Five Guidelines to Help You Frame Better Customer Service Objectives in 2020
With the new year setting in, you might have already identified new leaves to turn, and set your customer service objectives accordingly.
Along with the goals that you have already framed, here are five questions that can help you reflect on your current support setup, ensure that you are on the right track, and fine-tune your objectives for the year.
#1 Are You Available on the Latest Channels of Communication?
Customer loyalty rides on the back of customer experience. So, in order to consistently provide stellar customer experience and avoid churn, you need to ensure that you are accessible at every stage of the customer journey. 9 out of 10 customers today want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods.1 Additionally, companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.2
So, expanding your brand’s presence, as well as support, on new channels of communication will help improve the customer experience you deliver. Here’s how you can go about identifying new channels to provide support on:
i) Research your options thoroughly
Not all customer support channels need to be implemented, but for those that a business is offering, it should absolutely lead by example. So selectively choosing your support channels and then becoming a tech leader for those is a trend I foresee.
Manfred Artmeier, Chief Commercial Officer, Multiconnect GmbH, on Expert Insights CX 2020
Step out of your current support setup and analyze your target audience’s preferences. Once you’ve gathered enough information, you can zero in on the most popular channel (or channels) of communication.
Based on the findings from a survey conducted3, here are different channels that are gaining popularity today:
– Since 65% of adults in the U.S. use smartphones and other mobile devices for customer support at least a few times per month4, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 57% of the respondents want to invest on mobile support. It’s only natural that mobile-first messaging apps such as WhatsApp Chat, Apple Business Chat, and in-app live chat/ chatbot will gain popularity as channels of support.
– Millennials today make up a huge part of your customer base, and prefer interacting on channels such as video and voice assistants, and 25% and 29% of respondents are willing to invest on the same.
ii) Check the capabilities of your customer support software
The next thing you need to check is if the current tool you’re using to provide customer service supports omnichannel capabilities. Your tool should help you unify customer conversations from different channels to give your agents a single view of their tickets, as opposed to juggling between different tools. Freshdesk offers a comprehensive omnichannel experience, with a single view of tickets, routing across channels, as well as omnichannel reporting.
iii) Train support agents
The last step includes training dedicated resources to provide support on new channels. Since each channel comes with its own set of do’s and don’ts, you should maintain the etiquette required to provide support on different channels.
Being more accessible goes a long way in improving the customer experience you deliver.
#2 How Low Can You Go With Your CES (Customer Effort Score)?
For most customers today, their definition of an ideal customer experience is one that is seamless and frictionless. And, the best way to keep tabs on this is by using the customer effort score. For the inundated, CES is a measure of the effort a customer has to put in to get their issue resolved.
This year, you need to ensure that you bring your CES to an absolute low. Here are three simple ways in which you can lower your CES:
– Offer support in multiple languages: Providing assistance in your customer’s choice of language saves them the hassle of manually translating the messages. This can also help your customers understand the solution suggested better, and in turn, improve their support experience.
– Reduce your average response time: If your customers are in a hurry to find a solution (which they most probably are), keeping them waiting for too long will push them to take the effort to follow up with you. To prevent that from happening, here are a few ways in which you can equip your team to provide swift replies:
- Set up canned responses that capture answers to frequently asked questions.
- Use an agent-assist bot to pull up relevant solution articles, canned responses and also suggest the next best step.
- Create a vast knowledge base that is always up-to-date with FAQs and product solution articles.
– Invest in agent onboarding: Training your team to be able to handle every question that is thrown their way, however difficult the question might be, is the key to ensuring that they deliver timely and satisfactory resolutions. Beyond building robust onboarding modules, you can document different product use-cases, encourage new members to join demo-calls, etc, to strengthen agent onboarding. You can also invest in a chatbot that can intelligently assist your team with workflows for the next best action.
Once you’ve started working on reducing your CES, you can see it reflecting positively in the feedback your customers provide.
#3 Are You Putting Customer Feedback to Good Use?
Feedback paints a clear picture of how customers perceive your brand and your current support setup, and points out areas of improvement. Since, customers accept nothing less than a good experience, and are quite vocal about the not-so-good experiences, their words hold much more power today than they ever did before. So, tapping into the potential of feedback and putting it to good use should be your customer service objective this year. Here are a few ways in which customer feedback can be used, apart from helping you gauge customer satisfaction:
– Influence product roadmaps: Speaking to customers day in and day out gives you access to important information such as reported bugs, features that customers have a tough time using, etc. This equips you to be a good judge of the features that are being received well and the ones that aren’t. These details can help product managers draft a roadmap that is more relevant and useful to the customer.
– Build customer loyalty: Knowing how your customers feel about your brand can help you identify the ones that would volunteer to be advocates and help increase brand trust and loyalty. Using a metric such as NPS (net promoter score) is a great way to identify potential promoters or advocates of your brand.
– Fix broken customer experiences: Identifying what went wrong presents an opportunity to offer a better solution and fix the broken support experience. You can set up an escalation matrix and have a dedicated team that reaches out to customers who had poor experiences or submitted negative feedback. Here’s what a typical escalation matrix looks like:
In fact, setting up an escalation desk is one of the key objectives of the Freshdesk support team this year.
#4 Are You Measuring the Right Support KPIs?
Good customer support performance can hold different meanings to different businesses. To you, it might be providing spiffy responses in no time. To your peers, it might be resolving a ticket within four hours. You can keep tabs on how your team is performing by measuring relevant metrics.
However, the best KPIs for your business might not be the ones that are measured across other businesses in your industry. So, track and measure customer service metrics that are unique and hold a lot of value to your business. You can even get creative with your regular KPIs and tweak it to stay on top of the things that matter the most to your team.
For instance, in 2019, the first contact resolution (FCR) was a KPI for the Freshdesk support team. However, in retrospect, we realized our customers might have further doubts or questions which can reopen the ticket and inflate the value. The FCR wasn’t an exact reflection of the team’s performance. So this year, we’re going to measure ‘first-day resolution’. That is, we’re going to track the number of tickets that were resolved within the first 24 hours of ticket creation. This gives us a better understanding of our team’s capabilities. It also gives our admins more opportunities to lend a helping hand to conversations that are about to extend the 24-hour benchmark.
Likewise, you can identify the metrics that you want to keep tabs on based on what’s important to your team and based on your definition of customer support.
#5 Have You Humanized Your Support – for Customers and Agents Alike?
Customer support is more than fixing problems. It involves making people – your customers and your employees – happy. This year, one of your key customer service objectives should be to build programs that improve both customer and agent satisfaction. Here are a couple of things you can do to improve wellness:
Programs to improve customer experience
– Add a personal touch: Personalization is one of the easiest ways to increase customer happiness. Tailoring experiences based on your customers’ needs shows that you truly care about them. Routing requests to agents who share a good rapport with the customer, and having access to past conversations are two simple ways in which you can deliver personalized experiences.
– Build a rewards program for customer loyalty: If you have customers who take the time and effort to advocate your brand, and want to make them feel special, here are a couple of ways in which you can give them a token of gratitude or appreciation:
- offer beta access to new features
- provide discount coupons
- give away branded stickers for cars or laptops
- send free useful resources like ebooks, and whitepapers
Programs to improve agent experience
– Focus on employee wellness: Incorporate agent wellness as a customer service objective for the year. Take time off from everyday schedules to go out on team outings or kickoffs to spend some quality time with the team.
At Freshworks, we dedicate an entire week every year to celebrate our support team with a bunch of fun activities and programs. Here’s a quick overview of what happened throughout the week in 2018:
– Encourage upskilling: Learning and growing should be given importance at all stages of a person’s career. You need to incorporate a learning and development program throughout the year. At Freshworks, we follow a simple 80-20 rule – 80% of an agent’s time is spent on conversing with customers, and the other 20% on upskilling and taking initiatives to improve performance.
– Conduct regular 1-1s: As a leader or manager, you need to periodically check on your individual team members to understand how they are doing. Use this time to find out if they are able to keep up with the workload and help clear any roadblocks they might be facing. This can help you make sure that your agents are happy.
There’s Always Room for Improvement
Your customer service objectives should not be goals that are set-in-stone. Working on a goal should be a gradual process that includes reflecting on how things are unfolding, and having the room to make changes accordingly.
What are your customer service objectives for the year? Let us know in the comments below!