Providing exceptional customer service has always been important, but in our modern culture where information and entertainment are available at a moment’s notice, customers are inundated with options. And with reviews for everything, excellent customer service is essential.
Here are the four best ways to make sure your customer service is top-notch in 2021.
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR RESPONSE TIME
First response time (FRT) is the time it takes for one of your customer service agents to respond to a customer inquiry. According to a Zendesk survey, when asked, “What matters most to you when you want to resolve a customer service issue with a company?” 58.9% said that they wanted a quick response.
It is clear that responding quickly to a customer is vital, but exactly how fast are customers expecting a response? The answer depends on what channel the customer is using. According to the same Zendesk survey, when contacting a business through social media, customers expect a response in 15 minutes or less. When communicating via email, customers want a response in an hour or less. When it comes to live chat, the benchmark is to respond in a minute or less.
There are several ways to improve FRT and it’s best to implement as many as possible. The first way is to train your agents and make sure they are well equipped with the skills and information needed to respond to customer questions quickly and confidently. Secondly, it might be helpful to invest in a knowledge base system so that agents can access the information they need to answer questions and respond to customers. Finally, preventing burnout amongst employees can have a big impact on FRT. If you nurture a culture of gratitude in the workplace, offer time off when needed, and provide benefits and perks to workers, you will have fewer cases of burnout.
2. PROVIDE SELF-SERVICE
With the rise of search engines and social media, it’s no surprise that many customers prefer using self-service to resolve an issue than contacting a human directly.
Self-service provides customers and clients with the necessary resources and tools to solve issues on their own. A self-service customer option could be as simple as an online knowledge base or a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). It could also be as complex and creative as animated tutorials or illustrated guides. Chatbots, auto attendants, IVR, and community forums are other forms of customer self-service.
Creating a robust self-service system will not only improve the customer experience for your business but will ease the pressure on your customer reps as well.
3. OFFER A VARIETY OF COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
In today’s connected world, customers communicate using text, social media, email, live chat, video, and, yes, over the phone, too. In order to meet this expectation, companies must provide omnichannel customer service.
Omnichannel customer service allows consumers to reach a company’s customer service team using a variety of methods. With an omnichannel customer service solution, agents are able to see a streamlined customer and conversation history even if the customer chooses to use different channels at different times.
For example, imagine that a customer posts a complaint on social media and tags your company. One of your agents reaches out to the customer on social media, but then the next day the customer calls and speaks to a different agent. The day after that they send an email. With an omnichannel solution, the agent responding to that last email will have access to the social media post, the previous phone conversation, and any other customer history to help them solve the issue.
One of the most frustrating parts of contacting customer service is having to repeat yourself over and over. Because of this, a strong omnichannel customer service solution is the key to providing the experience that an overwhelming majority of customers are looking for.
As an added bonus, omnichannel provides a more personalized customer service experience because customers can reach out through their preferred communication channel.
4. SOLVE PROBLEMS ON THE FIRST CALL
The percentage of customer service calls that get resolved on the first attempt is known as first call response, first call resolution, or FCR. If this KPI is high, it means that most of your customers don’t have to wait long for a resolution to their issue, and more importantly, they don’t have to make multiple calls and speak with different agents. FCR is essential for providing exceptional customer service because customers need to know that a company values their time.
There are many different ways to measure FCR. Some companies choose to focus on only phone calls while others include things like live chat. Some companies give agents a 24-hour window within which to resolve a call while others have a shorter time frame.
There are several ways to improve FCR. If your agents have trouble retrieving customer information, this will hinder their ability to resolve issues on the first call. If this is an issue, you will want to implement a strong CRM or call center software solution to keep customer history at your agent’s fingertips. Lack of agent training and lack of a routing system can be another culprit of a low FCR.
FCR is a critical indicator for how satisfied your customers are as well as how well your operations are running. Improved FCR leads to improved employee satisfaction as well as increased opportunities for sales.
Providing exceptional customer service is a tried and tested way for brands to stand out and succeed. There is no such thing as a perfect company and every company will have customer service issues to some extent. What customers want in these situations is to feel confident that the company cares about them and can resolve issues quickly and painlessly.
With improvements in FRT and FCR, along with self-service and omnichannel options, you can improve customer experiences, reduce churn, and improve your bottom line.
Reuben Yonatan is Founder/CEO @ GetVoIP, a global comparison resource for business technology buyers.