Great customer service is something that every business should emphasize. Companies that put customer service at the forefront of their business are notably more successful and able to retain their customers longer than those who don’t. When you think of great customer service, what are some of the brands that automatically come to mind?
For me, it's always Chic-fil-A. Their culture revolves around providing excellent customer service, always, and I can honestly say that I've never had a bad experience while dining with Chic-fil-A. It doesn't matter how long their drive thru lines are, they move with such speed and efficiency, that it doesn't feel like you're waiting! It's all about the experience. If your business involves working directly with customers, you should strive to create a culture where your company comes to the mind of a consumer when they think about great customer service.
If you’re looking to enhance your customer service offerings in 2018, here are three trends we’ve seen grow quickly over the past few years.
1. Enhance Self Service
Today’s consumers consider self-service a necessity. That’s not to say that human interaction is completely a thing of the past, but when a customer has a question or a problem, their first reaction is to quickly solve it the fastest and easiest way possible—by doing some independent research. After all, "Google it" is a household term these days! If they are unable to find an answer, a consumer will typically then call or e-mail your customer support team if they can’t find information readily available at their fingertips.
Investments in customer self-service options could be as simple as creating a library of self-help articles, visual how-to guides, or video tutorials to help guide them through questions or concerns easily—and accessible to them 24/7. You should also make your site SEO friendly since an online search is where most people start their search for answers to easy questions like “How to reset my Amazon password?” or “How do I put together my IKEA bookshelf?” Enhancing your self-service options can also relieve your staff from answering frequently asked questions, shifting their focus to other more productive tasks.
2. Be Available to Chat When Your Customers Are
In the past, customers sent a message to a support e-mail and were stuck in limbo waiting at least 24 hours before they received a response. At that point, the conversation could go back and forth for days before anything was finally resolved. What a headache! However, the introduction of chat support has relieved the issue of back and forth e-mails, and opened up a space for real time conversations.
If you choose to implement chat support, you don’t have to completely phase out human interaction. In fact, most companies should try to have humans interacting through chat support during business hours, and only rely on chat bots after business hours to answer the most commonly asked questions.
3. Be Present on Social Media
It’s nothing new that customers are accessing social media—platforms such as Facebook and Twitter—day and night. But today, businesses are utilizing social media platforms to build relationships and help resolve issues with customers quickly and sometimes in 140 characters or less. This is a trend that will certainly continue to grow as brands build out their online and social presence, so if you’re not already on board—now is the time! Prepare by arming your staff that is managing your social media accounts with best practices, canned messages, and "etiquette" for dealing with sensitive customer services issues.
Consumers are online ready to connect with the brands and businesses that they know and trust. Not only can you help resolve customer complaints or issues in just minutes on social media, you also can increase your reach to new potential customers when consumers see how you interact with your clients online.
Investing in a service culture at your organization can be one your greatest investments. In this day and age of Yelp, Google, and social media reviews, consumers look to their peers before making purchase decisions.