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3 Simple Ways Your Customer Service Can Exceed Even Lofty Expectations


Presented By: CrmXchange

Contributed article by Rod Brownridge, Fusion Connect

Quality customer service isn't just about providing a quick fix to an emerging problem. It's about building a lasting relationship and reassuring customers that no matter what issues arise, you'll be there to support them.

One of the most proven ways for companies to increase loyalty is by taking care of their customers. According to the 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement Survey, 83% of consumers will take their business to a competitor because of a poor customer service interaction. Likewise, Salesforce showed in its most recent State of the Connected Customer report that 88% of customers believe the experience a company provides is as important as what it offers, and 90% of respondents to HubSpot's State of Service in 2022 survey said customer expectations have reached an all-time high.

Customers are even willing to spend a premium for a better experience. A recent survey of 300 executives and directors across the information security and information technology industries conducted by Gartner Peer Insights on behalf of Fusion Connect showed that 91% of respondents would pay more for better customer service. More than a quarter specifically said they'd pay over 10% extra for it.

Just because your customers are willing to do that doesn't mean they should have to. You can repeatedly wow them by showing concern, being accessible, and continually honing your approach.

1. Demonstrate you care 

No one wants to contact customer service. They just want stuff to work. That's why you must begin every customer interaction with empathy and understanding and maintain that attitude until their problem has been resolved.

Those who reach out to customer service are already feeling frustrated or down, so let them know you're in it with them and are doing everything you can to right a wrong. This gives a positive first impression.

Once you have completed your data dip — logging who the customer is and why they're reaching out — you need to dig deeper and show you understand their issue. Some agents are so focused on the solution that they don't identify the root of the problem. That can lead to jumping to the wrong conclusion, which sets the process back, wastes time, and leads to a bad experience. Fine-tuned active listening skills ensure there's no uncertainty. Clarify points if needed, but make sure customers never have to repeat themselves.

Once you have resolved the problem and confirmed there are no other issues, gently outline ways the customer could avoid a similar situation in the future. Reiterate the steps you took to solve the issue if it returns or make them aware of related problems that have been known to pop up. Let them know that self-service options may also be available as a starting point, but don't dissuade them from reaching out to you if they're more comfortable doing so.

These steps are important: 63% of respondents in the Gartner survey listed "making multiple requests for the same support need" as a reason why they'd consider switching business providers — more than any other option presented. Compassion, understanding, and generating solutions prevent them from needing to do so.

2. Meet customers where they are 

If you want to provide quality customer service, you need to meet the clients where they are. That doesn't only mean you're responding to your customers' requests. It involves providing support regardless of how they choose to contact you.

Salesforce's State of the Connected Customer report determined that customers most frequently use nine channels to communicate with companies. You don't have to offer every option — you don't want to provide a platform without thoroughly supporting it — but the ability to interact via telephone, email, live chat, text messaging, social media, or some combination of those channels lays the foundation for an excellent customer service experience in the digital age.

In the Gartner survey, 55% of respondents listed the ability to reach a customer care team via multiple channels as a reason why they feel emotionally connected with businesses, and 25% said the most important part of the customer experience is reaching them when and how they want.

Regardless of how they reach out, customers still need a solution to their problems. If you don't have the answer, the traditional contact center processes are still valid — even if that means reaching out for additional support.

While more than half (52%) of respondents to the Gartner survey listed being passed around to multiple agents as a reason why they'd consider switching business providers, there is a way to do this without breaking a customer's trust and confidence. Guided workflows are there to help you diagnose unfamiliar issues and including a more experienced teammate or a more tailored experience expert through a warm handoff — when the frontline agent remains a part of the conversation before departing — helps customers feel heard if you're still stumped.

It's all about interacting with customers on their terms and providing hospitality. Once you do that, you'll have already shown a commitment to surpassing their expectations.

3. Never stop improving

One of the remote work environment's biggest benefits is that companies can now recruit and hire talented people from across the country — and even the world. There are fewer limits to finding individuals who are engaging and personable. If someone can't show genuine compassion and kindness when the customer is in distress, they are less likely to be trained and successfully communicate with the customer when they need help the most.

But just because you and your team are well suited for the customer service industry doesn't mean you have it all figured out. You need tools and resources to continue getting better. Training your soft skills, such as active listening, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and leadership, should be a constant pursuit. You're in a service business, and you must always remember that you're serving the person on the other end.

Feedback is crucial, too. Surveys are a tried-and-true method for gauging satisfaction. Reviewing your customers' responses and pairing them with a log of their contact center experiences provide a great learning experience for your team. Even going through a random sample of calls or interactions for quality assurance can be informative. Using some of the best conversations — and even some of the worst — can provide a fresh take and allow you to reconsider your best practices.

You don't want to merely be in a position to address your customers' needs. You want to show them you can go above and beyond. Having the right mindset and continually developing your approach will make your company even more valuable than it already is.

Going beyond their expectations

The goal of any customer service request is to have an issue, no matter if it's large or small, resolved as quickly as possible. But quality service is not about speed — it's about the commitment to helping your customers in a time of need.

People don't begin their day wanting to contact customer support. By having the right attitude, showing a willingness to help, and continually developing solutions, you can exceed their expectations, restore their trust, and leave them feeling as though you'll never let them down.