For modern businesses, customer service teams have become brand ambassadors as well as troubleshooters due to customer service’s impact on repeat business.
Quite simply, customer service is the critical juncture where you could easily lose customers for good or, conversely, where you can earn long term loyalty.
The impact of good customer service on customer retention cannot be understated as 75% of customers who leave a brand say they did so because they weren’t satisfied with customer service.
This being the case, customer service is crucial to providing a great customer experience (CX).
Customer experience (CX) and customer service are intertwined processes that aim to improve customer satisfaction. CX aims to make the overall customer journey the best it can be and great customer service is vital to achieving this.
In this overview, we will define and underline the importance of both CX and customer service and how the two differentiate and overlap.
Customer service is the lynchpin of customer satisfaction because of its customer facing, problem solving nature.
Customer service teams work at critical points in the customer journey – they deal both with customers who are dissatisfied with a product and those struggling to get the most out of one.
Recent numbers underline how critical success is at these stages with – one in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
So, how can you best tool your customer service teams to provide the best support possible?
Fortunately, you can now empower your hard working support teams with customer service automation tools. Here are three techniques to take your customer service to the next level:
Let’s hop through each of these, and link some helpful tools along the way.
We’ve all been there – put on hold for hours only to be told there is nothing that can be done.
When customers are unhappy with or having an issue using a product, they expect accurate, efficient, and prompt support.
AI tools like MonkeyLearn can be used to automate ticket tagging and routing, and deliver faster and more efficient support. MonkeyLearn’s text analysis tools easily integrate with Zendesk, so you can streamline this process.
Here’s how it works:
Monkeylearn’s AI takes in Zendesk’s already well-tagged data and further dissects it with advanced sentiment analysis, leaving you with customer insight that can inform future decisions.
These integrated systems are not only learning from you, but also working for you independently by gathering data from itself via keyword extraction and further sentiment analysis.
The AI combs your tickets for commonalities, such as what keywords customers are using most often in association with certain product aspects and tabulates the sentiment behind these statements customers are making about your products (so that you can measure exactly how they feel about each and every feature), then reports all of these findings to your team.
Machine learning can quickly parse through massive archives of support tickets. Through text analysis techniques like feedback classification, AI tools can easily group tickets by department (Billing, IT, Returns).
Furthermore, this software can also analyze support requests in real time, shortening those first time responses and ensuring your customers are always connected to the right people.
Customer frustration can spring from sources beyond just wait times. They can run into trouble, for instance, navigating to your checkout, installing your software, or even finding customer service numbers in the first place.
Identifying and providing the correct how-to’s for all these problems is known as limiting customer pain points, and it exists under the larger umbrella of customer experience management (CXM), which we will get into later.
Good companies care about their customers but great companies make their customers care about them.
The road to customer loyalty is through high customer satisfaction, and the surest way to happy customers is to make them feel that they are being listened to and are a priority.
To do so, you can prioritize listening to what we call your Voice of Customer (VoC). From there, you can use specialized AI text analysis services such as MonkeyLearn to make what your customers are telling you actionable.
This goes far beyond just future business strategy for your sales team. Better listening leads to improved understanding of customer feedback, which lends itself to a myriad benefits:
Finally, it’s key to follow up with customers to see if they need any further help – this not only builds trust but shows that your brand values their satisfaction beyond the sale. Pair this with a request for an experience review and written feedback, and you’ve enabled your customer service process to benefit both your customers and your future business strategy.
Now, on to customer service’s bigger brother: Customer experience.
Especially as it relates to customer service: Customer experience is how customers perceive your brand as a whole based on the entirety of their interaction with your business.
Essentially, customer experience is the larger term, and customer service an important subcategory.
If you think of ‘customer experience’ as a single automobile, customer service would be the engine, but for the engine to do its job the rest of the car has to support it.Your sales team is your brakes, your loyalty program your wheels, your publicity your paint job – so on and so forth.
Let’s go through three quick-and-easy tricks to begin revamping your CX approach:
The modern company has a slew of metrics that it can employ to gain a better understanding of where it’s CX stands and where it can be improved
These customer surveys enable you to examine customer satisfaction through different lenses. The most popular of these ‘happiness metrics’ are NPS scores and CSAT scores – both have their pros and cons.
Regardless of which surveys you choose to implement, your goal will be to analyze your results so as to eliminate customer pain points.
There is, however, one method of approach that can revolutionize your metric analysis and thus greatly reduce pain points across the board:
By attaching open-ended questions to your surveys and applying open-ended survey analysis you can get deeper, more insightful feedback from your customers. Furthermore, text analysis AI allows you to more efficiently analyze text-based feedback and thus more efficiently understand your customers.
Asking for something for free is always hard, and can feel awkward, but hearing back from your customers at all stages in their interactions with your company is worth its weight in gold.
A winning strategy for gathering customer feedback requires a proactive approach – you are going to have to take the initiative.
An effective state-of-the-art feedback approach reaches out both passively and proactively. Here are some examples.
Yes, you want to reach out immediately following every sales and/or customer service interaction, but make sure you don’t reach out before the customer themselves says their problem has been solved. This is a proactive approach and timing is key – too soon and they will feel bothered, too late and they’ve already forgotten. Surveys, when well-timed and intuitive, reinforce brand image.
A passive approach to feedback covers an even larger range of customers – in fact, it even encompasses customers who might not even end up buying a product!
Passive listening means providing customer support options and teams throughout the customer experience. Live chats and real-time support agents and bots make this a possibility for any web presence. You don’t want your bots to be too pushy, but you want them to be there and easy to locate if the customer has a problem while interfacing with your service. Additionally, (and ideally), you want agents available to respond by text or to voice chat as soon as a customer has a question. Wait times and slow feedback are huge detractors on brand satisfaction.
This all leads us to our final goal – to present a unified brand that demonstrably makes listening to its customers a priority.
A corporate listening approach is also known as it’s voice of customer (VoC) program and maintaining a cutting edge program that provides actionable brand language and best practices for customer interaction across all of your teams is key to success in VoC in 2022 and onwards
Essentially, if your employees aren’t all on the same page regarding how to represent your brand, the image you present to your customers will be unclear and, consequently, ineffective.
Because of this, accurately analyzing your VoC results is crucial to further honing and perfecting your program – it’s a never ending listening cycle, but one with clear benefits for your customers.
So, having emphasized the importance of our engine (customer service) as part of the larger car (customer experience), and having also underlined the purpose of the car’s framework (customer experience), we now have a working vehicle.
Now the question becomes how can we get the most out of our car. This is called brand synergy and we want all of our teams to benefit from it.
To do so, we have to retrain our thinking about attracting customers. Informed modern companies have become aware of a flipping of importance when it comes to promotion: They understand the outsized importance of customer retention.
The value of a retained customer, meaning one who is satisfied, likely to do repeat business, and possibly even likely to advocate for your service to others is massive. Thus, money spent retaining customers can be much more effective than that spent trying to attract new ones.
This realization flips the dated definition of marketing on its head – marketing is now every department and every team’s responsibility.
Per Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO:
“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts”.
Accepting this new customer-facing focused approach helps us understand the significance of our customer service teams. They are the team that customers are most likely to interact with person-to-person and as such are true ambassadors of your brand.
Making sure your customer service employees are happy, best-equipped, and on the same page brand-wise is a must for customer service and customer experience synergy.
It can be hard to know where to start – but that’s where automation can come in handy! Customer service automation can both streamline your customer service and make life easier for your employees.
The myth of AI replacing customer service agents wholly has been proven wrong. Customer service AI can serve both sides of your business by identifying pain points for strategy teams and by equipping your human employees with technology that can make their jobs easier by automating the menial stuff (data archiving, timestamping etc).
This frees up your customer service representatives to interact with customers and more effectively be ambassadors of your brand.
Customer service is the most important cog in customer experience, which is the most important process when it comes to continued sales and brand growth. As such, it’s employees need to be some of the most well equipped in your company.
Intelligent automation, for both customer experience processes and your customer service itself, can be your first step to revamping and getting a great start on the path to a more satisfied, loyal customer base.
June 21st, 2021