Contributed article by Nicole Kelly
When a customer comes to you for help or support, responding quickly can make the difference between having a healthy business or a bust one.
Photo by Petr Macháček on Unsplash
Whether it’s something as simple as advising your customer to turn their device OFF and ON again, or working through a complex problem that demands the expertise of an engineer, it’s all about being there for your customers when you’re needed.
As a growing company, regulating the seemingly incessant stream of inquiries, questions, and calls can be a daunting task.
To keep the customer satisfaction rating high and earn your customers’ trust, it is necessary to invest in the customer service infrastructure of your business without simply throwing money at the problem.
In this article, we’re going to talk about ways in which you can invest money in creating a better customer experience for your target audience.
Reducing the effort your real-life agents have to put in and making good use of AI are the basic grounds for building solutions to achieve this.
Read on to learn more.
Why Customer Support Infrastructure Matters?
No matter how well-put-together your business is and how simple and foolproof your products or services are, some of your customers will likely experience some sort of problem with it.
Or, it may not even be a problem.
They may simply not be sure how to use the product, how to assemble it, where does this bolt go, and is this thing supposed to light up after I hit the switch?
The quality of your customer support infrastructure is crucial to the amount of money your business makes and how your customers perceive you.
For example, a well-organized customer support network will automate the majority of requests and calls, thus reducing the amount of pressure on your agents.
This is why most companies with online customer support sections on their websites will have you first search for Q&A solutions and only put your message through to an actual representative as a last resort.
A strong customer support network alleviates the pressure of constantly dealing with customers’ follow-ups and queries on the one hand, and it attracts even more customers on the other.
Here are a few of the most important takeaways you can extract from improving your customer support structure:
Getting to Know Your Customers
One of the most immediate consequences of having your customers send in their queries or voice messages is that you get to know what they want and, thus, their needs.
Knowing your customers is the prerequisite for running a successful business. The more you’re in tune with what your buyers want and need, the more you can hone your production skills and techniques to keep the existing customers and attract new ones.
It is precisely for this reason that companies spend millions upon millions of dollars to learn more about their customer demographics and buying habits.
Anyway, as far as customer support is concerned, having all the crucial pieces of data at your disposal as a customer support representative is the all-important first step.
For the most part, customers that ring in assume you already know their customer ID, the product they’ve bought, and their call history. (In case they’ve contacted the service before.)
Adding data storage facilities and easy-access software to your customer support department is of great importance, as it allows your representatives to deal with the complaint or question in a professional, to-the-point, and time-efficient way.
Resolving Problems Consistently
If you can fix the problems of your customers consistently, they will see your brand as trustworthy and having an ironclad word.
This is of massive importance for several reasons.
First of all, the existing customers who email or call customer support will likely buy your products again.
Secondarily, having had decent experiences with your customer support, they will also likely recommend your brand to their friends and family. Gradually, this develops the trust necessary to build a strong brand for which your customers will gladly give money.
Improving Your Data & Company Assets
Whatever your product or service, improving your customer service structure will set up a platform where you can gather information about the customer experience relatively quickly and with no additional costs other than running the customer service department as it is.
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
Of course, not all the feedback you get will be particularly valuable.
That said, every once in a while, you’ll be able to harvest a couple of golden nuggets of knowledge and insight that will help you improve your product or service.
For example, let’s say a certain number of customers report that the app you made is slow when they try to access a certain menu. You can instruct your team of programmers to tackle this issue and enhance the responsiveness of this particular part of the app.
Also, if your customers think your product is lacking in features and is getting outdated, this feedback can prompt you to acquire more assets that will help you address this.
3 Reasons to Update Your Customer Service Infrastructure
The great thing about the modern-day phenomenon of machine learning and AI doing menial jobs for us is that you can significantly improve your company’s standing by updating your customer service department.
Rather than hiring more operators, what you can do is infuse as much AI as humanly possible into the troubleshooting process so that your agents don’t have as much work.
Well-made and well-programmed chatbots and other robotic counterparts to the customer service experience can be all it takes to get your business to the next level. Also, employing the help of some answering service companies will help you eliminate the need to do all the hiring work yourself when it comes to finding talented operators.
Here are the three most important updates you can make to your customer service infrastructure:
1) Enhance the Agent Experience
If a customer is patient or desperate enough to reach one of your customer service agents, you want to make sure you give them the optimal experience.
Setting up a good call center requires a two-pronged approach.
On the one hand, what you need is a team of agents that will all work like a charm together. This matters because sharing information and quick and easy communication are crucial for getting stuff done.
On the other hand, your agents need to act professionally and exude patience at all times, even with difficult clients. Leading a distressed client through a difficult situation via phone is not that easy, and not everyone can do it.
Thus, hiring a team of customer support representatives that can do this for you can massively improve your company image and brand trustworthiness. This goes for both your existing and potential customers.
Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash
2) Make Speed a Priority
It doesn’t much matter if the customer service representative is the most articulate person operating at an international expert level of troubleshooting if they are not there when you need them.
Many businesses claim to have a 24/7 customer service hotline, but if you call them, they will put you on hold or tell you that their services are not available in your time zone, etc.
There are a couple of ways in which you can enhance the response speed of your customer service department. Thanks to modern technology, these solutions don’t simply mean hiring more people willing to work extra-long hours.
One of the easiest ways would be to incorporate a chatbot. These virtual assistants can provide a whole lot of solutions to your customers without having to dedicate an agent for it.
Alternatively, you can also invest in advanced routing technology. This way, pairing up a queued-up customer with the nearest available agent will be a matter of course.
3) Invest & Upgrade Your Self-Service Assets
Last but not least, once you’ve tweaked and polished all of your existing customer service assets and talent pool, it’s time to reach for AI to get to the next level.
In the not-so-distant past, chatbots were the new hot thing. Nowadays, chatbots are the bare minimum for a customer service department.
In their stead, there are now virtual assistants that can help your customers pretty much troubleshoot their own issues without the need for an agent. What’s more, in case the problem at hand is too complex for a virtual assistant + the customer himself to resolve, this duo can at least provide excellent feedback for the agent.
This way, the agent will have much more info to work with, which means less research time and prompt and efficient solutions.
All in all, updating your customer service infrastructure has become much more than hiring more workers and placing a headset with a microphone on their heads.
With the introduction of chatbots, virtual assistants, and smart algorithms that enable quick and easy self-service troubleshooting for most problems, setting up an awesome customer service infrastructure has never been easier and more rewarding for your business.