These days a good level of customer service is expected from companies, regardless of what they’re selling. That’s why good quality customer service isn’t enough anymore. An excellent level of customer service is what sets brands apart from their competition. The importance of customer service has grown to be the key factor people use to decide where they spend their dollars.
90% of Americans use customer service as their measuring stick on whether to do business with brands. Almost two-thirds will take their business elsewhere if your customer care isn’t up to expectations. So, what is customer service, and how can businesses up their game from “good enough” and deliver the excellent level of care customers demand?
1: One-Stop Issue Resolution
Everyone would like to have more hours in their day, and no one wants to spend what hours they do have trying to sort out problems. When a call comes through on your customer service number, the representative not only needs to be helpful and welcoming, they need to be able to do their best to resolve the customer’s issue right then and there, as quickly as possible.
When issues can’t be resolved in the first call, the agent’s customer service skills need to be supported by a robust ticketing system. The system should make it easy to escalate issues smoothly, let the problem be tracked, and deliver automated messages to provide the support a customer needs.
2: Rapid Responses
Again, time is critical for your customers. Not only do their issues need to be resolved quickly, their calls and emails need to be answered expediently as well. 73% of customers state that companies who value their time are offering excellent customer service.
This means ensuring calls are routed seamlessly to the next available operative. If it’s a particularly busy period, a smooth holding experience that lets people know where they are in the queue can keep customers on the line longer and reduce frustration.
3: Customer Relationships
Constantly reiterating a problem each time or repeating common details is a pain point for customers. Personalization is important – McKinsey & Co. even suggest it will be a defining feature in the future of customer service. A high level of personalization makes people feel valued and important to the business.
It’s unrealistic to expect customer service representatives to remember the voice or email address of every customer. A phone system that integrates with your helpdesk software or CRM can automatically deliver the context and background for each customer so that a personalized level of service is delivered every time.
4: Connection and Empathy
One of the areas of customer service that is easy to win – or fail – at, is the tone and warmth customers are given when dealing with your business. Sure, customers want a rapid response, but they also want to be treated with warmth and empathy.
Customer service guidelines should include answering a call with a smile. Customers’ calls should be dealt with efficiently and kindly. To ensure this is happening, live call coaching facilities and recordings of excellent calls as well as the not-so-great examples for customer service job training work well.
5: Access to an Expert
Customer service representatives are the face of the business. They need to understand the products and services inside and out to be able to deliver the support people expect. Although 69% of customers will try to resolve their issues themselves, when they call the customer service center they expect the consultant to know more than they do.
The Benefits of Excellent Customer Service
If you’re wondering what good customer service is in comparison to an excellent level of customer care, it’s most of the above, but delivered by a lack-luster, not-really-bothered, customer service representative. It leaves customers feeling more like a nuisance than a valued part of the business.
Delivering an excellent level of customer service means putting customers first, anticipating needs, and engaging them with enthusiasm and genuine warmth. This higher level of customer care delivers huge benefits for businesses too. Revenues can grow 4 to 8% above their market when customer service experiences are prioritized. Customers are far more loyal to the companies that treat them well – around 80% of customers will forgive a mistake – and they have 6 to 14 times more lifetime value than critics.
Good customer service won’t deliver the same results that it did ten years ago. Today, companies are competing largely on the service they provide - faster deliveries, more responsive customer care agents, and personalized service are what’s separating the leaders from the rest. Ensuring you have all the necessary elements of excellent customer service in place makes good business sense.