Customer service: what it is and tips to improve your service
Customer service refers to the area of your company whose objectives are to support the consumer, guarantee the resolution of their problems and, consequently, ensure the satisfaction of the public. To provide quality customer service through a virtual business, it needs your assistance in at least three key stages: Before finalizing the purchase (to know, […]
Customer service refers to the area of your company whose objectives are to support the consumer, guarantee the resolution of their problems and, consequently, ensure the satisfaction of the public.
To provide quality customer service through a virtual business, it needs your assistance in at least three key stages:
Before finalizing the purchase (to know, for example, what payment methods you accept);
during the purchase process (if you cannot find the size chart in your online store);
after completing the purchase (if you want to change the color of the product you bought, for example).
With this customer service guide, you will discover which support strategies to apply to successfully navigate all these stages and turn your customers into true spokespersons for your brand.
In addition, we are going to tell you which communication channels to use in your online business, which are the best-known tools to automate some tasks, how to interpret the main indicators to know how satisfied your customers are and 4 infallible tips for you to offer customer support. excellence.
All ready to discover how to serve a client ? Go!
What is customer service?
Customer service consists of supporting the consumer, solving their problems and, consequently, ensuring their satisfaction.
To offer good customer service, it is essential that your team is well prepared to guarantee clear , humane, empathetic and proactive communication with customers.
Knowing what customer service is, we can delve into its importance. This aspect is essential for the success of your business, to such an extent that customer service is considered even more important than the price of the product .
According to ThinkJar , a consultancy created by customer service expert Esteban Kolsky, 86% of consumers would pay more for a product or service if it means receiving better support than the rest.
Offering good customer service has multiple benefits for your company; the two most prominent are consumer retention and loyalty , as well as the set of valuable information that you can obtain about your target audience.
Regarding this last benefit, keep in mind that the information about the users obtained by the support team, when shared with the marketing team through meetings or monthly reports, will be transformed into content and campaigns fully focused on the needs of your audience .
For example: if, in the last month, a large number of questions about payment methods have entered, there is an opportunity to create posts for the brand’s blog , clarifying the main doubts on the subject.
The editorial team can include articles about it in their calendar, which will serve as tutorials for the customer service team. It is also possible to make posts on social networks that respond to concerns raised by customers, and you can even create a frequently asked questions page that will undoubtedly improve the user experience.
Customer service and customer service, are they the same?
Yes, in general, these two concepts are often used as synonyms. They are even often combined when referring to customer service . Its central purpose is to create an unforgettable experience for the buyer , at all stages and moments where they are in contact with the brand.
We already learned what customer service means, let’s keep moving forward!
What are the customer service channels in your store?
Within the customer service channel options , we are going to mention in this post 7 alternatives for your business. The idea is that you can analyze each one and choose the one that best suits your company and your audience.
- E-mail : it is one of the most popular support channels thanks to its efficiency. To provide good service by e-mail you have to pay attention to the written language , the visual aspect and the response time (between 24 and 48 hours ideally).
- Telephone : for Generation Y (1981-1993) and Generation Z (1994-2010) in general, the use of the telephone became dispensable in customer service. However, for older age groups, the first intention will be to call a representative. So depending on your target audience, it’s important to consider.
- WhatsApp Business : is a customer service tool that allows a private, dynamic and personal dialogue. To use this channel, we recommend having an exclusive smartphone for this purpose. Then, install the application and configure it with your company’s information.
- Online chat : it is a fast and intuitive customer service channel. Keep in mind that if the user preferred to contact you through an online chat instead of sending you an email, it means that they expect an instant response .
- Instagram : the popularity of this social network makes it one of the most used by users to request support. As in other social networks, the tone of the customer service dialogue is usually a little more informal, however, it is important to maintain respect and empathy with each person who contacts you.
- Facebook – There are more than 80 million small businesses in the world that use Facebook . For this reason, it is very likely that users will contact you throughyour brand ‘s Fan Page . We recommend that you answer the queries that come in that way on the wall and, if they are contacted by private message, keep the conversation in this same way to respect people’s privacy. Applies to all social networks!
- Twitter : It was the first social network to be used to serve customers. His proposal to synthesize each message in 140 characters (now 280) was and is very attractive to provide support, since it implies doing without excessively long formalities and responses.
Learn in detail how to use each customer service channel:
The communication channels that cannot be missing in your e-commerce
How to serve a customer in 5 steps
When it comes to offering optimal customer service, there are general practices that can be applied in both virtual and physical stores, since they transcend the concept of “selling” and it is simply about serving a person well in any interaction and context.
So how do you serve a customer?
1. Personalize the interaction
One way to personalize dealings with your users is by calling them by name. Whether it’s through a chat, email, phone call or in person, it’s good practice to let them feel like you know them .
2. Focus on their needs
Keep the focus on what users need from your brand and avoid diverting the conversation if the client’s or potential client’s need has not yet been resolved. Listen or read their request carefully and provide answers and solutions focused on that request.
If you are asked about a product or service, don’t try to pressure the customer into making a hasty purchase without really understanding what they need first.
3. Show initiative and actively offer help
It is true that nobody likes a salesperson who is too insistent when we first enter a store or a very invasive chatbot as soon as we open an online store. However, greeting the user cordially and letting the user know —in a subtle way— that you are here to assist them is an excellent practice.
It is crucial to have the ideal nose and timing to approach with proposals when you see him walking through a section of your business or browsing a specific category of your e-commerce. To offer an excellent customer service, you can tell them that they have a special offer on those products they are looking at and, in the case of the virtual store, apply remarketing actions .
Learn more about this topic:
What is remarketing and how does this digital marketing strategy work?
4. I conveyed a professional image and demeanor
Regarding the image, try to have your store —physical and online— ordered and colorful. In the case of virtual stores, use eye-catching banners and images that show the full potential of your products or services.
If you sell online only through social networks or WhatsApp, it is time to create an online store because it is a channel that gives professionalism to your brand.
Another aspect that you have to take care of to convey a professional image and behavior is the language . If you sell products or services that require highly technical words or expressions to describe them, try to keep it simple without sounding amateurish , but be as clear and precise as possible.
In this same line of professionalism in customer service through language, avoid the word “no” and look for alternatives if there are any. Respond with complete honesty to your clients’ queries and if you don’t have how to solve their need at that moment.
5. Be quick and decisive
To the best of your ability, respond directly to the user’s query and then, if necessary, explain the context. In this way, you will save time for your clients or potential clients, and they will thank you for it.
Take advantage of this great opportunity to analyze whether your business can —or should— develop a product or service that addresses these types of cases.
6 tools to facilitate customer service management
There is a wide variety of software on the market that allows you to manage customer service with the agility that your company needs. Let’s see 6 support tools that you can integrate into your online store today:
WebCentrix : allows you to centralize all your customer queries in one place. It offers a free plan with basic functionalities.
Salesforce : It is ideal for small and medium-sized companies. The price of the plans varies between US$100 and US$325 and you can access a 30-day free trial.
Callbell : is the ideal platform if your company wants to provide customer support through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram or Instagram Direct.
UserVoice : is an application that allows you to collect feedback . Plans for customer service start at $50.
Zendesk : It is an excellent alternative, mainly for its good value for money. The cheapest plan can be purchased from US$19 for each person who uses the tool.
Hootsuite : It is a great tool to monitor what happens with your brand on social networks. It offers a very complete free version and paid plans start at $19.
Learn more about these platforms:
5 customer service tools to offer excellent online support
10 customer service indicators to measure its quality
Customer service indicators are metrics that allow you to analyze the quality of support you offer through your online store . The most important are:
- Average waiting time (TME) : is the average time that your customers will wait to be served. Your goal has to be to reduce that time, improving your processes.
- Abandonment rate : it is the number of people who give up the contact; this usually happens when the waiting time is very long.
- Average service time (TMA) : refers to the average duration of your support service, taking into account the individual contact with each client.
- Average post-service time: it is related to the average time that your support team needs to finish a case with a client and start the next one.
- Conversion Rate – This is the percentage of informational inquiries that are converted into sales.
Direct evaluation : it happens when, at the end of each contact, you request immediate feedback , through a form, for example.
- NPS ( Net Promoter Score ) : is an indicator that will allow you to know the level of customer satisfaction. The closer your NPS value is to 100, the better.
Complaints : they are the inconveniences that customers manifest in relation to your product or service and it is important to pay attention to the most recurring complaints, there are possible areas for improvement!
- CES ( Customer Effort Score ) : evaluates how much effort it takes for the customer to achieve their goal every time they interact with your brand.
- CSAT ( Customer Satisfaction Score ) : is an indicator that measures how satisfied your customers are. This metric can account for both your customer service and the quality of your products.
Learn how to calculate each metric:
What are the main indicators of customer service?
Final Tips for Providing Amazing Customer Service
Below, we share 4 tips so that you can offer excellent customer service that differentiates you from your competition.
1. Build a relationship with your buyer
In addition to solving the doubt or problem of your clients, it is important to generate a relationship with them.
To achieve this, we propose an exercise of four questions for you to ask —introspectively— after each interaction with a client:
Did I solve your question or problem?
Was he happy with me?
Did I go a step further to help you with your question?
Would I be happy if I had the same conversation that the client had with me?
If the answer is yes to all of them, then you are doing things right. If it is not, surely there are things that you have to improve.
These questions can be adapted to your business . The important thing is to have certain guidelines that help you understand what kind of service you want to provide to your consumers and how to build a relationship with them.
2. Accept your mistakes and apologize
We are human and we can be wrong, and this relates to a central part of customer service. Therefore, if you make a mistake with a buyer (whether it is sending a defective product, wrong delivery of an order or a late response on WhatsApp) it is important to accept that mistake, explain why it happened and apologize.
Sincerity and transparency is always better than making believe that the client is wrong.
3. Receive suggestions from your consumers
It is one of the best strategies to improve your business! You can find out what your customers think of your brand through satisfaction surveys .
There you can ask them if they are happy with the product , how the purchase process turned out, the delivery time and provide them with a space to leave their comments.
If your client made you a suggestion or proposal, try to give him a quick response . First to thank him for his feedback and then to tell him that you took his idea to implement at some point, or even when you have already implemented it! That will encourage them to send you more suggestions.
4. Exceed your buyers’ expectations
People generally talk about bad experiences, normal experiences don’t mention them, and only talk about positive experiences if they turned out amazing and exceeded their expectations. Therefore, we recommend the following:
Send your client a surprise along with their first purchase . It could be a discount coupon on a product or free shipping on your next order.
Write her a thank you letter by hand and enclose it in her shipping package, so she knows how special she is to you.
Send him an e-mail on special dates! Whether it’s his birthday (if you have that information) or for Christmas and New Years. Let him know that you remember him!
Focus on the treatment of your customer service before, during and after the purchase. That deal can often be a simple way to exceed your buyer’s expectations.
How to serve a client: basic tips to apply in your e-commerce
We hope this guide will be a powerful tool to boost your business and remember that when a person is buying on the internet, they are actually buying an experience (or at least you should try to make your customer see it that way) and that experience is born from the attention that you give him
Turn your company into a reference of excellence and make your customers become spokespersons and ambassadors of your brand!