Gone are the days of long wait times, incomplete answers, and mediocre resolutions. Well, at least that’s the way it needs to be if you want your brand to succeed in this era of customer experience. After all, it only takes a few bad reviews or negative customer experiences to cause some serious damage to your company’s reputation.
Estimates of poor customer service cost companies between $75 billion to $1.6 trillion annually (NewVoiceMedia). This staggering amount is the result of poor communication, lack of human connection, cost-cutting strategies, and unsatisfactory customer resolutions.
Companies must now go above and beyond with their customer service because today’s consumers want a fulfilling experience that fits their busy lifestyle, from after-hours support to fully integrated channels that are convenient and consistent.
What is customer service experience?
Customer service experience is the overall perception and opinion a customer forms based on their interaction with a company’s sales, support, and service teams during and after a purchase.
Are they satisfied with the response? Did they get a timely answer? Was it frustrating or difficult to get in contact? Did they feel important and heard during the exchange? Do they have confidence and trust in your company’s process? All of these aspects and more combine to become the customer service experience.
Providing an excellent customer service experience is essential to the success of any business.
What is the difference between customer service and customer experience?
Customer service is reactive and typically utilized when a customer isn’t satisfied with a product or service, whereas customer experience is proactive and aims to reach many customers.
Customer service is the advice or assistance a company provides its customers, either from an in-house team or an outsourced customer support team, which can be trained and managed.
Customer service aims to increase customer satisfaction, which is usually done by answering questions. Customer service could be helping a customer choose the right product before they make a purchase, but it most often comes after a purchase has been made. Customer service is assisting customers on how to best use the product, troubleshooting any issues, and ensuring they had a great buying experience.
Customer experience is the total journey of a customer’s interactions with a company.
Customer experience is the sum of all contact, from first discovering and researching a product to shopping and purchasing to actually using the product and following up with the brand afterward.
Customer experience measures how customers feel about a company overall and includes the emotional, physical, and psychological connection consumers have with a brand. It isn’t a one-off interaction but rather the entire customer lifecycle, including every touchpoint a customer has with a product or service.
How does a poor customer experience impact your business?
Unsatisfied customers will almost always take their business to a competitor following a poor customer experience. This results in lost revenue, but also affects company morale and can lead to increased employee turnover rates.
How to enhance the customer service experience for your brand
Below are 7 ways to enhance the customer service experience for your customers.
1. Show customer appreciation
Consumers love to be acknowledged and valued. Look for simple ways to go above and beyond, like offering loyalty incentives or VIP exclusives, adding personal touches to each correspondence, and investing in customer experience training. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way and creates a memorable experience and lasting bond with your customers.
2. Focus on resolving problems quickly
Customers call for a variety of reasons, and yes, sometimes they are angry or frustrated. It’s important to get to a resolution as quickly as possible to avoid escalation. The key is to listen carefully, thank them for the opportunity to provide support, show empathy, and gather all the facts in order to offer a thoughtful resolution. Helping customers find solutions to their problems can be quite rewarding and also builds brand loyalty.
3. Make customer interactions simple and easy
The last thing customers want to deal with is a complicated menu system, long wait times, or complex/confusing solutions. Look for ways to streamline and simplify customer interactions through thoughtful automations, branded email templates, ongoing customer support agent training and reviews, multi-channel ownership, and pre-approved responses for faster resolution times.
4. Listen to customers’ needs and be supportive
Listening is a powerful tool for customer service agents. By paraphrasing what is said, asking follow-up questions, and empathizing with their frustrations, customers feel truly understood and taken care of. Companies can learn from previous customer conversations and utilize that information to train customer support agents.
5. Commit to ongoing customer support training
Ongoing customer service training is imperative, as it provides agents with the knowledge and skills to handle a wide variety of situations- from helping a difficult customer or delighting a repeat buyer to strengthening their brand loyalty. It also empowers customer service agents to work more efficiently and confidently. The result is motivated agents, happier customers, and a better bottom line.
6. Offer 24/7 and holiday support
The biggest benefit of offering 24/7 support is that you provide a more convenient service for your customers. Providing round-the-clock support, even during holidays, means that service meets or even exceeds customer expectations.
7. Provide a human touch
Customers want personal interactions with people who care- not robots or cold scripts. Whether via voice, live chat, email, or direct message, customers want quick resolutions from empathetic employees. Most of all, they want to feel heard and valued during every stage of their interaction.
Improve your customer service experience with Influx
Influx agents are trained to provide impeccable customer service through every interaction. Our expert teams quickly train in your company’s brand voice to become the perfect extension of your in-house customer service department.