From average to awesome — 3 secrets of efficient and quality customer service
April 12, 20237 min read
You probably remember an efficient customer service experience that swept you off the floor.
Maybe it was at a restaurant where the person waiting on you was meticulous with your dietary restrictions. Or at a big box store where a floor worker fetched you the only remaining microwave you were hounding for.
Good times, weren’t they?
Great customer service makes all the difference. It can positively impact your brand perception — but vice versa is also possible.
Poor quality of service not only damages the business’ reputation but also massively affects the bottom line.
Did you know that just one bad customer service interaction is enough to drive one in three customers away from a brand they love?
You might have the best products or the lowest prices — but it doesn’t mean much for your bottom line if you deliver subpar customer service. After all, retaining a customer is more profitable than converting a lead; and if you lose that loyal customer, it can cost you.
What is efficient customer service?
Efficient customer service is defined as a service experience that takes a minimal amount of effort from your agents and customers to arrive at an apt solution. You can deliver high-quality customer service by streamlining processes, communicating effectively and providing solutions that meet the customer's expectations in a timely manner.
The goal is to create a positive customer experience that not only addresses their concerns but also optimizes resources and reduces costs for the business. By efficiently handling customer inquiries, feedback and complaints, businesses can build trust and loyalty, leading to increased customer retention and brand advocacy.
What are the qualities and principles of efficient customer service?
Customers are looking for specific characteristics in a brand they are seeking help from. These qualities serve as the pillars of efficient customer service.
Empathy: stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand their predicament to offer the best solutions
Clarity: providing clear and concise information that is easy for customers to understand
Professionalism: treating customers with politeness and respect, even in challenging situations
Accountability: taking responsibility for mistakes and working to make things right
Patience: remaining patient and calm, even when dealing with frustrated or difficult customers
Flexibility: adapting to the unique needs and preferences of each customer
Appreciation: showing appreciation for the customer's business and thanking them for their support
Why is delivering efficient customer service important?
Providing effective and efficient customer service is vital because not only it affects how your present customers view your brand but also how potential ones do.
Your customers are talking about your brand more often than you think. Both good and bad customer service experiences spread like wildfire. Nearly seven in 10 customers talk about an efficient customer service experience with six or more people. While, unhappy experiences will push 13% to complain about it to 15 or more people.
Quality customer service also impacts customers’ purchasing power. Customers are willing to pay a premium for an experience that’s both excellent and efficient. In fact, a survey of 1000 Americans revealed that almost six in 10 are willing to pay more if they love a brand’s customer service.
It’s important to understand that good customer service is the linchpin to an even better customer experience. Let’s look at some of the best benefits your business can reap from delivering quality customer service.
Quick responses mean happy customers, who are more likely to return and who might even recommend your company to others. The less time you spend resolving an issue, the more time you can spend on other important tasks and the more money you can save on potential refunds or lost business.
If you handle issues efficiently, it's less likely that minor problems will snowball into major ones. After all, it's much easier to put out a small fire than a raging inferno.
Good customer service can make your company stand out from competitors who may be neglecting this area. You'll definitely have an edge if you're consistently providing helpful and prompt service.
Good customer service helps ensure that you're more likely to get positive reviews, which can help attract new customers and retain existing ones.
If you're efficient in handling customer issues, you may be able to identify patterns or trends that can help you improve your products or services overall. So not only are you satisfying customers, but you're also gaining valuable insights.
Finally, it just feels good to help people! Providing a memorable customer experience can be satisfying in and of itself, especially when you make a real difference for someone who needs it.
From meh to wow — 3 ways to improve efficiency in customer service
Companies that don’t deliver fast, quality service or ignore opportunities for improving the customer experience could lose their customers’ business.
But is it feasible for companies to provide quick responses and resolutions without compromising quality? Most organizations would say no — you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. But focusing on one part of the solution won’t do you any good in the long run.
Take call centers, for example: businesses tend to cut costs by outsourcing labor and increasing the amount of customer service issues they can handle. While this approach may boost your bottom line, it makes for a much worse customer experience.
The truth is that you can tackle both. Here’s how to balance quality and efficiency in customer service.
1. Build one view for every customer
Customer service reps should have a complete visibility of who the customers are and what they need. Unfortunately, when reps can't see every customer interaction, a seamless experience is impossible, leaving customers unhappy.
To combat this, brands must standardize data across all touchpoints and databases to generate a holistic view of customer data. This will allow them to understand customers' needs immediately and deliver better customer service more efficiently, reducing customer frustration.
Wells Fargo saves big on costs with a one-view console for its conversations
By using this approach of a unified customer view, the bank could offer a seamless customer experience that's both safe for the brand and also compliant. Wells Fargo unified all use conversations throughout the journey onto a single-view dashboard. The bank's social and customer care teams worked together on one platform to create and publish content, manage ads, listen to online conversations and provide service to 70 million+ customers.
We were able to pare down from four technology solutions to one and eliminate millions of dollars in contractual expenses for single-point solutions. The way I describe it is that we now have our social data house in order.”
— David Encizo, VP, Social Media Marketing Technology and Operations, Wells Fargo
2. Be present on every single channel your customers use
The consistency of your customer service must remain channel-agnostic.
Customers expect a quick response, whether the channel is Twitter, Facebook, or email. Though it may be daunting for large brands with multiple channels and customers, technology can enhance customer care.
Brands can consolidate channels on one platform and automate workflows, connecting social media managers to customer care teams. This creates a seamless experience for customers and helps brands respond faster, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction rates. Let’s look at an example of efficient customer service through an omnichannel approach.
Mobily stays connected with its people with truly omnichannel support
Mobily was playing the old-school game of social media hopscotch, manually managing a few channels without any automation. But they knew they needed a new game plan - a unified solution to provide fast, customer-centric service across all channels their customers use. Today, they're the customer service champions, using 25 social and messaging platforms as parts of a single, seamless experience.
3. Resolve customer problems proactively
Customers value their time and self-service options are on the rise for a reason. Reps answering the same questions repeatedly or customers waiting for resolutions is a waste of time for everyone. The solution? Build a proactive repository that answers common questions and create a forum for community-based customer care. This approach can reduce the number of calls your company receives, freeing up reps to focus on complex issues and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To create content that truly helps your customers use customer data, user-generated content and social listening tools to understand their needs. But don't stop there! Ensure they can easily access the content you've created by putting it on your website, sending it in emails and sharing it on social media. And when customers voice concerns, address them quickly. Social media issues can quickly spiral out of control, so nip them in the bud. This shows your customers you care and builds trust in your brand.
How Cdiscount avoids retail nightmares by listening to their customers
Cdiscount takes its customer relations seriously and that means staying ahead of potential issues before they turn into a full-blown crisis. The company is able to analyze and transcribe customer interactions in real-time, allowing them to quickly detect any sensitive conversations and take action to avoid potential harm to its brand. With the ability to analyze 100% of voice calls and more than 75,000 conversations, Cdiscount can make continuous improvements to its customer support and keep its customers happy.
Know thy people — the key to deliver great customer service
If you look at all three of these solutions, you’ll notice a common theme: all of them involve knowing the customer better.
The good news is that all of the channels you use to engage customers can also be used to capture valuable customer data. You can use this data to get insight into how customers interact with your brand, what they’re looking for and what they need help with — all in the name of providing a better customer experience. Knowing which channels your customer prefers to communicate on means you can deliver a more efficient and seamless experience. And if you know what a customer’s issue is in advance, you’ll be able to resolve it before they even ask for your help.
By using customer care metrics, customer service software and proactive content more effectively, you can improve the customer experience to reduce churn and increase retention. Such an approach will make for happier customers and, most important, a stronger bottom line.