As a marketer or entrepreneur, your primary focus could likely be on things unrelated to customer service. However, customer service should not be underestimated as it can have a huge impact on other aspects of your business.
How To Improve Customer Service With Support Channels
Why Is Customer Service Important?
As mentioned above, customer service seems to be an afterthought for some marketers and entrepreneurs which is why it is not given the attention it requires. But when it comes to statistics, it’s clear that customer service has a huge influence on the success of a business as a whole. Here are just some statistics to consider:
- According to Dimensional Research, customer service is the number one factor influencing consumers’ level of trust in a company. They also found out that 52% of consumers state that they’ve made an additional purchase from a business after having a positive customer service experience with it.
- According to Bain & Company, companies that excel at the customer experience grow revenues than 4-8% above their market.
- According to American Express, 1/3 of consumers state that they would consider switching companies after a single instance of poor customer service.
- Moreover, according to Esteban Kolsky - CEO of thinkJar, 91% of customers who are dissatisfied with a brand will simply leave without even complaining.
It’s easy to see just how important customer service is to customers, yet businesses often fail to provide the right experience to their audience and end up losing clients. Luckily, a great way to improve customer service is by using the right support channels and working on your current customer service strategy to make it more effective.
Which Support Channels Are Common? How To Improve Customer Service
While you do have a wide variety of support channels to choose from for your customer service, there are some channels that are more common than others. Using such channels will be easier both for you and for your audience. Here are the top options to choose from:
- Phone: Support via phone is considered to be the most common, traditional channel. Most businesses offer phone support because it allows agents and customers to have the most human conversations of all available options. In other words, when an agent and a customer hear each other, they feel like they are actually talking to another human being rather than a robot. Moreover, it’s easier this way to pick up on different emotions from either side. For this channel, agents need to be trained to always be polite and to minimize their use of scripts to improve customer experience.
- Email: Another popular option is support via email. Almost everyone has an email nowadays, so this channel has become a common one for companies of all sizes. Compared to phone support, email support usually takes more time and isn’t a one-time conversation between the agent and the customer. This is why email isn’t very suitable for urgent matters that need to be resolved immediately. On the other hand, some customers may prefer email because they don’t have time for lengthy phone conversations. Email also allows companies to reach customers from all over the world. With email support, it’s important to keep a casual tone and only resort to a formal one for informing customers about bad news (e.g. no refund is possible).
- Social Media: Though it is a relatively new channel for customer support, social media is still being adopted by brands all over the world. Most businesses already have accounts on major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where they interact with fans and customers, so it’s only natural to offer support there. The biggest issue with this channel for support, however, is that not everyone managing your brand account will be equipped to answer customer questions. An administrator won’t know about all the intricacies of your products or services. This is why you need a team of support agents available from your social media brand account 24/7. You can even create a separate customer support account for such inquiries if you want to separate the main account from the customer support.
- Live Chat: Live chat support has the characteristics of support via other channels which is why it can be the perfect fit for many companies. This channel lets agents provide personalized customer support in real-time much like phones do and has the same texting/messaging method as social media. Indeed, live chat is quite popular exactly because of the ability to provide real-time support for solving issues quickly and efficiently. A good way to improve such support is by allowing customers to send images and videos through the chat to show agents what problem needs to be solved. It’s one thing to just describe it, but it’s completely different when an agent can actually see the problem and understand it better.
- Other: Apart from the channels listed above, there are some other options for providing customer support that businesses are actively using. Of course, there’s the old-fashioned face-to-face support, but it can only be given in special company-approved spots where customers can find brand representatives. Another support channel you can use is self-service. A self-service lets customers look for answers to their questions on their own thereby reducing the time support agents spend solving their problems. Another option is video-assisted support which is kind of like assisting a customer via video call. There’s also the option of chatbots which is similar to live chat but is instead automated.
#1 Assess and Update Your Customer Service Team How To Improve Customer Service
Now that you know everything about the channels available for you to provide support through, it’s important to implement the right measures to improve your overall customer service strategy. As Terry Davidson from the research paper writing service reviews site puts it, “It’s not just what you use for delivering high-quality customer support, but also how you use the resources you have.”
The first step you should take is assessing and updating your customer service team. Strengthening your team is by far one of the best ways to improve everything related to your customer service and the kind of customer experience you deliver. Here are some tips on how you can do this:
- Assess your current team and find out its strengthens and weaknesses. If there are people on your team who can’t do their job properly, you should either fire them or train them to become the professionals you want them to be.
- Hire professionals for your team. If you fired someone, you will need to replace them with skilled professionals who will be able to perform all the tasks well. But even if you didn’t fire anyone, you can still add one or two specialists to the team. Your ideal customer support agents need to have empathy, patience, good communication skills, and knowledge of your brand and your products and/or services.
- Track the performance of your team continually. Instead of thinking that everything is going to be all smooth now that your team is seemingly perfect, you should still pay close attention to your agents and track their performance. Analyzing their actions and their achievements will help you identify what needs to be improved further.
#2 Start Using Multiple Channels for Support
The next step you should take is diversifying. In other words, you should start using multiple channels for providing customer support. It’s a huge mistake to assume that all your customers will be okay with using only email for customer support or spending time searching through your self-service to find answers to their questions. In reality, different customers have different needs and require different approaches.
One customer will be glad to talk over the phone while someone else will want to text over live chat. Younger generations will likely want to receive support on social media while older individuals might prefer email. This is why you should offer as many options for support as possible while providing high-quality service via all channels.
You don’t necessarily need to set up all channels at once. Start by setting up one or two support channels and then set up others gradually so that you have enough time to plan everything out and create strategies for each channel separately. Remember that support channels are different which is why you need to train agents differently for each of them.
Last but not least, don’t forget to get feedback from customers directly. You may be already tracking your support team performance and looking at other metrics showing how good your customer support is. However, all of this shines a light only on your side of the matter while you should also get the side of your customers.
To summarize, support channels are definitely important when it comes to customer service, but it’s also essential to understand how you use them and why what you do is effective or ineffective. Use the tips in this article to help you create your own customer service strategy and start improving your customer service with support channels.