How Customer Service Conversations Can Resolve Tricky Situations

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Today, customers know more than ever before. They have access to continual customer reviews via social media, use self-service resources to educate themselves on products and services, and are well-versed in the digital space to find the information they need. With 4.33 billion active internet users across the globe, there’s no doubt that your customers are browsing your website, social media platforms and review sites to get to know your brand.

While we’d all like to think that visits to our websites all hold positive intentions, some customers may come to complain or discuss their negative experience with a product or service you’ve provided. These tricky situations may require having a customer service conversation, one in which your agents can turn what started as a discussion with a dissatisfied customer into a positive situation. With the right skills and resources, you can train your customer service agents to engage in highly effective conversations that leave your brand with a positive reputation.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what defines a positive customer service conversation, some of the benefits that come with having an optimal customer service team and how Kustomer can help your agents better support your customers.

What Makes a Customer Service Conversation Effective?

In a recent episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, hosted by Kustomer’s VP of Growth Gabe Larsen, titled “How Customer Service Has Transformed Over the Last 20 Years,” Kustomer CEO Brian Birnbaum joined Larsen to discuss how the customer experience has drastically evolved thanks to the adoption of online support. Today, many customers are using online chat to connect with brands for support, and will only continue to do so in the future.

When a customer service conversation occurs, agents are expected to support each person in a way that will drive loyalty and retention. On the podcast, Birnbaum shared his thoughts on the topic and how customer service staff can step up their game to ensure an effective conversion:

“I would say make sure you’re supporting your customers in the way that they want to be supported. Right? … The bar is going up and up every single day, right? … When you have a bad experience, you’re taking it to Twitter, you’re telling all your friends about it, right? So over-index on those amazing support experiences and the ways to do that would be through the higher caliber of agents here that are very well trained and then a tool that’s going to enable those agents to be successful. And certainly, our product can help you do that. But I would focus on that. I think that’s one of those amazing support experiences that will drive customer loyalty and retention.”

To have an effective conversation goes beyond setting the bar high, however. Customer service agents should be well equipped with not only the skills and knowledge needed to provide positive interactions — they can also benefit from valuable resources to streamline their response. Overcoming tricky situations may be intimidating and difficult to navigate, but the right response tools can ease the process. Here are a few ways to have more effective customer service conversations:

Have the right skills.

According to Indeed, some of the top customer service skills include: communication, empathy, patience, active listening and quick thinking. Customer service representatives should be equipped with these skills to handle tricky situations as they arise.

Remember: Not all customers are created equal.

In another episode of Customer Service Secrets, Peter Fader, Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania joined Larsen to discuss why focusing on the right customer gives companies a major advantage. He said that customer treatment simply isn’t “one-size-fits-all,” and focusing on the customers that can bring more value to the company are the ones that can really help the business grow.

Take in customer feedback.

Allow customers to rate the conversation or provide feedback to help agents improve the customer experience based on past interactions.

Top Five Benefits of Effective Customer Service Conversations

Customer service conversations can go a long way; when customers feel heard and receive a personal response from the company, both the customer and the business win. Here are some of the many benefits:

1. Positive Brand Reputation

When customers feel more comfortable sharing their questions and concerns with your company, it could impact the outlook they have on your business entirely. An Accenture Strategy Research Report found that 42% of consumers will stop giving a brand business if they’re frustrated with the company. Additionally, 21% of those consumers admit that they’ll never go back after walking away. An effective customer service conversation can solve issues before they turn into lost business.

2. Customer Loyalty and Retention

When customer service conversations go well, consumers are more likely to continue purchasing a brand’s products or services regularly. According to a 2017 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report, 95% of customers surveyed across the globe consider effective customer service to be one of the most important factors in determining their loyalty to a brand.

3. Repeat Business

Customer loyalty goes a long way; it generally means that repeat business is inevitable. In fact, according to the Accenture report, nearly half of consumers spend more money with companies that they’re loyal to. An effective customer service conversation can help consumers feel more comfortable and confident in your business — enough to come back for more products or services — especially if a problem is solved or a relationship is built during the conversation.

4. Competitive Advantage

Companies within the same industry are constantly searching for strong differentiators, but customer service has become a competitive priority. In fact, a Gartner survey found that 89% of companies compete on the quality of their customer service on its own. An effective customer service conversation, via live chat, social, e-mails or customer care line, can be what sets your business apart from industry competitors and keeps customers choosing your business over their other options.

5. Friendly and Helpful Customer Service Staff Members

Effective customer service conversations don’t only have an impact on your consumers and the bottom line of your business; they also largely affect your customer service support team. The Microsoft service report found that 30% of customers say that speaking with an agent who is both knowledgeable and friendly are the two most important factors during a customer service interaction. Staff members can feel a sense of satisfaction by having effective customer service conversations, motivating them to be even more helpful and friendly for future interactions.

How Kustomer Can Help You Support Your Customers

Kustomer’s business model is built around helping companies better connect with their customers to meet their expectations. With many people spending more of their free time at home, customers have ample opportunity to reach your team and are expecting their wants and needs to be met with a real-time response. With Kustomer’s customer service CRM platform, you can achieve continuous omnichannel conversations by using artificial intelligence as a supplemental tool to aid agents and deflect low level support.

These unprecedented times have encouraged us to conduct a special report: How the Global Pandemic Is Affecting Customer Service Organizations, which analyzes how businesses are reacting to the global pandemic. Many of the results are very powerful, for example, 79% of customer service organizations have felt a significant impact of the coronavirus, with about 1% reporting no impact at all.

Throughout the report, you can learn more about meeting customers’ needs during the pandemic and further understand other valuable insights that can get your business through these tough times.

For more general information about how we can help your customers feel heard and assist you in providing quality customer service, contact us directly or request a demo today.
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Kustomer Adds Native Satisfaction Measurement

Deliver effortless service and measure performance in one powerful platform.

At Kustomer, we pride ourselves on helping companies deliver support that satisfies customers, builds loyalty, and drives retention. That’s because our customer-centric platform is different from the legacy ticketing systems that create cumbersome and fragmented service experiences. Through a single workspace that unifies customer data, agents are empowered to meet customers’ needs on any channel they use.

And while SLAs and productivity metrics are incredibly valuable when measuring support success, we believe the best indicator comes from customers themselves. Their feedback drives continuous improvement for businesses and their support operations. And while satisfaction measurement solutions can provide powerful insights, they require additional budget, splinter customer data and agent experiences across multiple systems, and fail to account for the varied communication experiences on each particular channel.

That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of Kustomer Satisfaction—our native tool that measures, tracks, and manages customer satisfaction across all your support channels, directly in the Kustomer platform. With Kustomer, providing effortless service and gaining incredible insight into how your customers feel regarding their interactions exist together in a single platform.

Kustomer Satisfaction is built on the backbone of the Kustomer platform, enhancing your ability to gather feedback and incorporating satisfaction information into the agent workspace, making customer satisfaction or effort highly visible and actionable. Surveys are simple to set up, designed to make survey taking easy and engaging, and optimized for each of your channels to ensure high response rates and confidence in how your team and agents are performing. Go a level deeper in your satisfaction evaluation by targeting and surveying specific customer segments.

Tailor surveys for an optimal experience on each channel.

Each channel is unique, and requires a specific style of communication. Customize Satisfaction questions and survey styles on Chat, Email, SMS and Voice conversations to ensure high response rates anywhere your customers communicate. Chat and Email Satisfaction surveys are built natively in Kustomer, so customers provide feedback directly from the conversation, without interruption.

Collect feedback from whomever you want, whenever you want.

Don’t rely on a single overall score for your entire customer support operation. Segment and survey customers at any time based on any desired criteria (VIP status, lifetime value, products, demographics, etc.), expanding your ability to rate customer experience and providing a more detailed picture of satisfaction.

Analyze your results.

Monitor topline trends, and drill down into results for specific channels, teams, agents and interactions to identify coaching, content, and policy opportunities that will take your support team to the next level.

To learn more about Kustomer Satisfaction, check out our Knowledge Base Article.

Burrow Delivers More Than a Couch

Are you sitting down?

If you’re on your couch, take a second to think about that piece of furniture you’re so firmly planted on.

Where did you buy it from? What was the experience like? Was it a pain to finally get it into your living room? If your memories are less than rosy, there’s good news: Burrow is working hard to make buying a sofa as convenient as ordering lunch. In fact, founders Stephen Kuhl and Kabeer Chopra were complaining about Ikea assembly times and West Elm delivery fees when they were inspired to create a startup that solves the problems facing big-name furniture sellers.

Burrow delivers a luxury sofa made with the highest quality materials that is easy to ship, fully modular, and stain resistant. That means it’s made to last, so you can take it from apartment to apartment to your first home, and easily add on new seats and sections to fit your lifestyle. Its flat pack design also makes shipping way less expensive than traditional retailers, and it’s made entirely in the US with sustainable materials.

We spoke with Steve Finnern, Burrow’s Chief Operating Officer, to find out how they manage to deliver an amazing customer experience alongside an amazing sofa.

Kustomer: What is your approach to CX at Burrow, and how does that tie into your business at large?

Steve: As an ecommerce company, we want to build an amazing brand that people connect to and love. These are the four principles we believe are key to doing just that.

  1. Creating a product that meets our value propositions and lives up the promise we have committed to our customers.
  2. Creating a brand that customers engage with, connect to, and relate to.
  3. Creating ways of improving and enhancing the shopping experience.
  4. Delivering amazing customer service.

For us, Customer Experience and Service is key to our brand, to our success, and it’s something we’re absolutely committed to and passionate about.


Kustomer: What does this commitment to delivering a great customer experience look like?



Steve: Communication is crucial to our experience. Our customers can reach over live chat, email, the phone, or Facebook Messenger. We make sure we’re notifying our customers of every change or update that will affect their delivery date. We’re constantly trying to put ourselves in the customer’s’ shoes, and help our team understand what they’re going through.

We have to keep in mind that our customers have just bought a high-ticket item, so we make sure we’re constantly reassuring them throughout the experience.

We use Kustomer to manage the entire process, for example generating emails to help customers understand what happens after they’ve placed their order. Letting them know: “Your order is on the way, now we’re building your couch, here are the materials we’re using.”

We’re always reiterating that there’s a lot of thought, care, and detail going into what they’ve just purchased, and we want them to feel confident about the choice they just made. On the day of delivery, we send them a text or email letting them know it’s Burrow Day—we really try to make our customers excited about the experience.



Kustomer: How do you keep communicating with customers after their couch is delivered?

Steve: First off, we’re building a customer feedback system. We examine the delivery process, the quality, the assembly, and the comfort of the couch. We want to understand what the experience was like, collect the ideas people have had, and try to improve.

We also look at how they rate the experience or product against those three or four pillars. If they respond and don’t rank some of those as high as they could be, we’ll respond and follow up over Kustomer to understand what we could do better.

We’re also implementing a content program that lets us show off our different kinds of customers and their lifestyles so that we stay top of mind.

While people probably won’t buy another couch right away, there are other products like an ottoman or a chaise they might want to purchase later on, or they may want to get a matching one-seater—so we can build lifetime value by remaining in touch.



Kustomer: What do you feel is different about Burrow’s customer experience from your competitors’?

Steve: If you start with the product, one of the reasons this is such an amazing brand is because we’re solving actual problems with our design.

We’re solving the problem of moving, making it easy to pack up and take with you.

We’re solving the adaptability problem—if you’re starting off with a 2-seater but move in with a significant other, you can easily add another seat.

And we’re solving the issue of shipping: our flat pack model cuts out a lot of the cost of shipping that comes from traditional furniture retailers.

All of these things allow our product to be more attainable for a larger audience. I think people connect to that and want that higher level of quality without all the extra costs.

What we have to do is make sure people understand the story and what they’re getting, why we’re innovating, and why that matters. As long as we’re doing a good job of communicating this story, people absolutely connect to it.

Kustomer: How are you using Kustomer to help meet your goals for a better customer experience?

Steve: 

One thing we’re looking at are the responsibilities on our team.

We have a number of parts to our support, including escalation levels, swatch fulfillment, refunds—so we’re using Kustomer to create inboxes to assign roles and responsibilities to make sure that outstanding tasks aren’t getting lost, and better-allocating resources for the specific task or function that needs to take place.

 

Our next big focus in on building a custom issue-tracking and feedback system. It will allow us to report issues or delays directly to the manufacturer. This allows a lot more efficiency than spreadsheets or emails. We can keep all of our discussions and workflows centralized, then automate an email to the customer once the issue is closed and their coach has shipped.

This will have the added benefit of helping us follow trends in certain issues to see why there’s a spike—is it a breakdown in our quality control process, with our shipping provider, or somewhere else? We’re really excited to have this total view so we can deliver an even better experience.

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