Your clients’ expectations for customer service have shifted dramatically in the past decade.
The internet and all that comes with it have allowed for more businesses to flourish despite geographical constraints (thus creating a buyer’s market) and made it easier for brands to offer superior customer service if they wanted to go the extra mile.
As a result, customer service is now a defining factor in how users perceive your business, and it’s essential to your business’s success. More customers than ever are looking at customer service when deciding who they want to do business with, and it’s crucial for client retention.
Technology has clearly allowed customer service to take center stage, but it’s still continually shifting what customer service looks like and what customers expect. In order to help you stay up to date on all the latest trends, let’s take a look at each one and how you can start implementing them today.
You’re likely familiar with the experience of navigating to a new website and seeing a live chat box pop up within seconds, with a helpful AI bot asking how they can assist you.
Live chat and other real-time messaging options are becoming increasingly popular, and are slowly edging out delayed-response messaging solutions like email or help desk systems. While these options do still have a place in customer service, make sure that you have the staff and tools you need to offer exceptional support through phone calls, live chat, social media messaging (including comments on public posts), and even texting.
If you need help handling an influx of customer service requests, consider outsourcing where you can. PATLive, for example, can guarantee that every phone call to your business is answered in three rings or less so that no customer is waiting on hold and at risk for hanging up. There are also marketing agencies that specialize in social media engagement and community management, taking some of the burden off your team.
Remember those artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots we mentioned in the last section? They’re becoming more prominent in customer service, and that’s a huge asset to customers and businesses alike when they’re used correctly.
AI customer support like chatbots and smart help desk solutions are valuable to customers who want near-instant service. They can get the ball rolling for your staff, quickly answering common questions like “what’s your return policy” or “how much are your monthly subscriptions” in a few seconds or less.
It’s important to note that all customer service shouldn’t be handled by AI. Instead, it should only be used to support your customer service team, quickly managing simple-but-common questions that could slow your team down so that they can handle more involved customer concerns that actually require one-on-one attention.
There are now tools that you can use to derive data from your phone traffic, especially when you’re using virtual business numbers like Tresta’s.
They’ll provide real-time call recordings and analytics to help you assess everything from which representatives take the most calls to what solutions may benefit you most. You can also see which individual marketing channels are driving the most phone calls to your company, easily assessing which platforms benefit you most.
The more information you have about your call traffic, the more you can optimize the service you’re delivering. If you notice an increase in calls during the holidays or around product releases, for example, you may realize that you need to expand your team temporarily or hire more help through outsourcing during upcoming release periods.
Instantaneous is the name of the game in customer support right now, especially since no one wants to wait for help when whatever they bought from you isn’t working correctly.
Quick troubleshooting and fast answers available online instead of a basic “support desk” where someone only has the option to send an email and wait 24 hours is becoming more common. You can have an extensive support selection that’s a little like a massive FAQ, going over common issues and sharing answers, troubleshooting tips, and the next steps that you can take to resolve the issue.
Again, this offers instant connection and help to your customers in a convenient way, while still freeing up your own customer support team to handle other customer inquiries that require their direct attention.
Customer relationship management tools are more advanced than ever before, making it easier for businesses to efficiently track each individual prospect, lead, and customer and their individual relationship with them.
Your sales team and your customer support team can use these tools to better track what they know about each individual customer so that they can personalize customer service moving forward. This includes quickly reviewing the past concerns each customer had individually while on the phone with them, and what resolutions have or haven’t worked in the past. The ability to understand a customer’s past history with your business is essential to offering truly personalized service, which is the best type of service you can offer.
Technology has made customer service a bigger deciding factor in who customers want to do business with while simultaneously making it possible for businesses to live up to these heightened expectations.
All businesses need to be putting customer support as one of their top priorities, just as they would prioritize the quality of their products or reliable shipping. Customers will take note if they’re getting less-than-ideal support, and they’ll immediately leave for one of your competitors instead. Make sure that you’re staying up to date with all the new technology and changes it’s causing to stay competitive and keep your customers happy.
Publish Date: March 18, 2020
Charlotte Purvis is a speaker and communication consultant who has influenced an average of one million customer interactions each year for over 20 years. She consults, trains, and speaks on customer service, business communication, and leadership development for global companies, universities, and community organizations. She practices what she teaches as evidenced by nearly 100% of her engagements coming from repeat or referral business.
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