Having some customer service best practices in mind isn’t just a must-have for any brand; it’s important from a customer retention perspective. A finding from CallMiner showed that U.S. companies lost $136.8 billion because their customers switched to another brand.
With revenue being an important metric for brand success, companies need to handle customer issues with poise and ease to not just retain customers; but to stem the tide against revenue losses. As your customer success teams continue to build and optimize, they will need to create a handbook for customer service best practices that can resolve problems and delight customers. Here are a few to get started.
Customer Service Best Practice #1: Create a Multi-Channel Presence
Providing multiple avenues for customers to reach you and resolve their issues can help increase overall satisfaction. A 2020 Microsoft report showed a majority of customers used 3-5 channels to resolve issues with voice, email, and self-service options as the top 3 channels.
Having various channels in today’s digital world is becoming a must for any company. Multiple demographics combined with accessibility options mean that your customer service team must be ready to resolve issues in a number of ways. While creating a foundation of customer satisfaction is still the norm, you will need to find methods that help both consumers and representatives in their interactions for each platform.
However, providing multiple and easy options for accepting and resolving questions and issues is just one half of your multi-channel approach. Your brand also needs to have the customer’s history in relation to your products available at a moment’s notice. The Microsoft report noted that 75% of respondents wanted the customer service agent to “know who they are and their purchase history.”
Whether it’s through an account history or website cookies, brands need to stay on top of their customer data, especially in situations where tensions can be high. Having knowledge of the customer’s history helps increase personalization, which is part of an overall satisfying customer experience, and makes the overall resolution process easier for both the customer and brand representative.
Customer Service Best Practice #2: Utilize Social Media for Customer Service
An unlikely, yet growing popular base for customer service is social media. What was once another portal for sharing content from news to customer stories has turned into a two-way street of communication. In other words, consumers are using Facebook and Twitter to reach out for support.
The Microsoft report showed that 15% of consumers used social media for customer support. However, from a social media reputation management perspective having a dedicated team resolving issues via your Twitter feed or Facebook Page can be a positive boost for brand reputation. Findings from the same report showed that 54% of consumers were “favorable to a brand that answered customer service questions via social media.”
As your social media team grows, it might be worth training them in some customer service capacity as well. Combined with Hootsuite reputation management services, your team can keep a close eye on various social media feeds at the same time as they create content to attract consumers and resolve issues that retain top customers.
Customer Service Best Practices #3: Act on Customer Feedback
The way that people perceive the customer support side of your brand can define your reputation as evidenced by the Microsoft report finding that 58% stopped using a business because of a poor experience with customer service. That bad experience is something people won’t forget, and they will tell others about it through online reviews. Those customer reviews are so powerful that they convinced 94% of consumers to avoid a business.
Instead of sitting back and taking the heat, your team can use customer service feedback (whether it’s positive or negative) to gain actionable insights, and consumers are willing to provide it. The Microsoft report showed 89% percent of consumers want to provide feedback yet only 37% say that they are “occasionally” asked to give feedback. Simply asking customers to tell you about their experience goes a long way, and it can lead to valuable feedback that you can use to continually improve the service you provide.
Depending on the channel used for customer service there are multiple ways to start asking for reviews. Regardless of the method, it’s important to make it easy and hassle-free, and people will be more than happy to tell you about their customer service experience.
When you do get feedback, make sure that you take time to respond as well. If customers are willing to take time out of their day to share their thoughts, make sure that you reciprocate with a response. People want to know that they’re not just shouting into the void, so to speak. They want to be heard by you, and learning how to respond to negative reviews shows that you value their feedback and investment as a customer.
A major factor in reputation management – and customer service, for that matter – is engagement, and constantly asking, responding to, and acting on feedback is a great way to show your eagerness to keep customers and improve operations.
Final Thoughts on Customer Service Best Practices
Brands invest plenty of time and money into making sure that their products and services live up to expectations, but there are times when that perception is different from that of the consumer. This is where customer service steps in to bridge the gap and ensure that consumer satisfaction is high. By having a customer service team built on these 3 best practices, you can easily satisfy customers and keep them as loyal fans in the long run.