If you have a business with customers, you need some sort of customer service. If you want to have a good business, you are probably thinking you need good customer service. And if you want a great business, you need great customer service. It is unavoidable if you are going to compete.
So what makes great customer service? We shall dig into that question and tackle some of the challenges we see at Enshored each day.
There are 3 key elements to any service delivery – the technology you use, the processes you define by which you will serve your customers, and lastly the people doing the work. We will tackle each in order in a short series of best practice guides.
Technology is a critical success factor in great customer service. We find that depending on where a business is in its journey it will have done one of the following:
– Built internal basic tools using Google suite linked to an email inbox.
– Gone all-in on an industry standard like Zendesk or Freshdesk.
– Built highly evolved tools to support specific business needs that are just too specific to manage in an industry standard.
Generally, we see our client base evolve from the first though it is possible to create great customer experiences at every stage. If a new company is evolving rapidly there is often as much challenge as benefit from giving up the flexible early approach in favor of something more rigid.
All companies should grow out of the internal basic tool stages by the time they start to see meaningful volume in their business though. We measure this in terms of how much customer support work is generated, and this is generally when there are more than one full-time job managing customer queries.
These early systems are generally limited in their ability to be used for reporting and analytics. This then affects creating accountability and pushing for standardization and speed in larger teams. Oftentimes when our clients first reach out to Enshored as a potential customer service outsourcing partner, it is around this junction. As they review their technology they’d like a third party perspective as well as help with the increasing volumes.
Depending on the client and their service or product, they may land up with either in-house software or a SaaS platform that fits their purpose. In both cases, they will be looking to measure key performance indicators (KPIs), be these things like how soon calls get answered, how much work each customer support agent is doing.
For great customer service, getting the tools to where the customers want to engage with the business is key. Be this chatbots, Facebook messenger, phone calls or SMS, it is critical to get in front of your customer where they are comfortable. And once there, making sure the tools support self-service as much as possible is both good business in terms of reducing support costs as well as improving customer experience. We all like solving things ourselves, don’t we?
We all have had our share of bad customer experiences. Some of the following will stop you ever getting to “great:”
- IVR ( automated phone) systems that are too slow or complex to navigate
I regularly find myself in what I call “phone tree hell” unable to get to any human if not the right one. You can probably bucket every single bank in the world in here, regardless of you “premier” or “diamond” status. In contrast, whenever I reach out to companies who’ve nailed this I feel even before I speak to a human being that I am more than likely going to be satisfied with the outcomes.
- Unmanned chat services
It seems a lot of companies have chat set up but not manned it accordingly, and you just then are really sending an email Why? If you can’t staff it take it down.
- Ill thought out canned responses
The reason companies love non-voice over voice is that you can often get really high-quality canned responses to questions, often needing just a little tweaking to provide a great, customer-focused response. But if you haven’t got the right responses (perhaps you don’t know your policies yet) everyone spins wheels, and the customer starts to think the company doesn’t know what they are doing. In areas involving refunds, replacements and so on, this is critical, as any ambiguity can create a bad customer experience.
- Technology that can’t carry the customer and their data from one channel to the next
We’ve all been here. You find yourself typing in personal identifying details on your cell phone keypad, then telling an agent the same identifying data over and over, nothing carrying with you through their organization. Then you need to repeat your query/complaint. I believe the reason systems are set up like this is to ensure one support department doesn’t try and help resolve those that another department is responsible for. That is crazy reverse logic.