Even in the age of automation, efficient customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions, mobile web, big data, smart wearables, and the Internet of Things, a human touch still remains relevant and crucial in customer service interactions. In fact, a Gartner study estimates that by 2017, one-third of all customer support communications will still need a human agent.
No amount of good PR and advertising machinery can remedy an ailing customer support system. Your company’s customer service program is usually the first or only direct contact with customers, so make that rare customer interaction a pleasant one. Here are five effective ways for ensuring that your frontline employees offer positive and meaningful experience to customers and would-be customers.
Emoticons for Your Chat and SMS Text Support
“Can synchronicity and visual modality enhance social presence in mobile messaging?” appeared in a 2015 issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, and detailed a way for businesses to have their online agents foster a favorable emotional connection with customers–allow them to use emoticons. The study showed that the use of emoticons in instant messaging, as well as promptness of reply, might cultivate customer loyalty through a positive customer service experience.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Does your company support charitable institutions and worthy causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare rights? Then you’re on the right track toward improving your customer support. Your company’s corporate social responsibility has a powerful sway not only to customers but also to your customer service workers. According to the paper “Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Orientation, and the Job Performance of Frontline Employees,” published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Marketing, CSR activities deeply motivate customer service workers and enhance their job performance.
Your email support system can flex a muscle and gain some loyal customers in the process. A landmark Michigan State University study, “Managing Post-Purchase Moments of Truth: Leveraging Customer Feedback to Increase Loyalty,” demonstrated the value of a sincere, personalized, and expertly timed “thank you” to customers. You might want to have your email support team compose heartfelt “thank you” letters for people who took time to answer your company’s online surveys or tagged you on social media because they were satisfied with your product. Then have a supervisor or a top executive affix his name as the letter sender. The impact of this to your bottom line is tremendous. In a 12-month period in the restaurant industry, for example, repeat visits soared 57 percent for women and 50 percent for men. On top of repeat visits, women brought others with them–an increase of 79 percent, according to the results of the study. With men, it’s also an upward trend with an increase of 42 percent. This is all because of a sincere “thank you” message signed by the company president.
You wouldn’t want to keep your customers waiting, especially for an answer to a simple inquiry. A self-service portal makes your customers feel empowered as it equips them to resolve basic product or service issues on their own. It also minimizes the workload of your agents. Your self-service portal must contain key FAQs and detailed information, as well as sport an easy-to-navigate menu system.
Multi-Platform Ticketing System
Your ticketing system can use some work to accommodate the ever-expanding multi-channel digital environment. For example, a customer tweeting at your company’s Twitter account about needing assistance for a troubleshooting issue should not be asked to log his complaint to a Web form that’s processed by your ticketing system. The ticketing system should be able to take in the customer’s tweet and turn it into a ticket. In short, make it easy for customers to file support cases in many possible platforms and social media channels.
Massive and continuous spending for advertising and other branding initiatives can’t ever make up for bad customer service. A little effort on the latter goes a long way, because your satisfied customers can bring something priceless in return: a good word of mouth.