The times are changing, but one thing that hasn't is the importance of exceptional customer service. Paying attention and listening to your customer's needs is more important than ever. After all, a poor customer service experience can make or break a brand.
Customer service plays a significant role in driving growth in 2023. Investing in qualified employees is as important as investing in your customers, especially if you want both to stick around.
Here are some ways to deliver the amazing experience customers and clients need.
1. Invest in an Exceptional Customer Service Team
Invest in a team to deliver the customer service experience that elevates your brand. Ensure that your team is adequately trained. Hiring team members passionate about helping people goes a long way in delivering extraordinary service. Answering phones requires phone etiquette. But let's face it. Only some people are suitable for the customer service role.
Look for the following attributes when selecting people to add to your customer service team:
- Excellent communication skills
- Positive mindset
- Experts (or wiliness to learn)
Of course, part of building an exceptional team is providing them with the training and support they need to succeed. And it's just as important to recognize and appreciate your staff so they will want to go above and beyond.
2. Deliver Strong and Last First Impressions
The agent is usually the main point of contact between the customer and the business, whether the service is delivered over the phone or via chat. And the service that the customer receives affects how they view your brand.
Setting the tone with a solid first and last impression is critically important. That means paying more attention and listening to your customers. After all, your customers may be experiencing a crisis and looking for guidance and information during a challenging time. And when you can keep your cool under difficult circumstances, you can build long-lasting relationships with your customer base.
Treat and care for your customers better, and they're more likely to come back for more, time after time; it will also give you an advantage over rival companies that aren't empathetic with their customers.
Your customers are people, so don't treat them like a number or a sale. Every customer is unique. Investing in live agents that know how to provide personalized service inspires brand loyalty.
Personalizing the customer service experience means treating your customers based on their preferences, behaviors, and attributes. This critical step helps your customers engage with your brand better.
You can adopt the following to deliver personalized customer service:
- Be friendly and greet your customers with their names.
- Collect and use customer data.
- Ask for feedback from customers.
- Try a more personalized approach to get to know your customers personally.
- Give your customers a VIP experience.
- Properly train your reps.
4. Demonstrate Knowledge and Expertise
When phone agents know their stuff, customers will want to work with them. Of course, agents may not know every answer. It helps if the agents are connected to the rest of the teams, like sales, operations, e-commerce, and logistics, because they're better able to give the customers the correct answers, like where's the package the customer ordered but hasn't received. But cross-department collaboration needs to be quick, too. After all, a faster response creates confidence. And, let's face it, no one likes to waste their time being on hold for an unreasonable amount of time.
5. Incorporating AI
Human-to-human interaction creates a warmer customer experience. But adopting automation into customer service will make the job easier for agents. Yes, some are fearing the rise of robots. However, AI will help agents find the answers they need quickly and suggest the best routes to take and the best people to contact. Finding the right solution will take minutes rather than days to solve problems.
Live agents will still have work to do. With assistance from AI, live agents can focus on more complex questions that AI can't deal with without help. It's a win-win for agents and customers.
6. Prompt Response
We're living in a hyper-connected world where people expect a fast response. Customers want to feel like they're your number one priority. Recognizing their issue and handling it promptly is critical. We've talked about how AI can help speed up the process, even if it's through a chatbot. And while responding quickly is essential, it's equally critical to be accurate and respectful when responding to customer queries.
Consider the following to deliver prompt responses:
- After-hours customer service: we live in a 24/7 world. Customers need answers fast, and they're not always looking for solutions during regular business hours. A live phone agent can help.
- Use a chatbot.
7. Promote Corporate Sustainability
Your agents are on the front lines. They can promote your brand's corporate sustainability message. They can also help customers make the right choices based on their environmental goals. For example, agents can point customers in the right direction if they are looking for energy-efficient products. And after the purchase, they can encourage customers to select paperless billing.
- Promote corporate sustainability.
- Be transparent in how your products are produced and distributed.
- Help customers make the right eco-conscious decisions.
Customers also seek companies and brands that give back to the community. A recent study found that, of almost half of those surveyed (45%), companies standing for social causes and giving back to the community are important factors in brand support.
Deliver Exceptional Customer Service Today to Drive Growth into the Future
Customer service is constantly evolving. We're doing things differently in this post-pandemic world we're living in. However, focusing on exceptional customer service is still one of the most essential things businesses can do. Customer service agents remain your customers' primary point of contact. There's no better time than now for your reps to shine to deliver the service that builds loyalty and helps your organization rise and stay at the top.
Mindy Adams is a Senior Account Consultant at MAP Communications with over 25 years of Customer Service, Sales, and Account Specialty Creation. Specializing in Hospitality and Customer Service call flows and providing support on call handling experience. Mindy resides in South Carolina.