How to make online customer support your competitive advantage

How to make online customer support your competitive advantage

Today’s economy is developing rapidly. Companies throughout the globe struggle to go hand in hand with recent developments. Nobody wants to miss the boat and fall through the cracks, right? Nevertheless, a lot of businesses fail to appreciate the importance of handling of customer conversations, one of the most important functions company has. Suddenly, it makes your customer support contractors among your most valuable assets. In order to be ahead of the curve, you should literally bend over backwards in your workings with clients.

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To lay out what customer support means in practical terms, let us give you a striking example from the insurance area. We all remember Hurricane Katrina that hit in August 2005. So, back then customer service agents of healthcare insurance companies were not limited in terms of time they would spend on the phone to help those affected by the disaster. Moreover, they were allowed to go against the typical bureaucratic procedures. Against this background, one of the Health Insurance Companies received a call from a woman, former member of the company’s insurance network. She explained that she needed to find a doctor who would perform surgery on her husband, but her current provider could not help. And you know what? Call agent took a call and found a surgeon, who agreed to perform the surgery at no cost. This example illustrates how important it is to “get in the customer’s shoes” and do everything possible to help them.
Not just this story, but common sense tells us that high-quality customer support service goes hand in hand with the success of any project. On the other hand, it’s absence may negatively affect your customers’ loyalty. Let’s examine the figures:

  • 78% of customers have not made an intended purchase due to the poor customer service
  • 59% of Americans would exchange brands for the better service experience
  • 86% of customers are willing to pay more for the better customer service
  • Customers who had the best past experience spend 140% more money in comparison to those, who had the worst one
  • 91% of unsatisfied clients will not do business with you again
  • Satisfied clients are likely to do business with you again 70% of the time

Nonetheless, awareness of the customer support’s importance is not sufficient to address the issue of disgruntled clients. The truth is that customer service interactions are four times more likely to lead to disloyalty than loyalty. As a follow-up, here are few facts:

1. Customers want to act for themselves

People want to feel smart and independent. Why should anyone ask you for help if it takes only a couple of minutes and Google to solve the problem? Let your clients get that satisfaction, allow them to handle the issue through their own resources. In fact, 58% of customers calling for help, tried to solve the problem themselves by using the website’s content and FAQ section.

2. Customers need to call more than once

Most of us hate being ignored or forgotten. We are all special, aren’t we? So, do not be surprised when you lose a customer who had to make ten calls in order to solve his small issue. The good news is that your company is not the only one: according to the statistics, 62% of customers had to make multiple calls to resolve their problem.

3. Customers do not like when their calls are transferred

It’s always better to do business with one partner rather than talking to a dozen of people whose names are almost impossible to remember. No wonder that clients do not like being transferred. Nevertheless, 59% of customers are reported being transferred at least once.

4. Customers do not like reciting the words

People are not parrots. Customers hate repeating themselves. Сombined with the previous point, this fact can significantly drop your clients’ loyalty. However, this “phenomenon” is quite common: 56% of customers reported re-explaining their issue more multiple times over the single interaction.

5. Customers like simplicity

Like all of us, clients do not like complications. If you look at statistics, you will find out that 59% of customers reported that it required a high additional effort to deal with their problem.

After all, you have to understand that customer service is four times more likely to lead to the loss of trust rather than earning the loyalty of your consumers and customers. As one Chief Financial Officer noted: “When you think about the relative cost of live service and the disloyalty effect of channel switching…it’s like paying your customers to be disloyal to you.”

However, this is not a good idea to give up your customer support services. Most of the customers really need your support. The thing is that they need quality. Yes, good products do not always have good customer support team behind the back. However, good service is not likely to be behind the bad product. In this regard, you should probably stick to online chat model of customer support rather than implementing call support services.

In addition to that, the team of SupportHunt has prepared few tips for you. By all means, we would like to make your customer support as good as your product is.

Tips for making online customer support your competitive advantage:

1. Make it customer-oriented

Making your company work for the customer is the only way to get positive feedbacks and finally earn the loyalty of your clients. Sometimes it takes a lot to get your people motivated and provide them with every tool they need to do a high-quality customer support management, but it is definitely worth it. Drawing upon our own experience, in order to provide proper services, the entire company must be oriented towards the customer.

  • This is exactly how we do business. By telling the customer that this is how we deal with things, and actually sticking to these rules, we assure them that we are able to make them happy. The more satisfied our clients are, the better interactions we make. When customers reach out to us, they normally treat us like human beings that genuinely want to help them. We are like close friends to our clients, not their worst enemies.

2. Employ people that care

That’s right, the labour market is not a boundless ocean, lack of human capacity is the emerging problem of the 21st century. Still, if you want to raise the bar in your business, you should pay particular attention to the selection of personnel. For instance, Zappos — one of the Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For — uses bus drivers to test their applicants. The Company provides a shuttle to drive candidates to the company’s office where they will spend the whole day interviewing. At the end of a day, recruiter returns to the bus driver asking how he/she was treated. Even if you have managed to make an outstanding impression during the interview but snapped at the bus driver, you would not get a job.

  • For SupportHunt, for example, staff means everything. Our employees are responsible not just for our company’s image, but also for the reputation of our partners and clients. Our customer support agents are experienced in the variety of niches and passionate about helping people solve their problems. It took us a long time to establish, but now we are proud that our company has a team of top-notch specialists, and more than that, good people.

3. Train your employees

The quality of employees and their skills obtained via training are crucial in terms of establishing the successful company. Goal-oriented projects invest big in the education of their staff by providing top-quality training programmes. Yet, according to the research conducted by the American Society of Trainers and Developers (ASTD), 74% of workers are insufficiently trained for their job. In the field of customer support, putting more efforts in training your agents to embrace conflict, would not be a bad idea. The true test of customer service is not what happens when everything is going well. Exceptional service is all about anticipating and addressing the conflict. When being involved in the dispute, most of the people either into flight or fight reaction. Train your personnel to act confidently and look for a compromise even in the most challenging of situations.

  • There are very few companies providing sufficient training programmes to their employees. We are proud to be one of them. With the years of experience behind our backs, members of our team are able to defuse any emotional hurricane.

4. Let your agents be human

The best support service agents, like any other people that do something they really love, have a true caring nature and fond of helping others. These men know exactly why they come to work every day. With the help of such employees, young projects begin to take off while well-established ones start raising the bar far beyond any expectations. The only it takes for the company is to invest in this outstanding potential. Having such people in your personnel brings a sense of pride and empowerment to the workers who deliver customer experiences on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, a lot of companies rely on scripting frontline responses, hoping to achieve consistency and improve bottom-line performance. At the same time over-reliance on scripting can, in the long run, undermine your customer service. The problem with scripting is that it can result in the inability of the frontline to think on its feet. Furthermore, scripting is really pricey: eventually, your products and services change and scripts become outmoded. Such scripts require reworking, what, for its part, can be very costly.

  • In SupportHunt we do not use any scripts. We guarantee that all our support agents are alive and happy. Moreover, our employees are encouraged to talk and integrate with customers to deliver a truly personalised customer service experience.

5. Push decision making closer to your customer

Agents are usually paralyzed by corporate rules that determine their behavior towards the customers. At the same time, they need to make decisions based on the latest information from the frontline. By pushing decision making closer to customers, we can promptly respond to customers. Besides, it allows for creating a sustainable customer experience, based on ad hoc needs of customers.

  • Corporate rules of our company allow our agents to freely communicate with customers. By so doing, all actions come right from the frontline, providing our customers with the best experience and most up-to-date solutions for their urgent issues.

6. Use social media

All customers have questions. Instead of calling or texting you they can use social media. There are two options you can follow in order to engage prospective customers on Twitter

1) Respond to direct questions
Questions asked by customers should get answers immediately. Consider this to be your highest priority.

2) Look for other questions that are somehow related to your expertise
Even if questions do not mention you directly, they can be related to the field where you are known as an expert. Answer them, and you will earn some respect from your potential customers out there.

  • Want to see how these two approaches work in real life? Check out our page on Twitter and stay on the top of things.

Conclusions

Afterall, all companies want to stand out among competitors. Customer support is a powerful tool and can become one of your major competitive advantages. We believe we have made it crystal-clear. But is it really worth spending a great deal of time and money if it is not what your customers and consumers want first and foremost? Of course, you may go down swinging, but this game is a long shot. On the other hand, you can be smarter in your approach to customer service and cut few corners. We offer you an effortless customer service with a highly-skilled and well-trained team and best options on the market.

Viktoriia
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