The two most important factors in customer service are speed and quality. One doesn’t work without the other. It’s useless trying to solve a customer’s problem in record time if the solution isn’t thorough and the customer will just end up back in the service queue in a week’s time.
Small businesses have a lot of pressure to provide personalized quality service. In fact, it’s what they’re most celebrated for and why customers opt to buy from a small business in the first place.
So, how can your small business provide the quality service customers are seeking with quick turn-arounds? Here are some tips on how to stay on top of customer service:
Optimize self-service content
Customers prefer to find the answers to their questions themselves. 67 percent of consumers say they would rather use self-service than speak to a customer service representative. And less than half (40 percent) of customers contact a customer service representative after looking up the answer to their question online.
That’s why enable your customers find the answers to the questions they most often ask. In order to do this:
Optimize search results. Make sure your site shows up in the top search results
Find out what customers are asking. Analyze keyword searches and include them in your content
Ask if the response was helpful. Find out if the information you’re providing helps - Include a pop-up window for the readers to leave a comment
Bottom line: the better tailored your content is to your customer’s needs, the more they’ll be able to help themselves without the assistance of customer service representatives. Better for the customer, better for your business.
Proactively monitor peak periods
Know when customers are most likely to reach out and make sure your customer service stations are adequately staffed. Did you know that wait time has a direct impact on sales? 50 percent of consumers cancel a purchase because of bad customer service. And 57 percent of consumers abandoned a customer service call because they were too frustrated with the long wait time.
Staffing appropriately for peak times will reduce wait times, always a plus for customers. It also helps customer service representatives provide better service to customers, allowing them the opportunity to establish a positive rapport and to employ sales tactics such as upselling. 75 percent of customers will spend more with a business that provides them good customer service.
Offer text as a communication option
Convenience is key. Texting allows customers to respond to businesses when it’s convenient to them, not when they finally got through to a representative. And texting is great for small businesses when it comes to proactive customer service.
For example, sending customers texts to keep them updated on their delivery status can save your customer service reps a phone call asking about it. Appointment reminders, membership expirations and other notices can be sent via text to improve customer service.
Also, texting is overtaking voice calls. People now text their friends and loved ones more than they call them. In fact, the average person spends five times longer messaging than they do on voice calls each day. They text businesses when this option is made available to them.
Text messaging eliminates the need to wait on hold which is one of the main reasons for customer frustration. This communication method also provides both the customer service agent and the customer a single thread where the entire conversation is easy to refer to and access in case of doubts or questions.
Automation can save time and free customer service agents from manual tasks, giving them more time to dedicate to providing quality customer service. Here are some ways automation can help save time:
With the first email about a support issue you receive from a customer via, automation software can generate an automated response, letting the customer know their email was received and sending the email to the right member of support team. This keeps your customer service team from having to read through, analyze, respond to and assign service tickets to countless emails.
Automated status messages can also be set up to let customers know the status of their order, repair or other service. This keeps clients up to date and prevents them from sending several messages about the same issue through multiple channels.
Creating a customer history, complete with compiling their demographics, payment information and purchase history can be a long and tedious process if done manually. Automation tools can compile a customer profile that allows reps to quickly and easily reference key information about the particular customer.
Improve your checkout process
Offering customers the quickest and easiest way to go from shopping cart to purchase should be a top priority for any business. This is where many customers get stuck, resulting in either abandoned carts or messages and phone calls to customer service representatives.
Some things to simplify:
Make signing up optional. Many businesses coerce their customers into signing up by making it mandatory to complete a purchase. Customers may want to know what’s involved in signing up and may reach out to a service rep to find out. Eliminate this step to avoid cart abandonment and to cut down on calls to reps.
Share the full shipping info. Make sure the cost of shipping, shipping options, expected delivery date and tracking number are all clearly stated so that customers can reference them easily. Otherwise, expect to hear from them.
Offer various payment options. Customers use a variety of payment options and so should your business. If you offer limited payment options, you may be getting calls from customers asking if they can pay you through alternative means. Skip this hassle and include a variety of payment options from the start to better serve your customers.
Small businesses who focus on the clarity of customer communication and wise workflow automation can reap the rewards by cutting down on customer service calls and speeding up their response times. Try those tactics out and fascinate your customers with a lightning-like customer service!