Every business out there wants to improve customer support after they have made some serious blunders that cost them their customers.
Think of situations where customers were ignored as soon as they entered your store, or perhaps they were made to press X, Y, Z buttons and still could not connect to a human agent.
As customers ourselves, we have all been there and had thoughts such as, “Why don’t they just improve their customer support?” or “Why don’t they value me the way I am supposed to be valued?”
Whether you own a small business, multi-national company, or are working for yourself, you need to keep customers at the heart of everything you do. By improving customer support, you will be able to retain customers, attract the attention of prospects, and grow your business.
In this blog, we will understand the role of customer support software in automating your tasks and explore some impeccable tips on how to provide better customer support. There is a lot that is coming up. Stay tuned!
What is Customer Support?
Customer support refers to the process of assisting customers with their queries, issues, or complaints and helping them drive the maximum value from your products or services. Customer support teams are trained to help you with product purchases, installations, technical troubleshooting, product returns, and upgrades.
From the customer support definition, it is clear that it makes an important department for any modern business. After all, can you really sell your products, if you do not have the right set of people to assist customers during and after their purchase? Let’s look at some more benefits of providing delightful customer support in the next section.
20 Ways to Improve Customer Support
Just a decade ago, customer support was a small, negligible part of a business. However, today, businesses are spending millions of dollars on getting their support right. Here are 20 expert strategies to improve customer support:
1. Hire the Right People and Build Your Dream Team
The true essence of excellent customer service begins with the people who are the closest to your audience – your customer service representatives. Therefore, you need to make the right hiring decisions and work with people who are passionate about helping others.
According to a study by Harris Interactive, friendly customer service agents, who deliver a memorable experience, encourage 73% of customers to stick with a brand.
While hiring, you need to keep the popular adage in mind, “hire for attitude, train for skill.”Hire people who have the right mindset and attitude. No matter how many years of experience or skills someone brings to the table, if they don’t have the right attitude, everything will fall between the cracks. On the contrary, people who are passionate about service can be trained even if they lack the required skills.
|? Bonus Tip: During the interview process, put your candidates in difficult situations. For example, make them handle a call by an angry customer (someone from your team can act it out). See how they handle the situation and if they lose their cool.
2. Create Mission & Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements are a must for customer service improvement. But how are they different? A mission statement is set in the present tense and defines your team’s purpose and primary goals. On the other hand, a vision statement dictates where your team or brand wishes to be in the future.
Mission and vision statements give your team members a sense of direction as well as purpose. They can relate to what your team stands for and help you turn your vision into reality.
Let’s look at Apple’s example:
Apple Mission Statement:
“To bring the best user experience to customers through our innovative hardware, software, and services.”
Apple Vision Statement:
“To make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it.”
Such carefully chosen words and statements can help you attract talent, motivate your team, and let customers know what customer service really means to your business.
3. Automate Processes Using Help Desk Software
To deliver great customer service, you need to create the right balance between humans and technology. Cloud-based tools will help you automate your manual tasks and get more done in less time.
With the right help desk software, also known as a customer support solutions , you can automate your internal processes and enhance team productivity. Agents will have enough time to respond quickly and focus their energies on severe issues.
How help desk tool’s automation features can help you improve customer service:
- Automated Ticket Routing: You can either automatically route tickets to specific agents or decide to distribute them evenly among your team members. This is a great way to save time as agents will know what exactly they need to work on.
- Chatbots: ProProfs Help Desk allows you to develop chatbots that can be customized to your unique needs. You can dictate the conversational flow and assist your audience 24×7.
|? Bonus Tip: While we already discussed some popular automation features, there is still more. You can set automated email notifications to keep agents and customers updated about different stages of the ticket lifecycle.
4. Use Positive Body Language
Are your agents tired of their daily tasks or unhappy about work in general? Well, that might be visible in their body language and make customers feel the same energy when they are visiting your offline store.
Body language is composed of a variety of nonverbal cues such as hand gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc. Mastering these signs is important to improve customer support and the customer experience.
Subtle changes in body language can make a huge difference in how customers perceive your brand. In addition to monitoring their own body language, teach agents to understand the body language of customers. For example, facial expressions can convey if a customer is confused and needs help while purchasing your products.
|? Bonus Tip: A lot of times, customers will ask you where a particular product is located. Instead of showing them the location via hand gestures, you can walk them to the place. This will make your team appear more friendly and helpful.
5. Practice Empathy
How to provide better customer support? Just add a healthy dose of empathy to all your customer service interactions. No matter whether a conversation takes place over a phone call or live chat, there is always room for more empathy.
Empathy in customer service refers to the ability to understand and share the feelings of the customer. An empathetic agent can put himself in the customers’ shoes and understand what they might be going through.
Encourage agents to use empathy statements while interacting with upset or irritated customers. For example, they can use phrases such as, “I would feel this too If I was in your situation”, “I’m sorry you have to deal with this”, or “I have experienced the same situation too”.
|? Bonus Tip: Train your agents on empathy and other soft skills that complement it, such as active listening, patience, politeness, and more. This will prepare your agents to deal with even the most difficult of situations.
6. Be Smart About Distributing Tasks
How you manage your workload and delegate tasks can determine the success of your customer service team. You need to make sure work is equally distributed so that some agents do not feel overworked compared to others.
To enhance team productivity and improve customer support, managers need to be smart about work distribution. Rather than planning everything in the morning, make sure your agents know about their specific roles and responsibilities in advance.
Instead of making everyone perform a multitude of tasks, consider letting your agents specialize in specific jobs. For example, people with technical knowledge can handle technical issues or complaints. Similarly, agents with great communication skills can take customer calls. Once you strike the right balance, everything will perfectly fall into place, and you will be able to work like a well-oiled machine.
|? Bonus Tip: You can use customer support software to create powerful ticket distribution rules. For example, with the round-robin ticket assignment feature, you can automatically distribute tickets among agents who are active and online.
7. Do Not Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Think of the time when your favorite brand made a promise that it could not keep. Not the best feeling, right? Customers hate brands that make false promises and will find it difficult to trust them again in the future.
Promising a customer faster delivery, best-in-class product quality, 24×7 human assistance, etc., when you can’t fulfill them, can lead to a poor customer experience.
For example, promising customers next-day delivery to simply make them happy is not the right practice. You need to be practical and upfront about what your business can promise or deliver. Clickbait offers can be great to attract the attention of your target audience; however, they can also ruin your brand’s reputation if you’re not careful.
|? Bonus Tip: To delight customers, try to underpromise and over-deliver. For example, if the product delivery usually takes 2-3 business days, you can to the customer that it might take 4-5 business days. The customer will be thrilled to receive the product well before the expected delivery date.
8. Keep Your Website Updated
A website is the online face of your organization and also an important customer service tool. After all, before contacting your team for support, a majority of customers visit your website to find relevant information.
Curating a well-updated and user-friendly website is one of the best ways to improve customer support. You need to work behind the scenes, analyze user behavior, and understand why they are spending more time on some pages compared to others.
If you run an online store, you need to ensure the right descriptions are present for every product. Otherwise, the unavailability of information will make customers bombard you with phone calls or email inquiries. Make sure your “contact us” page has links to relevant FAQs and help articles so that customers can get answers to their common questions.
|? Bonus Tip: You must add customer support web forms on your website so that customers can raise tickets when they wish to share their serious problems or queries. This will also help you generate reliable leads and grow sales.
9. Leverage Chat & Email Templates
Email and chat remain two of the most important communication channels for customer service. However, if you are still typing long replies to customers, you might be wasting more time than you think.
Chat and email templates are pre-written text for common situations that can help you enhance agent productivity, save time, reduce efforts, and delight customers with faster responses.
Using email templates can help you maintain the right tone of language and deliver consistent messaging across interactions. In fact, chat canned responses can help agents interact with multiple customers at the same time.
Make sure you cover different scenarios such as “customer complaints”, “return or refund requests”, “subscription cancellations”, “technical support”, “order is out for delivery”, etc.
|? Bonus Tip: But there is no point in creating hundreds of these templates if agents are not able to find them in real-time. With the best help desk software, you can create and store all your canned responses in one place.
10. Don’t Play the Blame Game
Blaming customers or colleagues for any mistake makes you appear less professional. You need to stop the blame game right away if you wish to offer improved customer support.
Honestly, nobody likes to accept their mistakes, and customers are no different. Even if the customer is at fault, you should not directly blame them or tell them why they are wrong.
Instead, you need to be careful with your words and politely correct them. Remember, your job is to educate them and not to indulge in meaningless arguments.
Let’s look at an example response:
“I understand your frustration; I would be annoyed as well. You have been automatically logged out of the system due to security reasons. This happens when you do not change your account password for more than 6 months. I have shared the password reset email with you; you can update your password now. Thank you for your patience!”
|? Bonus Tip: When customers blame you or start being rude to you, you need to understand that there is a reason behind their frustration. Instead of taking things personally, you need to keep emotions aside and look to resolve things practically.
11. Reward Your Customers
How do you retain customers, keep them happy, and encourage repeat business? Well, you need to reward them, time and again for being loyal to your brand.
A study found that 64% of companies with a customer loyalty program in place report it makes them more money than it costs to maintain.
Loyalty programs and reward points have become popular across industries such as airlines, restaurants, fashion, etc. As a business owner, you can always look to reward your customers in the most clever and creative ways.
Amazon Prime Membership is a great example of appreciating your customers with rewards and benefits. As Amazon Prime members, customers receive many shopping, delivery, streaming, reading, and other benefits.
|? Bonus Tip: If you are a small business, the chances are that a small bunch of customers make up a large portion of your company’s revenue. To reward their loyalty, you can offer them premium support in the form of 24×7 assistance, live video support, personalized recommendations, and more.
Read More: Top 10 Strategies for Building Brand Loyalty
12. Get Your Act Together on Social Media
Social media platforms have evolved over the years and offer you multiple solutions to improve customer service. You can respond to individual customer messages or share meaningful posts to support your global audience.
Approximately one in three (34%) customers use social media platforms to learn about or discover new products, and share concerns with brands.
By using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you can engage with your target audience, educate them about your products or services, and respond to their concerns on time. Since even a single Twitter complaint has the potential to capture the attention of millions of people, you need to realize that a lot is at stake. In addition to responding quickly, make sure you respect the sentiments of different customer groups.
|? Bonus Tip: You can use social media platforms to share polls or surveys. For instance, you can share a poll to understand which customer service channels (email, live chat, phone, social media, etc.) are preferred the most by your customers and prospects.
13. Make Your Retail Check Out Process Seamless
The COVID-19 pandemic has made retail businesses rethink their checkout process and strategies. Something that was considered normal before the pre-COVID era (think of a long and packed checkout line) may seem extremely dangerous in the current scenario.
Nobody likes waiting in long lines, and why should they? To enhance the offline buying experience and encourage repeat purchases, you need to make your checkout process as painless as possible.
There are several ways to achieve this:
- Make sure customers respect social distancing norms. Use stickers and signs to communicate the importance of social distancing close to the checkout points.
- Encourage people to avoid the usage of cash and instead pay using digital wallets or cards. This will significantly reduce transmission risks.
- If you have an e-commerce store, make sure your checkout page has relevant information regarding shipping, payment information, and other FAQs. This way, customers can have all their questions answered in one place and enjoy a seamless checkout experience.
|? Bonus Tip: A lot of times, customer cards can get declined due to a variety of reasons. Be discreet about it and politely convey to them without creating a scene.
14. Create Procedures to Deal With Unhappy Customers
Customers can be unhappy due to a lot of reasons – they received their product late, your website is not working properly, or you put their call on hold for more than 30 seconds.
According to a study, 91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to bring the smile back on your customers’ faces before they switch to your competitors.
But how do you do this? You need to create standard procedures to let your employees know what exactly they can do when customers are upset or angry. Give them the authority to initiate refunds, returns, exchanges, or escalate issues to a senior if the need arises.
|? Bonus Tip: In order to retain a customer who had a poor experience, you need to do something extra than what you generally do. You can offer discount coupons, personalized gift hampers, or other additional perks to make up for the bad experience.
15. Own Your Mistakes
Even the brands that are known for impeccable customer service (think of Apple, Amazon, or Disney) make mistakes. However, they are also the first ones to share a sincere apology.
Apologizing for a mistake shows that you recognize you screwed up. Otherwise, customers will assume that you didn’t even realize you made a mistake or you simply don’t care. After all, it takes courage to admit you are wrong.
Rather than sweeping your mistakes under the carpet, you need to act quickly. Approach the customer via a convenient channel and accept you made a blunder. Share a sincere apology and explain to them the complete situation. In addition to this, you also need to show them the steps your business is taking to resolve the problem at the earliest. This will help you win their confidence back.
|? Bonus Tip: Well, a “sorry” is sometimes not enough to keep a customer. Think of other creative ways to make it up to your customer. Give them a personal call, share personalized gifts, coupons, etc., to turn the situation around.
16. Track & Improve Your Resolution Time
To deliver high-quality customer support, you need to be two things – fast and faster. In today’s digital age, where everything is just a click away, your customer support team should not take hours to respond.
According to a Statista report, 77% of customers expect an instant response over live chat, and 62% of customers expect a response within 24 hours over email.
You need to make first-contact resolution your foremost priority. FCR refers to the number of support tickets that are resolved in the first contact itself. A high FCR rate will mean that customers do not need to contact you multiple times for a single issue, and agents are well-equipped to handle complex tickets without escalations.
|? Bonus Tip: You can reduce your support ticket volume by creating a vast self-service knowledge base. Customers will be able to resolve their concerns on their own, while your team will be able to focus on high-priority tasks.
17. Work on Customer Feedback
Capturing customer feedback is considered one of the best ideas to improve customer support. You need to make it easier for customers to leave their valuable feedback with you. You can share surveys right after their customer service interaction or every once in a while.
According to a Microsoft study, companies are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and capture customer feedback.
How to service customers better using their feedback:
- Share CSAT surveys after every interaction: Whether a customer had an interaction with an agent over the call or via email, you must attempt to gauge their satisfaction levels. Share surveys with them right after the interaction and better understand what needs to be refined.
- Thank customers for their valuable feedback: As soon as someone takes the time out to fill your survey, you need to respond to them and appreciate their effort.
- Implement meaningful suggestions: Yes, not all feedback deserves your attention. However, if you diligently scan through the responses, you will come across many suggestions that can help you improve your product or service.
|? Bonus Tip: Most businesses ignore their help articles or FAQ pages. To monitor their efficiency and performance, you can share pop-up surveys with visitors. This will help you understand whether customers are able to find the right answers to their questions or not.
18. Train ‘Em Right
Do your employees struggle to interact with customers? Do they lack the necessary knowledge to get to the root cause of customers’ issues? Well, regular and in-depth training can help you eliminate these and other challenges.
Well-trained agents are the backbone of your customer support team. They can quickly understand customer concerns, engage with them, fix problems, and share their knowledge with others when needed.
While it is important to make agents understand how your product works, it is equally important to make them believe in what you sell. During the training, highlight product benefits, unique selling points, and other noteworthy features. You can even share some genuine testimonials or case studies to show them how your product is making a difference in the lives of real people.
|? Bonus Tip: You can use an online training maker tool to create and upload customer service training modules easily. Once uploaded, these modules can be used to train new as well as existing agents.
19. Be Willing to Go the Extra Mile
To enhance the customer support experience and stay a step ahead of rivals, you need to go the extra mile – a route that most businesses are afraid to take.
You will be surprised to notice how customers recognize your little efforts. Small gestures such as a thank you letter or continuing with a customer call even after your shift has been over, can make a huge difference and a lasting impression.
Brands that are winning the race are constantly looking for ways to exceed expectations. Let’s take the example of Zoom that is revolutionizing how remote employees work. To help customers make the most of Zoom products, the SaaS company is offering free training sessions and is constantly uploading new training videos on its website.
|? Bonus Tip: Personalization is one of the best ways to improve customer support and make your customers fall in love with your brand. Find ways to incorporate the customer’s name in products or messages you share with them. Moreover, you can even share personalized recommendations based on their past purchases, interests, search history, and more.
Read More: 10 Customer Service WOW Stories of 2021
20. Customer Service is a Team Effort
A business is made up of several departments that work day in and day out to solve a customer’s problem. So if you take a step back and observe, you will realize that every department is directly or indirectly responsible for customer happiness.
“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh
For enhancing customer service everyone has to come together – marketing, sales, or even the product team. For example, while developing new products the product team can coordinate with the support team to understand customer needs and challenges better. An inclusive approach like this will help you become a truly customer-centric business.
|? Bonus Tip: There can be situations when your software developers have to interact with customers to solve their problems directly. Make sure everyone in your team understands the basic principles of customers service and knows how customers should be treated.
Improve Customer Support & Grow Your Business!
Improving customer support can spell the difference between growing your audience and losing your customers to your competitors. However, assisting customers in the best way possible is not rocket science, and by even making little adjustments, you can win them back.
As a foremost step, make sure you start building your team by hiring people who share the same vision as you. Distribute tasks based on skills, automate your processes, and learn to apologize for your mistakes.
Remember, there is no better way to improve customer support than capturing customer feedback and implementing their valuable suggestions. At the end of the day, customer service isn’t the responsibility of a single individual; company-wide involvement is needed to delight customers.
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