How to deliver excellent customer service

Whether you’re building a support team from scratch or you already consider yourself a pro, we’ve identified tips from our latest CX Trends Report to help you drive better customer service.

1. Make agent training a priority

Companies with high-performing customer support teams understand the need for more training, more empathy, and more investment to reduce churn and empower their people. Consider developing a tiered training plan that starts with basic technical skills, including product knowledge, and then advances agent knowledge at regular intervals.

In fact, high-performing companies are nearly 10 times more likely to strongly agree that their agents are of the highest caliber and over 6 times more likely to have plans to greatly extend education and training opportunities.

2. Automate repetitive tasks

Identify and automate the most repetitive tasks to free up agents’ time and improve performance. For example, high performers are nearly 3 times more likely to use AI-powered chatbots to help with agent workflows and it’s paying off. 63 percent of business leaders believe chatbots are driving large cost savings.

61 percent of companies also expect the majority of customer service interactions to be automated in the future.

3. Personalize every experience

Give agents access to valuable customer information—beyond just the customer’s name—that they can use to improve experiences. In fact, 72 percent of customers expect agents to have access to all relevant information.

90 percent of customers will also spend more with companies that personalize the customer service they offer them. And 92 percent will spend more with companies that ensure they won’t need to repeat information.

4. Evaluate existing customer service channels

93 percent of customers will spend more with companies that offer their preferred option to reach customer service. Ensure that you have satisfaction metrics linked to each and every channel. Actively track and benchmark performance across channels to check for continuous improvement.

5. Focus on business impact

Create opportunities for agents to drive profits through upselling and cross-selling, informed by a deep understanding of the customer’s immediate needs. Establish a separate profit and loss statement that captures revenue generated by agents so the link between customer service and business growth is more tangible.

High performers are 7.6 times more likely to strongly agree that they view customer service primarily as a revenue driver and are 6.2 times more likely to strongly agree that customer service funding has kept pace with company growth.

6. Integrate systems

Integrate customer service and CRM platforms to monitor changes in customers and their lifetime value. Sharing data between these platforms can lead to the discovery of personalized, relevant solutions to customer issues that otherwise wouldn’t be considered.

7. Keep leadership in the loop

Ensure the core team provides regular updates to leadership so they’re aware of evolving customer service plans and metrics. Create opportunities for customer service insights to play a greater role in larger company policy and strategy. Leaders of businesses with the highest customer satisfaction scores understand the inherent value of their customer service teams. Not only are they more likely to prioritize funding of customer service initiatives, but they’re also more likely to keep a close eye on the business impact and make necessary changes along the way.

Companies that are leading in customer service have buy-in from top to bottom. Instead of a siloed customer service team, leadership takes an active role in monitoring performance and impact. And in many cases, compensation of senior executives is directly tied to customer satisfaction.

High performers are over 9 times more likely to report that senior leaders view customer service metrics on a daily basis and nearly 8 times more likely to strongly agree that senior leaders immerse themselves in customer service.Collaboration skillsAnswering a customer’s question often involves working with other teams or departments. Is answering a social media post a job for customer support, or for marketing? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.If your marketing team manages your social media, make sure they connect with the customer service team for help with any incoming support requests. Remember, everyone is responsible for good customer service so agents will need to have strong collaboration skills.

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