Many brands settle for delivering adequate, reactive customer service, with the belief that keeping up with customer inquiries and following through with orders are enough. While these steps are certainly important to keeping customers happy, truly exceptional customer service means surpassing expectations and giving customers what they didn’t even know they wanted. According to the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey, 76% of consumers claimed they view customer service as a true test of how much companies value them. Here are the first five tips for providing exceptional customer service and winning long-term brand loyalty.
Proactive customer service means exceptional customer service. Don’t wait for customers to reach out to you. Instead, take the proactive approach and provide service that your customers didn’t even know was possible. Brands can achieve this in many ways. One idea is to offer a live chat option when customers are browsing the company website, essentially letting a customer know an agent is available should they need help. For customer service, brands may offer to switch customers to a more suitable channel during service interactions and send regular updates on order or delivery status to keep customers informed. As for stressful situations such as a delayed delivery or poor service experience, brands should never forget that goodwill gestures such as vouchers or free upgrades can win over a customer and keep them loyal to the brand.
Timeliness is everything. Exceptional customer service is always delivered in real-time, with agents responding promptly to inquiries across all channels. No channel should ever lag behind the others, and agents should be trained to give thorough service on all of them. On the voice channel, prioritized callbacks may be offered to eliminate placing customers on hold, and agents may find it necessary to switch channels for faster service. If a customer is promised a certain time period for the delivery of a product or resolution of a service issue, the company needs to keep its word. Time is everything, and customers don’t want to waste it.
Be a good listener. Customers always need to be heard, even when their situation is not necessarily a negative one. Agents simply need to give customers a chance to explain what they need, even if the issue is merely assistance with a product or a quick clarification about an issue. Frustrated customers certainly need a chance to vent their feelings and deserve to be treated with patience and empathy. In addition, brands should always pay attention to customer comments on social media and feedback surveys, as positive and negative comments alike can provide critical insight into improving the customer experience. Companies need to analyze all service cases, share information across departments, and work on resolving issues for the overall improvement of the service experience.
Personalize the customer experience. Customers appreciate knowing they are valued as individuals and not just for their business. For this reason, giving customer experience the human touch is vital to winning their trust. Agents should address customers by name and introduce themselves at the start of every service interaction. In difficult situations, they should show empathy for a customer’s issue, appreciation for their time and business, and apologize for anything that has inconvenienced the customer, such as delays in the queue or a late delivery. Customers will feel a deeper connection and sense of loyalty to a brand driven by skilled and caring individuals who recognize their needs.
Employee engagement means more informed customer service. One important aspect of the customer experience is ensuring that employees are well-informed before delivering service. The more agents know about company products and services, the more they will provide timely and thorough service. Employee engagement also involves asking agents for feedback such as suggestions for revising call scripts, customer feedback surveys, and marketing campaigns on social media. Agents are on the front lines of customer service, so their feedback is critical to understanding what customers want and delivering exceptional customer service.
Stay tuned for the next blog post on the last five tips for providing exceptional customer service. Click here to learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for great omnichannel customer service.