Your customers’ experiences can change at the drop of a hat.
The wrong word at the wrong time, or conversely, the right word at the right time, can transform how they see your brand and your products.
Strong experience with your customer service team can make them feel empowered with your products and validate their decision to do business with you, while a weak experience might have them second guessing every purchase they’ve ever made with you.
Delivering great service is a delicate dance for any business, but for an enterprise, it’s trickier. Just by virtue of their scale, the elements that impact customer experience is harder to control and predict.
But they don’t have to be. If you follow these five tips for building a better customer experience through service, you can shape your service department into a lean, mean, customer-centric machine.
Before we dig into that, however, we should clarify something about enterprise businesses.
What Does it Mean to be an Enterprise Business?
Enterprise is a term that has a lot of definitions, which can make it confusing to figure out if your business falls into this category.
Eric Erlebacher has a helpful definition: “a huge business1.”
If you have more than one location (in the case of businesses with an offline presence) or offer your products across several points in the world, you’re an enterprise, even if some of those locations may be small, like Pearson’s 12-person team in the Netherlands.
It gets more confusing to define an enterprise if you’re following the ever-changing Small Business Administration’s size standards, which defines small businesses as those with between 250 and 1500 employees2 depending on the industry. Anything outside of that range would likely fall into the enterprise level of business.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume the following about enterprise businesses:
– Multiple markets across the world
– At least 250 employees
If your business meets these two criteria, read on for five strategies that your service department can adopt.
5 Customer Service Strategies that Enterprises Should Adopt
Implementing changes in an enterprise business is a massive task, even if the changes themselves are small. For that reason, we’ve focused most of our tips on internal, workplace culture changes that you can begin enacting today.
1. Encourage Experience Ownership with Your Employees
With dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees, encouraging ownership of anything may seem counterintuitive.
But while it’s true that all of your service employees should be able to pick up an account and run, instilling a workplace culture that encourages ownership of the experiences they provide to customers creates more than a sense of obligation; it also instills a sense of pride and fulfillment.
Enable your employees to take ownership by letting them solve customer service issues as they deem best. Let them be flexible—within reason—to address problems and provide solutions.
This approach encourages ownership of the customer experience, and some experts are calling it the reinvention of customer service.
T-Mobile did it, and the results were amazing. Customer churn is down, loyalty is up, and the total cost of service is down by 13%3.
You’ll still need a set of standards and guidelines to ensure your employees are delivering an equally stellar experience across the board, but letting them take a little more initiative with solving customer issues encourages creative, flexible problem-solving.
And with results that benefit both the business and the customer, this small shift of workplace culture is a win-win for everyone.
2. Don’t Wait for Customers to Speak Up
The majority of upset customers won’t tell you when there’s a problem. Most of them will just leave your business and find another enterprise to serve their needs.
In fact, you’ll only hear from one out of every 264 unhappy customers.
And 91% of those same silent sufferers will simply take their revenue to a competitor rather than wait for the company to make amends.
While you can’t prevent them from churning altogether, you can encourage them to speak up with a little proactive action from your service team.
For example: always have your service team follow up with customers after a ticket is resolved. Don’t just ask for feedback on the resolution process; find out if there’s anything else you can do for the customer, and if you can make it happen.
Also, take things further by periodically following up with accounts that haven’t been in touch with your business.
True, such initiatives might not get all of those unhappy customers to speak up, but it can get a conversation started.
3. Protect Your Customer Service Team
The experience your customers receive is contingent on the people providing it, and those people are just as important to safeguard. If you want to provide consistently good experiences, you need consistent employees with a low turnover rate and high engagement.
So, just like you should check in on customers, check in with your employees, too.
Even if you’re short-staffed in a department, support a healthy work-life balance with your employees. Take steps to avoid employee burnout and give them the avenues to communicate their own frustrations.
Consider investing or starting an employee wellness program. A wellness program5 indicates to your employees that their wellbeing is important to the company. It improves productivity, cuts down on health care costs, and encourages your staffers to maintain healthier behaviors.
And healthier employees handle stress6—like what they experience when they contend with disgruntled customers—better. It’s a surprisingly simple equation: Happier employees = happier customers7
So, protect your service team just as ferociously as you protect your customers. After all, they’re the ones who deliver your brand’s promise. Make sure you’re living up to your promises to them as an employer, too.
4. Make the Experience More than Just Service
Some big companies have a reputation of treating their customers like numbers, and when you have thousands of people to serve, it’s an easy pitfall.
But not everyone makes this mistake. Create a more personal experience—like Nordstrom does—by empowering your employees to not just solve problems but also create new opportunities with customers.
For instance, do you sell cosmetics? Transform your customer service agents into consultants and help consumers identify the best products for them.
Providing someone a fashion tip might not address a service problem, but it does make the experience more personal for the customer, and when they need to buy more products for their next event, they’re more likely to reach out to your agents for advice and purchases.
This applies to all industry sectors.
Do you sell car parts? Train your agents to help customers find the best parts for their rigs and make recommendations based on their previous purchases.
Remember, customer service isn’t just about providing solutions to current problems. It’s about managing them before they crop up in the first place.
5. Let Customers Help Themselves
If your service team is the only avenue of support that customers have, you might be providing a more personal experience but you’ll also end up with more tickets than you can close in a given day.
Enable customers to help themselves by working with your service team to identify the most common issues that people have, and create a knowledge base.
Your knowledge base should be consistent, readable, and based on real problems. You should also consider search terms when you’re looking at a knowledge base. No matter how well organized your help documentation is, if you’re not providing a search function to let users zip in and out and find the solutions they want, you’re wasting their time.
That’s why Freshdesk’s support is equipped with a search box. Your knowledge base should have one as well.
Enterprise businesses have the scale to make big waves in an industry, but that same scale can be a hurdle to delivering and improving on the customer experience.
Some of the most impactful changes for enterprise customer service departments start with workplace culture. Encourage your service agents to take ownership of the experience and create a culture that emphasizes flexibility and problem-solving.
But don’t rely on customers to bring those problems to you. Follow up with your customers after every ticket or at the end of every quarter to make sure they’re satisfied.
Keep in mind that your service team is just as important to protect as your buyers, too. In addition to supporting them, train your department to do more than just react to problems: teach them to provide advice and guidance for anything your customers may need.
Lastly, give your customers the power to help themselves with a searchable knowledge base.
Enterprise customer service may operate at the highest levels of business, but when you get down to it, it’s the same as any startup or small business: treat everyone involved well, and they’ll return the favor.
Main illustration done by Vinodhkumar Neelakandan
1 – https://befoundonline.com/blog/is-it-possible-for-enterprise-level-businesses-to-have-great-sites/
2 – https://www.fundera.com/blog/sba-definition-of-small-business
3 – https://hbr.org/2018/11/reinventing-customer-service
4 – https://www.unicomcorp.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics-infographic/
5 – https://www.wellsteps.com/blog/2018/07/04/reasons-to-have-a-wellness-program-benefits-of-wellness/
6 – https://www.welcoa.org/blog/benefits-stress-management-employees/
7 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2017/05/27/how-happy-employees-make-happy-customers/