To ensure your customers are always happy, your service team needs to be happy too. By having the right systems, technology and processes in place, you can ensure each member of your team can work productively and deal with even the biggest service challenges.
Despite the proven benefits of improving customer satisfaction, increasing operational efficiency and engaging employees more effectively, the upfront time and cost investment into changing customer services can be off putting to business leaders. 88% say that making adaptations to customer service will be a challenge.
So, if you’re looking to improve your customer service, where’s the best place to start?
Set yourself up to scale
When dealing with customers, teams can sometimes feel like they’re fire fighting. Managing crisis after crisis just to get through the everyday. However, to make your customer service truly effective, you need to think about getting it ready for when your business grows.
Making the right investments now will future-proof your service and maximise efficiency in the long term. High-performing mid-market businesses are 1.5 times more likely to implement digital improvements that will effectively scale in the long term.
In short, when deciding on the processes and technologies to implement, make sure you’re thinking just as much about your future needs as you are about your present ones.
Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing
90% of leaders report that their structure facilitates contributing to a wide knowledge base. However, agents tell a different story - only 57% reported easy access to knowledge-based articles. This disconnect between the C-suite and customer service teams is typical of the lack of collaboration within many businesses.
Just as you’d encourage your customers to give feedback on their service, it’s just as important that your service team feels they can share their real thoughts and opinions on the processes and systems in place. Implementing a CX integration like Zoom, Atlassian, and Slack isn’t enough. It’s key that a culture and framework for collaboration and knowledge sharing is put in place to make it truly effective.
However, this doesn’t mean technologies don’t have a key part to play. Having these integrations in place can help teams access all the customer information and data they need more easily. This doesn’t just save on admin, but means your customers ultimately get a more cohesive experience, no matter what channel they’re using.
Prioritise employee satisfaction, too
In many cases, the customer support team is singularly responsible for monitoring and maintaining customer satisfaction. With that in mind, the most effective customer-first strategies prioritise employee needs alongside those of the customer. After all, a customer-centric culture starts with the internal team.
A key part of management is the process of recognizing employees for their successes. Be sure to make your employees feel valued and recognised, perhaps through a reward system for every positive customer interaction or profit “win.”
Embrace automation to increase efficiency
Each customer is unique, but they often have similar needs and questions that need answering. Automation technologies are great for performing these business-as-usual functions and freeing up valuable customer service resources, without damaging your brand - globally 42% of customers say they’re open to working with a bot.
An AI system chatbot, for instance, can offer 24/7 support and respond to customer questions about your product or services without you needing to pay staff overtime. If a hand-off is needed, companies can even program bots to connect with a human counterpart extremely quickly and provide key context to the issue at hand.
Despite this, only 44% of enterprise companies report using bots in their day-to-day work, compared to 51% of mid-market businesses. From intelligent ticket routing to automated email responses, research shows that self-service tools free up valuable employee time to solve more complex customer problems.
Put the flow back in the workflow
Although not every customer query is straightforward, many of them need to follow a specific path to be dealt with effectively. Standardising processes, putting a few standard business rules in place and building out workflows can all help to increase quality, transparency, and control.
As well as minimising customer frustration caused by being passed around different departments or not empowering service personnel to move off-script, these workflows will give your service team the confidence to deal with even the trickiest of customer queries.
In addition to boosting employee morale, putting strong workflows in place will facilitate better customer experiences. Plus, a clear workflow allows company leadership to implement large-scale changes without having to retrain the entire customer service team.
By starting out with these few changes, you can start to make immediate improvements to your customer service and improve the experience both for your consumers and your employees.