Customer Support

Your Customers Want to Self-Serve — It’s Good For Them And Good For You

“A self-service solution doesn’t mean you don’t offer customer service.On the contrary, self-service is a way to enhance”
– Shep Hyken

Customer service organizations have to make self-service easy and effective. It must connect the customer to the right answer or resolution.
Self-service should be delivered when the customer is engaged, with a full understanding of their context and in the flow of their actions within the application that they are using.
Self-service interactions should seamlessly transfer to an agent. If this happens, the agent should have a full visibility of the customer journey so that they don’t have to repeat any of the information that has already been communicated.
Self-service should also empower customers with knowledge that they are anticipated to need, ensuring success in their journey.
Below are the advantages of Self-Service:

Your Customers Want to Self-Serve — It’s Good For Them And Good For You

  1. Impacts the speed of issue resolution and customer satisfaction
    Self-service delivers personalized engagement, increases customer satisfaction and reduces operational costs by deflecting common customer inquiries.
  2. Increases conversion and revenue
    Proactive content, delivered at the right time in a journey, helps educate the customer.
    It gives them confidence that they are making the right purchase. This decreases buyer’s remorse, which ultimately decreases returns.
  3. Drives customer engagement
    Self-service content can help onboard customers. It can help increase product education, including new features, deepening the success that customers have with their purchases.
    This means that great customer self-service delivers much more than just call deflection. If done properly, it allows you to digitally engage with your customers to empower them with answers and advice that deepen their engagement with the brand — positively influencing their satisfaction, retention, and advocacy.
  4. Creates lasting customer success
    The best forward-facing employees in your company will work on having a deep knowledge of how your product works. Without knowing your product from front to back, you won’t know how to help customers when they run into problems.
Customer Support

When customer is Angry

At some moments customer service job can be a challenge. Dealing with different people and trying to meet their expectations is not an easy task. It takes patience, sharp intellect and I would even say wisdom to navigate through the various customer moods and still provide a professional service.There is a long list of advice spoken on this subject. And the reason is that it’s really not easy. Key is “Remain calm yourself”.

When customer is Angry

    1. Solution:
    1. A customer can burst out of anger but it is your job to find the right possible solution and provide satisfying service and help is provided in order to find the right solution. Ignorance is not at all bliss here. And, a fistfight on the phone/e-mail is a strict No-No, while getting too much defensive without providing any real solution is also a mistake. You can take a leaf from Disney’s book, as they have developed and harnessed the effective HEARD Technique.
    1. HEARD:
    1. Hear
      Let the customer tell their entire story without interruption.
      Sometimes, we just want someone to listen.
    2. Empathize
      Convey that you deeply understand how the customer feels.
      Use phrases like “I’d be frustrated, too.”
    3. Apologize
      As long as it’s sincere, you can’t apologize enough.
      Even if you didn’t do whatever made them upset, you can still genuinely be
      apologetic for the way your customer feels.
      (E.g., I’m always sorry that a customer feels upset).
    4. Resolve
      Resolved the issue quickly, or make sure that your employees are
      empowered to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer:
      “what can I do to make this right?”
    5. Diagnose
      Get to the bottom of why the issue occurred, without blaming
      anyone; focus on fixing the process so that it doesn’t happen again.

When you’re faced with an angry customer, simply follow this checklist. Try and hear (or read) what the customer is truly upset about, without interrupting them. Express empathy and show them that you understand their frustration. Offer a heartfelt apology, even if you did nothing wrong. Do whatever it takes to resolve the issue, without being afraid to ask the customer what they feel the best resolution would be.
If you run a customer support team, you will always endure angry and fuming clients. It is the law of nature and it is bound to happen to each and every executive in your team. The issue and the challenge here is how you can pacify and calm them down—and ultimately solve the problem to satisfy all concerned.

Customer Support

The New Definition of Customer Support

“We believe a customer service shouldn’t be just a department: It should be the entire company”
-By Tony Hseh,Ceo of Zappos

Customer support isn’t the same thing as customer service, although it employs customer service techniques.
And it’s not the same thing it was 50, 20, or even 5 years ago — the definition is still evolving.

The New Definition of Customer Support

To us and many other customer-driven companies, customer support means:
Timely, empathetic help that keeps the customer’s needs at the forefront of every interaction.
This is what informs our mission of helping you build a company people love. It’s why we train everyone at the company on customer support,why our support team has the power and authority to resolve issues as soon as they arise, why our customers’ customers, dont see anything but a normal email,and a hundred other decisions that inform a customer-driven approach to support.


Traditional Customer Service

The New Customer Support

Viewed as a cost center Viewed as the face of a company, a critical component of sales and word-of-mouth marketing
Disempowered agents who require managerial approval for tasks customers should be able to accomplish themselves Self-service first; skilled and empowered agents can help with more complex questions and requests
Requires customers to call during specified business hours and often wait on hold for help Round-the-clock help via multiple channels: documentation, email, phone, chat, social media, etc.
Call centers relegated to cubicles or outsourced to other locations/countries Works side-by-side with product teams, has a seat at the table in company decision-making
Dead-end job Myriad opportunities for growth and development
Operational metrics tied to cost-cutting: first response times, call resolution times, etc. Holistic metrics tied to company-wide goals:NPS,customer satisfaction etc.

The new customer support applies the principles of customer service in helping customers solve problems and make decisions, but in addition, functions as part sales, part tech support, and part customer success.
When 86% of customers quit doing business with a company due to bad customer experience,today’s subscription-model, customer-retention-oriented businesses need to approach every support interaction as an opportunity to acquire, retain or upsell as well.
In the self-service internet age, customers don’t need go-betweens to assist them with what should be simple functions, like canceling their account. And what’s more, people have grown to expect self-service — if you let them get to a point where they have to reach out, you’ve gotten in the way of usage and adoption.
“If the support team isn’t 100% embedded in the product you’re trying to market, support suffers,”
Customer-driven companies remove a lot of that friction by automating that which can be automated and freeing their most valuable resource — their team — to work on problems that can’t be automated away. Hence the shift away from hiring your average “people person,” toward hiring highly skilled, empathetic problem-solvers.

Customer Support

Customer Service Skills

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
– Jeff Bezos

There are certain customer service skills that every employee must master if they are forward-facing with customers.
Without them, you run the risk of finding your business in an embarrassing customer service train-wreck, or you’ll simply lose customers as your service continues to let people down.
Below are the most-needed skills to master this incredibly important position:

Customer Service Skills

  1. Patience
    If you deal with customers on a daily basis, be sure to stay patient when they come to you stumped and frustrated, but also be sure to take the time to truly figure out what they want — they’d rather get competent service than being rushed out the door!
  2. Attentiveness
    The ability to really listen to customers is so crucial for providing great service for a number of reasons.
    Not only is it important to pay attention to individual customer experience (watching the language/terms that they use to describe their problems), but it’s also important to be mindful and attentive to the feedback that you receive at large.
  3. Clear communication skills
    Make sure you’re getting to the problem at hand quickly; customers don’t need your life story or to hear about how your day is going. More importantly, you need to be cautious about how some of your communication habits translate to customers, and it’s best to err on the side of caution whenever you find yourself questioning a situation.
  4. Knowledge of the Product
    The best forward-facing employees in your company will work on having a deep knowledge of how your product works. Without knowing your product from front to back, you won’t know how to help customers when they run into problems.
  5. Ability to use positive language
    Sounds like fluffy nonsense, but customer service involves having the ability to make minor changes in your conversational patterns. This can truly go a long way in creating happy customers. For example:
    Without positive language: “I can’t get you that product until next month; it is back-ordered and unavailable at this time.”
    With positive language: “That product will be available next month. I can place the order for you right now and make sure that it is sent to you as soon as it reaches our warehouse.”
  6. Time management skills
    Don’t waste time trying to go above and beyond for a customer in an area where you will just end up wasting both of your time!
  7. Tenacity
    Call it what you want, but a great work ethic and a willingness to do what needs to be done (and not take shortcuts) is a key skill when providing the kind of service that people talk about.
  8. Empathy
    Perhaps empathy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of another — is more of a character trait than a skill. But since empathy can be learned and improved upon, we’d be remiss not to include it here. In fact, if your organization tests job applicants for customer service aptitude, you’d be hard-pressed to look for a more critical skill than empathy.
Customer Support

Customer Experience Strategies

:”Customer Experience is the next competitive battleground.It’s where businesses are won or lost.”
-Tom Knighton

Customer experience (CX) refers to a customer’s perception of their overall interactions with a company.
Since customer expectations are higher than ever, customer experience has become a key driver of customer retention and acquisition. Comparatively, customer services refer to specific touchpoints within the experience, where a customer requests and receives assistance or help.

Customer Experience Strategy

  1. Understand your audience & create buyer personas
    To create the best customer experience, you have to first understand your customers – who they are, their motivations, and concerns. If your organization wants to deeply understand customers and empathize with them, you need access to in-depth intel.
  2. Work backward from the experience you want to deliver
    When planning your customer experience, it’s easiest to work backward. Apple is known for its premium customer experience, and for obvious reasons. Steve Jobs, who was responsible for the brand Apple grew to be, famously advocated his principle of “beginning with the customer experience and working backward to the technology”.
  3. Hire team players and get them invested in the process
    At the other end of customer interactions with your brand are employees, who are key to creating a great customer experience.
    Here are two tips to hire and initiate the right talent to enable great customer service –
    Focus on the skills that matter – interpersonal skills, the ability to interact and connect with people, presentation, hospitality, and the ability to maintain a cool mind through crises.
    Create a set of principles for your customer executive and sales personnel to follow, so their interactions with customers are smooth and pleasant.
  4. Be attentive to customer needs & use feedback loops
    How do you know what your customers’ needs are if you don’t ask them? How can you assess what your brand’s value is if you don’t ask your customers?
    That’s why it’s essential to create feedback loops. Here’s how you can –
    Use post-interaction, real-time feedback surveys. You can even follow up with customers over the phone for more details.
    Pay attention to what is being said about you on social media, this is where customers are usually the most honest.
    Customer experience is one of the biggest opportunities that businesses have to capture prospects’ interest, get them to act, and stay with the brand as loyalists. There is no limit to what a good customer experience strategy can enable, and this post is a great start.
Customer Support

6 Ways to Make Every Interaction With Customers Fantastic

:”Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement”
-By James Cash Penney

Your customers today have high expectations — and if your business can’t meet them, they’re going to leave you for your competitors.
If that sounds harsh, well, it is. In addition to getting a product or service that works for them, they want to buy from companies that make it easy to get help when they need it, that go above and beyond for them, and that makes them proud to support their corporate culture and philosophy.

6 Ways to Make Every Interaction With Customers Fantastic

  1. Show empathy and gratitude
    Are you familiar with the golden rule? “Treat others as you want to be treated.”
    It might sound simple, but making sure each and every one of your customer interactions demonstrate your empathy for your customers’ struggles, and your gratitude for their loyalty, goes a long way.
    Customers are more likely to spend more and be loyal, longer if they have a history of positive experiences with your company. Do your part to make each sign-off positive and gracious to make your customers feel good about working with you.
  2. Be conscientious
    It’s of utmost importance to be conscientious and to responsibly follow-up to every customer communication you engage in with a solution, a forum for feedback, or helpful educational resources they can benefit from.
    Do research to investigate when your customers typically encounter issues with your product and reach out proactively with educational communications to try to prevent that friction in the first place.
  3. Be transparent and communicative
    It’s extremely important to be transparent when you communicate with your customers — especially if it’s about a mistake or error caused by you or your product.
    Using your empathy and gratitude muscles, don’t hesitate to explain the situation, apologise for the issue, and communicate how it happened — and how it won’t happen again. If it could happen again, be clear on that so your customer can prepare for the future.
  4. Ask for and act on customer feedback
    You can’t just give the term “valued customer” lip service — you need to walk the walk by regularly asking for and acting on customer feedback.
    Regularly asking customers for feedback via surveys is an effective way to identify potential problems before they cause your customers to churn.
  5. Go where your customers are
    It’s your job to make it as easy and painless as possible for your customers to get the answers they need to use your product or service. To do that, you should have a plan in place for providing service across a variety of channels where your customers typically reach out to you.
    Strive to always respond to customer requests and issues on the same platform where they originally reached out.
  6. Talk like a human
    Our final suggestion to make your customers love reaching out to you — even in cases of problems — is to talk like a human.
    Your customers aren’t looking for scripted corporate-speak when they call or write to you in need of assistance. Particularly if you’re communicating with customers on social media, scripted, formal language can ring hollow and insincere.
    If you’re in the middle of solving a customer issue, feel free to keep language professional. But once you’ve solved a customer’s problem, or if a customer is reaching out to share positive feedback, feel free to be less scripted, and more yourself.
Customer Support

5 Simple Strategies to Reduce Customer Effort for better customer experience

:“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.”
–Kevin Stirtz

We already know that the secret for organizations to increase customer loyalty is by improving the customer experience by focusing on the way customers feel. A key factor in doing so is reducing the amount of effort required by customers to receive the service they expect which will lead to improved customer experience and increased customer loyalty, and, as a result, to a higher ROI.
How can this be achieved? Take a look at our 5 strategies:-

5 Simple Strategies to Reduce Customer Effort

  1. Lead customers to low-effort resolution paths by promoting self-service “stickiness”
    Building on customers’ “stickiness” to self-service channels is a very effective way to reduce customer effort, providing the channel’s ability to fully resolve customer issues. This is especially true when customers prefer self-service but switch to the phone channel after finding unclear information, not finding the answer or feeling unsure of the answer, or experiencing technical failures.
  2. Be proactive and work on preventing the next issue
    Metrics such as First Call Resolution (FCR) can be insufficient when trying to resolving the customer’s stated issues. Full resolution only happens when the implicit issues that go beyond the stated needs of the customer are also resolved to reduce both effort and cost. Implicit issues, which might be overlooked during an initial first phone interaction, most often are logically related to the customer’s explicitly stated problem and frequently lead to repeat customer contact when not proactively taken care of.
  3. Enable agents with “experience engineering” to guide customer interactions
    Customer effort is more about how customers feel during service interactions than what they do in them. It is the customer’s interpretation of the interaction, also called the “feel factor,” that contributes most to customer loyalty. The strategy, therefore, should be to actively guide customer interactions by anticipating emotional responses and offering solutions proactively to create a mutually beneficial outcome through the resolution.
  4. Enable frontline staff to deliver low-effort experiences
    Organizations must create an environment that encourages frontline staff to take control of customer interactions in order to deliver a low-effort customer experience. Beyond agents’ IQ, and supporting their EQ, it is the Control Quotient (CQ) that provides the largest boost to performance and is a vital attribute for assuring low-effort interactions.
  5. Proactively solicit and listen to customer feedback on high-effort experiences
    The real transition to a customer-oriented service organization happens only when enterprises implement corrective actions and improvements based on feedback they receive from customers following high-effort interactions. Companies can get to the root cause by proactively seeking feedback from frustrated customers who have had a high-effort experience.
Customer Support

How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers

“Feedback is great for telling you what you did wrong. It’s terrible at telling you what you should do next.”
~Evernote CEO Phil Libin

Harsh words are not always indicative of insight. Customer complaints are not always a sign that something is wrong.
Be that as it may, great feedback can be buried within the vitriol.
Support isn’t about always being right, it’s about always being willing to make it right.
Here are a few principles for doing just that.

Tactics To Deal with Angry Customers

  1. Identify who you are talking to
    The Meek Customer: Generally averse to talking to you. He/She doesn’t want to be a burden, or he/she doesn’t think you’ll care—either way, it’s your responsibility to inquire deeper to get to the heart of exactly what is wrong. The Aggressive Customer: Outspoken and not shy about letting you know what’s on his/her mind. Avoid mirroring this confrontational behavior, and instead react with firm politeness that is pleasant but not submissive—your team needs to be treated with respect, too.
    The High Roller: Perhaps your “enterprise” customer, who likely pays well and demands premium support for it. While no customer is fond of excuses, this customer disdains to hear them. Setting up a VIP Folder with Workflow is a simple way to cater to the high roller’s needs.
  2. Don’t be passive-aggressive
    Even when the customer is being unreasonable, apologize outright and ask how you might help resolve the issue. If you come across a lost cause, keep it friendly, keep it professional, and keep it moving.
  3. Use supportive questioning
    There is a fine line between following up and inadvertently swaying a customer to dwell upon his bad mood. Asking a customer a leading, negative question such as “Is there anything else wrong?” is asking for a negative outcome. Conversely, inquiring how you may be able to further assist shows that you are ready and willing to address anything else the customer needs.
  4. Time is of the essence
    Inbox zero often causes us to envisage an assembly line environment of productivity. The truth is that catching up to the queue grants you time for the most meaningful conversations. A quick reply will never go out of style. In the case of an unhappy customer, a speedy response goes from nice to necessary. Customers who are in a “pulling my hair out” situation want a resolution yesterday. Make responding to them a priority.
  5. Verify the resolution
    Have you ever submitted something through an online form, and after you hit submit there wasn’t a single confirmation on whether or not anything had happened? It’s incredibly frustrating. You want to be absolutely sure that the customer is clear on the resolution that occurred and that it met his or her needs.
  6. Treat customers with genuine respect
    Customers want to be treated with respect. The day you stop talking to them like regular people is the day you lose touch and relevance. After that, you start losing customers.
Customer Support

5 Reasons Why Customer Service is "The Most Important" For Any business

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”
-W. Edwards Deming

Businesses know that providing positive experiences for buyers can dramatically impact their growth.
But, often customer service takes a back seat to the daily demands of running a business.

Review five reasons why good customer service is important as featured in Entrepreneur magazine.

  1. Provides value – Great customer service programs should focus on treating customers well, answering questions, and exceeding their expectations. This approach helps businesses engage customers and build strong relationships.
  2. Retains customers – Keeping loyal customers is way less expensive than getting new ones. Research shows that it costs about six to seven times more to attract new customers than to retain existing business. Satisfied customers become devoted buyers when a business is trustworthy. Research shows there is a 60 to 70 percent likelihood that existing customers will return to make new purchases.
  3. Creates endorsements – Loyal customers provide positive endorsements and online reviews that can help businesses strengthen their brand. A loyal customer on average is 10 times more valuable than their first purchase. Research shows that people often make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from family and friends, rather than on advertising messages.
  4. Prevents business failure – About 96 percent of American businesses close their doors within 10 years. One of the contributing problems is poor customer service. Buyers become frustrated over small problems that are not addressed, such as unclear communication, slow follow up on questions, or ignored requests.
  5. Reduces employee turnover – Employees want to work for businesses that appreciate worker contributions, encourage new ideas, and treat customers fairly. When people work for an employer that provides excellent customer service, they are more engaged in their work and become an advocate for the business. They are more willing to stick with the company through business challenges and economic changes.