According to a survey by consultancy firm PwC, “59% of US consumers said that they would turn their back on a brand, even one they loved, (after) some bad experiences. Outside the United States, 47% of those interviewed would do the same […] and 45% said that they would not engage with a company again after a first bad experience.”
These results reflect the value of efficient customer service and how important it is for the relationship between the user and the company.
What is customer support and how does it help to build long-term relationships?
Customer support is any interaction that a company has with their product or service’s users, whether it’s before, during or after purchase. Also known as customer service, its main goal is to achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To provide optimal customer service, it is not enough to merely make channels available for queries. These days, users have access to a huge amount of information, and their purchase decisions are influenced by other people’s previous experiences with that same product or service. A considerable amount of that satisfaction or dissatisfaction originates from customer service.
According to Jonathan Brummel, Senior Manager of Premier Support at Zendesk, “…While a customer service team can resolve a technical issue in the short term, providing good customer service helps build relationships and establish a real connection in the long term…”.
Evolution of customer service: automation and personalisation
Today’s customer service took shape in call centres, which were one of the most popular systems in the 20th century. All kinds of companies make customer service available to provide answers to questions, log queries, receive complaints and provide technical support. While the traditional in-person and telephone-based customer service continue to be essential, technological progress has led to the introduction of new platforms, resources and strategies devoted to customer support.
The technology used in the provision of customer service has naturally progressed in the direction of automation. Growth in demand among users and motivation among companies to provide more and better information have both created a need for the introduction of automated tools – such as help centres, chatbots and other forms of artificial intelligence – to provide support and increase the productivity of customer support teams.
Alongside this, the collection of personal data by companies has made it possible to provide a personalised service. According to a Zendesk study, consumers are not against companies using their personal data “as long as it is used to improve their experience as a customer”.
When stored responsibly, customers’ personal data becomes valuable information for the brand, which can now approach each customer with prior knowledge of their shopping trip and predict their behaviours.
This way, companies have learned to diversify their customer service to reflect user preferences, communicating through their preferred channels, and sharing offers and recommendations.
A current example is the music streaming company Spotify and their Twitter account SpotifyCares, which is devoted exclusively to customer service. The company identified that the majority of their users chooses this platform to exchange messages and saw the benefits of launching their online community with topics of interest and solutions available for everyone.
Benefits of managing customer service well
- Helps companies to stand out and be seen among their competitors.
- Contributes to the development of customer loyalty.
- Generates repeat customers. Happy, satisfied customers recommend the same kind of experience to others.
- Promotes a positive brand image.
- Contributes to the growth of sales.
What users value in customer service
- A non-intrusive personalised service. Technology provides companies with a wide range of tools with which to approach consumers. It’s best to use them cautiously and wait for a clear sign of interest before sending messages that could put them off making a purchase.
- Constant availability. Users value a real-time service available through their preferred channels. They also like it when switching between channels doesn’t require them to repeat their query.
- Offering a high-quality after-sales service. What happens when customer service doesn’t end after the company has cleared up a doubt or resolved an issue requiring technical support? Companies that continue the communication with their customers – to find out if everything is going well, if the product arrived on time and in good condition, or if an experience was satisfactory – will probably be remembered kindly and recommended convincingly.
What happens when you put these tips into practice? Zendesk Support Suite offers customer service solutions that enable you to work smoothly and efficiently. Give your team smart, integrated tools and your customers more reasons to choose you. Start now!