5 Ways to Simplify Customer Service
With new tools available in the market to customers and customer service professionals alike, the relationship between both has become both easier than ever, and the most confusing it has ever been. Customers can now spend minutes (or sometimes hours!) looking for the correct channel to address their questions, while customer support agents are tracking dozens of metrics in an attempt to understand the customer better.
The abundance of options are sometimes certainly hard to choose from, and there is no way to simplify the process. But there are also times when we create these obstacles between good service and our clients ourselves. It’s time to get rid of the barriers, and make connecting with customers simpler. Here are the 5 ways to make customer service a simpler and better experience for all parties involved.
Make the First Step Easier to Take
Reaching out to support is not an easy step for any customer to take. But once they have decided to, contacting support should be as easy as possible. Every additional minute spent on looking for a “Contact Us” button or your phone number, will only frustrate your customer. Review your site or app and make sure the contact information for your support team can be found easily, and take note of how your acknowledgment emails read. Check if your intent is clear; for example, the customer should easily be able to ascertain the timelines you establish, and understand if you have shown any alternative routes.
Also, review your contact forms and ensure that there are ways to reach out to other departments as well, say sales or your billing department, so your clients can find help. This also assists your support team with workload distribution.
Prepare Your Tools
There are plenty of smart tools out there, so make sure you spend time on picking the right ones for your team, and invest in them. Making tools easy to use requires spending time on setting them up properly.
For example,if you have a list of frequently asked questions, make sure you create macros to speed your resolution time, and create a tagging system for easier analysis of what bothers your clients. This analysis will prove handy when you work on self-service for your clients, and when you advocate updates on behalf of the client base. A product manager’s buy-in comes faster when ideas are supported by hard data. Last but not least, make sure your tools have a clear priority system for the agents to follow, so no time is spent skimming through the queue trying to understand who needs your help the most.
Self-service Can Never be Ignored
While some customers tend to prefer human contact when looking for help, there will always be a group of customers who would prefer self-service over having to talk to people. Make sure you have self-service options available to your customers, and that they answer most of your clients’ questions. Research your tickets to find out the most popular topics for questions, and update your knowledge base articles accordingly.
Another good step to take to improve customer self-service is to introduce a chatbot that can help users find the right direction to address their needs. Make sure that all of the decisions regarding self-service are based on clients’ data and feedback – we often feel like we know what’s best for them, but now is not the time to exercise that assumption. The more you understand your customers’ pain points, the better you can fine tune your tools to create a holistic self-service experience.
Some customer requests may require a lot of work on your side and a lot of work from the customers as well. While that is understandable in certain cases, especially when fixing bugs, in other cases work simply piles on due to lack of clarity regarding processes. Lack of processes can become a serious bottleneck, preventing your team from achieving their potential.
Make a list of all inter-departmental processes that can go wrong, and match them with the decisions your agents struggle with the most. Do they know how to properly pass a sales lead to the right person? Do they know what type of information is required to issue a refund? Make the extra effort to clear these processes up, and update them cyclically. Go the extra mile and document them in a clear and searchable way, so that every agent can easily find the “how-to” and help the customer out without any hassle.
The unknown is scary and scary is not a good substitute for an effortless experience. When we know what is going to happen to our problems, even if the solution is tedious and unpleasant, we can plan for the future. Considering this, managing anxiety from clients becomes a necessary part of the job. As support agents, we do not always know what is going to happen to the ticket -if the problem can be fixed easily or if it’s a bug that would require rewriting a lot of code. However, even if we don’t always know how things will turn out, there are plenty of things within our control that we can always promise our customers. Make sure these things are passed to the customer in a clear and concise way. Let them know when they can expect a reply from you, what other data may be required and who they can ask for updates in case of any emergency. As for outside of the support area of expertise, it is still possible to improve how we predict resolution time — which requires constant sync with your QA department and creating severity guidelines.
Keep it Simple to Succeed
While we are in a commercial relationship with our customers, it’s still a relationship that requires to be nurtured. And surely, you’ll want it to be a happy relationship! Even if your support team is one of the best in the world and your stats are impeccable, customers would still push for as frictionless an experience as possible, wanting quick resolutions and shorter conversations. There are concrete steps you can take to make sure the help you offer reaches its recipient without a headache. Apart from helping your customers reach their goals, automated customer service would help you as well. It reduces the time your agents spend on tickets, reduces the overall cost of operations, and also ensures that the work put in by your team is pleasant for both them, and the customers they serve.