Creating Remarkable Experiences: Tips for Providing Great Customer Support
By Sam Hollis January 20, 2015
Businesses that offer great customer support not only help their customers, but also create remarkable experiences with their brand. Find out how you can kickstart or improve your support options.
Many people will tell you that customer service is a lost art. From unfriendly personnel to unbearably long wait times, simply getting the help you need can be more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Though that may be the case for some businesses, you can stand out by striving to make every customer experience a remarkable one. And the happier your customers are with your business, the greater the chance they’ll stick around.
According to Zendesk, customer service was ranked as the number one factor that influenced vendor trust. Additionally, 62 percent of B2B and 42 percent of B2C customers purchased more products after a positive customer service experience. Pretty rewarding, isn’t it?
With the new year upon us, it’s a great opportunity to start thinking about how you can provide support for your customers. If you already do, now’s the time to re-evaluate how you’re doing.
Ready to create remarkable experiences for your customers? Here are four ways to get started.
Where do I start?
The first thing to do when evaluating this aspect of your small business is get to know your customers. Before you get into the nitty-gritty, put yourself in their shoes by asking a few questions:
- Who are the people who use my service most?
- What are they looking to achieve?
- What tools do I provide to help them accomplish their goals?
Once you start thinking about your small business from their point of view, you can move on to figuring out the best way to provide support for your customers.
What type of support options are available?
Everyone is different. Making a meaningful connection with your customers means that you must understand their individuals needs, and as a result, provide support based on their needs.
Tip: Giving your support staff the best tools helps them create more remarkable experiences.
The four main customer solution options are as follows:
1. A Central Hub: The FAQ/Educational Resource Center
Some people prefer to search for their own answers. In these cases, a simple Frequently Asked Questions page is ideal. This is a great place to address general questions your customers might have, such as where your business is located or how to get started. If you find that customers have more in depth questions about your brand or product, you might want to create an educational resource center, sometimes known as a Knowledge Base.
In both cases, you’re able to provide customers with a one-stop-shop for quick and easy solutions to your most common questions.
When you set up your FAQ or Knowledge Base, you might also consider including a Contact Us or Support option. If you offer email, phone, or chat support, you can encourage that dialogue through those options.
Tip: Use these articles to identify potential pain points. Look for which ones receive the most attention and see if that aspect of your service can be improved.
2. The One-to-One Connection: Email
If you’re a solopreneur, email is a great way to communicate with and provide support to your customers. But it can be overwhelming to consider. With the inevitable onslaught of daily correspondence we all receive, how can you possibly manage every email?
One word: Filters.
Setting up a filter in your inbox that moves each message to a specific folder labelled “Questions” or “Support” will help organize incoming messages, and give you the ability to better manage your responses.
Dedicate a chunk of time each day to answering these emails.
If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over, consider adding a related article to your FAQ or Knowledge Base. You can then link to it in your email replies.
Other ways to help manage your workflow include:
– Keeping a document with common responses
– Investigating productivity software, such as TextExpander
– Organizing your inbox by date, so you reply to the oldest request first
Tip: Providing timely responses will show customers that you’re actively invested in their success. Be concise and polite.
3. The ‘Real-Time’ You: Online Chat
If you have built out a team to help customers resolve their issues, consider integrating an online chat platform with your site. You’ll be able to communicate quickly and easily with customers, to provide them with necessary educational resources and support.
Tip: Online chat sessions not only save time, they make it possible to multitask and provide support to several customers at once.
4. The Emotional Connection: Phone Support
As your business grows, consider adding a dedicated support team that’s available via phones. This provides your customers with a direct line of personal communication. Your team members will be the subject matter experts and brand ambassadors for your company, so remember, they will need to be some level of training prior to taking calls.
Tip: Provide your team with headsets! This may seem like common sense, but being able to have both hands free makes it much easier to provide remarkable support.
What should I say?
Now that you know the main ways to connect with customers in need of a little assistance, what should you say to them?
It’s good to acknowledge and understand your customer’s state of mind from the moment they contact you. Know that a simple apology, or acknowledgement of the issue, will go a long way in building rapport. Here are some key phrases to keep in mind when addressing their issues:
- “I do apologize for the inconvenience…”
- “I am sorry for any difficulty you may be having…”
- “I understand your frustration…”
Remember to be personal and address your customer directly. Providing the best answer possible comes first, but your personality should always shine through.
As you consider your response, always ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I acknowledging their issue?
- Am I addressing their frustrations?
- Am I clear and concise in my response?
Tip: Learning to manage the tone in your response can help reduce the stress of your customers and show them that you care.
What if I can’t handle it on my own?
If you’re not quite ready to build out your team, there are alternative options to handling customer inquiries on your own.
External services, such as Desk.com, provide a platform to help manage incoming inquiries.
Or, consider outsourcing through third-party companies, like oDesk. This allows you to hire freelance support staff who are knowledgeable and trained in providing the kind of support you’re looking for.
Great Customer Support Makes For Great Business
At the end of the day, your customers are the most important part of your business. Providing support not only educates them for the future, but allows you to foster respect and open a line of communication that allows everyone to grow. Who knows, you might even use their feedback to better your service! Aside from yourself, your customers are the best people to help make your small business even more awesome.
Do you have any tips or tricks for providing the most remarkable service possible? Please let us know in the comments!