Customer service is integral to all businesses, big or small. This is because today, customers consider after-sales experience to be equally important as the product or service itself.
If you take too long to resolve an issue, do not engage in clear communication, or provide an overall poor service, you run the risk of losing the customer’s business altogether.
A customer service strategy is a plan for how your organization will provide quality customer care—having such a plan in place helps you provide consistent levels of services. This, in turn, leads to improved customer satisfaction and retention.
9 Effective Customer Services Strategies
If you are facing issues like negative reviews, employee and customer retention, and increasing numbers of complaints, here are a few strategies that can help.
- Create a Customer-Centric Process Model
- Support Employees with the Right Infrastructure
- Train Employees in Handling Customer Communication
- Provide a Personalized Customer Service Experience
- Offer Support Over Multiple Communication Channels
- Enable Self-Service Channels
- Take Feedback from Customers
- Measure Customer Service Levels
- Focus on Creating a Community
1. Create a Customer-Centric Process Model
Customer service needs to be at the heart of your work culture. The type of service you provide is a representation of your business.
Customer care can be a difficult team to be in. You often have to deal with angry and upset people. To overcome this challenge, you need to instill customer empathy. It is essentially understanding why the customer is upset and how you can best serve them in such a situation.
You can define customer-centric goals for every team, conduct training, measure performance, and make adjustments.
Everyone, from top leadership to employees, should understand these goals and their role in fulfilling them.
2. Support Employees with the Right Infrastructure
You must structure the IT infrastructure of your business to improve employee efficiency and productivity. It should not serve as a bottleneck, stopping your employees from doing their job well.
For example, if you are using ticketing software that makes collaboration difficult, it ultimately affects the employees’ capability to serve customers well.
Tools, software, and processes should be easy to use and understand. Provide employees with comprehensive technical training, and identify and improve system performance and processes.
3. Train Employees in Handling Customer Communication
When in a customer-facing role, being technically adept is not enough. Your employees should be able to explain the technology and provide the customer with relevant details in simple terms.
For example, your employees did resolve the issue, but the customer had a rude experience. In such cases, even though the issue was resolved, there are high chances of the customer not recommending your company.
Thus, it would help if you focused on sharpening your employees’ soft skills. Employees are the face of your business. The infrastructure, training, and support they have impacts customer experience.
4. Provide a Personalized Customer Service Experience
Today’s informed, and aware customers want to be treated as more than a mere number in your database. They want to know you value them and the business they bring in.
This could be making small changes such as referring to the customer by name in any communication or offering special discounts on birthdays and anniversaries. Or you could give them a follow-up call after they make a purchase.
Focus on building customer-specific profiles with details like past purchases, wish lists, interactions, and complaints. Having such visibility can help you further personalize customer experiences.
5. Offer Support Over Multiple Communication Channels
Customers want a quick resolution. Therefore, offering them limited communication channels like emails and calls is no longer feasible. Emails and calls are still relevant, but they cannot be the only way to reach out to your help desk.
For example, according to Zendesk CX Trends 2022 report, 69% of customers are open to interacting with a bot.
Also, customers prefer to avoid repeating themselves. Thus, conversational customer service is on the rise. The use of social media apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger has increased by 36% compared to last year.
6. Enable Self-Service Channels
Most customers try to resolve issues independently before reaching out to a help desk. They are open to interacting with bots and AI if it means faster resolution.
Empower customers by providing them with a fully-functional self-service portal. According to another Zendesk report, customers listed fast resolution, 24/7 support availability, and an online knowledge base as some aspects of a good customer experience.
And a self-service portal meets these aspects. It is also a cost-efficient solution for businesses.
7. Take Feedback From Customers
All your efforts are focused on improving customer experience, so who better to take feedback from than the customers themselves?
Whenever customers interact with your business, send them a feedback response email. Encourage customers to participate in surveys and polls with freebies, discounts, and loyalty points. Thank customers for positive reviews and address negative comments.
You can also analyze the data available at your end to understand repetitive issues faced by customers.
8. Measure Customer Service Levels
How do you know if the customer service strategies you implement are working? This is why you need to set customer service goals, routinely measure performance and optimize accordingly.
There are several customer satisfaction metrics you can use. For example, a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is used to understand the overall experience throughout the process. Customers can rate the service from 1 to 5.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) shows the likelihood of the customer recommending your business. Customer Request Volume (CRV) is the number of requests the team receives. Then you have response and resolution times you can measure.
9. Focus on Creating a Community
Data-driven decisions are essential for business, but you also need to focus on customers who have been loyal to your brand.
Provide customers with a platform where they can engage in brand-related discussions. Identify core customers and document their experience. Run quizzes, polls, and surveys on social media platforms. Recognize customers and offer them rewards.
Such activities go well beyond your product or service and foster a sense of community.
Investing in a customer service team is a must for organizations today. Happy customers will stay loyal to your brand, recommend you to other people, and help increase your revenue.
Practices like instilling a customer-centric approach in the work culture, supporting employees with the right tools, offering customers self-service portals, multiple communication channels, personalized experiences, and measuring team performance can improve customer satisfaction.