Business

Top 13 Customer Service Features for Business

Top 13 Customer Service Features for Business

Providing multiple customer service features at your business helps you build brand loyalty and ensures anyone with a complaint leaves happy. It can be hard to get this right, and some companies never do. Especially the big ones. So, you can get ahead of some of the competition by offering services that they do not. This will help establish trust and loyalty but also keep your customers happy, which is the very least your service team should aim for in the first place.

Human to Human Contact

People want to deal with a real person when they get in touch with you about something that has gone wrong. They might feel that using automated systems doesn’t get to the root of the issue and only a human can help them with a situation. This is especially true with something personal or when large sums of money are at stake. You can use outside services, such as virtual receptionists, to deal with large numbers of calls relating to customer service queries.

AI and Automated Features

As mentioned, most people will want to speak to a human when calling to resolve an issue. But using AI and automation still has benefits. And some people will prefer to deal with an automated system to find what they are looking for. Automation can help you with the following:

  • Enables your customer support teams to handle larger volumes by automating tasks.
  • You can assign and prioritize tickets easier, more efficiently, and by category.
  • AI can analyze customer queries to gain insights from data and highlight an issue.

When you use AI and automation, you enhance your existing customer service platform. Yet as powerful and valuable as these tools are, you should always keep balance in mind. It doesn’t help your business to lean more towards one method of dealing with customers than another.

Customer Service Features Includes Email

Further to automation, email is a valid and widely used method of staying in touch with customers. Of course, you should provide as many contact methods as possible. But email is popular because it is quick and convenient. Additionally, you can personalize and tailor emails to your customers. And you can always include previous transcripts about a query to make sure everyone stays on the same page. Apps like MailChimp will help you deal with large volumes.

Competent Staff and Representatives

Your customer service reps cannot resolve an issue if they don’t understand what is going on. When a customer gets in touch with you, they at least expect any of your team to understand the product. So it’s necessary to make sure your staff knows what they are dealing with. The onus is on you to ensure they have all the information, data, and training they need to be able to help your customers with anything they get in touch about through all contact methods.

An Easy Transaction Process

One of the most important things to a customer is how easy it is to use your business. From start to finish, the customer experience should be as effortless as possible. For example, if you use a website, it should be very easy to navigate, provide details about products, and offer various ways to pay. For a phone-based method, there should be minimal waiting times, a very simple menu system, and immediate options to provide access to human customer service.

Follow Up Communications

You can really show you care about your customers with follow-up contact. And customers will also expect this in some way. If you don’t, then customers can feel like you simply don’t care. Also, you can boost engagement, reduce some of the costs further down the line, and improve the relationship all around. You should also provide multiple ways of follow-up contact. For instance, you can offer SMS texts, email notifications, or even social media engagement.

Liability and Resolution when Something Goes Wrong

Your customer service department can show what it’s made of when something goes wrong, as this is the biggest challenge. It also gives you an opportunity to see how well they perform by handling customer complaints. But there is a process your reps should always try to follow:

  • First, admit that you are at fault and inform the customer you will resolve the issue.
  • Apologize as much as you can for the inconvenience your customer is experiencing.
  • Go over what went wrong in detail so the customer knows what you are looking into.
  • Try to fix the problem internally as fast as possible by raising tickets and checking data.
  • Get back to the customer within twenty minutes of speaking to them about an issue.
  • Keep customers informed about the progress being made in relation to fixing it.
  • Provide a customer with a detailed description of what happened after fixing an issue.

All a customer wants is recognition and appreciation when something goes wrong. Just getting in touch with you can be stressful for them. So your customer service team needs to be well aware of the correct procedure for dealing with issues, which will further build brand loyalty.

Be Honest About What You Are Able to Do

Maybe the worst thing you can do from a customer service point of view is overpromise. Because when this happens, you will probably underdeliver. So you must make sure your team knows to never be dishonest about what they are able to do for a customer. It helps to be flexible by stating what you can and cannot do. But also try to stay positive by avoiding words like “No” and phrases like “We can’t do that.” This makes resolving something much easier.

Always Maintain a Polite and Positive Attitude

How your team comes across in communications can have a dramatic impact on how a query turns out. Maintaining a polite and positive attitude at all times is always the best solution, even when a customer is rude. This way, you can show you have tried to help to the best of your ability. Additionally, nobody will appreciate a team member who is rude, and it can cost you time, money, and reviews. This applies to all contacts, such as email and phone, and face-to-face.

Make Any Support Services as Fast as Possible

According to one consumer study, only 30% of people didn’t state time as an important factor in customer service. Today, just like you, people have less time to deal with things as we all have greater work and family responsibilities. So pretty much everyone will appreciate a speedy response and resolution to an issue. Of course, there are reasons an issue can take a while. But in general, train your team to efficiently handle queries and how to escalate an issue.

Train Employees to Use Customer Service Features

Further to training your employees, the team should be trained often when it comes to customer service. And this should include more than how to use internal systems for queries. You should make sure your team is trained in handling customers, how to speak to the vulnerable, and when to pass along a query to a specially trained department. By doing this, you ensure that customers get the best possible service through every step of your team’s service process.

Offer Compensation or Alternatives

There are laws and rules when it comes to your responsibilities as a business that serves customers. For example, you must refund a faulty product. But when you think about it, this is the minimum you can do. Customers love it when you go above and beyond their expectations:

  • Offer a refund on the cost of the return, a free replacement, and credit for your business.
  • You can also offer a percentage discount on all future purchases for a limited time.
  • Replace a returned product or canceled service with an upgrade for the same price.

Acts of kindness like this will make all but the most hardened customer very happy. It shows that you are accepting fault. And also, make sure that they know you are putting their needs before your own. Also, try rewarding team members who go out of their way to make customers happy.

Establish a Culture of Customer Happiness

Making customers happy shouldn’t be an afterthought. You can really engage with your valued clients by ensuring your team is able to go out of their way to make sure they are satisfied. You can do this by creating a lively workplace with a culture of customer happiness at the forefront of your service. This is a challenge, though. But you can begin by always taking in what customers have to say and making changes, treating them like VIPs, and staying consistent at all times.

Summary

Even today, many major companies don’t use even the most basic customer service features across their business. Some of these include providing quick and easy human contact, taking responsibility when something goes wrong, and offering adequate compensation to replace the cost of a product. Any of these will help keep most customers happy. But you can also go further by making sure there is a company culture or providing quality customer service all around.

Already published – Top Inspired

About the author

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Tom Bernes

Tom Bernes is the Editorial Director at The Next Hint Inc.

Prior to joining The Next Hint Inc, Tom had a hand in a number of online and print publications, including InternetNews.com as chief copy editor and Government Technology Magazine as managing editor. He also did a stint in Sydney as group editor of RBI Australia's manufacturing group, which is when he also developed an affinity (a love, really) for cricket.

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