The new year is under way, and while you might have already given up your promises to eat better or hit the gym more often, there's one resolution you should make -- even belatedly -- and stick to this year: a commitment to customer service.
Why? It's simply good business.
With experts estimating it costs between four and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one and the Canadian dollar taking a dive, you want to avoid churn at all costs by ensuring your customers are satisfied and will recommend your product or service to others.
Additionally, according to a recent study, customer experience will soon overtake price and product as the number one brand differentiator, so how a company delivers customer service to meet the rising threshold of customer expectations is more important than ever. Here are three ways to help bring your customer service to a whole new level in 2016:
Build a customer service roadmap:
In a recent survey, only 29 per cent of Canadian businesses indicated that they have a robust workforce-planning process. It's not a stretch to think that many of these businesses do not have a plotted customer service roadmap. Since customers are your most important asset, why wouldn't you have a plan to support them?
Consider the following questions: what channels are you planning to support, understanding that customers expect to be able to engage across every channel of service -- anytime, anywhere? Are your agents specialized in managing a broad range of issues, including sensitive ones? Are most of your company interactions with customers about service?
If they are, your agents are on the defence, not the offence. Empower products to communicate in advance and alert users of possible issues before they arise, because the best customer service experience is always one that never has to happen.
Are you planning to expand geographically and if you already have, did you hire local support agents? What systems do you need to integrate? Can your customer support scale as you grow? If you have a clearly defined plan, you'll be able to provide your team with a better vision and direction, which will result in better customer service.
Build your own app:
Customers are increasingly becoming more mobile and therefore their customer service experience needs to be, too. In fact, more than two thirds of Canadians now own a smartphone, and the vast majority of their time is spent using apps. From pricing information to promotions to general account management, mobile apps not only allow you to provide relevant information to your customers but also engage with them anytime and anywhere.
Thanks to resources like the Salesforce AppExchange, thousands of business apps are available to help you better run your business. And if you can't find the app that you need, it's never been easier to build a custom app with pre-built components using Lightning Exchange.
These kinds of services are invaluable to SMBs as you don't need a programmer a full IT staff to access apps that are tailored to small business needs and growth.
Don't 'pass the buck':
We've all had to call a customer service support line at one time or another -- then placed on hold, only to be transferred over to another customer service agent who you have to explain the reason for your call to all over again. We all know how frustrating this could be.
What could have been a quick fix has now taken up 15 minutes of your time and a great deal of your patience. With new technologies replacing the old call centre model, you can offer your customers a much better experience. Customer relationship management tools put all relevant customer data into one place, allowing for a single customer view. This includes everything from the customer's history, their preferences, past interactions with the customer, past sales and even the customer's social media presence.
By having all of this on hand, the information is readily available to any of the customer service agents managing the case (the customer then does not have to continue recounting their issue when new agents are introduced). CRM allows for a quicker, more efficient resolve and, consequently, a happier customer.
With so many tools and processes available, there are a number of ways to improve your customers' experiences this year. What will you do to make 2016 the year of the customer?
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