- Here is a step-by-step guide to bringing innovation to the customer service industry.
When we talk about innovation in the industry, it usually boils down to launching revolutionary products. Indeed, unique products and services captivate audiences, but innovation applies to many other aspects. You can bring variations to the leadership style or upscale customer service to gain an edge in the market. Although entrepreneurs think customer service is a clear-cut affair, it can do wonders for businesses in the practical world.
Customers send emails, make phone calls, and companies respond to their queries and solve problems. Surprisingly, your brand image which is perceived as either positive or negative, can be heavily reliant on this whole process. If customers have a pleasant experience with customer support, they are likely to become loyal to the brand. At the same time, if support representatives take forever to respond, customers will happily find substitutes. In short, customer service holds the power to make or break your brand.
Most entrepreneurs think customer experience and service are two different things, but they are seemingly interchangeable. After all, the entire purpose of offering support is to improve customer experience. Therefore, it is time to bid goodbye to all old-school practices and open your doors to innovation. You can integrate technology, leverage software, or use artificial intelligence to uplift customer support.
However, before making some big decisions, learn about the customer service industry. You can complete certificate programs to expand your understanding of what fosters positive customer interactions. The type of online certificate program you choose depends on your schedule and how much time you can devote to your courses.
You will also learn about innovative marketing technologies that can build, retain, and develop customer relationships. Here is a step-by-step guide to bringing innovation to the customer service industry.
1. Integrate AI & Machine Learning
In this technological revolution, we witness a constant growth in the usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). From Google, Facebook, Amazon to Netflix, everyone uses AI-enabled servers to improve customer experience. Surprisingly, these technologies also play a significant role in the customer service industry. AI offers access to chatbots who take charge of all customer queries and problems.
Unlike humans, bots don’t need lunch and coffee breaks, offering customer support round the clock. Similarly, they respond to queries in seconds, which means customers won’t have to wait for hours for a response. Most importantly, chatbots can handle large volumes of data. They are well-versed with the buyer’s purchase history and shopping trends, bringing accurate recommendations for them.
2. Initiate Loyalty Programs
Sometimes, companies forget about customers once they make a purchase. Indeed, acquiring new customers is crucial to maintain profitability, but customer retention is equally essential. According to Review 42, 65% of a company’s profits come from old customers. Therefore, bring innovation to your customer service by launching loyalty programs. It offers value to customers after they make a purchase, building brand loyalty.
You could captivate them with special discounts, offer after-sales support, or initiate referral campaigns. Otherwise, you could look up to brands like Tarte for some inspiration. It provides user-generated content such as makeup tutorials and selfies to help customers make purchase decisions. Likewise, they also offer rewards to people who post a selfie with Tarte products. Sounds interesting? You could also follow a similar approach to provide people with a unique shopping experience.
3. Capture Feedback
Are you delivering an incredible customer experience? Well, you won’t know until you ask customers about it. Ideally, you can do this by capturing feedback in real-time. Firstly, opt for live chat tools to have real-time conversations with the buyers. You can hop onto Facebook or Instagram live and see what people have to say about your products. Secondly, send follow-up emails to every customer with a survey where they can rate their experience.
Besides this, if you have a budget, make outbound calls to gain more insightful customer feedback. Once you have a keen understanding of customer’s touchpoints, you can use the right tools and strategies to improve customer experience. If people expect a personal touch in campaigns, share ideas with customer representatives to offer personalization.
4. Improve Customer Interactions
How to improve communications skills for agents? Do they have effective problem-solving skills? Today, customer support representatives need a diverse skill set to interact with customers. They should be tech-savvy, friendly, and knowledgeable enough to solve complex problems. Here we are unfolding some tips to improve customer interactions across all channels.
- Practice active listening to ensure customers don’t feel unheard. Representatives should rephrase what customers say to ensure they understand them. Likewise, empathize with customers to create a common ground for resolution.
- ● If the company is at fault, acknowledge your mistake and offer an acceptable solution. For instance, if there has been a delay in the delivery of a product, offer compensation, a complimentary gift, or anything that is of value to the customer in order to make up for the mistake.
- You can create communities on social forums since customers feel more valued when they are a part of a community. You can build social groups, host webinars, trade shows, or develop an interactive website.
5. Upgrade Customer Service Strategy
In most companies, customer support lasts until a buyer completes his/her purchase journey. However, at times, customers need after-sales assistance with product assembling, return and exchange policies, etc. Therefore, it is time for companies to upgrade their customer service strategy and find new ways to assist their customers. You can offer more than automated email and social media responses by replying to them in real-time. If customers ask for an exchange, reach out to them personally, and discuss the potential problems.
Likewise, offer superior treatment to your regular customers and make them feel appreciated. Any idea what special services customers will like? Set up focus groups, create surveys, and interview people to get an idea. Above all, make sure people can reach out to your brand readily and therefore you should always clearly display your contact information, email address, and phone number on the page’s intro. You can also provide an office address to remind customers that your company exists off the internet too.
With evolving market trends, customers’ expectations are also changing rapidly. They want an impeccable user experience, quick and effective customer support, personal touch in campaigns, and more targeted advertisements. Thus, customer experience is the area that needs continuous nurturing and improvement to boost sales and profits. Organizations should start exploring ways to bring innovation in customer service and attract more customers to the business.