6 Effective Ways to Maintain a Winning Customer Service Strategy

It’s no secret that a strong customer service strategy is the cornerstone of a successful business. Even if your products or services are exceptional, if the customer experience is tainted with one poor interaction, customer loyalty can be lost.

A stellar customer support strategy is meant to enhance the consumer experience as they interact with your brand. Whether they’re curious about the product and have questions, are making a purchase, or need to return something, the steps to accomplish this should be easy and engaging.

But it’s not enough to simply create a strategy and let it run its course. A company must be constantly working to maintain and improve the customer experiences for continued revenue growth. Let’s explore some of the most effective ways to sustain your customer service strategy.

6 Ways to Maintain a Strong Customer Service Strategy

We all know that consumer relations are an important area for businesses to gain a competitive advantage, improve employee and customer engagement and, perhaps most importantly, retain loyal customers. HubSpot recently found that only a 5% increase in customer retention has the potential to increase revenue by 25-95%.

It’s incredibly important to retain customers, not only because it’s more expensive to acquire new ones, but because repeat purchases have an overwhelmingly positive impact on a business’s bottom line. Here are six ways your organization can maintain your customer relationship strategy to improve the consumer experience and, in turn, retention rates and sales:

1. Continue to Communicate With Customers
From surveys and reviews to VOC and other tracking methods, organizations should be constantly communicating and collecting data to determine customer satisfaction long after they have made a purchase. In HubSpot’s “The State of Customer Service in 2020” report, they concluded that companies with high growth are more likely to understand their customers’ thoughts and sentiments about their brand. Some of the most successful strategies included tracking customer happiness and collecting direct feedback through a satisfaction survey.

Finding this information doesn’t need to be difficult or costly, simply continue to reach out to buyers throughout the customer journey and after-sales process. Ask them to complete quick surveys and monitor reviews to make positive changes and ensure customers feel heard.

2. Close the Feedback Loop
On the topic of feedback, it’s not only important to collect it; companies must also work to acknowledge it. When a customer reaches out to explain their negative experience or writes a less-than-stellar review on social media, there’s an opportunity to improve how they view your brand. According to CMS Wire, closing the loop means a company directly responds to customer feedback, no matter if it’s positive or negative.

Continue and end the conversation by offering to make changes or ask the customer to try their brand again while providing them with a discount to reduce churn. At the same time, if a customer leaves a positive review and a brand responds with a thank you, this can increase brand loyalty and turn passive consumers into promoters. Reaching out to consumers this way is proactive customer service.

3. Create a Longstanding Program
There’s no better way to increase customer and employee engagement than by encouraging them to interact and become brand promoters. Creating long-term programs dedicated to understanding the consumer, are great opportunities to receive and study feedback and turn it into action.

Customer-facing programs, like rewards and referrals, make existing customers feel like their individual experience is important, and introduces new consumers to the product or service in an exciting way from a trustworthy friend.

4. Invest in Self-Service Solutions
In the same 2020 HubSpot report, the company was surprised to find that building self-service solutions is a low priority (No. 10 out of 12 options) among businesses. Self-service solutions essentially help customers help themselves. Just like how a self-checkout at the supermarket can help shoppers who are in a rush and only need a few items purchase them quickly, tools like chatbots and other automation can create a better experience for online shoppers.

They can receive answers to their questions quickly, saving both them and the organization time. As customer expectations continue to grow and service teams must do more, self-service tools help everyone have a better experience and be more efficient.

5. Use Automation to Create a Personal Experience
Maintaining your customer service experience is all about continuously improving the interactions consumers have with your brand, and a big part of that is personalization. At a high level, this means knowing their customer history and personalizing interactions to treat them like a person and not just a transaction number. More specifically, it can also be about providing them with unique offers and opportunities that they would like.

Of course, getting to know a customer personally takes a lot of time and effort. It’s impractical to expect a customer service team to understand the intricacies of each customer, but that’s where having a unified customer data platform and automation can help. Smart chatbots with access to unified customer data can be used to a business’s advantage. While artificial intelligence of this nature isn’t a replacement of your people-savvy staff, they are an easy way to make customers feel heard and make their experience more immediate, without sacrificing personalization.

6. Improve Your Digital Customer Service
As more customers than ever make purchases online, it’s important for companies to improve their digital customer service strategy in hand with their in-person interactions. On top of utilizing automation and self-service tools that can quickly collect data and diagnose problems, digital systems must be integrated with other information stores for seamless customer experience.

Customers require access to support in whatever medium is most convenient to them in the moment. For instance, if they are shopping on your mobile app for the first time and have trouble navigating, there should be an effortless way to contact customer service within the app, vs. having to switch devices or channels. Today’s customers expect an easy and hands-off experience, and digital tools can help businesses achieve this by providing a seamless process for resolving problems.

Strive to Improve Your Customer Service Strategy

As you work to maintain an excellent customer service strategy, you should expect to make changes to your processes along the way. As you receive customer feedback and data, you may uncover untapped opportunities to improve their experience and use their advice to the benefit of your organization.

Customer service technology can help you maintain and improve your approach to customer service. Kustomer empowers your service team to deliver an exceptional and personalized brand experience driven by unified data and customer insights.

There’s an unlimited number of opportunities to impress customers and deliver an experience beyond their expectations, and the right tools help you capitalize on them. We are always keeping up with the latest trends to provide the solutions our partners need, to create, execute and maintain an exceptional customer service strategy. Request a demo today to schedule your quick 15-minute introductory call and learn how Kustomer can help your business thrive.
 

The Key KPIs to Analyze When Comparing Internal and External Support Agents

This is a guest blog written in collaboration with a Kustomer partner: CloudTask

What will bring you the most success? An internal team, an external team, or a combination of the two—and how can you find out which will be the most effective?

That’s where KPIs come in. What you focus on will always be dependant on your organization, and your product or service. However, we have highlighted some of the most important factors below.

Track whether your clients are interacting with internal or external agents, and analyze the stats behind this to see which team is performing better.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

If a customer’s issue is solved on first contact, the benefits are far-reaching. The following stats compiled by PhaseWare speak volumes:

  • Every 1% improvement in FCR results in a 1% reduction in operating costs
  • A 1% rise in FCR leads to a 1%-5% improvement in employee satisfaction
  • FCR increases customer cross-selling acceptance rates up to 20%
  • 98% of customers experiencing FCR will remain loyal to your company

Average Handle Time (AHT)

Ever become irritated by an interaction that takes way too much time? 23 minutes waiting to be connected, 7 minutes speaking to one agent, 9 minutes on hold, and an extra 12 speaking to agent two—sound familiar? You’re not the only one That’s an AHT of 51 minutes. The longer the AHT, the worse every other stat will be for your organization.

Customer Retention

It costs 5 to 30 times more to attract a new prospect than retain an existing one. There are a wealth of factors as to why a customer stays with you, but the quality of customer support is one of the key ways you can increase client retention.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The score that measures how likely your clients are to recommend your organization on a scale of 1 to 10. When people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred, this is key.

And Many More

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – the average score from a survey you receive at the end of your interactions on how satisfied you were.
  • Abandon Rate – the % of customers that leave the interaction before their query is solved.
  • After Call Work (ACW) – the amount of time your agents are taking to update a clients information post-interaction.
  • Quality Assurance – measured internally. Did the agent follow best practices and procedures?

The list could go on…

So, Internal or External? What is Right for You?

It depends… This is an impossible question to answer and will always be dependant on your organization. We will briefly touch on the quality and the cost of the two.

Quality

Outsourcing has really changed over the past few years. Of course, there are still a number of bad examples, but it is now easier than ever to have a high-performing, top quality outsourced team. Also, with technology the way it is nowadays, it’s now easier for any team, in any part of the world, to be aligned.

Some organizations will need their support teams to be internal, but it is just as possible to achieve the same quality, sometimes more, by going externally.

Cost

External teams usually cost less. First of all, they are often based in countries that have cheaper labor, and secondly, because you don’t have to take care of all the extra costs in addition to the salary—from training to taxes, recruitment to holiday pay, and more. Afterall, an in-house employee costs a lot more than you may think.

What About Combining the Two?

This is an approach many leading organizations have chosen to adopt. After all, with technology today, it can often feel like there is no gap between internal and external teams. At CloudTask, we have our head office in Miami, and further offices in Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, London, and the Philippines. Problems do occasionally come up, but much more often than not, we’re working as one united team.

There is no perfect formula for combining the two. However, a popular way to achieve is to have external teams highly-trained in resolving common issues that can be solved with simple, repeatable outcomes. For example, for a software company, this could be handling common licensing questions. Then when it comes to more tailored and complex coding questions, there may be an internal specialist who is in place to handle these queries.

Processes and technology can also be put in place helping to get the right query, to the right person, in the shortest possible time. For example, an interactive voice response (IVR) – an automated response to help direct calls to the ideal department.

So Where Now?

Really the thing we want to leave you with is to be open to all the possibilities. What will work best will depend on your business.

There is only ever be one way to truly know and that is through data. There is no harm in testing each approach. If done in a professional manner, you should be able to see a level of success with each option. However, it’s likely that one way will stand out above the others and that will be the way to go.

Once you have the winning formula, you will be in a great place to thrive!

Want to learn more about hiring an external customer support team? Download CloudTask’s ‘Beginners Guide to Launching a Remote Customer Support & Customer Success Team’
 

Deliver effortless, personalized customer service.

Request Live DemoStart Interactive Demo