It's pretty hard to completely nail what constitutes bad customer service, because everyone has their own opinion and expectations. But the core values of good customer service can be applied to most businesses, no matter which field they're in and that's definitely something that is easy to learn and apply into your own workplace.
If I can be so bold for a moment - at Showcase, we really pride ourselves on our customer service and it's something our customers regularly comment on. It's one of our cornerstones here - and throughout our years of phone support, triaging tickets, and having really thorough conversations with our customers - we feel like we've created a well oiled machine that we can feel secure in.
It can get a bit tricky to figure out where you're going wrong though. Maybe your level of tickets has been slowly increasing over time. Maybe you feel like your customers are 'suffering in silence' and choosing to not even contact you with questions or issues anymore. Or maybe you've seen a drop off in usage or continued business.
Either way - that doesn't feel great and we want to fix it!
We're detailing what we've learned and how you can make your Customer Success, success.. ful.
Auto replies are one of those things that can get kind of irritating if you get them wrong, and reassuring if done well.
Many auto replies tend to come across as though you're just another number, another ticket in the system for the company. They're cold and impersonal - are you dealing with a real company or potential robot overlords??
Good auto replies should always have the pertinent information:
- Acknowledgement that you've received their message
- An estimate of response time
- A thank you
How you inject personality and “humanness” into your automated interaction is up to you. It can come in many different ways - a fun P.S. line, images, GIFs, or signatures.
At Showcase we change up our auto reply on a frequent basis, to keep things interesting for our customers (and because they're kind of fun to come up with) but you don't need to update them as much as we do!
Straight out of the gate - if a customer contacts you for support or questions, on average how long does it take for you to get back to them?
We have a guarantee here that every customer contact gets responded to within 24 hours. We implemented this because we know first hand how amazingly frustrating it is to ask for help or to ask a small question, and then get stuck waiting for a response.
Take a look into your response times and average it out - could it be turning people off from contacting you? If you find you take a long time to respond, we'd also recommend looking into why that is.
- Do your requests and questions take a long time to investigate?
- Do you find you need to go back and forth with other people to work out answers?
- Or, do emails get lost and you need reminders to remember to reply?
If you know that it'll take some time for you to answer an email for whatever reason, a courtesy email reply to your customer simply explaining that you're looking into it and you'll get back to them when you have answer, can go a LONG way. It shows you haven't missed their request, and that it's being actively worked on.
In customer support and success, the tone in which you respond either in email or over the phone can be the difference between a customer staying with your business or leaving - to be completely honest.
Did you know that 52% of people who get bad customer support tell their friends or family? To drive that whammy home even more - 32% of those people will stop using that business completely. Ouch - those are some grumpy custies!
We try to keep the majority of our tone consistent throughout all of our platforms - be it website, social media, or knowledge base. By including our customer support in that group, we have a recognisable 'style' and an expected tone for our customers.
Thinking of what kind of response you'd ideally like if you contacted support is a great base to start on. By treating your customers how you'd like to be treated, it's easy to convey a sense of warmth, understanding and a willingness to help.
Things like frustration and impatience can be really easily picked up on so it's really important to keep a calm and professional tone at all times if you can! A good way to go about this is to put yourself in the customers situation and try to think about what got them to this point, and what things you can do to help them ensure they have a better experience next time.
The information you give
When responding to customer questions or requests, having the ability to adapt your answers to the kind of customer you're talking to is one of the best customer service skills you can master!
You'll get a wide range of people contacting you - some will be tech savvy and some will be completely new and fresh to your company. There will be a range of understanding of your business and a range of abilities, and to guarantee that you don't waste their time and yours, using some finesse in how you respond can be the difference between someone leaving with a great impression of you or leaving with a sour taste in their mouths.
Things to pay attention to when responding or explaining:
- Is the customer just after a quick answer or confirmation of something, or is the customer asking for a step by step set of instructions.
- Does the language of the customer imply they have a good understanding of what they're enquiring about?
- If the customer doesn't seem to be responding well to email responses, do you think explaining over the phone would be more beneficial?
- What kind of vibe is the customer giving off? If they are at the point of frustration, adjust your response and tone accordingly. If you feel they're excited and genuinely interested in learning in detail, you have some freedom to give more in depth information that you may not otherwise mention.
We can't give you ALL our success secrets of course, but we hope laying out these basic principles helps you out. You're always welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see some of this in action!
If you're new here, and interested in Showcase, why not book a free custom demo?