What Is Customer Service Experience?

To win over today’s customers, delivering good customer service alone is not enough. You also need to create a great customer service experience

Customer service experience is defined as the overall experience a customer has interacting with your company throughout their journey. Brands like Zappos and Amazon are loved by their customers for the memorable customer service experiences they deliver. 

We’ve put this article together to help you create positive experiences that your customers can take home each time they interact with your brand.  

Why is customer service experience important? 

Illustration detailing customer service experienceEvery time a customer interacts with your company, you have a chance to delight or disappoint them. 

If you provide a great customer experience, you’ll gain satisfied and loyal customers. But if you don’t, it will hurt your business. 72% of consumers say that they would abandon a brand after one bad customer service experience.1 30% would post a negative review online to stop others from shopping with a brand.2

Plus, 68% of customer service leaders in the US say they’ve seen an increase in customer expectations since February 2020.3 That trend isn’t likely to shift anytime soon, so it’s time to start taking looking at innovative ways in which you can create better customer experiences. 

Tip #1: Build a skilled customer service team

Your customer service agents represent your business. How they interact with a customer can make or break that person’s opinion of the company. 

It takes a specific set of skills to do customer service right, including:

  • Communication and listening skills
  • Empathy 
  • Communication skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • Subject matter expertise

Training your team on these key customer service skills will help ensure that your customers feel like they are understood and cared for.

Here are a few activities that you can conduct to improve your team’s soft skills:
– Role-playing different customer service scenarios and sharing feedback based on performance
– Conducting demonstration sessions where leads or managers enact the best ways to tackle different types of customers
– Holding knowledge sharing experiences where all support agents talk about the most difficult case they faced and collectively discuss how they could have handled the situation better
– Encouraging agents to conduct mock onboarding sessions where they have to explain how to set up the product in simple steps.   

Hiring the right people is important, but even the best agents will stumble if they don’t have technological help. 

For example, a customer service representative who doesn’t answer questions quickly will create a bad experience for the customer. But maybe the representative just doesn’t have a simple way to access the correct answers. 

It’s easy for agents to become subject matter experts if they have a comprehensive library of information at their fingertips. 

An internal knowledge base is a repository of everything an agent needs to answer customer questions, from product guides to troubleshooting information to price charts. With an internal knowledge base, everyone on the team is an expert from their first day on the job. 

Screenshot of solution article suggestion in Freshdesk

It’s also important for agents to see customer context. It’s hard to show empathy if you don’t understand what the customer has already gone through with the company. 

Provide a better customer experience by choosing a platform that lets agents see data points like a customer’s product usage, past support tickets, and billing history. 

Tip #2: Understand the customer journey

A customer’s experience with your company goes through many stages. 

The journey might start with an ad or online review. From then on, whether prospects might purchase products or interact with your customers on your forums or even send an email to your support team. Each of these interactions with your business affects their perception of your company. 

Screenshot of a customer journey map

It’s helpful to create a visual map of the typical journey for each segment of your customers. You can get the data straight from your customer support software. 

Understanding the customer journey is key to providing a positive customer service experience. Your customer journey map can help you:

  • Identify where you lose customers
  • Figure out which tactics work and which don’t
  • Make sure all teams are on the same page
  • Add a personalized touch to your customer service
  • Proactively stay one step ahead of the customer

With your journey map, you can optimize the customer’s experience across each touchpoint that exists between your company and your customers.

For example, if the touchpoint is contacting customer support, success would be the customer receiving a fast and accurate resolution for their issue. 

Add this information to your visualization of the journey along with anything else you find useful, like customer goals at each stage or who in the company is responsible for the success of each touchpoint. 

Journey map analysis can also help you identify inconsistent experiences across all touchpoints. You can then improve this by using consistent branding and transparency between functions.

Tip #3: Provide easy access to information

Customers love to help themselves.

Being able to solve a problem without going through the customer support team is a positive experience — that’s why 86% of consumers expect a brand or organization to have an online self-service portal.4

Screenshot of a well structured self-service portal

The best thing about a self-service portal is that it’s a win-win. Customers like to use it and your support team has a lower volume of tickets to deal with. 

A knowledge base with chatbot assistance is a great way to provide a positive self-service experience. The customer can get information 24/7 without turning to an agent, but they still benefit from the intelligent suggestions of an AI. 

If the knowledge base features analytics and reporting, you can use the data to understand what customers are looking for. This helps the customer service team provide a better service experience in the future. 

Tip #4: Offer quick responses and resolutions

Illustration detailing AI bots for fast customer serviceOne of the most important things you can do to keep customers happy is to increase the speed of service. In fact, 53% of customers say they want faster agent response times.5 

The average customer service response time in the United States is 2.8 hours. If you want an edge over your competitors, you should be faster and aim to surpass the 2.8-hour benchmark. 

You can measure your speed using two metrics: your average response time and your rate of first contact resolution (FCR). 

FCR refers to how often your support team resolves the customer’s issue in a single interaction. It’s calculated by dividing the number of tickets resolved on the first contact by the total number of tickets, multiplied by 100.

To see whether speed really makes a difference, we can look at the customer satisfaction score (CSAT), which you get by asking customers to rate their experience on a scale ranging from good to bad. Data shows that for each 1% increase in FCR, there’s a 1% increase in CSAT.6

Tip #5: Connect with customers on their preferred channel

Illustration detailing various customer service channelsIf customers are forced to use email when they prefer social media or the phone when they prefer chat, they won’t have a positive customer service experience. 

These days customers expect support to be available through the channel of their choice. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods.7

Delivering a consistent experience is possible only when you use a customer service software that streamlines conversations across all channels into a single view. 

A real-world example: aNewSpring improves customer satisfaction with multichannel support

aNewSpring is a Learning Management System that helps businesses train employees and tutors to teach students. Their previous ticketing system could convert emails to support tickets, but it lacked omnichannel support. 

The customer service team was forced to use a variety of workarounds when customers reached out on other channels. The support process was disorganized and difficult to track. 

Implementing Freshdesk allowed agents to respond quickly and consistently on all channels without needing to juggle multiple systems. In just one year of using Freshdesk, aNewSpring raised its positive rating with customers from 87% to 94%. 

Tip #6: Collect feedback to understand the customer experience (and take action on it)

Collecting customer feedback lets your customers know that you’re listening and it gives you the opportunity to anticipate and fix future issues. 

It’s important that you gather, categorize, and analyze feedback from multiple channels. There are technological solutions you can use to help you collect feedback and keep it organized. 

You can embed a form on your product or website. This lets customers send you their ideas at any time. Use open-ended questions and allow the customer space for additional comments.

Screenshot of a help widget by FreshdeskIf you want to focus on the customer support experience, you can set up an automatic email to gather feedback after the customer’s interaction with your customer service team. You can use this to discover your CSAT rating. 

A CSAT survey is typically designed on a ranking scale. For example, the choices could range from “1 – not satisfied at all” to “5 – very satisfied.” 

For the best results, use software that can help you with analysis as well. Freshdesk tracks trends in your CSAT scores and generates reports on your ratings so that you can see what areas of support you should work on.  

Customers with something to say about your company will often turn to social media. Use your help desk software or another tool to monitor social media conversations and respond to the comments.

You can even convert comments, tweets, or posts about your brand into tickets. 

Tip #7: Use AI the right way 

Artificial intelligence can make a customer service agent’s life easier. But is it good for the customer experience?

The problem with some chatbots is that they feel impersonal. It doesn’t have to be that way. A good customer service AI goes beyond replacing human contact and helps your human team deliver the best possible experience. 

AI solutions like Freshdesk’s Freddy AI can be used to power your chatbot to engage with your customers using personalized responses and content from the knowledge base. A Freddy-AI-powered doesn’t just leave them hanging after answering a question. It can detect intent and follow up the answer with relevant conversation flows.

A real-world example: How PhonePe automated 850 decisions with Freddy

As a mobile payment provider, PhonePe knew the value of a good customer service experience. 

Anything to do with finances makes customers especially nervous, so helping people through those issues seamlessly can win customer loyalty. 

Consequently, PhonePe decided to do away with agent training as a possible variable and automate as many customer service inquiries as possible. 

They started deploying Freddy AI to automate common service inquiries like “What’s my balance?” and eventually went on to automate 850 decision items. PhonePe now resolves 60% of their support inquiries without human intervention. 

Automating these processes hasn’t compromised the customer experience — quite the opposite. PhonePe gets higher CSAT scores for interactions with bots than with traditional service channels. 

Screenshot of the success of PhonePe's automated customer service

Freddy AI can also assist agents. It saves time for your customers and for your team. 

Categorizing, prioritizing, and routing support tickets is tedious work that can take up a lot of time. Freddy learns from past tickets so it can suggest ticket fields for the new ones.

With Freddy AI, agents can execute lengthy customer support processes with a single click. This saves them time to tackle more complex customer issues. 

The best part though is the Agent Assist Bot, an interactive self-serve module for agents to find the best fitting response, resource, or course of action.

  

Conclusion

To keep your customers coming back, you need to deliver a customer service experience beyond their very high expectations. 

That means providing self-service and a variety of other channels, responding quickly and consistently, and solving their issues — often before they even arise. 

Fortunately, with the right technological assistance, providing great customer service isn’t as hard as you might think. Our own Freshdesk platform does everything mentioned in this article from categorizing and filtering tickets to helping you get to know your customers. 

Try a demo of Freshdesk to find out how it can help you improve the customer service experience you deliver. Understand the basics of the helpdesk with the help of Freshdesk video demo.

Source:
1 – https://www.acquia.com/resources/ebooks/deliver-cx-they-expect-customer-experience-trends-report
2 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/dangingiss/2019/02/19/3-key-takeaways-from-the-2018-customer-experience-index/?sh=66ccb08d5acb
3 – https://www.freshworks.com/the-new-cx-mandate/
4 – https://info.microsoft.com/ww-landing-global-state-of-customer-service.html
5 – https://freshdesk.com/resources/whitepaper/whitepaper/whitepaper/guide-proactive-support
6 – https://freshdesk.com/customer-happiness-benchmark-report
7 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/05/13/40-stats-on-digital-transformation-and-customer-experience/?sh=33d69a56475e