Without customers, you can’t have a business. As such, customer service must be at the center of any successful business model. Unfortunately, managing customer service is becoming more complicated than ever before, thanks to changing trends and the progression of technology. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to keep up, it may be time to streamline your business’s customer service.
Test Your Own Customer Service
Learning how to improve your customer service protocols requires first understanding how your customer service operates now. There is no better way to do this than by testing it out on your own. Doing so can allow you to find any gaps that can be filled in and other problems that need addressing. First, try to purchase a product or service from your own business. Then try to receive support services through different mediums such as over the phone or via social media. What you learn can be very enlightening.
Integrate Different Modes of Communication Under One Roof
A good strategy for streamlining your customer service is to integrate different modes of communication under one roof. Part of the challenge of modern customer service is that there are so many different ways that customers can choose to communicate with your company. Bringing them together under a single platform can certainly simplify things. For example, there are companies online that can integrate your business phone systems with other modes of communication like text messaging, video conferencing, and fax messaging. This way, customer service representatives can manage all of these different mediums through the same digital platform.
Integrate Self-Service into Your Customer Service
Another way to streamline customer service and take some pressure off of your customer service representatives is to design ways to find help on their own through self-service elements. Some of this can be accomplished through automation. One example is a pop-up chatbot that answers customer questions before forwarding them to a real person if more help is needed. This way, common questions can be answered by the chatbot instead of by a customer service rep. As a result, only more complex questions that require interaction with your employees will make it through. This will lower your customer service department’s workload. However, it also benefits customers since their questions will be answered instantly without them having to be put on hold and placed into a queue to speak to a service rep.
Use Your Data to Improve Customer Service
One of the most powerful tools the modern business has is its data. Over 97 percent of companies have invested in big data strategies to improve their business operations. One business operation that a big data strategy can certainly improve is customer service. If you record and store data regarding individual customers, their purchases, their previous support interactions, and more, you can then later analyze that data and use it to provide better and more individualized service. If a customer already called in previously about a specific problem, your customer support representatives should know. This can save a lot of time and produce customers much happier with the service they were provided with.
Integrate Tools to Track Social and Online Reviews
These days, not every customer that has an issue calls a support number. They don’t necessarily send an e-mail either. Instead, they tend to air their grievances online through social media mentions or online customer reviews. When these negative experiences are expressed online, they can act as negative PR and continue negatively affecting your company’s reputation for weeks, months, or even years. Overall, it’s always a good idea to be proactive in reaching out to such customers and fixing their problems. That way, online word of mouth regarding your products and service will not be as negative. Make sure to give your customer service representatives digital tools that can help them track social media mentions and online reviews. That way, action can be taken as quickly as possible.
Improving and streamlining customer service will take some work. You may need to integrate new systems, install new software and retrain employees. However, if the service your customers receive is significantly improved, these small investments will quickly pay for themselves via increased revenues from loyal customers that will continue supplying you with the business for many years to come.