Customer service has always been a cornerstone of good business practices and a growth strategy. However, due to the changing nature of business, the way we manage the customer relationship to provide a quality service has transformed. The fact is, traditional methods are simply failing to produce the same results they once did.
According to the Institute of Customer Service’s July 2018 report, customer satisfaction in the UK is at 77.9, down 0.3 points from July 2017. This marks the first time since January 2015 that two UKCSI surveys have shown a decline in customer satisfaction. As evidence demonstrates that consistently providing a quality customer experience is essential to securing strong financial return, this is an area that demands serious attention.
Enhancing customer satisfaction in your company is often easier said than done. Below are three of the most common challenges business face when trying to improve their customer service approach – and effective ways to overcome them.
1. Gaining a 360º customer view
Acquiring a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ needs and desires is fundamental. A 360º customer view allows your company to provide better customer service by empowering the customer service agent with the knowledge they need to solve customer queries effectively. According to a Splice Machine white paper, 84% of survey respondents would no longer buy from an organisation that ignored channel preference, purchasing history, and other information relevant to personalising the customer journey. Having a complete view of a customer, history, purchases, interactions and profile can make a massive difference in how we deliver the service.
The most effective way to build a comprehensive view of your customers’ needs is through data-tracking software. Applications like Zendesk provide an intuitive, user-friendly solution that delivers a comprehensive view of both leads and your current customers, allowing your company to identify trends and customise the customer experience.
Integrating your customer service tools with your back office CRM solution will allow you to create that complete view of the customer, so when choosing a customer service platform make sure that systems connect, either via existing out-of-the-box integrations or through integration capabilities via a web services API.
2. Dealing with case escalation and queue optimisation
Whether dealing with a query or a customer complaint, the efficiency of your case resolution and escalation processes often proves challenging for businesses of any size. The majority of cases can reach a quick and satisfactory solution with chatbots or readily available customer assistance. However, when more complex issues arise, a company’s internal processes need to be seamless in order to offer quality service.
When faced with a high volume of customer queries or complaints, a well-placed FAQs section can make all the difference. According to a 2018 report, 83% of customers go to a company’s webpage to find what they’re looking for. Having a robust and high-quality website will not only increase general satisfaction, but will also reduce the number of cases that require escalation.
However, when cases do need further attention, your internal processes must be adequately prepared. This involves concentrating on a few key areas:
– Providing customers with self help capabilities that speed up the resolution process
– Routing specific queries to matter specialists
– Prioritising cases according to their level of urgency
– Prioritising cases according to the “customer lifetime value”
– Measuring case metrics to continue optimising issues
Each case has its own urgency level, which is determined by your company’s goals and priorities. No matter what your criteria, it is crucial to integrate processes that help to establish case priority. This step helps your company build an efficient ticket escalation process, resulting in a more streamlined customer service experience.
In addition to improving your customer service processes, tracking case metrics such as customer satisfaction levels and response times is hugely beneficial. This data allows your company to measure progress in sales, and identify areas for improvement in internal case management and interactions with customers. For your sales team, this could also mean introducing gamification tools to enhance employee performance.
3. Guaranteeing consistency across support channels
Interdepartmental information sharing is essential when forming a cohesive, cross-company strategy. However, this is never more true than when it comes to support channels. If they are not well connected, they run the risk of losing details, providing contradictory information, or giving repetitive advice. All of these eventualities result in lower customer satisfaction and increased churn.
It costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones, and yet 80% of your company’s revenue comes from just 20% of your existing customers. With 75% of customers expecting a consistent experience wherever they engage with your brand, there is quantifiable and demonstrative value in providing consistent cross-channel support.
If your internal processes are lacking alignment, providing the experience your customer demands will be a substantial challenge. With an all-encompassing platform like Zendesk integrated with your CRM systems, your company will benefit from real time, up-to-date information sharing across channels. In this way, you can provide apt and case-specific resolutions to customers, regardless of the channel they find themselves on.
The Institute of Customer Service’s report reveals a strong link between consistently above-average customer service in a specific sector and an increase in a company’s ROI and productivity. This trend indicates a clear opportunity for companies to make customer service a serious value differentiator against the competition. When properly leveraged, you can stimulate long-lasting results across the board and drive your company to new financial heights.