During times of emotional and financial unrest, it is even more important to be receptive and attentive to your customers than normal. Your users are feeling stressed, pressed and likely having to make choices about which services they continue to use, and which to end their relationship with.
It’s more important than ever to deliver 5-star customer service. Customers, without much else to stand on, are showing their support to the companies that care about them. Don’t you want your customers to continue spending their time and money with you?
Research has shown that customer service is one of the best ways to boost customer retention—an exceedingly important metric when customers are churning left and right. In a study performed by NewVoiceMedia, it was discovered that 58% of people will stop using a product after just one bad experience.
Now, combine that with the financial impetus to stop using a product due to the economic downturn. Providing 5-star customer support is the best way to protect yourself moving forward, and ensure that your customers continue enjoying your product.
Here are five tried and true tips to infuse a mentality of five-star support directly into the culture of your company.
1. Give your customer service team more information
Did you know that the average person has an attention span of just 8 seconds? That means, in the time it takes you to ask a customer to provide additional information, you’ve already lost their interest. Think about it: if you called into a support phone line looking for support, and then got redirected to email only to have to explain your problem again, would you feel like you were truly cared for?
Five-star customer service means making it so your customer never has to explain anything twice, and your customer service team has any information they need right at their fingertips. In fact, truly excellent support means customers don’t even have to explain things once.
For example, tools like FullStory enable support and product employees to see exactly what actions a customer has taken in the product prior to reaching out. It’s like superhero juice for support.
As soon as a customer reaches out and says “I’m having a problem,” your support team member can look at their FullStory logs and see exactly where the trouble is, rather than sending a long email back asking for additional details. This saves time and energy for your support team member and makes your customer feel highly valued and important.
This is even more meaningful to your customers if you can do it across multiple different channels. Businesses that adopt omni-channel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t, according to a survey conducted by Aspect Software. If you make it so your customer can reach out anywhere that is convenient for them and have the same awesome experience every time, you’re on your way to excellent retention.
2. Respond to customer feedback
Out of every 26 unsatisfied customers, only one of them will take the time to reach out to you and let you know, rather than just churning. Customer surveys can be a great way to bridge that divide. Every constructive insight that you receive through NPS, CSAT or other surveys is truly more valuable than gold.
It may seem like every customer insight that comes through sounds the same—feature requests, complaints about stability, anger with your support team—but you should be hearing them with fresh ears and responding to them every time.
The person that wrote to you cares enough about your company to be one out of 26 people to let you know what’s going on. That means that they care about your product enough to want it to change. That they believe in you enough that they have faith that you’ll listen to what they are saying.
By not responding to them, you’re proving them wrong and breaking their trust. You also lose out on an opportunity to make use of the service recovery paradox.
The service recovery paradox says people that have a bad experience rectified by a company are even more inclined to be outspoken promoters of the company than people that have a perfectly good experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to turn a frown upside down with 5-star customer service, especially not if they start telling all of their friends about your service, too!
3. Admit when you are wrong
Humility is a valuable trait across the board and is super-impactful when it comes to support. When you give a customer (or even a colleague) the wrong answer or misinformation, one of the best things you can do to rectify the issue is admit you were wrong. You don’t have to be a genius to deliver 5-star support, but you do have to be humble.
Beyond it feeling good for you, according to Psychological Science, it helps you to form deeper bonds with the people you are helping.
“This capacity to form cooperative alliances is adaptive, but only if there is a mechanism to avoid exploitation. Viewing others as humble should facilitate greater commitment, whereas viewing others as egotistical and selfish should decrease commitment. We have found initial evidence for this idea in studies on romantic couples, forming groups, and clients in therapy.”
Basically, being honest with others about your mistakes helps to cultivate a more open relationship that erases the fear that one or the other is being exploited. It builds trust. There is nothing better you can do in a support interaction than both come to it on a level playing field, from a place of trust.
4. Encourage personal development
According to the Association for Talent Development, companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. Along with that benefit, these companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than companies that spend less on personal development for their employees. Basically, even in an economic downturn, it still makes sense to dedicate some of your resources towards personal development.
Not only that, but if you give your team members opportunities to develop themselves, they’ll start to think outside the box of their original roles. Being able to think creatively and out of the box will allow your team to think out of the inbox, too. While support tickets are the bread and butter of customer service, 5-star customer service comes from the teams that try new, experimental things.
Employees that are given free rein to express themselves and feel ownership also stick around longer. Keep your star employees members of your team by helping them make a lasting impact on your support strategy.
5. Creatively and proactively problem solve
Those same star employees will be the ones with creative resolutions to your difficult questions. It’s true: delivering 5-star customer service isn’t something that you do by just following the same support script that everyone else uses. In fact, being considerate of people’s time and helping them as quickly and efficiently as possible is one of the best ways to keep them happy.
According to Forrester, 66% of people believe that valuing their time is the most important thing in any online customer experience. So, in order to provide the best customer service, the most important thing that you need to learn is respect. Rather than following the rulebook, start to find the ways that you can give your customers back their time: proactive email campaigns, in-app messaging and onboarding, webinars and training that address multiple learning styles outside of just documentation. Getting creative and learning what your customers need is one of the best ways to provide an excellent, 5-star customer service experience.
Grow your business with 5-star customer service
You don’t have to be a genius to do customer service well. You just need to be intelligent about where and how you are spending your resources. Give your employees the opportunity to develop themselves within their roles and then use that education to push your customer service strategy into the future. Treat your customers and employees as humans—respect them and their needs and they’ll pay it back to you ten-fold. If you follow these five tips, you’ll be on your way to 5-star customer service in no time.