Ever wondered what strategies your competition is using to stay on top of their customer support and why your company is unable to meet with it?
Customer support is all about providing a great experience within your maximum capacity. But the question remains - is it enough?
Let's figure out!
Customer Support - A Two Way Street
In this section I will be dividing customer experience into two parts and then explain why I did so:
A. Support Agents
A. The famous saying ‘what you give today, will come back to you tomorrow’ and customer experience fits right into this.
Your Support Agents are the ones directly in touch with your customers which makes them of great value to your company. Keeping staff happy and fulfilled is the first step of generating greater revenues and achieving huge milestones for any business.
Don't believe me?
Employee retention is a lot cheaper from entry-level to highly experienced staff than replacing them. To be exact, hiring their replacement would be 30-400% more expensive depending on experience.
Build a relationship with your staff and keep that communication line always open. The more you understand their side of struggles and the ideas they bring in, the better you will make them feel.
Motivation doesn't always come with bigger numbers, employees prefer to be heard and being a part of policy making, product invention, and other important decisions too.
In order to really own what they do, they need to feel internally motivated otherwise, they will be just doing their job.
Summing up: Keep your employees happy and they will take care of your customers like their own!
B. A 2017 study shows that 77% of customers happily recommend a business to their friends when they had a good experience themselves. Which translates to multiplying customers without adding much effort and for free!
Customer value what they experience, not what you sell them.
According to a Walker info study - at least 86% of buyers by 2020 - will spend more on a brand’s product on the bases of better customer experience than they did on a different one.
Customer Support - The Importance
Every business needs to have a strong customer support team that is well-trained, aware of all product and service related information and hold prior experience (at least the ones directly facing customers).
Other than that, customer service strategies matter a lot. Your average support may not be enough in this competitive era, you need to get a little out of your comfort zone and provide a little extra to your customers.
It is not easy to try out new things in an existing business, especially if it goes directly to your customers but in order to stand out from the rest, you will have to make visible changes within your support team.
In some cases, you might have to discard the whole strategy and start from scratch.
Provide your customers the level of satisfaction they never had with any other brands so that they come back to you again and again, despite how amazing your competitors are.
As customers are now service oriented rather than getting the best product or the lowest price.
According to McKinsey & Company:
“Today’s consumers do not buy just products or services - more and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience.”
So the best you can do is improve your customer support and earn customer trust that will last you a lifetime!
Customer Support - The Online World
Almost every business has a social media existence today. In our previous article, we discussed that social media is a customer support channel that allows consumers and competitors to reach out to you much easier.
One on hand, this eased out communication between you and your business but at the same time, you are exposed to billions of people who can easily write to you whenever they want. Some of the customers are genuinely looking for something, while some are just wasting your time.
Customers are known to write or dial support teams just to ask them how to turn on a laptop
Or to use the internet without plugging in...
Let's assume you have 100k online customers and 10x more users, the number of customer queries that you will be receiving every day or to be more specific every single hour, even when your support staff is not available.
Here Comes Customer Support Automation!
Chatbots are smart, customizable, efficient and cost-effective. You may don't want to rely on them solely but they can help your support staff to a great extent.
24/7 support agents are a lot more expensive than a chatbot. At least for your online customers where most of the queries are repetitive and does not even require a human’s input.
FAQs are a good option too but a more personalized experience with a chatbot would be much more engaging for the customer than looking for long-boring paragraphs of text on your website.
A chatbot is much more advanced now and provides large-complex information in a fun and engaging way.
You can create a flow-based chatbot with botsify which saves the user the hassle of typing individual queries. Instead, provides pre-determined button-like options to choose from. The option selected will have its own flow to go about
10 Foolproof Tips To Improve Your Customer Support
Without any further ado, let's dive right into these 10 tips that will help improve your customer support by at least 30%.
1. Keep your customers close; your staff, closer!
Most of your support staff problems revolve around the lack of information and access to incorrect information that makes them clueless in front of the customers. So many of your customer complains wouldn’t even exist if only your communication channels with your customer support team were better.
According to a report from My Customer, about 32% of customer support representatives lack sufficient information to resolve customer issues. 22% of them said that they experience major trouble because they had been provided conflicting and/or incorrect information.
Imagine if only your internal communication was clearer, your service could have been improved to a great extent!
2. Find Out What ‘ELSE’ Your Customers Need
The golden rule to upsell any of your customers is finding out what they need. You cannot sell a substitute to your customer - in other words - if they have already bought a cappuccino they wouldn't want a latte with it.
You need to find a relevant complimentary item like a cookie, a donut or a sandwich to make it a meal! Its simple economics that applies to every customer who is looking for something extra.
Hubspot has some pretty good strategies to upsell customers, check it out here.
3. Make Your Interactions Personalized
Ever received one of those cute little handwritten messages from a brand when they deliver your order? Who doesn't appreciate a gesture like such!
Not just your conversations over live chat or via calls, make your customer’s entire experiences as personalized as possible to make them feel like they are the only customer you have and you value their existence the most.
Similar to this: How to make your customer service more personalized
4. Happy Employees = Greater Turnover
Did you know?
Your satisfied employees may result in a greater turnover in lesser cost! From entry-level to highly-experienced employees, you will have to spend at least 50-400% of their annual salaries to replace them.
As Dr. Amina Aitsi-Selmi describes it,"People don't leave jobs, they leave toxic work cultures”.
Build an environment that sustains not just your business, but also your employees. Your customer support team must feel equally important to provide a great experience to customers just how important your product/service is. After all, customers believe in buying a whole experience and not just your product.
5. Improve Service Internally
According to Barbara Khozam’sHow Organizations Deliver BAD Customer Service (AND Strategies that Turn It Around!), when looking into the bad experience a customer has had, look through the employee chain to figure out the top-to-bottom cause of the actual problem.
Your Customer Support Department isn’t solely responsible for the failure at the customer end, several concerned departments might have been involved in the process and the problem could have been caused by any of those.
Creating a service tree is advised to keep a track of how individual departments or employees are serving the customers internally.
6. Listen To Your
This is not one of the cliched ‘customer service related articles’ that tell you to be there for your customers or listen to them carefully. I believe you are smart enough to know that already!
So let’s talk about the real stuff...
How much do you care about your employees? When was the last time you asked your support representative if he wants some tools to fasten up his response time? What was the reason for your sales guy to leave your company? No, it wasn’t a better pay - maybe - he was just not happy.
Just like more than 50% of American workers, who are in some way, unhappy with their current employment.
Your staff is your internal customers. If you can send out feedback surveys to your customers why not do the same for your internal customers as well!
You might find out who has been struggling with their work every day because of a technical issue that could have been easily resolved by your IT department.
7. Happy Customers = Greater Turnover
According to Harvard Business Review, keeping your current customers is highly valuable. Customer retention will save you approximately 5%-25% than finding new customers that are equally important to your business.
The right customer will always stick to your brand as long as you are delivering the right experience to them. Customer satisfaction is as important as your product - without one, the other cannot survive on its own!
8. Reduce Their Efforts
The best way you can help your customer is by saving as much of their time as possible. Train your employees so well that they know what’s what (about your products) and provide them automated, time-saving tools.
A great way to save your online customer’s time is by automating your website or social media chats. This was you will not only reduce your customer’s efforts but also you save a lot of customer support time and cost.
Botsify offers flow-based chatbots that have a pre-determined set of answers for the user. This way, they don’t have to type a single query and just select one of the given options.
9. Manage Your Reputation Online
First of all, Stay Away From The Trolls!
No matter what, every brand faces social media trolling once or twice. When push comes to shove, brands usually react in either of the two ways; be the bigger person, or lose their cool in the hands of trolling.
The third ones are the coolest actually, those who respond like this:
Although I am not suggesting you do that, but what’s the harm in having a little fun?
Secondly, your online presence is a lot more important than you think, according to Adweek’s survey, social media influencers can convince about 49% of your potential customers through their recommendation of your products.
So if your reviews are mostly negative, you will have a hard time convincing your online customers with any offers or promises you make.
10. Invest In Your Customers
As discussed earlier, customer retention is a great way for you to increase your turn over, according to a Harvard Business School study, the ratio of customer retention to your profits can be 1:4 - 1:19.
In simpler words, if you increase your customer retention by 5%, your turnover will increase by about 20% up to 95%.
A very tiny little effort from your end may encourage your customers to spend a lot more than they usually do with your brand. A complimentary candy with the bill may result in better tips from your customers and a more frequent visit to your eatery.