Today it’s relatively easy to gain new clients; retaining them, however, is significantly more difficult. The reason is that clients view loyalty very differently from before. In the past, as long as the company was reasonably good, customers would stay with them. Moving their business was difficult, so clients were relatively easy to please.
Today, however, consumers are more discerning with the wide range of technology and options available. They’re far less likely to tolerate even minor lapses in service, making it essential for businesses to up their game. In this article, Daria Leschenko, partner at supportyourapp.com, gives top tips for accomplishing this goal.
Artificial intelligence is improving in leaps and bounds, so using chatbots to reduce employee costs is tempting. However, according to a CGS survey, this could be a fatal error as 40% to 50% of clients prefer speaking to a human.
The reasons respondents cited for this preference included:
- That their issue was too complicated for the bots to handle.
- Bot’s conversation feels stilted and unnatural.
- The bot refers clients to the frequently asked questions.
- Bots are taking too long to answer.
These issues are serious ones. Daria cited an example that a team member related to her. This team member had a query with Paypal and tried to use the instant messaging service. She became frustrated because it:
- Took some time for the bot to answer each question.
- When the bot answered, all it did was point to the FAQ relating to the query.
- She finally reached the point where it offered to put her through to a consultant, telling her that it would take hours for the consultant to answer.
Not only was her issue time-sensitive, but she could phone the call center for a direct response. So it made no sense that PayPal did not immediately allow instant messaging with a real person.
So, while some fantastic tools can help you streamline your operations and manage customer service better, be cautious about how much you use them. Be sure to provide your clients with an alternative instead of pushing a new technological solution onto them.
Here are some tools companies can judiciously use to improve their customer service.
It can enhance service to send an auto-generated response to a client email. The response acknowledges receipt and gives them a timeline for an answer. Pairing this tool with outsourced customer support enhances service even more as the agents are likely to offer faster response times than in-house employees.
Either way, email automation is an inexpensive tool that you can use across several areas, such as:
- Abandoned cart maintenance
Autoresponders are well worth the investment.
Considering what we discussed above, you might find it strange to see this on the list. However, a well-designed chatbot is a business asset. The key is to give clients a choice. As seen in the statistics above, between 50% and 60% of consumers don’t mind either way.
However, it pays to consider the reasons that people prefer dealing with humans here, as it has a bearing. For example, a chatbot that can only answer complex queries by referring to the FAQ could frustrate clients. So could one that is too slow and one that sounds unnatural.
Therefore, if you are investing in this technology, it pays to provide a decent budget. Your bot should be able to recognize natural language and emulate it, at the very least. You should also allow clients the opportunity to state that they would prefer to speak to a human and make it easy for the bot to determine when it is out of its depth.
When the bot cannot handle a query, it should say so quickly and offer to put the client through to a person.
Another helpful trick is one that outsourcing companies already use. They use a highly-efficient customer relationship management software that incorporates automation. You can then easily send marketing messages and various other valuable ideas. In addition, a robust CRM will make it easy to segment clients and place them in different queues.
Social Media Monitoring Tools
Such tools can connect directly to your customer service department, allowing you to remain on top of mentions on social media. The advantage of these automated tools is that you then do not need to have employees who monitor social media all the time.
In this instance, the tool improves customer service if you promptly deal with the information.
SMSs are more of a proactive tool, perhaps, but they are handy. For example, you can use them to inform clients of breaks in service, maintenance, and various other relevant information.
Clients are only sometimes likely to go searching for the answer themselves. However, having a clear knowledge base that is easy to navigate, extensive, and searchable is an asset. It not only provides solutions for clients but also improves your visibility online.
Your knowledge base is something else to invest in as soon as possible. Create a solid base of high-quality information, including things such as:
- Setup Pages
- Frequently Asked Questions
- A Helpful Blog
The more helpful information there is, the easier it is for clients to find out what they need. A knowledge base is also valuable for employees who need to reference data.
Interactive Voice Response
IVR collects information from your customers and gives them options. This tool helps manage call center queues and reduce the overall time the client spends on the line. In addition, the system can deal with simple questions without involving a consultant.
At the end of the day, it pays to use technology intelligently to enhance customer service. We are not quite at the point where artificial intelligence can pass for humans entirely, but we are close enough that it can prove helpful. All that is left is to choose how to use these tools responsibly and in a manner, your clients will appreciate.