Customer service standards are essential to all aspects of a business. They help to define a company’s obligations and what consumers can expect.
In today’s dynamic business landscape, a great product is not necessarily what attracts new customers, or indeed what retains them – instead, it is service. After all, consumers now have so much choice, and it is easier than ever for them to post negative feedback online. A business will inevitably face an uphill struggle if their customer service standards slip. However, the Internet presents as many opportunities as it does drawbacks. For example, it creates many new ways to connect with customers. Now, customer service is proactive as opposed to reactive; in the digital space, companies can preempt and enhance customer experiences. As such, customer service has become the key means of competitive differentiation. In this article, we share seven tips on how to raise customer service standards and nurture a deeper connection with clients.
1. Integrate data to create a unified view
Before the digital age, companies would regulate and organize physical paperwork related to individual clients or accounts. They would have to make sure this information was accessible, legible, and orderly. Today, companies should adopt exactly the same attitude when it comes to data. However, digital information comes with new challenges; with so many disparate operations and channels, organizing data can be difficult. However, it is essential that companies rise to the challenge, as disconnected data leads to negative customer experiences.
For example, inaccessible or disordered data will slow business processes. This means that employees are not able to answer customers with the speed they expect. After all, most consumers could not care less about the challenges surrounding system integration. All they want is a seamless, cohesive, and straightforward service. Therefore, to ensure the highest customer service standards, businesses need to make sure data is consolidated and easy to access.
2. Deliver an omnichannel customer service experience
Today, consumers are always connected – whether it is through a mobile device, a smartwatch, or virtual assistants. All of these platforms create exciting new opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers. However, it is essential that companies deliver the same standard of service across every touchpoint. For instance, if a customer communicates with a brand on instant messenger one day and then on email the next, it is vital that agents from different departments have an accessible record of previous communication. As such, businesses need to think about customer experience holistically, ensuring that they are delivering a fully integrated omnichannel service.
3. Use automation to deliver faster service
Now, consumers expect an instant response. Moreover, businesses across sectors are constantly innovating to deliver faster and more seamless customer journeys. If companies do not keep step with the competition, they will certainly miss out on valuable opportunities to cross-sell and upsell products. However, artificially intelligent technologies are enabling companies to deliver instantaneous response with comparatively small resource investment. This allows organizations to drive productivity while delivering sustainable scaling. For instance, chatbots can handle the heavy lifting of FAQs while human agents deal with more complex queries. This drives greater throughput, enhancing customer satisfaction.
4. Empower customer service teams through AI tools
AI is constantly improving. Now, artificially intelligent customer service agents can provide always-on support. Machine learning processes have become increasingly sophisticated, allowing chatbots to make predictions, prioritize cases and triage queries in order to accelerate case resolution. For instance, AI-powered image recognition technology can improve the accuracy and resolution rates of online customer service channels. Moreover, AI-powered data capture can help customer service managers predict key performance indicators, like CSAT or churn risk. With this intelligence, they can take proactive action to ensure optimal customer service standards and client retention.
5. Drive investment in agent success
Job satisfaction is essential to employee performance. When customer service agents are engaged and empowered, they will deliver the best possible service. In order to reach their full potential, agents need thorough training, the proper tools, and the decision-making power to allow them to resolve customer inquiries as quickly as possible. Together, these elements help customer service representatives to feel more invested in customer satisfaction, driving them to operate proactively as opposed to reactively. The long-term benefits include greater employee productivity and higher staff retention rates.
6. Make sure the whole team is connected
Customer service teams need to be fully integrated wherever they are. This is especially the case for service technicians who interact directly with customers in the field. Successful face-to-face service relies on the effective collaboration of several parties, including agents, distributors, technicians, and the customer themselves. By making sure that all these actors are comprehensively connected, companies can ensure that services are as streamlined as possible. After all, customers measure standards on the quality of individual service. Therefore, it is crucial to integrate the service chain.
7. Implement useful self-service facilities
Today, consumers want instant resolutions. Therefore, self-service facilities are essential to high customer service standards. With comprehensive, well-researched self-service tools, businesses can give customers more control over their own accounts and empower them to handle their own queries. The uptake of self-service facilities like FAQ portals communities and knowledge bases are growing rapidly. This is because they help customers find answers quickly on their own terms, enabling them to solve problems unaided.
Technology, integration, automation: The foundations of excellent customer service standards
It was not that long ago that customer service departments sole purpose was to close cases in the least time. Now, high-performing businesses are prioritize delivering the highest customer service standards. After all, customer expectations are rising all the time; in order to keep up with the competition and deliver on these expectations, businesses need to review their service protocols. Through careful analysis of current operations, organizations can determine where they need to up their game. By identifying where you can implement new technology, promote greater integration, and automate tasks, businesses can drive customer satisfaction and thus, revenue.