3 Simple Ways Your Customer Service Can Exceed Even Lofty Expectations
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
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
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
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
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.