Take the time to make sure your support team is happy and have the resources they need to do their job.
Customer support never stops and it still should be on your priority list for the next year. It’s not just about spending the most money on support but making the most of the resources you have available to you. While delivering outstanding customer support is no doubt challenging, it’s an essential part of attracting and retaining customers.
Rather than focusing on everything all at once, we’ve curated a list of tips that you can focus on monthly. Each month, choose a new focus and commit to integrating it within your support team. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to look back proudly on all the progress you’ve made. Without further ado, here are the 12 things to do in 2021 to improve customer support.
1. Develop a positive attitude
This one’s so important we put it first. Being positive when interacting with customers is an essential part of customer support. But developing a positive attitude is easier said than done. Take the time to make sure your support team is happy and have the resources they need to do their job. Make sure everyone has been trained in how to have a positive attitude when interacting with customers.
Train agents to use positive language as part of experience engineering.
Positive language: That upgrade is available next month. I can order it for you right now and you’ll have access as soon as it’s released.
Negative language: That upgrade isn’t available until next month. We can’t place your order at this time.
2. Close conversations properly
Your last impression on a customer is a chance to make an impact. At the end of every support conversation, ask “Can I help you with anything else today?” And ensure you have a resounding, “No, I’m happy with this interaction” from your customers.
When you close a conversation properly, this shows your customers you care about getting support right, you’re willing to pursue the matter until a solution has been found, and you’re placing the power in the hands of the customer to decide when a conversation is finished.
Using a post-interaction customer satisfaction survey can help you spot where customers have unresolved issues. Build a workflow to help your team members jump on these survey responses quickly!
3. Take notice of customer complaints
Negative feedback is possibly more important than positive feedback. Customers who take the time to complain are often telling you something valuable about your company, so you need to register your customer complaints and do something about them. This is especially important when you start getting the same complaints over and over again.
- Use the CARP method:
- Control the situation
- Acknowledge the problem
- Refocus the conversation
- Problem-solve until the customer is satisfied
For every customer who complains, take the time to get back to them and resolve their issue if possible. Even if the customer has a legitimate complaint, think about how you could take steps to avoid this happening again.
4. Use the same language as your customers
This one’s an interesting one. Avoid coming across as overly formal and be human when you talk to your customers. Aim for a conversational style rather than messages that sound like they were generated by a computer. You’re using the language that your customers might speak in rather than treating them like a number.
For example, instead of:
Thank you for making an inquiry. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Please make a note of your order number (#1234).
Thanks for your order! This is an automatic email just to acknowledge that we received your message. We’ll get back to you shortly.
5. Help customers to help themselves
More than half of customers believe it’s more important to solve their own service-related issues rather than having to go through a support rep. Not only does a customer support knowledge base or FAQ section ease the load on your support reps, but you’re enabling your customers to help themselves.
We’re not suggesting this as a way to deflect customers away from contacting support, but as a way to help more customers with your existing resources. It will raise team morale if your reps don’t have to answer the same basic queries over and over again.
Link to your knowledge base in your auto-reply so that customers can search for information while they wait for an answer from your team. They may even find the solution themselves.
6. Collect feedback from your customers regularly
Don’t wait for your customers to offer you feedback – you should be asking for feedback all the time. The best way to collect feedback is to conduct customer surveys, which you can send after a purchase or an interaction with your support team.
Use Net Promoter Score© surveys to gauge how likely customers are, on a scale of 1 to 10, to recommend your business, products, and services to other people. It’s a 1-question survey that you send out to customers asking them to rate your business.
You’ll find out whether a customer is a:
- Detractor – unhappy customer who is at risk of churn
- Passive – disloyal customer who is neither happy nor unhappy
- Promoter – loyal customer who would recommend your brand
Make sure to share your feedback across all departments, not just customer support.
7. Show empathy for your customers
Showing empathy for your customers requires emotional intelligence. Your customer support agents should be able to interpret the emotions of your customers and respond in a constructive manner.
If a customer is upset, your support agents should demonstrate empathy for the customer’s state of mind, while at the same time moving the interaction forwards towards a constructive solution. Even if a customer is angry and demanding, your support reps can defuse the situation by showing empathy and a willingness to help.
8. Focus on first contact resolutions over speed
It’s more important to get it right when helping customers than it is to be the fastest customer support team in the west. Customers want their problem solved the first time around and in a friendly, welcoming way – not a speedy rushed email that doesn’t even really get to the root of the problem.
Make first contact resolution a priority for your company. Customers appreciate getting the right information, not only how fast they receive it. It won’t help if your support reps are so overburdened that they are forced to rush their conversations with customers.
9. Send personalized messages to customers
When a customer buys a product or signs up for a trial, send personalized emails asking how you can help them. Generic onboarding sequences are great but they don’t have the personal touch of a message from a member of your team.
Most customers probably won’t need any help and your messages may go unacknowledged, but you’ll form a more positive impression of your brand in your customers’ minds. Personalize your message by using the customer’s name, use a friendly tone in your email, and send it from a personal email address.
10. Give your customers personal contact
Send your customers personal thank you notes to show them how much you appreciate them. Show your customers that you view them as more than just profit – you see them as people too. Make sure you hand-write your notes rather than sending an email or printing out a generic thank you.
Consider shipping thank you notes along with your product. You can also consider sending out “holiday” cards to your customers. When customers receive their notes, they may just be encouraged to share them on social media, generating valuable word-of-mouth advertising for your brand.
11. A whole team approach to customer support
Get everyone in your company involved in handling customer support. Let them experience being frontline staff and encounter the problems that customers are having with your products. Everyone on the team gets to learn about bugs and issues that may not otherwise reach their attention.
When everyone on the team learns about the customer pain points, each individual is more motivated to fix those problems.
12. Hire outstanding people
The only way to achieve customer support success is by hiring the people who can make it happen. All of these tips are worthless if you don’t have the customer support team who can take your service to the next level.
Value your support team by hiring the people who can help you beat the competition and provide stellar customer support. Make customer support an important team with job satisfaction and prospects so you can attract the best candidates.
Implement these 12 customer support tips over the next 12 months to drastically improve your customer support team’s efforts.
Some are easier than others, like improving the language you use to speak to customers is significantly easier than hiring the best support reps, but you can do it all if you just take it month by month.