The heart of great customer service is great communication. Here are nine ways to improve the way you communicate with customers when you’re providing customer service and customer support. From videoconferencing to text to social media and beyond, innovations in communications technology are promoting efficiency and productivity within businesses. The benefits of workers connecting on the go and across a number of channels can make a big impact on a business’s bottom line. Those benefits can be extended outside the company, as well. Always-on, multi-channel communications can help build a unique customer experience, setting your business apart and fostering consumer loyalty.
Communication is the key to today’s successful business. The better the communication between your business and your clients, the better chance you have of retaining your customers. In a world where news travels faster than the speed of light, it becomes imperative for your business to stay up-to-speed when communicating with your customers. Simply stated, communication is the key to a good customer experience. Research suggests that 83% of all clients would, on any particular website at one time or another, be in need of customer service. It is precisely this service that would be responsible for making or breaking a deal for your business.
No matter what service options you provide for your customers, don’t make them wait. Indeed, waiting is the bane of the customer service experience. Whether on hold via phone or standing in line, anything that can shorten the wait makes people happy. Some hospitals have taken to using real-time outbound communications to provide updates on one of the most infamous waits consumers face. The technology optimizes the mix of patients that arrive in the ER and helps hospitals manage their patient load. For customers, knowing the wait will be excruciating may diminish the mental struggle over it.
Create an everywhere experience In order to create terrific customer experiences that build long-term loyalty, innovative communications solutions must extend beyond the workforce and into the public. Everywhere worker, meet the everywhere customer. Together, with a great communications strategy, they can create the everywhere customer experience. Here are some of the ways how better communication can lead to even better and effective customer service:
When organizational groups are on the same page, everyone understands the “right” choice for the customer, at every level, in every channel, regional office, and department. And everyone is encouraged to make that choice. Disconnects can happen between people serving customers and those marketing to customers, or between people developing products and those selling them. When such disconnects exist, the customer invariably suffers. Empathy is one of the five personality traits that make for a great customer-facing employee, and it is a big help in successful communication. Provide those employees with language support via “language engineering.” Language engineering means suggesting phrases that are likely to be successful in customer interactions, and discouraging the use of other phrases that are likely to confuse customers or get their hackles up.
Move toward a real-time communication model. Real-time (telephone, video chat, and old fashioned face-to-face communication) and near-real-time (live chat, messaging) are the gold standards in supporting customers. If these aren’t central to your customer support mix, they should be. When every employee is connected within a company, they’re all within easy reach of the customer contact center. That can make for a more satisfying experience for a consumer with an issue. Customers want to connect with someone who can help them immediately. With unified communications, determining the availability of and contacting that person is a snap. Customer service reps that can see the “Presence” of all employees can identify a company expert on whatever issue is at hand, determine their availability and instantly reach out to the right person in real-time.
Better Communication Tools
In customer-centric companies, the focus tends to be on the front-stage teams, those that interact directly with the customer. And the support teams—those that make it possible for the customer-facing departments to create customer loyalty and retention—well, they can feel invisible. Like their efforts aren’t talked about. How can they be expected to provide exceptional customer service if they’re fighting a creaky CRM, or their phone lines are crackly, or they don’t have meaningful analytics? Mystery shop/call/email/tweet/chat with your own company as if you were a customer doing business with it. You may or may not like what you find. If not, it’s better that you find out now on your own than from irate customers later on. Unlike impersonal email exchanges, messaging apps allow brands to connect with people in an intimate, personalized way.
But if you really want to kick-start your improvement in customer service and the customer experience, consider hiring a professional from outside your company who can bring fresh perspective and battle-won knowledge. Now plenty of other messaging services have followed suit including, Kik, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Skype. Using platforms such as Facebook Messenger, various forward-thinking brands are already introducing chatbots into their customer service approach. The possibilities are huge, particularly as the bots are learning from every conversation, taking on more complex tasks and conversations over time. They’re being tipped to revolutionize a range of industries, particularly those that rely on high levels of regular customer contact, such as banking, insurance, and utilities. With technological automation, chatbots can be used to deliver a personalized experience, without additional human labor costs.
Even if your employees aren’t talking directly to customers at work, they might be in their personal lives. Depending upon your brand and industry, it’s possible that their neighbors, church, school, or other community associations contain people who do business with your company. What are they hearing about the experience you are delivering? Do they have a mechanism for sharing customer feedback with others in the company? There is a growing trend today to move away from annual or bi-annual employee engagement surveys and begin an ongoing dialog with employees about the business. Many of your customers are working longer and more unusual hours than in the past, and you need to be there for them. Do you need to go to a 24/7 support model? Maybe not, but if not, ensure that your self-service options in the off-hours are sufficient to provide the needed help when you aren’t manning your support lines.
Drop the formality. Customers today aren’t looking for stodgy, prim style of interaction from their service providers. They want a more authentic style of relating, what you call a “peer to peer” or “eye-level” style of customer service. Increasingly, mobile is the channel through which organizations and their customers are interacting. Ensuring that the virtual front door of the business remains open when consumers want it to be is key in delivering a great experience. If you’re not engaging your customers on-the-go—in the context of their daily lives—you’re essentially neglecting them. In-app customer service options can include live chatting with an expert, video tutorials or even transactions–such as the ability to make purchases, refill prescriptions or make a reservation.
These days, consumers expect to be able to reach a company through many different channels, including social media, email and phone. The more channels, the more opportunities for customers. However, when each channel is a silo, it can be frustrating for a customer who, say, begins an interaction on Facebook but calls in to continue the conversation. Customers expect service to be agile—that is, being able to start an interaction in one communication channel or touchpoint and complete it in another. Each interaction should convey consistent and personalized data and contextual knowledge and information to the customer. It is vital that companies leverage both technology and processes that will effectively tie these channels together. For example, when every exchange is accessible to service reps across all channels, customers receive a more personalized and gratifying experience.
While this should be quite obvious, delivering superior performance is one of the best ways to stay on top. Getting your customers to learn the value of the solutions you provide for them is an extremely insightful practice as helps them learn. Any customer, who comes to you for resolution of a problem, is likely to be willing to learn new information. This should provide you with enough leverage to interact with your customers while still providing best-in-class performance based on an in-depth analysis. Providing the ultimate customer experience involves a variety of steps, including end-to-end, seamless support through a variety of communication methods. These channels are live video chats, voice calls, and even screen sharing capabilities, which allow for an exceptional interface between your business and your clients. This two-way communication allows for an exceptionally responsive, intuitive, and immersive experience for mutual understanding. That’s the solution for a good, seamless form of voice call communication; a single button that works with all browsers and devices which help you to better cater to your customers.