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Best practices

Wow your customers with these service tips

You can build and sell the most revolutionary products all you want, but they won’t be worth much unless you can back them up with stellar customer service.

Customer service is the frontline to your company; it’s the team that works to keep customers coming back. And because your customers and their demands are always changing, so is your customer service.

We recently checked in with Marie Rosecrans, our VP of Customer Experience at Desk.com, who, among other things, shared some cutting-edge advice and customer service tips on elevating your support strategy.

What’s the true distinction between good customer service and great customer service?

These days, good customer service is table stakes — it’s expected. Customers today rightfully expect to be delighted and WOW’d. In fact, at Desk.com, our support and services organization is called Customer WOW for that very reason.

Great customer service means you make the customer experience effortless. Creating meaningful and actionable content so your customers can get the information they need when they need it is absolutely critical. At Desk.com, we’re always measuring the efficacy of that content and reviewing and refreshing it so that it can remain relevant and valuable to our customers.

When the customer’s issue is more complex in nature, you need to both commit the time needed to resolve the issue in its totality, and also offer at least one other productivity improvement or enhancement to ensure your customer is using your product/service optimally. The latter coupled with a personalized customer service experience builds loyalty.

What are 3 things a small business can do to improve their customer service?

1.Get Organized: It’s never too early to get organized. Many of the customers I speak to have waited until their hair is on fire and their support email inbox has exceeded capacity before they think about how they plan on supporting their customers. Think about what type of support experience you want to deliver first. This is just as — if not more — important than the product or service you deliver.

2. Dissect the Data: Start capturing data early, and often. Once you have that data, make the time to review it, monitor trends and take action. The data you gather will help you understand where you need to make product or service improvements, train your staff, identify opportunities for cross sell/upsell, or identify new product/service opportunities that you may have overlooked.

3. Hire Smart: Early in my career, I learned that the best subject matter expert doesn’t always make the best customer service specialist. Supporting and serving customers requires a passion and a special DNA — these individuals get a special sense of gratification from working with and satisfying customers. You can hire someone who learns quickly, but you can’t necessarily teach someone to care about customers — that’s intrinsic to who they are.

What are a few misconceptions about customer service and how to approach customers?

Some customers can’t be saved:
I wholeheartedly disagree. At Desk.com, we’ve instituted a “save process” if we receive a CSAT rating that could use some improvement. Not only are those cases reviewed in detail, but they’re also reassigned to another support specialist to review and engage with the customer. In resurveying the customer after the ‘save’ has taken place, we see a marked improvement in their CSAT rating.

Focus only on red customers:
While investing in red customers is important, don’t overlook the importance of focusing on your healthy customers as they’re critical to your growth. Create and implement initiatives such as meetups, networking events, and customer-only webinars to drive greater adoption and engagement around your product/service. Even if you’re a small business, you can do this cost effectively. Oftentimes, other customers just want the opportunity to meet other customers and share best practices. Your green or healthy customers are your evangelists and champions. So, while you certainly want to spend energy and effort turning around those that may be dissatisfied, sustaining and growing your base of happy customers is a growth imperative.

How has the era of Yelp and social media forced businesses to shift the way they approach customer service?

Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter have given customers a bigger megaphone to share their elation and express their dissatisfaction. Today, companies can differentiate themselves by using social channels as engagement vehicles, as well as support channels. As a company, you want to be able to support your customer on the channel and device they’re using. Another best practice is to create a support handle on social media that is separate from your main account. For example, at Desk.com, we direct all our customers on Twitter to follow @Desk_Ops for service updates and @Desk for more general company news. Don’t overlook the importance of having a support strategy that includes monitoring and incorporating customer issues reported on these channels into cases that can tracked and measured.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and why?

Like so many others, I try to help myself before I engage a support representative via chat or pick up the phone. In fact, I’m often asking my kids, who are 13 and 10, what they’ve done to try to find the answer themselves before they ask me or before we have to engage a customer service agent when we’re having issue with a product or service.

I don’t make it a habit of engaging in customer service interactions if I can avoid it, but I am oftentimes shocked by how much the customer service agent divulges when I do engage in these conversations. Whether it’s a problem accessing a particular system or letting me know how many steps they’ll have to go through to help fix my issue, I’m oftentimes reminded of the words that my first manager in client relations shared with me: Never make your process your customer’s problem. It doesn’t matter if it takes 1 step or 100 — the customer doesn’t need to know about it — your focus should always be on WOWing and creating a personalized experience for the customer!

This post was originally published on the Salesforce blog.

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