Did you know that most companies today compete primarily on customer service? Gartner, a leading customer experience consulting firm conducted research that showed that 89 per cent of businesses in 2018 is focusing on improving customer experience to create and enhance their competitive advantage. The same study showed that by the end of the decade, customer experience will outstrip price and product features as a business differentiator.
Why is that?
The customer today is more informed and discerning. They have more access to information and can compare different products and services. Customers can either recommend your brand or disparage it. Social media means their thoughts have much higher reach. They are also more likely to share bad experiences than good.
Bad experiences cost you, customers, you would not even know it. Only 1 out of 26 customers complain. An unhappy customer will tell thirteen other people about their experience. A happy customer will only tell six.
Businesses are focusing on improving the customer experience for three primary reasons. First, they want to improve retention of customers. Secondly, they want to improve customer satisfaction. Third, they want to create the opportunity to upsell their existing customers.
“Customer service is important for a 2-sided platform like Sendy as we are matching merchants and enterprises with delivery needs to drivers who undertake the actual deliveries. Our role is to ensure the deliveries happen seamlessly providing reassurance to both the clients and drivers throughout the deliveries.” Explains Juliet Mwangi. Juliet is in charge of customer support at Sendy.
So how can your business improve customer service to grow your business?
- Use multiple channels
Use multiple platforms to communicate with your customers. Sendy, for instance, uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and its helpline 0709779779. The point for this is to give customers options on how they can communicate with your business.
“To improve our efficiency, we offer multiple channels of communication including Phone calls, emails and chats. This enables our customers to connect to us using their preferred channel of communication” Juliet explains.
It is also not enough to have multiple channels. The customer experience must be seamless on all these touchpoints. Consequently, you must link them. Integrating all communication channels is necessary because it keeps the message customers are hearing consistent. It also helps consolidate data on consumer needs. It puts all the data on what a consumer needs in one place regardless if they called then emailed then complained on social media.
- Collect data
“At the heart of our Customer service strategy is a wealth of user insights that we collect from the various user interactions. We translate these into data points that drive our product innovation and maintenance,” states Juliet. Tracking the right data can help you discover opportunities for improvement. Consistent complaints could be used to determine what features to add or remove. Keeping track of customer communications and categorizing them appropriately can help you spot trends and emerging issues in real time.
With the right data, you can optimize the customer service experience itself. Examine how long it takes to respond to clients on average. This should be as short as possible. Even if requests cannot be immediately be sold, someone should reach out and explain to the customer that his or her questions are being worked on. Also, track how long it takes to completely resolve issues on average.
Note which types of issues take longer than others. Keep track of how many replies it takes to deal with customer concerns. It could indicate where your team needs more training or information. Eventually, your team can spot trends and patterns that you can use to improve customer service.
- Leverage technology
Integrating all your customer service channels and collecting data requires that you use technology. There are numerous solutions you can use to optimize your customer service. Zendesk, for instance, offers excellent flexibility. It can handle thousands of issue tickets and take up to 500 customer service agents. Customers also need to access information readily on their own.
“In this age of self-reliance where 90% of customers use web self-service knowledge to find answers to their questions, we have an online self-help centre to empower and educate our users”, states Juliet.
Customer service is undoubtedly the next frontier in business strategy and businesses need to keep looking for ways to improve and innovate in this area.
- People people people!
The people behind the calls, DMs and emails make or break your customer service experience. The Customer service team has to be passionate and engaged to effectively deliver an exceptional experience to customers. At Sendy for instance, the customer service team has embraced this maxim.
“We constantly train, coach, mentor and keep our agents engaged to offer instant, up-to-date and consistent answers to the enquiries of each user,” Juliet expounds.
With customers becoming more discerning, businesses will have to give greater focus to customer service in order to stay relevant.
Article by Glenn Ogolah