In a study looking to determine top business priorities across industries for the next five years, customer service came out above both price and product. Great customer service has been climbing the ranks of “must-haves” for organizations for years, but as competition for a customer’s attention rises, so has the need for impeccable service.
Gone are the days when liking the product itself or having a low price point would keep your audience around. Customer loyalty today relies heavily on the experience that is provided, and those who are unable to keep up with these customer demands will ultimately see a decrease in their base.
Delivering a prime customer service experience is not just about having enough staff on board to manage requests or responding in a timely and efficient manner. Customers have options, and in order to keep customers in your corner, you have to ensure that the customer service team is not only strong, but supported, informed, and experienced.
To level up your customer service experience and equip your organization with the skills they need to meet the rising demands of your audience, we’ve put together our three golden rules of customer service to employ across your teams to ensure top-notch customer experiences.
Strike a Balance Between People, Automation
Chatbots and voice messaging systems have become increasingly popular in the customer service world. In some cases, these tools can be incredibly helpful in addressing small inquiries, especially if the individual on the other end of the line prefers this interaction. Effective automation tools can also alleviate tedious tasks for agents, which can alleviate agent stress. However, in order to deliver the best experience, organizations cannot forget the importance of the human element in customer service.
Finding the right balance between your digital/automation tools and the ability to ask a real person a question will create a seamless process of efficiency supported by personalized care. The automation technologies that support the agents should be used, and integrated with each other so that a customer’s information and needs follow them from one channel to another.. Humans have the empathy your customers need, so it is crucial to make sure that technology is not just adopted for technology’s sake.
Happy Agent, Happy Customer
Working in customer service is not always easy. Occasionally agents encounter unhappy customers, and the experience can be taxing on both individuals. As a result, it is important to ensure that customer service agents feel valued, appreciated, and supported through their work. A positive agent experience yields greater customer experience.
Prioritizing agent well-being includes focusing on things like curating a work/life balance and enabling workplace flexibility. Additionally, ensure agents are well informed of promotions, new products and policies. When your team feels like their work is meaningful, they will lead with empathy in their customer interactions, ultimately leading to a personalized and elevated customer experience.
Agility is a Must
Curating a premier customer service experience requires an elevated level of detail. Forward-planning organizations understand that additional customer support is often needed in times of unexpected, and often inevitable, crisis. Having an agile workforce means that the structure of your customer service team is able to quickly and seamlessly scale to accommodate the demands of the clients. Whether it is an expected seasonal event or an unforeseen weather disaster, agility allows organizations to flex to the customer’s needs and maintain business continuity.
This level of agility can be obtained by having the proper learning and training processes in place, as well as a strong workforce that can pivot when necessary. When your customer service agents feel equipped to handle change and adversity, no crisis will be too large to knock them off their game.
The demand for positive customer service will only continue to rise as more interactions take place virtually. “Digital transformation” may be the name of the game for creating efficient workflows, but personal interactions and human-centric communications will never go out of style.
Greg Hanover is CEO of Liveops Inc.