helped (and is still helping us) scale our customer success effort at the beginning was to integrate continuous feedback loops into our workflows — both in an automated and in a manual way.
Running surveys like NPS and more transactional surveys like CSAT will help you improve your customer experience and understand it and also see where you are under-delivering. These feedback loops also help you to get to product/market fit faster. Having some manual ones as well — like a really solid feature request workflow (so that your roadmap can be adapted quickly) — will accelerate this.” Ingmar Zahorsky VP of Customer Success at ChartMogul.
Automate based on NPS
“Online reputation is super important for literally every business. Reviews and in-depth customer feedback influence a business’s credibility, reputation, and sales. And one of the challenges businesses face is building and maintaining that solid reputation.
As our customer base expanded, we at Albacross wanted to have deeper conversations with our customers to get a better understanding of their needs and subsequently create a better experience for them.
At the same time, we wanted to boost our presence on software review sites by asking promoters for support. So, we started by importing our NPS survey results from Wootric into Intercom which allowed us to set up automated and personalized messages for users based on the score they gave.
In a nutshell, this approach resulted in a 2x Net Promoter Score and over 100 reviews on Capterra, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.”
Marcus Svensson, CMO at Albacross
Technology is a great enabler when it comes to scaling your customer servicing requirements. What other tools do you use to assist in customer support at your organization?
Share it with us in the comments section.