A long time ago, customer service used to be seen as a cost. Some customers would complain and so you had to have a team set up to deal with them. Today where online reviews and social conversations influence buyer behaviour much more than ads, and where in many product sets there is little to choose between competitors on features or price, service is no longer seen as a cost – it’s seen as a differentiator.
So why not leverage the current situation and seize the opportunity to build a strong foundation for your business, now and in the future? Here are some ideas…
1-Focus on servicing your customers the way they want to be serviced
Today’s customer expects a consistent experience regardless of the channel they use. It is no longer a selling point; it is expected. They need to be able to contact you across any channel, to switch between them during the resolution of a case, and for all information to be shared across those channels.
- Email: Are you supporting requests via a central support email inbox?
- Website: Are you capturing enquiries via a Web form?
- Portal (more on portal in point 2): what about allowing your clients to log into a Web portal and manage support tickets online?
- Web Chat Integration: Consider integrating a Web chat application on your website to enable instant interaction with your customers, managed by your support agents?
- Social Media Integration: Are you leveraging social media to capture the social conversation? If not, you may consider ramping up your customer service on social media. And don’t forget to train your agents on how best to respond and handle social media. Ensure you have strong policies and guidelines in place.
2-Self-service portal: customer love to help themselves
Most customers would prefer not to call customer service/support if they can help it. They would much rather go online and simply find the solution to their issue themselves. Typically this would be via online help videos, FAQs and a knowledge base or useful resources area. Give your customers the chance to raise enquiries / tickets online, track existing ticket status, and share knowledge with other users, all in a portal managed and monitored by your dedicated service agents. Not only does this enhance the experience for customers, it also lowers costs, reduces the actual number of service enquiries to your agents and improves customer agents job satisfaction as they spend less time answering the same repetitive queries – and they are freed up to focus on higher value, more interesting activities.
3-Rethink your case routing
Build a clear picture of agent skills and knowledge. Identify the gaps in knowledge and embrace the opportunity to train those agents who need it. Depending on your business, those agents may have a little more time right now so make the most of that time. Review your case routing, based on agents expertise and ability. This will increase chances of a rapid, accurate resolution. It makes your service desk more efficient, makes the job more interesting for agents who get to deal with issues where they’re the experts, and of course it delights customers who just want their issues sorted out as quickly as possible.
4-Measurement and reporting
Are you spending a few hours a month locked in a room pouring over pages of figures, trying to figure out what is working and what needs attention? If you cannot easily answer the following questions, then you need to re-evaluate your processes and the technology you are leveraging to get to the vital KPIs of your service team.
- Which support cases have had no response?
- Which members of your support team are closing the most issues?
- What’s your average response time?
- Which support members have the most open cases?
- Which cases are about to breach SLAs?
You don’t want SLAs to be breached, customers to be disappointed and agents to be frustrated… maybe now is the time to review your current setting and do something about it!
If you are interested in understanding how CRM can help drive efficiency throughout your business but in particular with Customer Service, you can download our whitepaper CRM for Customer Service.