Published: March 02, 2015 | Comments (1)
Customer service is a vital part of becoming a successful business. But one of the biggest challenges of customer service is that as soon as you get things set up, they change – platforms evolve, new collaboration methods emerge, and customer expectations change.
While most companies are already paying close attention to customer service, they often struggle with striking a balance between being productive, scaling and maintaining the human touch of personalized customer experiences. Because what works for hundreds of customers over email, also needs to work for millions across all channels, without sacrificing quality or drastically increasing costs. After all, no one likes feeling as though they have a robot as their customer service rep.
Here are a few practical ways to help your company stay productive and scale, without making your customers feeling like they’re working with a robot.
1. Empower the customer to help themselves -- A well-designed Help Center – or an all in one knowledge base, community, and customer portal -- deflects tickets and appeals to the 67% of consumers that would prefer to use self-service rather than contact support. When your customers can find their own answers quickly and easily, everybody wins.
2. Collaboration = productivity -- Small inefficiencies add up quickly and drain your resources. Saving support agents’ time and improving collaboration boosts productivity without turning them into robots. Collaboration tools like Slack and Trello are two cloud-based collaboration tools that allow employees to communicate and stay organized.
3. When it comes to meeting expectations, it’s all about context -- Scale is about more than handling an increasing amount of tickets (although it’s usually about that, too). Discovering that certain customers have different expectations requires that you have enough context to respond to them in a helpful way. You’d naturally respond differently to someone who’s emailing you after calling 3 times that week, or a customer of a particular one of your brands or products, or a VIP club member. But in order for your agents to do that at scale you need to arm them with context quickly and clearly in each customer interaction. That means providing data to them about the caller, when they need it and where they need it.
4. Be in more than one place at the same time -- The modern customer demands an effortless experience. Which means they want to be able to connect with you when and where it’s convenient for them. That might be on the phone, or via Twitter, over email or even within the very application they’re using from you. Build a multi-channel support foundation that allows you to tie these touchpoints together so it’s manageable for your team and you’re able to easily add new ones when you need to. Consider solutions that can expand to include traditional phone, email or live chat support alongside social media, self-service and embedded mobile offerings.
5. Automation: friend or foe? -- Striking a balance between a personalized customer experience and responding to customer requests in a timely manner, can be difficult. So how do you ensure a good experience for your customer without taking too long to respond? Utilize features that extend your capabilities rather than becoming a full robotic stand-in. Consider setting up time-based escalations or action-based alerts, and writing pre-configured templates for frequent responses. Little things like these allow agents to respond faster, but maintain a personal touch when it counts.