How to Streamline Your Customer Service
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you wear a lot of hats. You might be responsible for sales, marketing, product development, and more. And while you might have a team to help you with all of those things, there’s one area that you can’t afford to delegate: customer service.
After all, your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t have anyone to sell your products or services to! So it’s important to make sure that they’re always happy and satisfied with your company. Unfortunately, providing great customer service can be time-consuming and expensive. But there are a few ways that you can streamline the process and make things run a bit more smoothly.
Keep Your Systems Up to Date
Your systems serve as the backbone of your business. If they are old, clunky, and outdated, then you can expect your results to follow. Your systems are vital, so it is vital that you keep them up to date whenever needed. Cutting corners may seem appealing at first, but this will always come back to bite you, especially when dealing with important systems that drive the rest of your business endeavors.
To update your systems and optimize them for customer service, you may want to do some upfront research. For example, in many cases, key data in call center metrics can reveal hangups in your systems that are halting your results. Collect the right data and it will illuminate all the areas in which you can improve your business.
Help Your Customers Help Themselves
A self-service portal is a great way to empower your customers to help themselves. By providing a knowledge base of FAQs or a community forum where customers can ask questions and get answers from their peers, you can take some of the pressure off of your customer service team. This is especially helpful during peak times when you may not have the bandwidth to provide one-on-one support.
In many cases, the success of your customer experience approach will also dictate the success of the rest of your business. Lacking the right tools to empower your customers leaves them feeling helpless which can create resentment and frustration. Avoid this common error by putting systems in place so that your customers never feel as though you are leaving them high and dry with no avenue toward support.
Have a Chat Bot to Help With After-Hours Traffic
One of the easiest ways to streamline your customer service is to use live chat software. This will allow your customers to get in touch with you instantly, without having to pick up the phone or send an email. And best of all, it’s available 24/7—so even if you’re not in the office, your customers will still be able to reach you.
There are a ton of different live chat software programs out there, so it’s important to do your research and find one that’s right for you and your business. Some things you might want to consider include price, features, integrations, and reviews. Once you’ve found a program that fits all of your needs, setting it up should be a breeze!
Listen To Employees Too
Making sure that all of your employees are on the same page when it comes to the experience of your customers is crucial if you want to maintain consistency. Employees are prone to error, as are all humans. Even the best ones may make mistakes when dealing with customers. For this reason, regular refreshers are training sessions should remain a top priority for your business, even when things are going well.
New hires provide a great opportunity to see holes in your customer service strategy. If your team is full of people who have been at your company for a long time, you may suffer from tunnel vision. When you get a new hire, be sure they are present in all training sessions alongside senior employees, as this contrast can provide valuable intel on your customer service approach.
Use Automation Where Possible
There are many aspects of customer service that can be automated, such as appointment scheduling, billing, and even follow-up communications. By automating these tasks, you free up your staff to focus on more important tasks, such as resolving customer complaints or handling complex requests. There are plenty of great software programs out there that can help you automate your customer service, so do some research and find one that’s right for your business.
Automation will not only create more time, but it will also empower your team with competence. You can even delve into automation elements of your customer service. Live chat bots are just one leading example of this. The more you automate, the more you will see holes in your approach so that you can patch them and progress.
Integrate Customer Feedback
Make sure you’re regularly collecting feedback from your customers so that you can identify areas where your customer service could be improved. Whether you’re conducting surveys, sending out net promoter score (NPS) emails, or simply asking customers for their feedback in person, make sure you’re taking the time to listen to what they have to say and implement changes based on their suggestions.
Many customers are willing to provide detailed feedback. You can even consider providing a discount for those who take some time to fill out more involved surveys about their experience with your business. This kind of data is invaluable for anyone who is trying to appeal to new customers while also maintaining relevancy with those they have already captured.
Train Your Employees Well
Investing in employee training is one of the best ways to streamline your customer service. By ensuring that your employees are knowledgeable about your products or services and know how to resolve common issues, you can save a lot of time and frustration down the line.
Investing in employee training can pay off in a big way in the form of happier customers and increased sales. Regular training also works to build synergy and create levity among your staff.
Outsource When Necessary
Another way to streamline your customer service is to outsource when necessary. This can be a great option if you’re short on staff or if you’re dealing with a particularly challenging issue. There are a lot of companies out there that offer customer service outsourcing services, so again, it’s important to do your research and find one that’s a good fit for you.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do is simply be communicative with your customers. If there’s going to be a delay in fulfilling their order, let them know as soon as possible. If there’s been a mix-up with their shipment, reach out and apologize. The more communicative you are with your customers, the smoother things will run—and the happier they’ll be!
Running a successful business takes a lot of hard work—but providing great customer service doesn’t have to be one of those things. By using live chat software, outsourcing when necessary, and being communicative with your customers, you can streamline your customer service and make things run more smoothly (and cheaply) for everyone involved. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start streamlining!