Customers now have higher expectations than ever before regarding customer service.
In a fast-paced society where customers expect you to solve their problems in seconds and social media allows around-the-clock communication, sub-par customer service is no longer acceptable.
Customer service also plays a considerable role when consumers make purchase decisions. One study reveals that 86% of buyers will pay extra if that means they can depend upon exemplary customer service and experience.
Therefore, if we know that customers will accept and pay a higher price for the right level of service, what are you waiting for?
Here are six steps to help you develop an excellent customer service strategy to ensure your business always provides a superb customer experience that will keep them coming back for more.
1. Identify the customer touchpoints
Before you can start to put everything you need for a good customer service strategy in place, you need to identify the different interactions and communications your business has with your customers. That means identifying the different touchpoints.
While this may sound a bit complicated, you should start by mapping out and visualizing the entire customer journey and note the time gaps between your communications with a customer. For example, you should ask yourself a range of questions, including:
- At what point do your customers get in touch with you post-purchase?
- What method of communication/channel do they use?
- How many customers contact your business?
- What are the most common inquiries and requests?
- That will benefit your business and help you develop your customer service strategy. You can also gain insight into the deeper context of inquiries and how you can improve your service or product based on customer feedback.
A customer journey map such as the one shown above is also a great way to identify where your resources and staff are best placed. For example, if you can see that your Facebook messages receive more customer inquiries and messages than your phone line, you should focus resources on the most popular channels.
Customer journey mapping also enables you to refine and improve processes in the touchpoints of communication that matter the most. For example, if you have many customers contacting you via email but find it challenging to stay on top of incoming messages, using different Gmail extensions can help you respond more efficiently.
By rethinking how you run your customer service strategy currently and how you can improve it, you can ensure happier customers, reduce customer churn and increase how much they spend with you over their lives.
2. Recognize the needs of your customers
It is impossible to develop a successful customer service strategy until you know what your customers need. While you can take notes and tips from other companies and follow every step in this guide, it will only be successful when you know what your customers expect from you.
Doing a complete user research will help you understand your target audience better. Until you understand and recognize your customers’ needs, you may waste a considerable amount of money and time trying to achieve things you assumed the customer wanted.
Not only is this a waste of resources, but it could result in you alienating the customer further. Instead, you should focus on the importance of customer satisfaction and how you can achieve that.
Finding out precisely what the customer wants can be as simple as asking them through email or social media. You can also analyze their previous behavior, such as purchase history or viewed items.
3. Make customer delight the end goal
Many companies overlook customer delight and just how much of a difference it can make to a business. When it comes to customer service, the main goal is to provide a good level of service that will make customers come back to you time after time.
So what better way to achieve this than to over-deliver and provide customers with an experience they will never forget?
Customers will never forget the high level of service you provided to them by going above and beyond, but they will also tell their friends and family about it.
As shown in the image above, customer delight is created by joy and surprise. That means providing a good level of customer service, offering something they didn’t expect, and surprising them.
For example, you can delight your customers by connecting with your customers on special occasions. Offering an extra discount or gift for their birthday makes them feel appreciated by your brand and encourages them to place an order.
4. Track KPIs for customer service
Like anything in business, you need to be able to measure something to know whether or not it is working efficiently. Therefore, you should track and measure your customer service as part of the development process. A great way to do this is to put key performance indicators (KPIs) in place.
KPIs provide direct visibility into your processes, people, and performance. In this case, you would be measuring your level of customer service and whether your customer service strategy is working.
Here are some examples of the customer service KPIs that you should consider having in place:
- Average resolution time: This KPI tells you how long it takes for your customer support team to resolve issues.
- Net promoter score: This KPI predicts whether your customers will recommend your brand to a friend or colleague.
- First contact resolution: This metric measures the effectiveness of your customer support teams and call centre software in resolving issues on the first call.
- Customer satisfaction score: This metric tells you how satisfied your customers are with your customer service team.
Having KPIs in place helps you track the progress of your customer service strategy and how it is developing. It also helps your customer service team stay on track with what they should be working towards.
5. Use customer feedback
Customer feedback is an integral part of developing your customer service strategy as only your customers truly know what is lacking from the strategy you currently have in place.
While it is important to collect information from your customers, using the data the right way and circling back to your customers to find out how they feel about your strategy are just as important.
Once you have recognized your customers’ needs, assessed what they are looking for, and have the data you need, you should use that feedback when developing company policies and operations.
Are customers unhappy with how long it takes to hear back from customer services? Then, focus your staff resources on improving reply times.
You can do this by using post-chat feedback forms and surveys to monitor the progress of your customer service strategy and to ensure that you are making the right improvements and changes.
Here’s an example of a post-chat feedback form:
The good thing about this form is that customers won’t have difficulty answering it, whatever the situation they’re in. They can just click on any face icon to answer the question if they’re in a hurry.
If they have more time and want to give a more extended response, they can just use the optional comment box.
6. Build a strong customer service team
Once you have a clear strategy with KPIs driven by your customer feedback, you need a solid team to make everything real. You need stronger customer care consultants who know how to deliver the best level of customer service and are committed to doing so.
You also need team members who are willing to share and work on their best practices so you can learn together as a business. When hiring and building a solid customer service team, you should look for motivated individuals with self-awareness and a positive attitude.
Customer service isn’t always easy, but your team can improve it when they take a positive, customer-centric attitude.
We would also suggest that you talk to your customer service staff about how to deal with negative feedback so that they can respond to it appropriately and in a way that puts the business in the best light.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to excellent customer service, a customer service strategy that incorporates the identification of customer touchpoints can make a huge difference.
It is also crucial that you recognize customer needs and place customer delight as an end goal with customer feedback-driven. KPIs to help you stay on top of your progress.
But even with all these steps in place, you need to have a strong customer service team to ensure that your business provides the best service, which keeps your customers coming back for more.