“Customer service should not be a department. It should be the entire company.” -Tony Hsieh
Amazon is known for being a front-runner in the customer service domain today. But slip-ups can happen from time to time. Take Barbara Carroll’s story. She ordered three cartons of toilet paper for $88.77 and ended up getting charged $7,455 for shipping costs! But that’s not where the global brand messes up.
- One, it refuses to reimburse the money citing “on-time and undamaged delivery.”
- Two, despite numerous attempts to reach the CEO, Jeff Bezos, via mails, Barbara gets no response.
Understandably, she takes to a local TV station, and the story goes viral. The result? After two-and-a-half months, she gets the money back.
Case in point: If companies refuse to take ownership of the issue at hand and fail to ease the customer’s pain, they’ll soon find themselves on the wrong side of the customer.
This is just one of the many instances where companies have failed to adopt a customer-first strategy and ended up in the deep as a result. Let’s look at some numbers to get some perspective:
- Come 2020, and customer experience will replace the product and price as the key differentiator.
- A staggering 86% of customers today are willing to pay more for a product/service in exchange for a better customer service experience.
- Companies who are dedicated to their customers enjoy 60% higher profits.
Simply put, ignoring your customers can prove to be a fatal mistake – for your brand, the stakeholders, and your user base at large. So, let’s take a look at how you can turn the customer service journey around, and transform it from a reactive and more passive experience to a proactive and a more memorable one!
1. Implement a Smooth On-Boarding Process
First things first, you need to ensure that your customers are all set up – that too, as seamlessly and easily as possible. It’s only when they feel comfortable and confident enough to sign up will they pay for a product/service or engage in a free trial session.
At this point, you must engage in some ‘requirement gathering’ to get a feel of what your user truly wants. It could be done via the phone/email as long as the 5 “WH-Questions” get answered accurately and the user genuinely feels connected enough to the brand. Like any beginning of a journey, if the onboarding process is off to a rocky start, it will only lead to an abandoned cart!
2. Offer Real-Time Support with a Modern-Day Chat Tool
It’s no longer enough to answer customer queries; you need to preempt them. It’s no longer enough to reduce churn; you need to enhance engagement as well. To get your priorities right on your customer-first laundry list, opt for live chat software which is one of the most explored modern-day chat support tools. It comes with a host of benefits:
- Offers cobrowsing capabilities so that you can guide your customers to a happier experience (quite literally).
- Ensures a speedy and real-time response to every query.
- Carves out valuable time for team members to focus on complex and creative issues, while the bot takes over the routine tasks.
3. Encourage a “Self-Service” Mindset Among your Customers
If you don’t want your company to come off as a preachy and an authoritative brand, embrace a “self-service” mindset. Better, sooner than later if you ask us.
Contrary to popular belief, no one likes to be hand-held today, and customers, even more so. All you need to do is brainstorm on an effective “Action Plan.” One that:
- Complements with a rock-solid knowledge base for your customers. For example, work on your website and create a fool-proof “FAQ” section, “How It Works” section, etc. to start with.
- Crafts messages speaking exclusively to the user, in their language, and keeping their end-goals in mind.
- Clearly states the benefits of your products/service via a well-thought product/service map, and always keeps the customer coming back for more.
4. Invest in User-Generated Content for a Customer-Centric Thinking
“Humans yearn to be connected and to gain energy, knowledge, and comfort from others.” – Robbie Kellman Baxter
Ask any SaaS company what their primary goal is, and the answer is almost always unanimous: “To reduce customer churn.” After all, any SaaS company that’s looking to stay for long in the race needs to focus on customer retention rather than mindless customer acquisition.
To that end, here’s our suggestion to get rid of the constant barrage of un-returning customers: Build a User-Based Forum & Community around your SaaS product/service.
As the name suggests, user-based communities help to:
- Educate customers about the changing product/service features. It especially comes in handy when new software versions are pushed live.
- Offer guidance related to product/service complexities.
- Address any user concerns swiftly and collectively.
- Offer the customers a platform to voice their happiness, feedback, pain-points, among other things.
5. Engage in Continuous Feedback Collection
The importance of establishing a customer service metric in your company’s overall strategy cannot be emphasized enough. Basically, if you’re not collecting feedback continuously, you’re moving backwards. Analyzing key inputs from the customers can be an eye-opener and encourage you to step up your game. Remember that it could be done via phone calls or email surveys. Call it a reality check or the naked truth; every feedback is critical. Why?
- Because it provides valuable input from the user’s viewpoint on the product’s features and encourages a more streamlined internal and external communication.
- Because it helps to improve the customer experience by ensuring that your offerings are in alignment with the customer’s expectations.
- Because it takes the guesswork out of what’s working and what’s not and offers an impartial view of the company’s progress and prowess.
- Because it empowers companies to leverage happy customers and use them for creating impactful marketing and sales campaigns.
So, don’t second-guess its importance: Every customer’s feedback has always got your company’s back!
“Unless you love everybody, you can’t sell anybody.” – Dicky Fox (Jerry Maguire)
The moral of the story? The onus of addressing user concerns promptly and satisfactorily lies solely with the company’s customer service team. And the customer service team, in turn, is the key indicator of a brand’s ability to scale up in a sustainable and successful manner. If you wish to stay ahead in a hyper-competitive market, you need to get your customer service game on-point. And now, armed with all these tips, it should be a breeze, right? We thought so.