In today’s omnichannel world, brands and customers have more ways than ever to engage with one another. However, rapid advances in technology and the growing dominance of social media as a customer service platform means that brands are constantly challenged to stay current and competitive. According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Customers have many choices, so how can brands make sure they stay on top? Here are seven rules for delivering exceptional customer service.
Value customers’ time. Time is everything. Agents should communicate in real time on all channels and be sure to respond to private messages, wall posts, and tweets on social media just as quickly as they come in. If a customer service interaction is taking too long or becoming too complex to handle on a specific channel, agents should be able to switch the customer over to a more appropriate channel if necessary (for example, switching from live chat to voice for a complex issue).
Listen to the customer. Always listen attentively to the customer. Regardless of the channel, an agent should always welcome a full explanation of the customer’s issue, show genuine empathy for the customer’s situation when needed, and confidently reassure the customer that he or she will be taken care of. It’s critical to show customers that a brand values them as people, and that agents are also people who can understand what the customer is feeling.
Give customers options, and cater to their need and preferences. A customer may not necessarily know the best solution to an issue, but many do have an idea of what they need and may even take their concern a step further by requesting compensation for their issue. For example, if a billing error has been made, agents should not only fix the error but also be sure to waive any fees that were charged when the customer was not at fault. Once the situation has been properly assessed, agents should offer the most appealing solution to the customer and offer options whenever possible—a special delivery offer, more appealing subscription, and the like. When customers have difficult issues to resolve, they may feel they made a poor choice in trusting a certain brand. Giving them options for better service will make them feel confident again—and more likely to support the brand.
Be proactive. Agents should always provide a timely response and be willing to direct the customer to the appropriate person if an issue becomes complex. They should also inform customers if there is some delay in resolving a problem before customers reach out themselves. And don’t forget to empathize with the frustrated customer: agents can wait to hear that a customer is frustrated about lost time over an issue, or agents can quickly offer waivers or discounts as goodwill gestures before the customer even asks. Being proactive in these situations is extremely critical to winning the loyalty of the customer.
Surpass customer expectations. Companies should exceed customer expectations whenever possible and really go the extra mile. Taking such steps as making follow-up calls after closing a sale or customer service case, providing detailed tracking information and updates for deliveries, offering discounts or other rewards for customer loyalty, and simply taking the time to thank customers for their business are important ways to show appreciation and provide an exceptional customer experience.
Be consistent across all channels and departments. Consistency is key to quality customer service. Everything counts: customer service scripts used by different agents, accessible information across all channels, and an equally excellent desktop and mobile experience, to name a few. In addition, departments need to communicate efficiently so as to avoid repeating information to customers, while there should be a seamless transition from one department to another when customers are transferred during a service interaction with an agent.
Take feedback seriously, and make an effort to resolve them. Customer service cases should never be considered one-time problems to fix and move on from. Companies need to make sure all cases are well analyzed, shared across departments, and then worked on to prevent such issues from occurring again. Different ways to address issues include updating FAQs on the company website, revising agent scripts for better service, implementing new targeted marketing strategies, and, of course, making overall improvements to brand products and services based on customer feedback.
To deliver exceptional customer service, brands must put themselves in the customer’s shoes. A seamless experience and humanized approach are key to making customers happy and loyal to your brand. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering exceptional customer service.
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