This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Shital Shah, writes about how with the right combination of technology and human touch, customer service doesn’t have to be difficult. She shares four excellent solutions to help manage your customer service more effectively. – Shep Hyken
Customers don’t want to wait on the phone for the “next available representative” anymore. Companies must adapt and provide quick and efficient ways to remedy customer service issues.
76 percent of consumers say that customer service is the true test of how much a company values them, according to Parature. Keep a customer happy, and they’ll stay loyal to you. Make a customer upset – even if it’s just once – and you risk losing their business for life.
Luckily, with the right mixture of technology and human touch, customer service doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are 4 technology solutions to help you manage your customer service more effectively:
2017 looks to be an important year for the four major CRM players (Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle) as they continue to innovate their products and compete for market share. While investing in CRM seems like a no-brainer, the customer service modules are becoming more advanced. With BI, AI, and cloud-based SaaS apps, CRM software is adapting to your business, not the other way around.
Whether it’s self-serve, peer-to-peer, or assisted customer service, CRM makes life easier for customer service agents, and in turn, your customers.
For customer service agents, a CRM contains case records, customer prioritization, resolution deadlines, and omnichannel integration, all in one centralized location.
For customers, a CRM can proactively diagnose problems, allows them to engage via their channel of choice, and provides an easy, personalized experience to keep the relationship healthy and intact.
Relationships = revenue.
SMS and Messaging
Over the holidays, Amazon lost a package of mine and, unfortunately, it was the last in stock. To get a refund, I merely clicked a few buttons, and within 36 hours, the money was credited back to me. From the way we do business to the way we socialize, it’s all about messaging.
We text, tweet, Yelp, Uber, Facebook – a tremendous amount of our personal life relies around messaging, so it’s only logical to extend that into the business world, too.
Sprout Social estimated that companies would receive upwards of 3,000 messages through social this holiday season. Of those messages, 56 percent required action from the company.
Companies must invest in new technologies to reach people on their mobile. How many more years until 1-800 numbers become obsolete?
Whether it’s a text message when a package has been delivered, or a push notification when inventory is restocked, this omnichannel approach is nothing new. However, to keep up with your competition, using messaging to interact with your customers should no longer be on your wish-list. It’s a must-have.
Live Chat or Chat Bots
While certainly effective, chat support doesn’t have to come from a robot. If you work for an SMB, have someone from inside sales or marketing handle a live chat on your company’s website during business hours. If a customer is on the checkout page and is still on the fence, a live chat representative can potentially close the deal.
However, if you’re working for a large organization that receives hundreds of customer service tickets a day, use an automated chatbot. The chatbot, using AI, will be able to intelligently assist customers and answer questions quick and simply. Although not at the level of Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, chatbots will reduce your customer service team’s workload while still providing excellent frontline support.
In 2016, major companies had some very public blunders due to customers sharing their bad customer service experience on social media. In fact, there is a subreddit with 20,000 members solely dedicated to sharing customer service horror stories.
When a customer @’s your Twitter handle, leaves a comment on your Facebook page, or writes a review on Yelp, they expect immediate help and solutions to rectify their problem. Every second you neglect a customer’s concern on social media is a screenshot away from a lifetime of bad press. Getting back to a customer in 24-48 hours will no longer cut it. It’s imperative that a company’s customer service team is able to address issues anywhere throughout the world, 24/7.
If you work in an industry or for a company that can’t offer around-the-clock support, offer self-service portals, FAQs, and helpful literature so the customer has the opportunity to solve the problem on their own. In fact, ¾ of consumers would rather solve the problem themselves rather than engaging customer service.
Technology solutions are just one of the many ways companies can deliver effective customer service. First and foremost, effective customer services starts with YOU.
Shep puts it best:
Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us.
Keep your customers happy and you’ll keep your customers.
It’s that simple.
As President of Indusa, Shital Shah, focuses on strategic and operational planning and management. She has diverse experience in management and strategic consulting with technology-based businesses and has managed global teams and implemented projects in 16 countries.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: A Worker’s Right To Disconnect From Work