There are several things you can do improve your overall business in order to compete with your competition, but few of those methods are as powerful as improving your customer service. In addition to offering exemplary customer service software, Cayzu also specializes in offering exemplary professional advice on how you can leapfrog past your competition by pinpointing your customer service strategy.
Make Your Site Easy to Use
Every now and then it’s a good idea to put yourself in a customer’s position to see how well your site works. How well does your online helpdesk work? Does your site load quickly and is it easy to navigate? If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online store, make sure you offer customers a self-service option. Doing so is a great way to ensure all of your customers get what they’re shopping for when they’re shopping for it no matter what time it is or the time zone they’re in.
Answers Should Be Quick and Easy to Come By
The answers to basic and common questions should be readily available on your site. Few things can upset your customers faster or easier than them not being able to easily find information that should be included in the FAQ section of your site. And speaking of FAQ sections, we recommend updating yours every couple months or so to keep up with changing inquiries.
Just as you have a business to operate, your customers have lives to tend to. Stick to whatever promises and delivery times you give. If there are ever any delays or reasons you’re unable to keep your promises or meet your obligations, make sure you have a good reason and that you’re completely honest with your customers. They’re often more forgiving if you take quick action, communicate with them and make up for any mistakes you make.
Prepare for the Absolute Worst
You and your customer service department are sure to have more than your fair share of bad and downright terrible days, so you might as well go ahead and prepare for them before they happen. Find out what some of the most common customer service complications are and find out how leading companies handle those specific situations. Be sure you include your customer service department to help with this step. They’re going to be the implementing your strategy, so they might as well help develop it.
Keep Every Impression in Mind
Don’t wait for your customer to come to you before you set the tone for your relationship, and this applies to your physical customer service department as well as your cloud help desk. You also want to be mindful of the message you’re sending to customers as they look over your physical store or website. Finally, you also want to end business transactions on a positive note rather than be quick to rush off to the next customer. Let your customers know you’re there for them if they ever need assistance in the future.
Rather than focus specifically on beating out your competition, focus instead on improving your business. No matter how crowded the marketplace becomes, it’s always best to focus inward rather than outward.
The Internet may still be young, but online marketing is imperative to a highly successful businesses. Especially for small companies, a quality web presence can increase revenue by as much as 20 percent. Many enterprises aren’t making the most of their various internet platforms and customer service software, but with the right shifts, any company can begin converting web leads into paying customers.
1. Don’t Get Caught in the Family Trap
One of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship is calling in favors from friends and family. Though these types of “associates” usually come without fees, they are rarely experts in advertising or online content. The truth is you probably entrust your web presence to professionals who understand the market.
2. Choose the Right Service and Provider
Some firms are huge and mainly focus on even larger clients. Others will offer unbelievable pricing, but low quality services. When you are setting up your online business components like a cloud help desk, make sure you hire partners like Cayzu who have a track record of excellence.
3. Hop on the SEO Bandwagon
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization and it involves the use of keywords to get to the top of search engine results. Most companies base their efforts on the Google algorithms, but if you have an international business, you should cater to other popular search engines as well.
4. Beef Up Your SEM
Search engine marketing or SEM incorporates SEO tactics but it is a much wider discipline. The system might employ pay-per-click advertising as well as SEO to drive your businesses websites to increase search engine visibility. As far as customer acquisition, this s considered on of the most effective tactics currently in use. With over 3.5 billion daily Google searches, it’s not hard to imagine why.
5. Put the Work in for a Perfectly Engineered Site
Modern consumers are impatient and 40 percent of Internet users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. Plus, 50 percent of web searches happen on mobile phones and apps. For these reasons, you website needs to adjust for mobile devices, be devoid of glitches and instantly engage leads with its design.
6. Sincerely Engage Social Media
When social media sites first popped up, they were seen as a way for young people to connect with each other, but they were not considered fit for professionals. Now, even the white house has an active Twitter presence. Social media sites reach millions of people and can be responsible for effective advertising.
7. Snail Mail Is Dead but Email Isn’t
Email is fast and doesn’t require postage. Regular newsletters, blog content or special offers are a great way to keep customers engaged and they foster consistent communication between the business and client. Like social media, you can track results and statistics, which will help you make smarter company decisions down the line.
No enterprise should view their web presence as unnecessary or unimportant. Something as simple as having an accessible online helpdesk can draw in and retain clients who like the ease and design of the system. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Internet media.
Inevitably, you or one of your employees will have a mishap that can negatively impact the businesses relationship with clients. Though the incident may just be a misunderstanding, you need to be prepared with an action plan to deal with these situations. It is important to combine excellent customer service software with consistent step-by-step problem solving procedure. The following are a few steps to help you through customer service recovery.
1. Offer a Sincere Apology
The apology is the first step and one of the most important. Even if you operate a call center with employees working from a script, you do not want your apology to sound forced, scripted or insincere. As you work with customers, you might be following established guidelines and procedures, but make an effort to speak candidly and genuinely.
2. Review and Understand the Complaint
After asking for forgiveness, you need to make sure you are familiar with the specific details of the complaint so you can identify the core issue. Sometimes, customers will send in multiple tickets regarding the same problem. That is why Cayzu offers conversation consolidation so you can streamline your tickets into a more manageable form.
3. Fix the Issue
When you are working with a customer, you should try to resolve the issue in 20 minutes or less. However, your industry or the problem at hand may delay resolution for days or weeks. As a helpdesk professional, find the quickest possible solution without sacrificing quality. Remember, the customer is already upset at this point, so try to deliver the best customer service possible to retain the client.
4. Follow Up With the Client
Many systems can help you effectively follow up with clients and claims, but a cloud help desk allows customers to take a more active role in the process. They can log onto an accessible interface and track the progress of their ticket. Regardless, customer service professionals must make the effort to show the client that they are still concerned with the client’s satisfaction after the resolution.
5. Document the Incident
There are several reasons to document every customer service incident and complaint. With the right customer service software, you can analyze your complaints to see how long average tickets take, what are your businesses common problems and what trends are affecting your market. Furthermore, if a customer contacts you for support, you will have a full record of their relationship with your enterprise, which can help you work more effectively with the client.
6. Consistently Communicate With Your Team
The client is always right and sometimes, your employees will not appreciate you siding with a customer. As a customer service supervisor, make sure your workers know that empathizing, listening and understanding the client are keys to finding an effective resolution that will not alienate the consumer. Let them know apologizing to the customer does not necessarily indicate that their work is unsatisfactory. Repeat this message as necessary.
Finding a great customer service resolution can be stressful and it usually requires a game plan. Though, with the right attitude and customer service software, you can consistently formulate quality solutions to client complaints. Don’t neglect customer service recovery procedures as your company grows.
Here at Cayzu Help Desk, we’ve spent a lot of time researching the customer service and customer support markets to better enhance our customer service solution for you! Here’s the latest and greatest of our past customer service blogs:
Could your customers really hate you?
7 Reasons Why Your Customers Hate You
Customers talking bad about you or your company? Use it to your advantage!
How to Use Negative Online Feedback to Your Advantage
Need some quick tips to improve your customer service? Here’s 20 of them!
20 Quick New Years Resolutions That Will Surely Improve Your Customer Service
Feel like you’re not big enough to compete with the big guys? Then fake it till you make it!
Use Customer Service to Fake It Till You Make It
Not sure if a help desk can help your small business? Let us tell you why it can!
Benefits a Help Desk Can Offer Small Businesses
Social media isn’t just about funny cat videos. Use it to improve your customer service!
Understanding the Marriage of Social Media and Customer Service
And last, but not least:
No one really loves hiring people. Use these tips to get it right.
How to Hire the Right Person to do Customer Service
We hope you enjoyed our latest recap and we sincerely thank each and every single one of #HappyCustomers for your continued support!
Having a dedicated team of Customer Service Representatives (CSR) will go far in helping improve your ability to provide reliable support services to your customers. No matter the experience and expertise of those working your cloud help desk, your customer satisfaction ratings will be low if you’re unable to properly manage their support work items. A CSR can do that, as well as much more, freeing you up to focus your efforts on other issues.
How Many Clients Can One CSR Handle?
Your first step in presenting the idea for the need for a CSR team to your executive leadership is to develop a realistic baseline ratio regarding the number of customer each CSR can oversee. Striking the delicate balance between staffing requirements and effectively meeting customer needs is a fluid process. Therefore, it should always be in the back of your mind that what you start out with is rarely what you’ll need to maintain over the long-term.
During the initial phase of a new deployment, your customer and CSR will typically have to collaborate more while the customary acclimation issues run their course. Yet as your services become more integrated with a customer’s operations, your CSR will be left with more time to assist other clients. Keep this in mind as you’re developing your initial expectations.
Your argument for the need for a CSM team will be bolstered if you agree to establish its success based upon client revenue renewal and growth rather than complete customer coverage. Such a model essentially limits your CSRs to simply fixing problems rather than adding value.
Considering Customer Types
In developing your ideal customer-to-CSM mix, consider the categories that your customers fall into. These can include:
• SMB (Small and Medium Business)
Your strategic customers should be assigned the highest priority due to the potential strategic relationship or current and future revenue thresholds that they present. Due to the fact that they will typically require the most attention, you shouldn’t assign more than 25 of such customers to a single CSR.
Enterprise customers (also referred to as “High Priority”) are those that meet certain revenue criteria that make them valuable to your company. A good CSR can usually manage between 30 to 50 of these clients.
Your corporate and SMB clients represent your foundational customers. They may not offer the same strategic value or potential for revenue, but they’ll comprise most of your customer base. The support service that they require may not even necessitate a CSR being assigned to them, but rather the development of their own self-services that your CSR can occasionally monitor.
Growing Your Team with Your Company
Aside from the types of customers that you serve, you’ll also want to consider their locations. While a CSR may be able to support a customer remotely, high-value clients will typically require that their services by localized. Thus, as your company grows, the deployment of your CSR team must also expand with it.
This leads to the issue of managing your team. As was stated earlier, your expectations for your CSM team should evolve over time. With those changes comes the need to develop a leadership structure to support your team in the field. That will likely begin with a Director or VP and eventually grow into regional managers and team leads.
Establishing a baseline ratio for customers-to-CSRs isn’t easy, nor is ensuring that your CSRs have all the tools at their disposal to meet customer needs. However, you’re not without help in this endeavor. Implementing a quality help desk software solution can help to empower your CSRs to be able to develop lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships between your customers and your company.
The helpdesk is the sole point of contact for users and is quickly becoming the face of IT. As customer service solutions become more involved, representatives have to keep up with the spectrum of procedures and technologies required to provide adequate support. This makes knowledge management critical because it improves service quality and it lowers the overall cost of support by enhancing productivity.
The number one helpdesk improvement as customer service consultants that we advise is to focus on speed in every area of your business. The speed your customers expect is accelerating and growing with the pace of technological development. For instance, some of the advancements that influence expectations include enhanced access to the Web, faster Internet speeds, the increase of tablets and smartphones, spontaneous search functions and always-on GPS.
There are more than 80 million millennial customers in the U.S. alone, and they place a premium on convenience and speed. However, they are just the most visible front. Customers of all ages expect speedier service, in part because successful brands have shown it’s feasible to speed up service without losing quality.
Compress Time to Gain a Competitive Edge
As with nearly everything these days, the service desk and the IT help desk are making their way to the cloud. The IT help desk is also emerging and service solutions are much more successful. To achieve that success, it is essential to take numerous factors into consideration when evaluating a variety of help desk solutions for your organization that will best compress time and increase quality.
The people, technologies and processes that support the cloud help desk are three critical components to any cloud help desk organization. Examining each of these areas and evaluating your business against expert recommendations and industry best practices will enable you to detect areas of opportunity for improvement. For instance, to increase the average speed of answer, focus on the following sectors:
• Customer satisfaction
• Meeting expectations
• Tightly integrated team
• Sustainable processes
• Remote management
• Reporting technology
This will encourage your team to begin to build a pathway toward maximizing the investment your company has already made. It will also improve the perception of satisfaction and value when it comes to your cloud help desk.
Doing More With Less
Improvements in cloud help desk software enable customer service agents to enhance their customer relationship management (CRM) skills and customer support. Cloud-based solutions have several benefits, such as simple and inexpensive deployment for any industry. When things go wrong, the cloud help desk is the first line of support. Generally, users don’t care what resources or applications help desk customer support agents utilize, they just know that they need help. Also, they are unsympathetic to gaps in how much time that it takes the help desk to solve their issue. This is inspired in part by the desire for continual process improvement and by more demanding users.
Being responsive to the rapidly changing IT environment requires an alert team that’s willing to adopt new technologies and take calculated risks to better assist their customers. Best help desk practices include increasing speed and quality of cloud help desk support that provides a balance to keep customers satisfied.
At Cayzu, we understand that your customers want to save as much as possible, but they also want to have a positive customer service experience. Focus more on improving your help desk capabilities and less on adjusting your prices to either beat or match those of your competitors. With a little insight, you’ll understand why.
It’s All About the Shopping Experience
Even if you offer prices lower than your competitors, your shipping, taxes and discounts might end up making the final price roughly equal to that of your competitors. You and your company are better off focusing on making changes and improvements to your customer service so that your current customers and potential customers won’t mind if they have to pay a bit extra for your services or products.
For instance, make sure you have accurate listings for your wares. What this means is that if a product is listed as “ready to ship,” make sure it’s actually ready to be shipped out without the customer having to wait for other necessary parts to arrive at different times.
If there are several different components to a specific product, such as a bed or piece of furniture, be sure all of the correct pieces are shipped together. No one wants to receive a bed with slats that are too long or too short, which can cause delays in the customer actually using and enjoying a product that was supposedly “ready to ship.”
Have a System in Place
Mistakes are bound to be made throughout the course of doing business, that’s a given. What’s most important is that you have a thorough and effective customer service plan in place with your cloud help desk designed to take care of customers and their problems.
For instance, make sure you have a product tracking system that remains constantly up-to-date so that customers know exactly where their purchase is and when they can expect it. Besides original orders, your tracking system should also give current information regarding replacements and products being shipped back from the customer.
For those times when customers call, email or message your help desk, they should receive actual help and not just excuses or empty promises. Your customer service agents should know how to properly, quickly and adequately respond to disgruntled customers and know which department to reference them to if need be. By empowering your agents, you empower the customer and give them a reason to continue doing business with you, even if your prices are a bit more than those of your competitors.
You may also want to set up your customer service so that customers always interact with the same representative until an issue is resolved. Customers don’t like having to speak with several different agents for a single problem, and they don’t like having to repeat information over and over again. It’s reassuring to know there is a single person taking care of a problem rather than chatting with or messaging three or four different customer service representatives who may or may not be up-to-date on the situation.
Cayzu may not be able to help you have the best prices in your industry, but we can certainly help you improve your customer service. Before you think of changing anything about your business, check social media and your reviews to see what your customers have to say about your customer service.
If there’s one term that everyone dreads when it comes to support services issues, it’s “help desk.” Even those of us within the industry don’t want to have to deal with it. Why? Because reaching out to the help desk only happens after a customer has tried everything under the sun and then some to try to resolve the issue on his or her own. By the time he or she reaches you, frustration has combined with fear, which has combined with desperation to create the potential for an explosive mix.
The key to diffusing what can be a volatile situation when a customer reaches out for support is being able to deliver a swift response time. Yet assistance alone isn’t enough; they also want answers. So the challenge then becomes being able to respond quickly to support tickets with the solutions that customers need.
Here’s How to Do It
Can it be done? Sure it can; all that you need is the collaborative efforts of your entire team. If you’re all able to dedicate yourselves to following the advice listed below, you’ll find satisfying all of your customers to not only an attainable goal, but also a method to generate more synergy between members of your support staff:
Develop a shared responsibility: Customer calls will often go unheeded because members of your team fall into the trap of thinking that they’re in so-and-so’s bucket. Shifting the focus away from individualized standards to team standards will prompt your support staff to work together to ensure that all calls are answered quickly, no matter who has direct responsibility over them.
Communicate clearly to customers: Your staff can control the tone and pace of your support calls if they establish effective lines of communication with customers first. This includes reaching out to them promptly and letting them know right from the get-go that if you can’t get an issue resolved on that call, you’ll get back to them as soon as possible with an answer.
Brainstorm: No one has all of the answers, and no one else’s ideas are unimportant if a customer’s issue is still sitting unresolved. Encourage your support staff to get together and talk over individual customer issues to see if added feedback will help to find that answer that customers are looking for.
Don’t overlook training opportunities: How many times have you heard someone say “Well, that’s Jim’s area of expertise”? The problem is that reps prolong customer resolutions waiting for Jim’s help, angering their own customers and causing Jim to neglect his. Use whoever your Jim is as a training resource to help the rest of your team know the answers like he or she does.
Beat customers to the punch: If you’re made aware of impending issues or outages, reach out to customers to make them aware of the situation before they encounter it. You can even go so far as to solicit their assistance and feedback in dealing with these issues.
Involve customers: Don’t let afraid to let the customers in on finding their own solutions. Instead of a call back, why not set up a chat session between support team members and customers that allows them to more effectively walk through the issue resolution process together?
Ultimately, customers just want to know that you care. Being able to respond quickly to their issues will go a long way in building up their trust in your support structure. Having top-of-the-line support solutions software can help you to fulfil your promise of providing exceptional cloud help desk services.
Good customer support skills have to be built on a proper foundation, which is one reason it’s essential that your help desk customer support agents be aware of the most important soft skills they need in their professional arsenal. We’re here to provide you and your agents with the six most essential soft skills that should be put to good use.
If your customer support agents aren’t confident in themselves, how can they gain the confidence of your customers? With self-confidence, your agents are always in control of the situation no matter how dire that situation might seem or how difficult a customer might be. Before you teach your agents anything else, make sure you teach them self-confidence. Give them the tools they need to build a house of success.
No matter how hard you try to do your best, there are some clients and customers who try to do their worst. Your customer support agents have to learn how to persevere and remain resilient no matter how poorly clients and customers might be treating them. They never know if their next interaction will be great enough to turn their entire day around. As long as agents are doing their best, what more can you ask for?
Proper communication is essential when it comes to customer support. Not only should your agents make themselves plainly understood by everyone they interact with, they should make sure they fully understand others. Good communication transcends words and spreads to our gestures, tone and body language. Ensure your agents know how to clearly and succinctly deliver their messages to customers and to each other.
Patience is the flipside of resilience. Where resilience is more of a reaction, patience is an action, one that must be practiced with diligence. A support agent might be engaged in an online chat on your cloud help desk and have no idea of what can be done to adequately solve a problem and please a customer. Rather than doing anything and everything possible to end the chat, your agents should use patience to truly reach the core of the problem to unravel what it is that the customer or client truly desires. You have to remember that your clients and customers might not understand the full scope of your company’s capabilities, which means that sometime even they don’t know what it is they’re truly asking for.
5. Be Part of the Team
While your support agents have their individual strengths and weaknesses, they need to understand they’re only as strong or weak as the rest of their team. Everyone needs to pull together and focus on the common company goal to truly achieve success. Your agents should also be willing to listen to each other, share with each other and learn from each other.
Humor is one of the greatest soft skills you can have, and one that many often forget about. Humor can turn a bad day around and make a good day even better. Inject some humor into your training and let your agents know it’s alright to have a sense of humor with customers and clients. Humor is also a great way to show your company is built with the help of humans and not robots.
How many of these essential soft skills do your agents currently possess? For more expert tips, don’t hesitate to reach out to the help desk gurus at Cayzu.
“The customer is always right” is a mantra of sales departments, but when it comes to the helpdesk, angry callers can make you wonder if the proverb is really true. Although nobody likes dealing with irate clients, customer complaints can turn into useful feedback, continued patronage, and positive experiences for everyone—as long as they are handled correctly. So how can you handle your angriest customers with class?
Understand the Caller
One of the first steps is to identify what type of customer you are talking to. Some customers have legitimate complaints, but are adverse to talking to you because they aren’t sure that you’ll care. Others are outspoken, unhappy, and ready to give you a piece of their mind. Some are chronic complainers, who are difficult to please but respond enthusiastically when you do, while others are simply looking for a free handout. Determining what type of customer you’re facing will help determine your strategy—should you press the issue to find out what the real problem is? Offer incentives? Politely stick to your guns? Or simply take a deep breath and listen?
Keeping the characteristics of your customer in mind, you should start by taking control of the situation, indicating to the customer that you are ready to handle their problem. Next acknowledge that you understand their concerns, and change the focus from their emotions to the solution at hand. Outlining how you’ll take care of it helps to reassure them that there is a solution, and you’re taking the problem seriously. Then help solve the problem.
Although it’s easy to outline the process of handling angry customers in general terms, in practice defusing problems can be difficult. Here are some tips for calming customers down and avoiding confrontation in the first place:
First of all, treat them genuinely and with respect. This is not official correspondence, so leave out stiff corporate phrasing. Don’t be a slave to the script or mentally check out of the conversation. If customers feel like they’re not being listened to, they will only become more upset.
When customers are upset, it can be tempting to respond with passive aggression. Don’t tell a customer “I’m sorry that you’re having this problem”, because that isn’t really an apology and subtly shifts the blame to them. This is not a good way to defuse tension. Instead, just apologize, take responsibility, and promise to fix it.
Don’t Be Too Bubbly
On the flip side, don’t be overly cheerful. Your customers can detect insincerity a mile off, and someone who is aggressively happy can be downright obnoxious. Treat your customers like regular people, being as genuine as possible while still remaining respectful and professional.
Finally, one of the best ways to help prevent a customer from becoming upset while using your helpdesk is to have efficient and effective customer service. In most cases, an angry customer can be persuaded to stay with you as long as you resolve their problem quickly and efficiently. Try to find solutions to decrease wait time, ease transfers, and ensure follow-through—a convenient customer service experience helps you to retain customers and streamline your operations. Cloud help desk technology is one great choice.
Good customer support isn’t about being right, it’s about making things right. With a little patience, these handy tips, and effective support management tools from Cayzu, you can turn angry phone calls into solved problems.