7 min

A 2021 Guide on How to Improve Customer Service

Customer service has never been more important. Yext walks through how to boost your numbers in 2021.

By Yext

Sep 20, 2021

7 min

In the last year, customer service skills have become more important than ever. Users have increased the amount they shop online, which means that they don't get the experience of seeing something in the store or asking a representative before they purchase.

Customer service is a critical element of ensuring your customer's happiness, and it can directly shape positive (or negative) customer experience. Users should feel confident in your business in what you provide and how you assist them.

Between highly skilled customer service representatives, artificial intelligence, and anticipating your users' needs, here is a guide on improving customer service in 2021.

Have Multiple Channels of Service

Users will have a lot of expectations and personal preferences when it comes to customer's needs, so it's best to have as many bases covered as you can.

While some customers prefer to speak with a human representative, others might prefer to find the answer to their issue by themselves. Some may prefer to lodge a complaint on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

Generally speaking, your clients will expect to find a solution as soon as possible, no matter what route they choose. This can be achieved on your end by having several options for them, so no matter when they need assistants, there's always something there for your customer service team to help address your customers' needs.

Customer Support Representatives

A lot of customers will prefer to speak with a human in real-time over a chatbot. It's incredibly important to make sure that your team of support agents is well prepared. Technology has advanced so much, even in just the last decade.

The devices available can make customer support even easier to provide successfully, but it does mean that your team will require regular training.

Initial boarding of new employees should include an extensive training period so that your staff can be well-versed in the service software they'll be using as well as the product or service that your company provides.

Users prioritize their time over all else, and you don't want your customer care team wasting time doing too much research to find solutions. They should be confident in their knowledge of your company and able to help users quickly and efficiently.

AI Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence has worked itself into more aspects of our lives than you might think. It's in our music apps, our map apps, voice assistants, and even our customer interaction in the form of chatbots.

Actually, you might have already known about chatbots. They've been around for about ten years, and when they were introduced, they weren't everyone's favorite.

But since their birth, chatbots have made huge strides in the technology that they use. By utilizing natural language understanding and complex algorithms in live chat, chatbots can mimic human customer service agents to an impressive degree.

AI chatbots are an excellent online option for excellent customer service. They're always available no matter what time of day, don't get overwhelmed by high volumes, and quickly provide users with accurate answers.

Not to mention they tend to take care of some of the easier to answer questions that your customers may have, freeing up your human agents to focus on the more complex issues.

Forums and FAQ

Sometimes your customers might not want to speak with a human representative or a chatbot but rather find the solution they're looking for by themselves.

This is where a customer forum or a Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ page, can come into handy.

Allowing users to answer their own questions is beneficial to them as well as your business. Customers will tend to look up smaller problems on their own, which takes care of minor tickets. They'll speak with your agents if they need more detail.

Value The Customers Time

Users report that they expect and highly value a company that respects their time as much as they do. This means that professionalism and swift and meaningful responses are critical when the customer initially reaches out for help.

Fast Responses

Make sure to respond to any tickets or messages within at least 24 hours, preferably within the business day. Otherwise, you might end up frustrating your users and driving them away to someone who will help them faster.

Human agents should be able to respond and at the very least initiate the conversation with clients regarding their issues. If your team becomes too busy to respond to tickets within a reasonable time, you might not have enough agents to keep up with the size of your audience.

24/7 Availability

While users often prefer human customer service representatives, they aren't always available. It could be that your business just isn't big enough yet to have 24-hour availability, or you have international clients in different time zones.

This is where chatbots and forums can really benefit you and your customers. Even if your human agents are unavailable due to limitations, chatbots are able to provide support at all times of day or night.

Forums and FAQ pages are great resources for self-service in this situation. If the customer is unable to speak with a representative immediately, they might answer their own question through user comments or a provided list of answers.

However, they're able to find the solution to their problem; you want to make sure you have a way for them to get there whenever they need it.

Collect and Analyze Feedback

User feedback is incredibly useful for almost every department within your business. Developers can use it to help implement updates to your website or service to better fit your audience.

Marketers can use feedback from customer satisfaction surveys to shape how you target your demographic successfully. And customer service can use it by being able to anticipate the needs and objectives of your users.

Many of the channels we've discussed so far provide great insights into the customer experience. Chatbots record and log the questions your users are inputting, creating an index of frequent issues.

Forums are a direct line to online reviews that disclose what your customers are thinking about regarding your service and company, whether positive or negative.

Regular Training

You want your customer service representatives to be the best of the best, and for better or worse, the world of support is anything but stagnant.

Your team will have to keep up with the software that they use to communicate with and assist your clients. The products or services you provide will more than likely be changing somewhat frequently. Even the target demographic your company is focused on may shift.

All of these things require regular training so that your customer support team can have the best mindsets and be able to provide the best customer service to your users.

Training can be extremely beneficial even in certain soft skills like patience, communication, active listening, empathy, and leadership. Continual growth will empower and motivate your team and strengthen them into top-tier representatives for your clients.

Address Issues Before the User Does

Anticipating problems and getting in front of them is an essential aspect of better customer service. We've mentioned that customers appreciate small businesses that value their time, and this includes letting them know when something is wrong in advance so they can prepare.

Consider that you're an internet provider and your system goes down due to an unforeseen outage somewhere. You have a team on these things, so you will be aware of issues before your users.

Letting them know with a brief message that your company is aware and already working on the situation before they notice that things are out of sorts provides a better customer service experience. Better customer service interactions will give them confidence that you're going to take care of it as swiftly as you recognized it.

Knowing how long something will take to find a solution is a big help to users. Living with an unknown amount of time can be more stressful than a long wait time. And even if it is longer than they would like, knowing that information helps them prepare what they need to.

In Conclusion

Great customer service is an essential function of any successful company. Your users are more likely to share your business with friends and family if they have a good customer service experience with your team.

That being said, they're also likely to share negative experiences that can damage a company's reputation.

Always be available for your clients, even if it's not a human representative. Time is extremely valuable to your users, and it should be to you as well. Have multiple resources for them to find the solution to their problems.

Make sure that your human customer service representatives are well trained regularly. Keeping up with the software that they use and the product or service that your company is providing will help them offer the best support possible to your audience.


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