We often talk about good or bad customer service, or customer service in general. However, we rarely identify how to improve customer service within our company in a practical way.
Let’s start at the beginning... Customer service cannot be viewed as a form of added value. On the contrary, it is a requirement for achieving customer satisfaction, which is simply the difference between their expectations and their perception.
It sounds simple, but customers’ expectations are increasing as time goes by and the service you offer doesn’t end when the customer leaves the point of sale or our online store, because our objective is to create long-term relationships, establish a long-lasting link and use this to manage the relationship with customers.
Therefore, a focus on the customer should be something that is reflected in our entrepreneurial culture and we’re going to tell you how to do it.
Identify what needs to be improved in the area of customer service
Every business has its own idiosyncrasies, depending on the industry, the customer type, the business model and other criteria. That’s why there isn’t a unique formula that will tell you how to improve customer service that applies to all businesses.
What we do have is a guide that you can use to identify those critical points and work out how to improve customer service in your business so that you’ll start to see results.
Carry out a diagnosis
Before beginning to take action, you must carry out a diagnosis of your business’s current situation. In order to do this, you will need to measure customer satisfaction and find out about their experience with the business. You can make this extremely complicated or extremely simple.
Let’s start with the basics: who has information on customer perception? The customer, in the first instance, but the second person that may have that information is within your company, and they are the salesperson. The salesperson has direct contact with the customer. They receive their complaints, their questions, their comments, sees the expressions they use and listens to their objections.
The salesperson is an important source of information (just like event promotors and staff) when it comes to discovering how to improve customer service. With their knowledge, you can start to build this diagnosis.
Other sources that you should definitely consider are:
- The in-person and digital satisfaction surveys through simple and direct questions, such as the NPS index methodology, for example;
- The statistics from your website;
- The results from your campaigns;
- The conversations about your brand (and your competitors’ brands) on social media.
You can also learn about the 3 most important customer service metrics:
- Customer-related metrics;
- Agent performance and efficiency metrics;
- Team performance and efficiency metrics.
Identifying dissatisfied customers
Those customers will provide you with key information regarding your shortcomings. Delve into their motives and you will discover aspects in order to improve customer service, or you will confirm that they don’t fit your profile, and therefore, they won’t find a solution to their need in your product.
In this last case, it’s worth looking into why they’re interested in your brand. Are our communications relevant to our audience?
Establish actions to be taken and set goals
Establish actions to be taken and set achievable goals for each opportunity for improvement that you identify. Here are some customer service strategies that may be useful when it comes to defining these actions.
Action plans to improve customer service
1. Invest in training and educating your team
The sales and marketing teams are largely responsible for customer satisfaction. That’s why it’s extremely important that they (and the entire company, if possible) receive constant training.
Some important topics are, without a doubt, the products and services that the company offers, the organisation in general, the brand, the technology tools that make their work easier and specific knowledge about the area of work.
2. Create a customer profile
Create a client profile with the help of the information available on your CRM software, marketing investigations and all the sources of information that you have.
This profile will let you discover your customer’s real motivations, that go beyond their needs and their rational motivations, their desires, what drives them to make a purchase and also the barriers that prevent them from making a purchase.
Apart from being an essential part of prospecting, the customer profile will be extremely important when it comes to segmenting your marketing campaigns and strategies.
3. Understand the customer’s needs
In order to understand your customers’ needs, you need to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself the questions that they would ask and be clear about any objections they may have. The participation of the individuals who are in direct contact with the customer is vital here.
You should be able to answer all of the possible questions that the customer may have and dispel all of their expectations. This material helps the salesperson to clarify their ideas and helps them prepare for any possible challenges.
This will be extremely useful in staff training. It is also important to remember that it is a live document that will require constant updates in order to remain relevant.
4. Define the SLA (service-level agreement)
As a consequence of technological advances, we have a customer who is more knowledgeable and demanding, who expects to receive instant answers and who talks with different providers at the same time through different channels.
64% of consumers say that they expect real-time customer service, regardless of the service channel they use.
This requires an agile working dynamic with competitive waiting times at each stage of the customer service process.
5. Automate some processes
For example, in the case of digital channels, the waiting times may be affected by the availability of staff, the different time zones in different countries, etc.
Fortunately, there are solutions, such as chatbots, for example, and the configuration of automatic replies, which means that the customer always receives a timely reply.
With these customer service strategies and the support of the appropriate tools, you will be able to improve your business’s customer service.