Customer service is no longer confined to just offering the right solution. Customers want quick service. Not Barry Allen-quick but they expect companies to respond back promptly and keep them informed on what action is being taken.
In fact, CMO council found that the most important attribute of good customer service, according to the customers’ themselves, is a fast response time. But surprisingly, only 12% of customer service managers are focused on responding quickly to their customers, according to a study by Call Centre Helper.
This problem of delayed responses aggravates especially when your customer service team is small or if you experience a sudden surge in customer queries due to a technical issue or seasonal volume.
So, how can companies address this gap?
In this post, let’s discuss 4 ways by which you can make your Customer Service faster without despite limited resources!
1. Don’t let the issues snowball!
One of the most important and basic things that businesses need to get right is being proactive in alerting your customers when an issue arises and keep them regularly updated with what your organization is doing to mend it. If you wait for customers to bring it to your attention, chances are that you will be inundated with emails and calls from furious customers and you will be offering all of them the same explanation and apologise individually. This way you customer service team wastes an inordinate amount of time trying to pacify customers who are doubly upset with the issue combined with the frustration of not getting a timely response from your company.
As an organization, you should have a crisis plan well charted out. Everyone in customer service team should know what they need to do to take charge. They need to start communicating with your customers before they start asking and complaining. It’s quite simple: put the word out immediately. Send customers an e-mail, tweet it out, and post on other social channels so that your customers know in advance that you’re addressing the situation. If possible, offer a workaround. Make sure that you don’t just leave at that but constantly fill in the customers when new information is available. Customers love companies that are prompt, transparent.
2. Intelligent Call Routing
Imagine how frustrating it would be for a customer, urgently seeking out help, to spend the time explaining his issue to a basic level agent only to hear that all he can do is transfer the call to his supervisor. After much wait, upon being transferred, more often than not, the customer has to repeat himself explaining the issue all over again because the previous agent either did not comprehend the issue properly or did not brief the next agent with complete information. The customer is understandably more upset and at your end, two of your agents spent time understanding the background and context of the same customer issue.
Fast customer service goes from great idea to practice only if your agents are efficient in solving customer issues – they need to jump right into the core of the issue. In order to facilitate this, you need to make sure that you connect the customer to the right agent for that specific problem. This can be easily accomplished through intelligent call routing. You can significantly expedite the first call resolution by automatically routing the call to the most appropriate agent who is better skilled to resolve the issue.
Make levels in your customer service team, even if it is small. After all, every team has some good agents who have an eye for identifying customer issue faster and can help them reach a resolution much faster than others and therefore they are more empowered to make decisions. You should route more complicated queries to such agents rather than letting them waste their time answering basic queries. You can do similar call segregation and routing based on departments also like separate queues for sales and billing.
3. Prepare Templates for common questions and queries
Your customer interactions on all channels contain valuable repositories of customer insights and pain-points. Companies need to start leveraging these to identify the most frequently asked questions or issues customers often have. One of the most efficient ways to cut down on your response time is to prepare standard responses to commonly asked questions that you can send out instantly.
You can create standard templates, which can then be personalized for specific channels like Email, Social or Contact Centers. Doing this significantly improves response time because they are not typing the same response over and over again. Also, a standard response leaves little doubt that the information provided is accurate and complete and is not subject to individual mistakes. In your customer interactions, it is imperative that you choose the right words, tone and language for the right impact. Preparing the responses in advance allows you sufficient time to craft the best response to use when you need to, which may not always be possible when you are writing impromptu. You can also use the same responses to create self-help sections or FAQs on your website that you can direct your customers to instead of re-explaining everything.
Making an effort to predict what information your customers look for and making it easily accessible even before they have to implies that lesser people contact you for simple queries and even if they do, you spend much less time dealing with them. It frees up your customer service to focus on more essential tasks or customer queries that require closer attention and investigation.
4. Always keep track of all channels
With customers now using multiple channels to interact with brands, you really need to bring yourself up to speed. Half the times there is a delay in responding to customers either because there is confusion in the team on who is responsible for what channel or the agent responsible never noticed that there was a message and didn’t for a long time!
The first step to resolve this is to make you that every channel has someone assigned to it and in absence of that person; the backup person is clearly defined and knows when to take over.
It is distracting to keep shuttling between separate email and social accounts and hence you should make a list of all your channels where customers interact with you and invest in solutions that help you track conversations happening across these channels. You can use a social media management tool to view all social conversations, queries, and complaints under one roof. A CRM platform helps you monitor customer tickets, the status of the tickets and agent performance. For instance, in Freshdesk, you can set to be emailed if a certain ticket is not answered within SLA. Having a system that alerts you each time there is a new email, message or mention make sure that no one falls through the crack!
Great customer service has 2 facets to it: speed and quality. Today, the former is as important as the latter. If you’re lagging behind in responding to customers, they won’t hesitate in leaving you behind. With wise use of time and tools, you don’t only meet but can exceed customer expectations!
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