Published on September 19, 2017
Just the thought of customer service is prone to give the average person acid reflux. Who hasn’t been traumatized by a never-ending stream of automated phone “conversations,” lazy service reps, and the general feeling that we, even as loyal customers, somehow got screwed over in all of this?
Working in customer service isn’t easy. Every person is different, every interaction is just a page in the story, and every bad experience weighs more heavily than a dozen neutral or positive ones.
So where does all of this leave your business? The good news is you’re in the driver’s seat. The bad news is you probably haven’t been following all the traffic laws, and if you don’t put that seat belt on, it’s going to catch up to you very soon.
Here are five customer service mistakes that are killing your company–and how to fix them:
Your customer’s product isn’t working, and the only means of contacting you is an email address (in plain text, nonetheless!) hidden in a dark corner of your website. Then when they finally click the link and think of the appropriate way to describe their situation, they have no idea who’s looking at their request, and are even less sure if it will receive a response in a timely manner.
You’re not a swamp monster, so why are you lurking in the darkness? If you want to achieve customer happiness, you have to make it easy for your customer to communicate with you. Do a quick check of your site. How easy is to find the contact button? Do they get a confirmation email acknowledging its receipt? And how quickly are you getting back to them?
When you slow down the entire process of communication, each individual communication carries much more weight. If each interaction takes hours–or even days–to move forward, the customer will inevitably grow more and more frustrated. Soon enough, they’ll choose somewhere else to do business.
Fortunately, if you have the right tools, establishing customer relationships is easier than you think.
Resolve issues quickly with live chat. Live chat removes virtually all barriers by answering customers’ questions in real time. Help.com’s widget hangs out at the bottom of your screen, making it a handy tool for curious visitors or loyal clients. It can even proactively message customers if you set certain rules for it.
Now that your customers have reached out, it’s time to get to the real work of handling their concerns. Unfortunately, your agents are disorganized and easily distracted. Clicking from page to page looking for shopping history isn’t only a hassle, it leaves your reps open to mistakes. “Were they asking about the July order or the June order?” your rep wonders as he clicks through three different browser windows with 5 tabs each while texting his friend about the game tonight.
End the distractions with a live chat platform that neatly organizes all of your customer information in the same screen. Question about a product? It’s there. Need some more context about the situation? Chat history opens into a split screen. Visitor info? You’re looking right at it. Not only is a streamlined interface with third party integrations time-efficient, it shortens the “click-commute” for agents, which means fewer distractions and a stronger focus on your customers’ needs.
Your least experienced agent is handling a complicated customer, whose situation you’ve been following for days. The problem? You have no idea because you’re not in tune with the rest of your team. How do you troubleshoot a case if you’re not aware of it in the first place?
Your agents don’t need to be on their own. Your live chat platform should include a workspace that keeps the team in mind. An agent-to-agent messaging system within your customer service platform streamlines communications so that your agents can keep each other in the loop about ongoing situations or frequent customers. Additionally, a transfer chat feature such as the one provided by Help.com’s platform means that you can delegate specific concerns to the agents best-suited for the job. If Agent A takes a chat that Agent B is well-versed in, a simple chat transfer will ensure your customer is more satisfied with the outcome–and more likely to return to your business in the future.
The chat is complete. Your customer is logged off, and now your agent has moved on to his next conversation. Did he do a good job? Or did he leave a bad impression? You have no clue because you haven’t looked into it.
Stay in the know with surveys and detailed reporting. Ask your customers about their experience after they’ve finished chatting. The only way you can improve your customer service is if you’re open to feedback. Shutting the door on your customers is a quick way to lose business and dig your head deeper into the sand. Sure, it’s nice to have only positive customer reviews, but it’s worse to have no customers at all.
Another way to stay on top of your business is with specific reports. Help.com offers specialized agent and department reports that use various metrics to identify patterns, growth, and other important factors that contribute to your business’ success.
Before they become your customer, they’re just a person landing on a page that happens to be your business. They know nothing about your product except the descriptions and visuals your site displays. It looks like they’re ready to check out, except they’ve been sitting on the same page for five minutes. Your potential customer eventually ditches your site completely. Now what?
If you’re not assertive with your business, you’re losing out. Step up your live engagement by approaching customers first. If you notice someone sitting with a full shopping cart for a few minutes, you can set up a rule that targets that specific kind of visitor. Proactive chat also gives your agents a platform to upsell and discuss products the visitor may not have previously considered.