Be an Elephant, not a goldfish
Imagine being greeted like a cherished friend every time you interact with a company you've been loyal to for years. Memory plays a pivotal role in fostering relationships. Think about it, when we meet people, we exchange thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, forming an ever-changing mental image of them based on our continuous interactions. It might not always be logical, but it's our reality, and it's deeply meaningful.
Customers are yearning for a similar human touch in their interactions with companies. They want to feel seen, heard, and valued. Yet, too often, they find themselves frustrated by companies' apparent inability to remember even the most basic digital interactions. This lack of continuity and personalisation doesn't just dampen the experience—it also makes life less convenient.
The crux of the problem lies in data silos or the lack of digital memory. This fragmentation exists not only within a single interaction across different channels (Chat, Online, Email, Voice, etc.) but also between separate interactions. Let's delve into some everyday scenarios to illustrate this.
Consider this, you've been banking with the same institution for years. One day, you log into their app, ready to apply for a loan. You're redirected to their website, and suddenly, you're asked to fill out a lengthy form detailing who you are. But wait a second, don't they already know you? Shouldn't they recognise you instead of making you reiterate what they should already know?
Imagine if, instead, the site greeted you, asked you to confirm the accuracy of the pre-filled details, and even wished you a joyful drive when your car loan was approved. That's the power of remembering.
Or think about a time when you had to switch channels to solve a problem. You're chatting with an agent on the website, but they can't resolve your issue, so you're asked to call the Voice support center. Once you call, you're asked to repeat your query and re-authenticate yourself.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when you called, the agent already knew about your chat conversation and your history with the company? If they could greet you like an old friend and swiftly solve your issue? If the chat agent had the same capabilities as the voice agent, saving you from having to switch channels or set up a callback?
Now, let's say you've called the support team, and they need to escalate your issue. You're transferred to another agent and—surprise, surprise—you have to explain everything all over again.
How about this instead, your issue is noted and shared, you're given a warm handover where the first agent introduces you to the second agent along with a brief summary of your issue. Imagine hearing, "Miles, I'd like you to meet Catherine. Catherine, Miles has contacted us about [Issue] and we'd like your help to resolve it. Miles, it's great to have you with us today. Catherine here is very capable and will be able to sort everything out for your today in just a few minutes."
Finally, consider the disconnection between interactions. Every time you contact the company, it feels like starting from square one. They seem oblivious to your history, your tenure, and you as a person.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if they greeted you warmly as a valued friend, having access to all your interactions and even predicting why you might be reaching out? You've been with them for a decade, after all.
To wrap up, companies need to dismantle these data silos to create a coherent understanding of their customers, making their journey seamless and building a rapport that feels genuine.
Remember, it's about creating smooth transitions and leveraging data to improve the experience across channels and interactions.
Why should previous interactions be locked away in inaccessible data silos, leaving the support staff in the dark about your history? It's as if you're starting from scratch each time, which can feel like an uphill battle, emotionally draining even.
Let's use digital memory to build advocacy and convenience for customers. Front-line staff should have access to all previous interactions. This way, they can continue nurturing relationships instead of starting from ground zero every time.
The takeaway is simple, companies need to strive to humanise and personalise experiences. It's about reducing customer effort and building genuine rapport. The goal is to transform every interaction into a memorable experience that leaves the customer feeling valued and understood.
In today's highly competitive business landscape, delivering excellent customer service is not just a nice-to-have, but a vital necessity. It can be the difference between a customer choosing your company over a competitor. However, many small and medium businesses struggle with this aspect, often due to limited resources or lack of expertise.
A common issue faced is not knowing where to start in improving their customer service. They're aware that it's not up to par, or perhaps they're receiving negative feedback, but they're unsure how to address this.
In this blog post, we're going to examine the five key areas you should focus on to elevate your customer service and turn it into a powerful asset for your business. These include using data for continuous improvement and case mitigation, streamlining processes, empowering your team with great technology including AI, making it easy for customers to contact you and self-serve, and building a culture of empathy and kindness.
Remember, customers today expect more than ever before. They want service that is fast, accurate, and empathetic, with minimal effort required on their part. By addressing these five areas, you'll be well on your way to delivering the exceptional service that your customers expect and deserve.
Let's dive in.
1. Use Data for Continuous Improvement and Case Mitigation
Data is a powerful tool when it comes to improving your customer service. By analysing customer interactions, feedback, and service metrics, you can identify trends, uncover issues, and understand what works and what doesn't. Key metrics to focus on include Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), First Contact Resolution (FCR), and Customer Effort Score (CES).
In addition to these metrics, developing a robust case categorisation model is crucial. This allows you to identify the most common query types and focus your resources and training accordingly. By understanding the nature of the majority of queries, you can tackle these head-on and improve your overall service.
Remember, it's not just about collecting data, but using this information for continuous improvement. Use these metrics and insights to assess your performance, identify areas for improvement, and inform your customer service strategy. With the right data and understanding, you can proactively address common customer issues and ensure that your customer service strategy is always data-driven.
2. Streamline Your Processes
Efficiency is crucial in customer service. Make sure your customer service processes are streamlined and straightforward. This includes everything from how customers reach out to you, to how issues are resolved. Optimise your existing systems, eliminate unnecessary steps, and ensure your processes facilitate rather than hinder excellent customer service. Walk in your customer’s shoes and ensure the leaders of the organisation spend time on the front line regularly.
3. Empower Your Team with Great Tech, Including AI
Technology can be a powerful tool in enhancing customer service. Not only can it streamline processes and make your team more efficient, but it can also improve the customer experience. Consider implementing customer service software that can help manage customer interactions, automate repetitive tasks, and provide useful insights. AI-powered tools like chatbots can handle common queries, freeing up your team to focus on more complex issues.
4. Make it Easy for Customers to Make Contact and Self-Serve
Customers value convenience. They want to be able to contact you easily, through their preferred channel, and get the help they need quickly. Ensure you have multiple contact options available – phone, email, live chat, social media, etc. Furthermore, consider creating a comprehensive self-service portal where customers can find answers to common questions. This not only empowers customers to solve their own problems but also reduces the workload for your customer service team.
5. Build the Right Culture
Every Customer is a Relative, Be Kind and Empathetic Culture plays a huge role in the success of any customer service team and in the company more broadly. Foster a culture that values empathy, kindness, and a customer-first approach. Encourage your team to treat every customer as they would a relative - with care, respect, and patience.
Remember, every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to build a lasting relationship. Every company needs customers and customers must feel valued by the company. Respect your customers and you will find success
Bonus section - Online reviews
In the age of the internet, your online reputation can make or break your business. One-star ratings, negative reviews, and unresolved complaints can quickly deter potential customers. However, rather than viewing these as purely negative, they can be turned into opportunities for growth and improvement.
Online reviews and complaints are essentially unfiltered feedback from your customers. They can provide you with valuable insights into what you're doing well and where you need to improve. They are the voice of your customers echoing throughout the internet, and every business should pay close attention to what they're saying.
Here are a few ways to make the most of online reviews and complaints:
By understanding and harnessing the power of online reviews and complaints, you can continuously improve your customer service and enhance your reputation.
Customers today want support that is fast, accurate, and empathetic. They want their issues resolved with minimal effort on their part, allowing them to achieve their goals without unnecessary stress or frustration. If you can provide this, you'll be well on your way to exceptional customer service.
If you're looking for more ways to enhance your customer service or need help implementing these tips, Customer Start is here to help.
With our expertise in Customer Experience and Customer Service, we can help you take your customer service to the next level. Contact us today to learn more.
Our Blog editor Miles has over 20 years of experience in Customer Service and Experience