Customer communication sounds like it should come naturally. After all, what could be easier than chatting to your clients via telephone or text apps? But, in business, we all know that the reality is different. Getting your corporate message across accurately and reliably is a lot harder than you might think. It takes a tremendous amount of work.
Customer service communication is essential. It helps to:
- Retain customers who are thinking about leaving your brand
- Brings together various communication touchpoints
- Improves customer loyalty and trust
- Provides opportunities for conversions
- Increases brand reputation
But many small and medium-sized businesses just aren’t getting it right. So what are top brands doing to make their customer service operations work so well? Here are their favorite strategies.
They provide self-help
Customers will wait to talk to a rep at your call center if they have to. But in many cases, they would much prefer to solve problems themselves. That’s why brands like Apple and Google invest so much energy in self-help. They’d much prefer people to discover solutions to their problems rapidly by searching online resources instead of waiting to talk to a rep and getting confused.
There are all sorts of tools you can use to provide self-help to customers. These include:
- Building a knowledge base
- Getting your content writers to create how-to guides
- Creating expansive FAQ pages on your site (with easy search options)
- Providing customers with video tutorials to guide them through problems or issues that come up repeatedly
Once you understand the issues that your customers face, you can reduce the burden on your office telephone system. Clients are less likely to call in and more likely to solve problems themselves, freeing up time for you reps to deal with the trickiest issues.
They monitor social conversations
Gen Z and millennials love interacting with brands via social media. Companies, therefore, are boosting their presence on these platforms, offering chat-based customer service interactions.
Monitoring conversations on social media is essential for collecting information about how customers perceive your brand. For instance, you can use metrics such as sharing your products with friends or posting about your services to determine your impact. Engaging in regular conversations with users gives you valuable feedback and helps to build trust over time. Most customers prefer it when you interact with them one on one, instead of via regular generic marketing channels.
They keep tabs on their communication metrics
When it comes to customer service performance, metrics are everything. They’re the tools that you can use to determine whether your strategy is working or not. Popular metrics include:
- Reported customer satisfaction metrics
- Average time to resolution
- Maximum time to resolution
- First response time
When you measure these metrics, you get insights into your team. So, for instance, you can identify agents who might be struggling and provide them with training. You can also ensure that your team sticks to the script and has the right technology in place to take calls quickly.
They rely on chatbots
Many small and medium-sized businesses have a negative opinion of chatbots – and that’s understandable. They tend to be quite limited.
But chatbots are improving exponentially. Before long, they will overtake human operators as the most common method for interacting with customer service teams.
Chatbots and human call operators work best when used together. Chatbots act as a filter, dealing with all the easy, repetitive queries. If they can’t solve a customer problem, they then forward the call to a human who can take it from there.
They iterate the Customer experience
Iterating on the customer experience is vital for keeping your business healthy. Customers don’t usually recall their positive experiences. However, they often hold onto their negative experiences, and share them with their friends.
In an age of social media, these negative experiences can damage brands tremendously. United Airlines, for instance, lost nearly $1.4 billion when a customer’s tweet about poor service went viral on social media.
So what do top brands do to improve the customer service experience?
First, they try to steer clear of obviously scripted conversations. These are inauthentic and can annoy customers who would prefer to speak with a thinking human being. Second, they prioritize reducing wait times. Nothing is more annoying than being left in a queue for 45 minutes.
Lastly, they offer real-time support via a variety of channels. Some customers call, but many will also want to talk to you by text on social media and via your site. So, there you have it: some of the things that you can learn about customer communication from top brands.