According to the Microsoft 2019 State of Global Customer Service survey, customers say their experience with a company is a prime factor in their purchasing decision. In fact, an overwhelming 90% of survey respondents—hailing from the U.S., U.K., Brazil, and several other countries—agree that customer service is an important factor in their decision to buy from and engage with a brand long term.
Then, it stands to reason that customer service should be a key focus area in your business. Whether you sell computers or run an escape room, there are customer service elements in your business you can review for improvement. To ensure your customer care efforts are up to snuff, check out the tips below.
7 Customer Service Tips You Don’t Want to Miss
1. Maintain a positive attitude.
Remaining positive, especially when facing an upset customer, can go a long way with customer satisfaction. In most scenarios where a customer is aggravated or dissatisfied, the last thing you want to do is add to their negative emotions with your own.
Stay focused on finding a solution and ensuring the customer knows you’re there to help them. It can also help to smile. After all, a smile can brighten the darkest day.
2. Respond quickly and diligently.
When a customer is facing an issue, they want it resolved as quickly as possible. While some issues are too complex to resolve immediately, you can at least keep customers in the loop. Communicating status can help ease customer concerns about whether you’re trying to fix their problem. For example, you might email the customer after they submit a support ticket to confirm receipt. Then, you might email them again within 24 hours to let them know an expected timeframe for resolution.
Keep in mind, though, that quick responses are only one part of the experience. You also need to resolve the customer’s issue fully. Don’t let the desire to respond quickly outweigh achieving full resolution. It’s generally better to take more time to find the right solution than to handle their issue quickly—customers want complete resolution, so they don’t have to keep asking for help with the same problem.
3. Give customers a way to help themselves.
While some customers want the “human touch,” others prefer to resolve their issues with little to no human interaction. That’s why it’s crucial to provide these DIY customers with the means to troubleshoot and discover a relevant solution. For example, you may have a knowledge base or support center with helpful articles on common product issues. Customers can use these articles to overcome their challenges, only reaching out to your team if they fail to resolve the problems on their own.
Not only is a self-service option useful for customers, but it’s also valuable to you. Self-service offers scale because numerous customers can refer to a help article at the same time instead of filling up your support queue.
4. Provide personalized interactions.
Customers don’t want to be treated like a number. Providing nothing but canned responses, transferring them to different departments, pointing them to help articles they’ve already read—these are all surefire ways to make customers frustrated and ready to switch to a competitor.
When interacting with customers, especially when they have an issue, ensure they know you’ve considered all the details they’ve shared. For example, after being contacted by a customer who’s indicated they’ve read a relevant help article, you might say: “I see you’ve visited our help article about X. I just want to make sure you’ve done Y and Z, as noted in the article. If so, we can explore an alternative approach.”
This kind of customer support experience communicates to the customer they aren’t just receiving copy-and-paste responses—you’re actively listening and processing their commentary.
5. Be knowledgeable about your products and services.
Picture this: A customer contacts your company about a product problem, but the person they interact with seems to know very little about the product. The customer is likely already frustrated for having to contact support—speaking with an unknowledgeable employee will only further that frustration.
Be sure your employees are properly trained and have the requisite knowledge to ensure customers get their issues resolved promptly and have a seamless experience.
6. Use customer surveys.
With customer satisfaction, it pays to be proactive. Don’t wait until customers come to you with issues. Reach out to see what concerns or feedback they have with a customer survey. Many customers are willing to share their input when prompted. You can gain valuable insights from customers, such as common issues, unique ways of using your products, and even new product ideas.
7. Choose support channels to which you can commit.
Customers love convenience, so it can be tempting to choose every support channel available—phone, email, chat, social media, etc. However, if you don’t have the resources to actively monitor, respond, and follow up using each channel, you’re better off limiting your channels to ones that make the most sense for your business. This is especially the case with small businesses that have fewer employees who each wear multiple hats. If only one or two staff members are on the phone or answering emails, then chat and social media inquiries will fall by the wayside.
Incorporating the above tips can help you improve customer satisfaction and retain customers for the long term.