Customer Support Best Practices
Share your thoughts or start a discussion on best practices around CS
- 47 Topics
- 54 Replies
Having a service recovery framework is important because, even in the best of times, it’s hard for most of us to improvise entirely from scratch without a structure to guide us and upon which to fall back. And a situation that calls for service recovery is, by definition, far from the best of times. When things haven’t gone smoothly and a customer is upset, employees are likely to feel embarrassed, or defensive, or put-upon, or angry—or all of these at once. With so much emotion flying around, it’s hard for even the most seasoned and even-tempered customer service professionals to do their best.All great customer-focused organizations have one, and they tend to form a mnemonic for easy recall under the gun. For example: Marriott’s spells LEARN; Starbucks’, quite adorably, spells LATTE.If your organization hasn’t already committed to a different service recovery system, let me offer you my own four-step MAMA service recovery framework. I expect it will stand you in good stead. [NOTE: He
Connect with your customers and put them at their ease–and give your brand an “unfair advantage” –by absolutely nailing your beginnings and endings. These two points, what the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company calls the “warm welcome” and “fond farewell,” are the moments most likely to linger in your customers’ memories, due to the well-document psychological principles known as the primacy and recency effects. If you can provide comfort to your customers at these two key moments, it can create a halo over the rest of the time they spend with your brand.So how do you do it? Great beginnings (“warm welcomes”): • Answer your phone within 3 rings. Studies done by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company have established that by the fourth ring, incoming callers start to lose faith that you’ll ever answer their call--or if you do, that you’ll be competent in the service you provide. • Never make a customer feel like an interruption, even for that tell-tale microsecond at the beginning when you take the
I want to share one of my favorite principles of both conducting and explaining what great customer service looks like. It’s the principle of “plus-one” customer service.Any time you interact with a customer, strive to add a “plus one.” The “plus one” can be a do-extra: giving them more of your effort than they asked for or reasonably can expect. Or it can be a tell-extra: answering an important question they didn’t think to ask. Strive to practice “plus one” customer service whenever you can find or create a “do extra” or “tell extra” opportunity. It truly builds connection with customers, and keeps your brand/company out of the dreaded “commodity zone” where you’re considered interchangeable with the competition. ****In your day to day work with customers, do you practice “plus-one” or something similar? I’d love to hear. Micah Solomon Author • Forbes Senior Contributor • Customer Service ConsultantPresident and CEO, Four Aces Inc. 484-343-5881Click here to chat live with Micahm
Wow” Isn’t Always a Grand ProductionStories of wowing a customer via an over-the-top grand gesture (flying to a customer’s home halfway across the country to return lost jewelry, for example, as one famous story from Zappos goes), is a lovely way to spotlight employee initiative and care of customers. But not all moments of wow need to be so over the top. A wow connection can also be achieved less theatrically through the use of the right words in conversation with a customer, words that make an emotional connection that transcends the transactional.All it takes to wow my longtime customer, Mrs. Gold [not quite her real name], is to take the time to slow down an otherwise-transactional call in order to bond over her unique affinity for cats: “Mrs. Gold, we were just thinking about you here in the office: are you holding steady at 12 cats or are you [sotto voce] thinking of increasing your menagerie to 13?”Mrs. Gold knows she’s a character, knows she’s unusual. And the fifteen seconds i
The golden rule—the principle of treating others as you’d like to be treated, a philosophy that is believed to exist in every culture (in “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” or somewhat similar language) is the bedrock of customer service and hospitality the world over, and has been, you could argue, since biblical and Classical times and before: “For once I was a stranger in a strange land” and so forth. It is also the explicit basis of some of the most storied organizations that have built their growth on service. My favorite example of this being the conscious growth of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as a golden rule-powered organization, powering its growth all the way from its humble origins as ––kid you I do not– the Four Seasons Motor Hotel, based on this simple principle. The Golden Rule as a driver of CS, and ultimately of company growth, however, has taken a beating in recent, years. I know that sounds hard to believe, but in our world, one-upmanship rules the d
One of the essential success skills for a customer-facing employee is the ability to keep your attitude fresh: to see things through the eyes of your caller, without growing jaded. The principle to remember, of course, is this: Even if this is the 4,733rd case of its kind that you’ve worked on this week, to your customer it’s the only one. My favorite take on this came from a bus-tour operator at a conference for SYTA (the Student and Youth Travel Association), explaining the attitude he brought to work every day: ‘‘No matter how many times I’ve previously given a tour of the government sites in Washington, D.C., for example, I consciously work to remember that for this group of kids this tour is their ﬁrst and maybe only one.’’ What techniques are you using to keep your attitude fresh every time you connect onto a new (but oh so similar) call? Is the conscious reframing of my SYTA friend enough? Is there more that you do? I’d love to hear. Micah Solomon Author • Forbes Senior Contr
Do you, like me, believe that customer service is the new marketing: that exceptional service to our customers is the best way to generate the kind of word of mouth (or “word of thumb,” as I like to all it, when it’s delivered via our customers’ mobile devices) that can help a company both grow and sustain that growth. If so, consider a contrarian look at what is considered efficiency or productivity in our contact centers. Do you really want to reduce the AHT (average handle time)? Do you really want to tighten up the seat occupancy? These are places where lack of efficiency can really build customer connections. Certainly, if AHT is growing because your agents don’t know their material, aren’t supported properly by AI and other tools, or aren’t fully trained in the technology at hand, that’s a negative. But if AHT is significant because they’re taking the time to connect with customers, then it’s a positive, albeit one that is alloyed by the additional cost. (Just consider tha
According to Gartner, 89% of companies will compete primarily on the basis of customer experience in the future. In such a world, it is important for every company to regularly gather feedback from customers to ensure that they are satisfied with products and services.“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is madness”Customer feedback is critical to any business. As we know without customers there can be no business. In this blog post, we discuss the importance of a CSAT survey after phone interactions and how Freshcaller can help you create the perfect IVR CSAT survey.What is the significance of customer feedback to your business?
The remote workforce has grown 44% over the last five years, and 91% over the last 10 years. A recent survey in the USA by Clutch has shown that the number of remote workers working 5+ days per week from home has increased from 17% to 44% due to the impact of the pandemic, and the knowledge workers interviewed prefer remote working over an office.As a result of the pandemic, organizations have now realized that more than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five bays a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. Technology innovation has played an important part in this organizational shift. With organizations now moving to remote work or on–premise model, having in phase a phone system that can serve for both can help you scale easily. Check out this e-book on how to manage your remote team with Freshcaller.
Sorry for the inconvenience ?Question
Many times in customer support, you need to have challenging conversations with customers. You may encounter users who are experiencing difficulties with your product or service and who require your guidance and expertise to help them resolve the problem. ‘Sorry for the inconvenience' is one of the most commonly used expressions in such scenarios. However, it often happens that this statement is much more used and that the client finds it "less personalized". We need to constantly reinvent the wheel and offer genuine help to customers. Therefore, adopting newer, more empathetic apology statements, is a must have for a good customer experience. So, what are your alternatives to “Sorry for the inconvenience” that have worked well for you in the past? We’d love it if you can share some interesting experiences in the comments below.Here is a super cool blog by Freshcaller which explains why we must constantly reinvent the wheel and offer authentic help to customers.
Interacting directly with customers, helping them stay happy, which helps boost revenue is not an easy task. Your customer service representatives are on the frontline of your business and their work is highly unpredictable. It is very important to ensure that the customer service agents have enough bandwidth to handle customers and their concerns in a timely manner. Not taking these variables into account can clog your customer service channels and lead to negative criticism, or worse – loss of reputation and potential for future revenue.This is why it is so important to measure and optimize agents' productivity. So tell us what some of the metrics, tips, tricks that you and your organization use to boost agent productivity.Here is a blog by Freshdesk that helps identify some ways you can calculate productivity and explore 10 strategies to help you maximize it at every turn.
While 2020 revealed the impact of technology as an enabler of business continuity, digital transformation initiatives will be the backbone for businesses to succeed in 2021. Make a #FreshStart in 2021Tell us your #FreshStart 2021 Digital Transformation Initiative, in the comments below. Accelerating Digital Transformation in 2021 Download the Ebook
You’re here, so you have a fair idea of how CX plays an important role in retaining customers and driving revenue. We’ve been hearing crazy stats like how CX initiatives by companies can actually overtake Price and Product as the key brand differentiator (Source: Walker) So now we have a question for you. What’s your take on this? Can a business thrive by only banking on stellar CX? We’d love to hear your valuable perspectives, comment away :)
Customer Roundtable Recording : Supercharging CX With Bots and AutomationCustomer Roundtable Recording
We had a very insightful session last Friday (March 5) on the first customer roundtable regarding ‘Supercharging CX with bots and automation’Don’t worry if you couldn’t attend it- you can access the recording in the link above, and also post your questions and comments for your peers and experts in the discussion thread below.Be part of the CX Community to stay current, participate in relevant discussions with your peers and gain access to some great conversation and networking opportunities.We look forward to hosting you at another one of our roundtables soon. Thanks,Pritika Ramani Having issues viewing the recording? Click Here
Always wondered how some brands provide amazing customer service throughout weekends! Do they have 100% of support agents online and working full time during weekends? Any idea on tips & tricks followed? Is a human behind the screen really a human or do they use AI, Bots etc.?
70% of global customers prefer brands that provide service across multiple channelsModern customers have changed and so have their expectations from you. In fact, 47% of them expect a better experience than they did just two years ago. Customers today are digitally informed and driven by convenience. They expect frictionless engagement on their terms and on channels of their choice. And if you don’t want to lose them, you better deliver. We have created a comprehensive guide to help you keep pace with modern expectations, deliver seamless support across channels, and win customers for life.Download this ebook to:Learn how to deliver seamless customer service across channels of communication Build cohesive, personalized experiences with a unified customer view Optimize customer service across channels to get the most out of your teams Scale your customer service with AI and bots Move from reactive customer service to anticipating customer needsDownload
It’s no secret that customers are pretty hard to please nowadays, and they’re being spoiled by a variety of brands right, left, and center (think Blair Waldorf) competing solely on customer experience. They even have a cool name for this - “The Amazon Effect” So since we’re dealing with customers with high expectations, An Omnichannel customer experience strategy kind of becomes an imperative rather than a choice. But a lot of us, when we think Omnichannel, we think of communicating with customers on many different channels. But in fact, the secret to an omnichannel experience that blows your customers’ minds is creating a seamless transition across channels and building cohesive, personalized experiences. And it’s not even a secret anymore. Download your free copy of this guide where we’ve tried to break down the 11 herbs and spices of creating a winning Omnichannel strategy. Trust me, you really want to read this 👇The Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel Customer ServiceHere’s more: Same s
Most businesses have jumped into the chatbot bandwagon in recent times, enamored by its sheer reach (through Messaging channels) and results that are measurable. But the sad part is, most chatbots are annoying. Take for example, the infamous Poncho bot, which turned out to be a success at first but aged like ermmm.. Milk. The problem? It’s because they treat their chatbots like an extra - rather than like a hero, wasting away its potential. And the result? We get bots that are too rigid or bots that try way too hard, putting Chuck Norris to shame. But we’re telling you, the hype is real. When leveraged correctly, bots can increase revenue and cut costs, and here’s a free guide to designing chatbot workflows that won’t make your customers roll their eyes. A Guide to Designing Q&A Chat Workflows Your Customers Will Actually Love Here’s more: Finally, a worthy opponent!Chatbot Vs Livechat - Which is better for your business? Both give promising results, are widely preferred, and choo
Welcome to the first edition of the CX Snapshot, our sincere effort to keep you informed about everything CX that’s worth sharing. Talking of which, It’s easy to assume that COVID-19 was the primary reason for CX to be transformed the way it is now, but here’s the tea - even before the pandemic hit us, CX was slowly rising to become one of the key brand differentiators for many companies. But this pandemic really did unceremoniously shove the business world towards change and we wanted to capture the whole drama. We surveyed around 1500 CX leaders across the globe to understand the shifting trends, priorities, and predictions for 2021, especially around being remote-ready. We did the math so that you don’t have to, and you can get your free copy of the report here: The New CX Mandate : US edition We’re not done yet, here’s more:1.If you own an e-commerce business, don’t be like this brand:The traditional marketing mix is outdated. (Yes, we just said it) Right now, customers want to he
In many customer facing teams (support, customer success) act as the liaison between customers, and all the internal teams like product development, marketing, sales among others. Do you follow any best practices while doing this? In other words, what do you do to ensure customer facing teams have a seat in product roadmaps?
For a lot of companies customer support has truly become a differentiator. While a lot has been spoken about scaling customer first culture, effective Onboarding processes et al- all these start to diminish as the support org (and the company)starts to scale. Given this premise- What do you think is the right ratio of customers to customer support agents? Is there a magic number to ensure that you're not hurt by the scale problems? Do let us know with industry and the size of your support org and customers (if you can share them).
Do you have any best practices when it comes to managing remote support teams? I know a lot of them revolve around best practices for work from home like have a dedicated work space, schedule as though you were in an actual office, but I was looking for specific around customer support.Are you using any tools to collaborate?How are you managing load at these times?among others
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