Over recent decades, with the rise of social media and the expectation of instant contact and immediate answers, achieving customer service improvement is at the forefront of most business strategies, regardless of the industry they are in. Gone are the days where brand loyalty and recognition alone ensured a long-term relationship with consumers, today’s customers now expect the highest quality customer service in return for their loyalty. Businesses may differ in their products, size, location and target market, but the one thing that’s familiar to them all is the need to provide exceptional service to help secure their future business success. In this article, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips for improving customer service in your business.
What Classifies as Great Customer Service?
If you asked 100 companies to describe great customer service, you would get 100 different answers! In a Forbes article, Shep Hyken described great customer service as ‘philosophical. It’s part of the culture.’ Yet, Salesforce report that ‘great customer service includes fast, personalised and connected experiences.’ The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to describe great customer service, it will vary wildly from business to business as it is highly dependent on the expectations and demands of the consumer in that particular industry. But there are common themes that all businesses can implement when focusing on improving customer service in their business and help them achieve the ratings they are aiming for.
10 Tips on How to Improve Customer Service
1. Know what great service looks like for your customers
While there may be a general consensus in the company about what customers want in terms of service, you will never truly know until you ask them. Not all customers complain when they haven’t enjoyed their interactions with a company, so taking complaint statistics isn’t the most effective way to gauge what needs to change. Send out a customer survey so you can truly get to the heart of their experience.
2. Understand the sticking points for your employees
Frontline teams are a rich and knowledgeable data source for understanding what prevents them from delivering the service your customers expect. They probably come across the same sticking points day in, day out which impacts customer service. Having suggestion boxes, team idea sessions or an online forum where they can post suggestions will give you direct access to this incredibly useful information and help focus attention on the right areas.
3. Be clear in where you want to get to and your milestone moments
You know where you are right now, but what would success look like in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years? What are the milestone moments along the way? Perhaps winning a national customer service award within 1 year is something you want to achieve or you’d like to receive a certain number of 5-star reviews in the next 3 months. Whatever your customer service goals are, plan them out and you’ll have something tangible to work towards.
4. Involve your employees in the plan
Once you have your goals mapped out, now is the time to bring your employees back into the process again. You may have clear ideas on how customer service can be improved, but your employees will be the ones to tell you if this can actually work in practice! Employees have amazing insight into the challenges with change, so having an employee focus group to help you work through potential changes is an excellent resource.
5. Alleviate the pressure of process for your employees
Employees working with complicated processes can get distracted just trying to navigate them, meaning great service takes a back seat. Review your processes and understand the bottlenecks, are they more complicated than they need to be? Mapping out process steps and evaluating whether they can be simplified or removing certain steps can create instant improvements and the opportunity for your employees to focus on great customer service.
6. Have the right technology in place to support customers and employees
Outdated, clunky technology is one of the biggest barriers to great customer service that we see when speaking to new potential customers. If employees have to navigate 10 different systems just to process one interaction, this inevitably impacts customer service. It’s harder for new employees to learn and the margin for error is greatly increased. Investing in new technology may feel daunting, but with the right provider, you’ll reap the rewards.
7. Don’t wait for the big things, small changes can make all the difference
When embarking on a strategy to improve customer service, attention is often focused on the big changes which may take months or even years to implement. The smallest changes can make the biggest difference to customer service levels, so implement anything you can immediately rather than waiting to do everything in a big bang launch in 2 years time. Every little step you take now will help build up momentum and drive positive change.
8. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
As a consumer, you’ve probably experienced a situation where a company promises you something that they then can’t deliver. If your technology is limited in what it can do, if your processes don’t allow for certain outcomes, it’s imperative that this is shared transparently with your customers. Customer interactions are never the time to over-inflate the capabilities of your business. Only promise what you know you can deliver.
9. Make sure your employees know your vision and values
Research by Rungway found that 52% of employees can’t recite their organisation’s vision, and 49% can’t recite their organisation’s values. Delivering an internal campaign to help employees understand the vision, values and most importantly tangible actions to show how they can live up to them in their day-to-day work, will help create consistent, trusted and enjoyable experiences for your customers.
10. Regularly review your customer journeys to enable responsive change
Once you’ve made changes to your processes and updated your technology, you may think this is the end, mission complete! But the best companies in the world never stop evaluating and tweaking their customer journeys. Customer expectations can rapidly change, so building in regular reviews and having access to data-led insights will help you to stay at the forefront of great customer service and support your future business success.
Contact Centre Customer Service
Contact centres often bear the brunt of customer dissatisfaction. Being the voice of the company and in many cases, the first human contact customers have with an organisation means that agents can be subjected to challenging calls with an expectation to resolve any issues quickly and find answers efficiently and confidently. With calls coming in at increasingly high levels, agents don’t have the time to report back to leaders about how customers are feeling and what could be changed to drive future improvements. Many contact centres are now turning to intelligent AI to help them understand the customer journey, proactively identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement, without having to rely on the agent to share their insights.
How can Voice Analytics and Speech Analytics Help Improve Customer Service Levels?
Our Awaken Conversations product enables companies to perform deep analysis of calls by using voice analytics and speech analytics. Speech analytics transcribes spoken conversations into readable text, using AI and machine learning to identify precise words or phrases that can be crucial to understanding customer experiences. Voice analytics is then able to determine the emotion and sentiment behind the words. By combining voice analytics and speech analytics, you get a rich and detailed source of data to truly understand the complete picture for your contact centre performance. An analysis is carried out automatically, without the need for agent intervention, giving leadership teams the opportunity to act quickly once they have identified areas for improvement. This intelligent platform provides the opportunity to make a great impression on every single call.
If you’d like to see a demo showing how Awaken conversations could revolutionise your contact centre and support you in improving your customer service levels, please fill out the form below and one of the team will be in touch to arrange a meeting with you.