How to create a positive customer/client experience via common customer service mediums
Customer service or customer experience might refer to the name or a team, department or business discipline. To customers, poor customer service might consist of hours wasted waiting on hold, repeating information to representatives and not getting responses to emails.
That's because many marketing or service teams aren't actually working to serve their customers and provide a good experience. Often, organisations treat cases like numbers, and not as people. People who will be undertaking an experience with that organisation to solve a problem or address a need.
Customers are required to use long forms and are passed from desk to desk during a call to get the help they need, instead of using the communication channels they prefer – usually the channel with the least amount of waiting and effort involved.
This inconvenience is usually all in vain - they receive one-off answers to questions and not the tools to develop a growth strategy. Customers and clients aren't empowered to succeed during this process.
THE STATE OF MODERN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Generally, the state of modern customer service is not great. Often, the organisation places all its efforts on generating new clients (usually because of financial pressures) and forgets about those it already has, which is a real shame.
As it turns out, helping your clients succeed helps your organisation, too.
And successful organisations have happy customers and happy customers grow your organisations faster than sales and marketing via word of mouth. By telling friend, family and colleagues, referring new customers and clients in the process.
Client and customer happiness starts with customer service.
WHAT DOES CUSTOMER SERVICE MEAN?
Simply put, customer service is helping customers solve problems, teaching them how to use products and answering questions they might have.
Customer service can take many forms, from troubleshooting a product installation to downloading software to processing a purchase return. The quality of an organisation’s customer service - good or bad - can play a huge role in the organisation’s success.
Happy customers spend more money and refer their friends and family members to organisations that help them succeed, and dedicated customer service plays a critical role in customer happiness.
On the flip side of the coin, unhappy customers with bad experiences spread the word even further among their network and could cost you customers and impact your reputation, both online and offline.
It is worth noting that customer service or support is different from customer success or account management. Customer service is usually reactive, customer success is proactive. Customer success managers reach out to work with customers on strategy and goal setting, compared to customer service representatives responding to individual problems and troubleshooting.
METHODS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE TO ADOPT
Great customer service provides a positive customer experience, and that can be achieved via a range of mediums. This list was originally provided by the HubSpot blog, and we will look to expand on the methods and what’s in store.
Many organisations offer customer service via calls. This can be in the form of a personal phone number where a designated representative can be contacted, or via a call centre style number where a customer enters a queue and a customer service representative picks up the phone after a delay.
Forrester found that phone-based customer service is decreasing in popularity, where a phone service is seen as an escalation from another channel. There is no doubt, however, that calls are still popular in a customer service sense and they do present an opportunity for a highly personal interaction.
This might seem like an unlikely customer service medium, but studies will argue to the contrary. Twilio surveyed consumers to learn about their messaging habits, and while 90% of respondents said they wanted to use messaging with companies - via texting on their phones or messaging apps - only 48% of organisations were equipped to reach customers via messaging.
Customers want to connect with organisations for order confirmations, reminders, updates, surveys, and coupons because people keep messaging app push notifications turned on - because they're already using the platforms every day. If customers and clients are already using the medium, why not use it to benefit both parties?
An obvious medium, especially for us in the B2B sectors. Customer service is still requested and delivered via email more often than not via email. It's still possible to offer a human touch, even over a computer. Email still is the second most preferred method of customer service medium for all ages - which is perhaps a reflection of the time-saving capabilities of submitting requests on your own time, without having to wait.
Many customers are now turning to do-it-yourself customer service methods to get the information they need quickly and easily without having to hop on the phone or wait for an email reply. HubSpot and Squarespace are both particularly good at this, where answers to common questions can be found quite easily on their blog/knowledge hub. For ideas on content, please see this blog post on pharma content marketing examples.
The specific area of the website can explain how to use products and services so customers can seek out touchless customer service whenever they need it. In most cases, a simple signpost is all that is needed, so it would have been unnecessary for the customer to wait on hold for an answer which would have taken a number of seconds. If you are reading this blog, the same principle applies.
Messaging apps and conversational interfaces are quickly becoming the most popular way to seek out customer service help. Interfaces as such can take many forms, including text-based messaging, live chat/messaging apps, and direct messaging on social media.
Messaging apps boast more than 5 billion users worldwide, and organisations are starting to rely on them to offer quick and easy content distribution and customer service to audiences. We have previously written an article on the current state of conversational marketing interfaces in healthcare for more detailed information.
Social media is another medium organisations are communicating with customers more often. Nearly 80% of consumers surveyed have shared positive experiences with companies, and 24% recommended organisations on social media.
Customers can get fast and easy responses to questions they have on Twitter, for example, and social media gives organisations permission to portray themselves in a more friendly and personable tone. We have previously identified GSK as a front runner in using social media to provide customer service.
CREATE A SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE
We have all experienced bad instances of customer service, where the representative helping didn't seem to want to answer our question or even have the knowledge to do so. The bad taste thereafter is long-term.
Today, customers are in control. Your clients are in control. Spending that extra time and effort helping those who request it, creating a positive experience in the process, goes a long way. Happy customers bring better results to your business, so it's worth creating a team culture of dedication and extreme helpfulness which can prove to be rewarding as well as profitable.