Customer service is a tricky, ever-changing medium that always requires the utmost attention. Finding the right and most effective customer service methods in a growing industry is a lot like trying to hit a target that’s ten steps ahead of you and constantly moving at the speed of light. It’s no wonder that a lot of small businesses are often left in the dust of their much larger and more equipped competitors. In the age of multiple communication mediums—phone, email, live chat, and social media—many small businesses inevitably have a hard time meeting their customers’ demands in a timely manner.
If you’re wondering how to improve customer responsiveness to help meet your business goals in 2020, here are some useful tips.
Ask for Customer Feedback
When it comes to figuring out the best ways to improve your business model, there’s no better source of information than hearing it directly from the horse’s mouth—your customers, the very people who have been on the receiving end of your business.
There are a lot of ways you can ask for honest feedback. Perform customer satisfaction surveys either over the phone, via email, or ask your customers to review your business online. Most customers typically won’t hesitate when they’re given the opportunity to openly and honestly voice their opinions. Just make sure they do it on your terms so that you can retain better control over the situation and quickly work out any issues that they may have experienced. Keep in mind that customers tend to be more honest when they’re able to give anonymous feedback or do it via social media.
But if you’re going to be so bold as to ask for your customers’ opinions on your products or services, then you better also be prepared to receive some backlash or pushback and have applicable solutions ready. Customers are usually flattered that you value their opinion enough to ask for it, even if they’re less than impressed with your business.
Don’t Let Excuses Get in the Way of Great Customer Service
Customer service representatives can sometimes be completely bombarded with numerous phone calls, emails, and live chat requests, to not mention responding to comments or questions on social media. But that doesn’t justify ignoring comments or questions on any medium.
Regardless of the workloads and time constraints, it’s paramount to respond to customer questions and comments in as timely a manner as possible to ensure that no customer is left waiting a long period of time. The longer customers have to wait for a response to their inquiry, the more frustrated they become. If they were already frustrated to begin with and are trying to get an issue resolved, long response times will only further exacerbate the issue and make the interaction a lot more challenging for your agents.
Sometimes there are certain types of comments, questions, or even rude customers that representatives would rather not deal with. Such is the nature of working in customer service. Unfortunately, no matter how unpleasant a customer interaction may be, there’s no excuse for ignoring or failing to answer it as promptly as possible. The faster you respond to a customer’s question or comment, the faster you can work toward a resolution and move on to the next one. Quick responsiveness may even inadvertently deescalate the issue slightly. Part of figuring out how to be more customer responsive is by actually taking the bull by the horns and responding to questions and comments as soon as they come in.
Strive to Match or Exceed Customer Expectations
Social media is dominating almost every aspect of our daily lives and that includes customer service and interactions. These days, customers don’t just hope for instant gratification from the businesses they support—they downright expect it. That means responding to public comments and private messages immediately. Most customers expect social media response times to be limited to less than an hour at best—anything longer than that, and you’re pretty much asking for a bad online review.
As unfair as that may seem, that’s just the nature of the beast. So what’s the solution? The best way to increase your social media customer response times is to hire a team of qualified customer service agents who specialize in handling online inquiries and can easily mitigate the situation.
Educate and Regularly Train Your Customer Service Team
As mentioned, customer service is an ever-changing medium with new industry-related technology and social media apps emerging all the time. Younger generations are increasingly navigating away from conventional forms of communication like phone calls and swiftly moving toward emailing, live chatting, and even now texting with customer service agents.
As the technology continues to evolve, it’s essential that your business evolves right along with it, keeping up pace. Otherwise, you’ll fall far behind your competitors. For that reason, you need to keep educating yourself and your staff on all the changes that are happening in your industry and customer service in general. Keep your target audience and existing demographic in mind when implementing these types of changes, though. The last thing you want to do is accidentally alienate your existing customer base in order to appease a new one. Strike a good balance between communication methods that worked in the past and those that are currently popular while also anticipating future mediums.
Provide Self-Service Options
Speaking of current and future customer service techniques, self-service is also a great solution. Although the concept of self-service is hardly anything new (gas stations have been doing it forever and more recently, grocery stores have joined their ranks), the medium is certainly expanding.
Unless it’s a particularly serious issue, most Millennials and Gen Z customers typically prefer to resolve issues or find the answers they need on their own before resorting to contact a customer service department.
Believe it or not, this self-service option actually helps your business because it lessens the workload of your already overwhelmed customer service representatives and makes it easier for them to better serve customers with the most pressing issues first.
As one of the leading customer service companies in North America, 3C Contact Services can help you improve your customer response times and provide better service. Contact us today to learn more.