Customer Service: A Guide for Successful Business Growth
⏱ Reading Time: 15 minutes
It was once thought that customer service exists only to solve complaints and that was its primary function. Nowadays, customer service has turned into the backbone of any business. It has become one of the biggest deal-breakers (or deal-makers) for customers.The competition is so big that customers expect nothing less than catering to all ther needs – and they can easily replace you if you don’t.
Customer support is all about putting your customers in the first place and making them happy with smooth, recognizable, and enjoyable customer experience. Many brand owners and customer success managers today prophet that customer experience is the best marketing tool a brand can have. Well, we couldn’t agree more!
Let’s explore what customer service is and how it can help you grow your business!
Customer Service Definition
In the past, customer service or customer support was considered to be a help for customers before, during and after they have made a purchase. Moreover, some of the companies out there considered customer service departments as reactive. Meaning they only make a stand when a customer files a complaint or has an issue with a company.
Today’s customer service goes beyond traditional support via telephone. Companies have never had so many different channels of communication. Customer service agents are available on many different channels such as e-mail, live chat, social media, text messages, etc.
Moreover, companies that want to boost their revenue growth find that customer support is more than providing answers and solving customer’s problems. It is all about the experience and relation that a customer has with a brand.
And since the customer experience is teamwork effort, more and more departments are becoming an integral part of the customer servicing. From marketing to logistics, some customer questions require cross-department collaboration and going the extra mile.
Why is Customer Service Significant to Business Success?
Companies today are more competitive than ever. In the past, customer made their decisions based on prices, products, or locations. Today, with internet growth, customers are focused on their experience with the brand or organization more than ever.
According to research 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
Providing amazing customer care will not only reduce customer churn, but it will also increase customer retention. Above all, companies with amazing customer service culture will also have loyal customers as brand ambassadors who will gladly recommend your product or service to their family, friends, or colleagues. Word of mouth and customer advocacy is the most valuable (and a quite cheap one) form of marketing.
Picture 1. Important CX statistics
How can Bad Customer Service Influence Customer Experience?
According to Microsoft survey, more than 20% of customers don’t think that their feedback will be noted? Don’t be one of THOSE businesses, especially because the relation between customer service and customer experience is stronger than ever. Every good or bad action form CS department will reflect on several customer experiences.
Although customer service was always a vital part of any business, today is a top priority! The number of businesses has never been higher and it’s only logical that everyone needs to stand out to make it. Having great customer service helps you do just that- have happy, loyal customers who stand by your side! Also, social platforms have become the norm so every bad review can be the beginning of an end. Always do your best and customers will surely be on your side!
Customer experience is a journey that sums up all the customer interaction with your brand or organization. The customer journey begins with the first interaction and it actually never really ends.
From buying and delivery the product or service to customer support. Customer experience is all of that and much more. CX measures a feeling that customer has in relation to a company. Those feelings usually include different connections such as; physical, psychological, and emotional connection.
Having that in said, you can have a better vision of how customer service culture can help in improving the customer experience. As a vital part of the customer experience, 47% customers reported that they have left a brand due to bad custoer service within the last year.
Don’t forget that bad customer service can collapse your lousy reputation as hard as amazing customer service can boost your brand reputation. Some of the worst side effects of bad customers CS is high customer churn rate.
Beyond the high customer churn rate, the indicators and side-effects of lousy customer care are:
- Bad news will spread faster than the good one
- Your leads are not converting anymore
- Customer lifetime value can drop easily
- Your best support agents are leaving
- You become a part of a profit-suckling cycle
There is no one-size customer service formula that will help your business because every business and industry has it owns specific customer needs and problems. You need to find the perfect solution and solve problems without downsizing your customer experience and CS quality.
Some of the well-known examples of bad customer service are ignoring the voice of the customer and delaying their needs.
Picture 2. Good vs Bad Customer Service Effect
How to Repair Bad Customer Service?
Repairing the effect of bad customer care represents a challenge for managers and customer support teams. Let us help you improve your customer service with simple rules and steps that include damage control of poor customer experience and advice on how to retain your customers.
First, have in mind that the customer is always right. Never-ending discussion with your customers will lead you to bad reviews and feedback, no matter how right you were in a specific situation. Instead, give your customer a sincere apology and offer to make amends. You can easily find the way how to calm angry customers such as a discount on next purchase, free or subvented delivery, product replacement, or additional gift samples.
If you are intolerant, nervous, and have a lack of empathy for the customer’s problems, not only that your support agents will have issues with you, their communication will drive away your customer and his loyalty. This moment will be accompanied by the customer’s bad reviews that he or she will gladly publish on forums of social media.
It is very important for your customer service agents to have excellent training courses for better understanding of omnichannel communication with customers. Today, customer care agent communicate through more than one channel and they need to know that every new conversation is a potential opportunity to acquire or retain customers.
Also, if you want to grow your customer satisfaction and raise brand reputation, include 3R rule of amazing customer service; Responsibility, Resolution, and Respect.
The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Support
If you google customer service or customer support, you will get the same results. Along with that one, business circles also find customer support and customer care as abbreviations of that same exact term. terms such as customer support and customer care are familiar in the business circles as a similar term.
Let’s explore the two concepts profound, to help you decide on how to organize and how to name this important team in your company.
Customer Support – Used for Technical Support
Customer support teams are usually active in companies that offer multiplex and sophisticated IT products and services. In this kind of organizations, customer support agents are also consultants, because of the complexity of their job.
For example, company SAP has the Support portal home dedicated to all technical advice, knowledgebase, tutorials, and troubleshooting for all issues for their customers.
SaaS (Software as a Service ) such as Paldesk are also using the term Customer Support with the intention to provide 24/7/365 support to their customers.
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The customer support teams provide needed assistance to solve current customer issues focusing on troubleshooting and resolving conflict situations.
Customer Service – Building a Relationship with Customers
Customer service is all about building successful customer relationships, and for that challenging goal, teamwork is vital.
Customer service has a more layered department because it’s not just providing support to the customer; it’s also a significant contributor to an overall business strategic plan. CS team goes beyond helping customers to solve a specific problem; they also exchange ideas, collect the feedback from the customer, and increase the value of the product or service.
This kind of relationship is more customer-centric than business-centric, like in customer support, having customer needs, and satisfaction in the first place.
- If you are a customer-centric company, use customer service name for your department that will help your business grow along with the customer satisfaction and their experience. The strong connection between customers and customer service starts from the moment when the purchase is finished, but it never ends.
- Always go the extra mile to make sure that your customers get the best experience from your brand.
How to Provide Exceptional Customer Service?
Now that you know the difference between (bad) customer service and support, it is time to see how can you provide exceptional customer service. No matter how big is your CS department, you can always implement simple principles that can transform your service and deliver better customer experience.
Support Your Customers
Customer service is a challenging job and needs to be a team sport. Supporting your customers as a team has various business benefits but also it will raise your customer service to the next level.
At Paldesk, we provide customer service from all departments no matter if it is design, development, sales or marketing team. We are building a customer-centric culture by providing customer care in which each department is familiar with the issues that customers are facing in real-time. It is vital to have a bigger picture of communication and build customer loyalty, especially if your brand awareness is still not strong enough.
Be Friendly and Honest
We are all human, and we all appreciate honest and friendly communication in daily life, especially in business manners. In this age of chatbots and AI communication, you need to show your customers that you are not a machine and that they are getting your full attention.
Also, nobody likes being lied. When you have an open conversation with your customer, provide him needed information accurately and honestly.
For example, you have noticed some service issues that are repetitive in customer experience, and your customer is complaining about the same issue. Be honest, tell the truth and that you are working on the issue that showed up before you tested. Don’t forget to apologize. This is a great way to earn your customer’s respect and commitment to your brand.
Provide Product Expertise
The more you know about your product, the better the customer support you can offer.
In Paldesk, every new employee needs to go through product training from product demos to customer service. It is a significant value for your customer support operations that all team members know the product inside and out. Also, prepare your team for every new release.
Each and every one of your teammates is your brand advocate. Make sure they are well aware of it before they make the first contact with your customers.
Read our tips on how to provide exceptional customer service!
Benefits of Great Customer Service
Customers Are Willing to Pay More for a Better Experience
We have already written about the importance of customer service in customer experience. Research shows that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better, friendly, and welcoming experience, and 96% say that customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
Why is CX so important for customers? Research shows that it’s how the customer feels while they have contact with your brand has a big influence on their experience. No matter how significant is CX, do not underestimate the value of price and product quality because they are still a big part of the customer journey. As a matter of fact, price and quality are still in the top considerations when a customer wants to make a purchase decision.
What have we learned from successful companies? Great companies worldwide no longer offer exceptional services and products; they are also the masters of the customer experience!
A Happy Customer Becomes a Loyal Customer
Did you know that business spends 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell the existing one? Not only that, but current customers spend 67% more than new customers. In short, customer loyalty is one of the most significant symptoms of a happy customer and brand loyalty.
Customer loyalty is a customer’s eagerness to buy from a brand repetitive, and it’s the result of great customer experience, customer satisfaction, and the value for money.
- Improve your customer’s journey and provide them the best customer support, and you will have your loyal customer and walking ambassador faster than you expected.
- Listen to your customer, collect their feedback and measure new data from their behavior.
Picture 3: Measure customer satisfaction with CSAT survey
Improve your Business with Omnichannel Customer Service
Omnichannel customer service is an interaction between the company and customers through different channels integrations such as email, social media, live chat, and phone. Omnichannel customer support enables customers to reach brand from any platform.
Today’s companies often provide omnichannel customer service, but it is essential to have the same quality of service simultaneous for different channels from one dashboard.
Paldesk has integration with most common channels such as email, Twitter, Messenger, and website live chat. From a single dashboard, you can easily communicate with different customers from different channels at the same time.
Email as a King of Customer Service
Don’t knock down email just because it’s not the newest communication tool. Email still works and wins hand-down as being the most effective marketing approach for customer retention with a success rate of an astonishing 56%. If we compare email with social media, which has 37% customer retention effectiveness, we can say that email is a king of customer support.
Email also allows businesses to offer branded messages, and it is known as a secure platform that customers trust. Most consumers that prefer simple customer service would instead communicate via email or online than other channels.
Live Chat Customer Service – Your Sales Assistant
Live chat is the most important feature on business websites. Why? Because 44% of website visitors report that they get answers via live chat to their questions during a purchase. This is a rather significant number if you take other channels into account.
With live chat, you can easily and quickly provide customer support, but also it is a great communication tool for sales activities. After customer support agents detect customers issue, he can promptly identify product or solutions that could help customers.
So not only does live chat feature helps your business by reducing bounce rates, but it also improves customer support agents upsell to clients.
Social Media Customer Service
Social media is a great customer service tool if you understand the power of the customer’s feedback and the rules of social media communication. Above all, providing customer support using social media requires prompt and accurate responses.
The average response time for leading businesses is 157 minutes. The percentage of businesses who respond within the expected 30 minutes time frame is only 8%. Unfortunately, 12% of businesses don’t respond to customer messages on social media at all.
Picture 4. Social media customer service stats
Common Mistakes in Customer Communication
No Human Here
Automation is perfect for communication, especially if you implement chatbot assistants into live chat. But, people are people, and they love to talk to real humans, especially when they have a problem with your product or service.
When it’s possible, provide an option to communicate with customers from different channels. Some people love to talk to CS team by phone, some via live chat, and some still love to write emails.
I Am Not Listening to You
We are all listening, but do we hear our customers?
Train your team to develop excellent listening skills and support customers with needed answers and solutions.
Give them communication diversity, provide customer service with real people, and you are one step closer to the excellent customer service.
No Proactive Communication
Being proactive in customer service is the process where companies need to think about how to delight customers.
When it comes to customer service, companies are mostly reactive and they become activated when problems are already there. Invest in your customer service company culture and include every team member to take a couple of chats or calls and connect to the customers.
Not Giving Customers What They Want
Customers want answers quickly and they demand efficient solutions. On the other hand, they also want to feel that they are really in your first place and that you understand their problems.
Make sure that customer service agents have access to the right information and that they are listening attentively. Ensure communication is realistic – it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.
A Not Educated Customer Service Agent
There are a lot of reasons why customer service teams have uneducated support agents. Maybe they are in a cost-saving phase, or there is a lack of time for additional professional education. No matter what is the current situation in your company, always invest in your agents. Your support team is often the first contact with your brand, and it needs to be represented in a positive direction.
Picture 5. Poor customer service statistics
How to Correct Customer Service Mistakes
Being the face of the company isn’t always an easy job. Sometimes there is a lack of focus, understanding, or empathy, and customer service mistakes will happen.
The key is to know how to react when you have a tough situation and make sure that your customer is receiving the best customer service despite some humps on the way. Contact your customer with empathy and understanding with a sincere wish for solving the problem that he reported.
- Organize weekly meetings with your customer service team with goals to understand why the specific situation happened, what happened, and what is the outcome of the communication.
- Write down guidelines with your team for a better outcome from stressful situations and best customer service no matter how complicated situation can happen
Customer service is a sophisticated service, and it requires specific customer service skills for providing fantastic customer service. All skills can be developed and learned; all you need is goodwill and practice and practice. Every call or chat that you receive from your customer is different. It is essential to approach individually and provide solutions that will make your customer experience better and build customer loyalty.
Now it’s your turn!
How do you deal with daily customer service and omnichannel communication?
Share with us your tips, questions, and thoughts.
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