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For any company, it’s important to always look at customer service and consider how it can be reinvented, revamped and improved.
It’s more important now than ever as the business world navigates a new landscape during (and following) a global pandemic.
In this blog, we’ll explore how customer service is changing and provide tips to help you keep improving and excel.
New customer service challenges
The ways companies interact with their customers has changed since the pandemic began. Employees, including customer service reps and call center employees, are now working from home. Communications are more often online than in-person.
However, customers don’t expect (or accept) a decline in the quality of customer service. In many cases, they’ve needed more since the crisis began.
Businesses have had to maintain their speed of responsiveness and be more empathetic to their needs than ever.
Kustomer.com polled more than 150 customer service pros to understand how their businesses have been affected by COVID-19.
They discovered specific service attributes customers value the most during this crisis: empathetic, personalized and quick service, flexible policies, proactive outreach and omnichannel support.
Best ways to improve customer service
To level-up your customer service, consider this simple step — take fantastic care of your own employees.
Happy employees produce happy customers. Now especially, be aware employees have a lot going on. They’re preoccupied with their jobs, the future of the companies they work for and their health.
Your employees are the most critical component of everything your business does. When they feel good, they’ll make your customers feel good.
As for your customers, there will be important services going forward.
Now in vogue are highly personalized services that meet the unique needs of each specific customer. To deliver these, it’s become more important to understand the specific behaviors of customers.
In accounts payable (AP), for instance, you can study data to determine how a specific customer likes to make payments. Do they prefer to pay by check or virtual credit card? Do they prefer to make payments early or late in the month? With these detailed insights, tailor your services, recommendations and insights to each customer individually.
Remember the importance of relationships
Relationships you have with people in business, and the networks you set up to grow your business, are powerful and fulfilling. These relationships should span far and wide from customers to suppliers to vendors to investors – and all should be empathetic and compassionate.
Take care of all of them. Make follow-up calls to customers to make sure their payments have arrived on time and are accurate. Show them you care about how they’re doing by the actions you take.
Ask how you can help make their job easier and grow their business or if they need anything from you they’re not receiving. Ask them what problems they have that you can help solve.
Take the extra step and start a new interpersonal customer collaboration with someone you never have before. Ask them how you can serve them better. Show them you care by asking how they’re feeling during these tough times.
Demonstrate genuine interest in how your customers are doing in their personal lives. Ask your customer how their family is doing, what hobbies they enjoy and how they’re getting along in these unusual times.
When you emphasize relationship building, many of these people will help you take care of you and your business.
Use technology to improve customer service
Technologies are central to improving your service and relationship with customers. The entire business world is transitioning towards all-digital usage all the time – and the pace has accelerated big-time because of the pandemic.
From a customer service perspective, this shift to digital means you should consider providing more digital and automated solutions.
Automated processes are faster, less costly, and reduce mistakes – all leading to stronger customer relationships. When you automate and take advantage of its benefits, customers are more satisfied and build trust.
A Kustomer.com survey revealed 59 percent of respondents believe there’s a need to use more automation for efficiency, while 56 percent said it’s important to invest in new technology.
These numbers – typical of many recent survey findings – show momentum towards automation and technology. And this is all going to help deliver more personalized services to customers and build deeper and more loyal customer relationships.