With how customer experience is the key differentiator for brands nowadays, customer support no doubt plays an important role in how you can stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Combined with the fact that a customer is four times more likely to switch to a competitor if the problem they're having is service-based, there’s no excuse for not having proper customer care.
In this article, we’ll provide you with helpful tips and all the latest practices that all the best customer support teams follow:
The importance of good customer service
Surely you’ve heard of brands like Apple and Amazon whose customer services laid the foundation for others to imitate. Good customer service is how brands are making themselves known, and there are tremendous benefits associated with good customer service:
Improved brand image: Good customer service can help to build a positive reputation for the business and increase customer loyalty.
Customer retention: Providing good customer service helps to retain existing customers, who are likely to return and make additional purchases. In fact, for 86% of customers, good customer service is what turns one-time clients into long-term brand champions
It’s the best marketing strategy: According to Gladly’s Customer Service Expectations survey, consumers are 50% more likely to rely on online reviews (on websites and social media) than recommendations from family and friends when deciding on a purchase
Competitive advantage: In a highly competitive market, businesses that provide exceptional customer service can differentiate themselves from their competitors and gain an edge.
Increased sales: Considering that 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences, revenue growth is also one of the benefits of good customer service
Tips and best practices for good customer service
1. Listen actively
Actively listening to your customers can help you better understand their needs and concerns. This involves paying close attention to what the customer is saying, asking questions to clarify their concerns, and reflecting back on what you've heard to ensure you understand them correctly.
Make sure that you ask open-ended questions that encourage the customer to provide more information about their concerns. This will help you understand the situation better and provide more effective solutions. Additionally, you should also show empathy by acknowledging the customer's feelings and demonstrating that you understand their situation. This can be achieved by using phrases such as "I can understand how frustrating that must be for you".
2. Personalize the experience
Personalizing the customer service experience is a critical aspect of building strong relationships with your customers, and it involves going the extra mile to understand their unique needs and preferences. In today's competitive marketplace, providing a personalized customer experience can set your business apart and create a lasting impression that keeps customers coming back for more. When done correctly, it can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher levels of satisfaction, and even improved sales. A few ways you can personalize the customer service experience are
Use personalized language: When communicating with customers, use personalized language that makes them feel valued and appreciated. Avoid using generic, impersonal language like "Dear customer" or "To whom it may concern." Instead, address them by name and use a friendly, conversational tone, such as Hey [name].
Tailor your responses: When responding to customer inquiries or complaints, tailor your responses to their specific needs and concerns. This may mean providing more detailed information or offering solutions that are customized to their unique situation.
Offer personalized recommendations: Use customer data to offer personalized recommendations for products or services that may be of interest to them. For example, if a customer has purchased a certain type of product in the past, recommend similar products that they may also enjoy.
Follow up personally: Follow up with customers personally to ensure that their needs have been met and that they are satisfied with their experience. This can be done via email, phone, or even in person if possible.
Remember, a personalized experience is not just about making customers feel special; it's also about understanding their needs and preferences so you can better serve them.
3. Respond promptly
According to SuperOffice, 62 percent of companies don’t even respond to customer emails, and the average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes. This goes to show that customers expect quick and efficient service, especially when they have urgent concerns. Responding promptly to customer inquiries can help to build trust and confidence in your business. Set clear expectations for response times and aim to exceed them whenever possible.
4. Use a conversational tone
Using a conversational tone can help to make customers feel more comfortable and at ease. Avoid overly formal or technical language, and strive to communicate in a friendly and approachable manner. If possible, using a bit of humor can help lighten the mood and create a more relaxed atmosphere. However, be mindful not to use inappropriate humor or sarcasm that may offend the customer.
Instead of this standard response:
You are being transferred. Your call is very important to us.
Hi Angela, I’m going to introduce you to Angela, our customer success specialist who I think is better suited to helping you with your question!
5. Go above and beyond
Going above and beyond what is expected can help to create a positive impression on customers. This can include offering additional assistance, providing unexpected perks or rewards, or taking extra steps to ensure the customer's satisfaction.
Customers simply love it when you go the extra mile and meet them where they’re at. It shows that you care enough about their experiences, and it’s actually one of the best ways you can make customers feel loyal to your brand.
Talking about meeting customers where they’re at, Tesla quite literally tries to meet their customers where they’re at – by offering services at the customers’ places. They know that for customers who run into issues with their cars, mobility is going to be a concern which makes this a great example of companies going the extra mile for their customers.
6. Have a self-service system
Providing customers with a self-service system, such as a service desk, a knowledge base, a FAQ section, can help to reduce their reliance on customer service representatives. Customers can access the information they need at any time and from any location, without having to wait for a representative to become available. This can save them time and effort, and can also help to reduce frustration, as well as reduce the workload on support representatives, allowing them to focus on more complex issues.
7. Monitor social media channels
Many customers use social media to voice their concerns or ask for assistance. Monitoring social media channels can help you quickly identify and respond to these inquiries, and can also provide valuable insights into customer sentiment and feedback. This is what best brands have been doing to address the concerns of their customers, as well as to improve trust among their social media users. When done right, social media support also serves as a kind of marketing strategy for your company since good customer service drives more recognition and followers.
8. Be candid
Honesty and transparency can help to build trust and credibility with customers. Be candid about any limitations or challenges you might have in providing a solution, and provide realistic expectations for what can be achieved. This can help to manage customer expectations and avoid disappointment or frustration.
Deep Sea Headquarters is one of the local brands in Port Aransas, Texas that were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Almost immediately after the disaster, the brand was flooded with refund requests and found themselves unable to fulfill them at the time. The brand candidly explained its situation with a Facebook post which received overwhelmingly positive reactions, with their old & loyal customers voicing their positive experiences with the brand and reassuring the company that issuing timely refunds was far from a priority at the time.
These tips can help you lay the foundation of good customer service – but the rest depends on your team to pull it off. Remember that the best customer service is one that functions off-script – one that has the human touch and is flexible to the customers’ demands.