Defining Good Customer Service Standards
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There’s a lot of talk about good customer service these days, as everyone has their own story to tell about a good experience they once had. However, in order to identify a service that exceeds expectations, you’ll require more than a single example of a good help desk case to go on.
What’s the objective standard when it comes to good customer service?
Most of our experiences are based on subjective cases of one-off experiences with different brands and their help desk departments. The experiences vary, as does the complexity of the problem users where facing.
That’s why it’s crucial to define standards which help identify the key metrics you should look for when giving praise to a certain brand’s support department. Making customers happy is the ultimate goal, but not every brand does it in the same way or is equally good at it.
Let’s try and define good customer service standards, along with the metrics that you’ll want to follow in order to achieve support greatness.
What Makes Customer Service Good or Bad?
Opposite to popular opinion, the road map to establishing customer service is not an easy one. You’re bound to fit a few bumps and bruises along the way, and some customer may leave your business as a result.
The end goal may be making customers happy, however, there’s a lot of trial and error involved until everything is working perfectly.
Talking out of the perspective of an agitated customer, the first thing you want to make sure is that you’re able to respond quickly. Nothing sets off an unhappy customer faster than waiting hours or even days for a reply. Be sure to keep the average waiting time low as possible to make sure customers don’t leave for good.
If you’re swamped with requests and running an online support service, you’d want to consider implementing a chatbot to reduce the workload.
The second thing you’ll want to make sure is that once an agent gets in touch with a customer, the problem is solved fast. That’s right, the faster you solve a customers problem, the happier he’ll be. However, not all problems are created equal.
Some problems are bound to be complex and take ages to resolve, while others can be solved within minutes. Sometimes there’s isn’t a simple solution, which is where a support agents training and expertise steps in. Being able to respond quickly and solve problems fast creates a great experience and loyal customers.
You’ll also want to make sure the whole chat experience is pleasurable. Pay special attention to the tone of voice you’ll be using while communicating with customers. Not everything that can be done fast fits the definition of good experience, which is exactly why it matters how your agents communicate with customers.
A great agent should be a master of emotional intelligence, using it to defuse any situation with ease. They should also try and always be professional, no matter how the customers may treat them at times. Providing excellent support is no easy task, so make sure you treat and train your agents well and with compassion in mind.
Bad customer service
It’s often not a single thing, but a mix of different elements that makes a customer leave negative feedback. Sometimes, no matter what actions you make, there’s always going to be negative feedback. The goal isn’t to eliminate it, but to keep it to a bare minimum.
One of the most common reasons why customers may be dissatisfied with the service is slow agent response times and long ticket solve times. These two may be a major red flag, however, there are exceptions.
No matter how slow the response rate may be, a customer may tend to forgive the wait if the issue is solved quickly and professionally. Likewise, a charming agent may be able to keep the customer engaged even though the solution comes slowly.
There are a lot of possible scenarios one can find himself in, which is why it’s important to set a few standards that define good service and can serve as a sort of roadmap to a satisfied customer.
Related: Outcomes of Bad Customer Service
4 Good Customer Service Standards
Let’s go ahead and set the standards that define good customer service.
1. Be accessible at all times
Your customers need to be able to get in touch with ease. This is done by providing a variety of channels for customers to contact you, for example, live chat, email, phone or social media. In addition, it helps if all your channels are managed from one place; this can be achieved by using an omnichannel live chat or help desk software.
Once you’ve got that covered, staying in touch is only a matter of hiring the right agents. If you’ve got all your possible contact points tied together, but you’re still spread thin – try creating and implementing a chatbot into your support process.
Picture 1. Chatbot engages customers while you’re not available
2. Respond fast and with consistency
As mentioned earlier, low response times are crucial when defining good customer service. Responding to all customer request within an hour would be ideal if looking at a major company, while often not realistic. If you’re swamped with requests, the realistic standard is that it often takes up to a few hours to hear back from a customer service representative.
These numbers vary according to the platform and how you’re communicating, with live chat and telephone support having the fastest response times. That’s where you need to watch out for consistency. Make sure your response times always match up, as big variations may cause customers to label your support efforts as unreliable.
Picture 2. Live chat response times compared to other channels
3. Communicate using the proper tone of voice
Sometimes it’s not enough to be fast to respond or even solve problems quickly if your agent comes off as rude or dismissive towards customers. Using the wrong tone of voice with a customer can be quite deadly to a customer service reputation. That’s why it’s crucial to always keep things polite and professional, and practice a customer comes first attitude.
Offering good and relevant support requires more than just expertise. It also requires an agent to possess a certain level of emotional intelligence. This is also the hardest to master, as it requires a lot of training. Investing in agent training and skills is a good way to make sure your brand always comes off as professional and kind towards customers.
Also, if you wish to read more about how important it is to use the proper tone of voice, check our other article about it: The Importance of Tone of Voice in Customer Service.
Picture 3. Are you putting your customers first?
4. Manage your time more responsibly
Time is of the essence when it comes to offering customer support. That’s why fast customer service requires a good way to manage time more efficiently and reduce work distractions. Internal communication and procrastination are without a doubt the most common cause of all distractions, taking away precious time that can be spent helping customers. In order to battle these, there are several time management apps one can put into place.
They can help you analyze the amount of time an agent spends on other activities during a workday. Using such an app is also a great way to help organize your schedule better and make more time for customers over the course of a single workday.
Picture 4. Monday.com, a great time management app
Let’s Sum It All Up
There’s nothing simple when it comes to customer service, especially a good one. Finding the right balance between speed and resolution time takes a lot of effort and skill. Investing in both agent training and hiring skilled agents can help speed that process along, as you make sure you watch out for consistency and accessibility. If you find your response time going down, invest in a time management app and make sure you make more time for customers.
Remember, even though following these standards will help you increase your chances of providing great customer service – there’s always going to be negative feedback. The goal is to try and keep it a minimum while communicating in a professional manner, with a customer first attitude in mind.
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