Written by Allie Delos Santos
For any successful business, creating and selling a high-quality product or service are only half the battle. You still need to provide excellent customer service. Many businesses struggle to provide consistent and superior customer service.
This article lists the aspects that go into delivering outstanding customer service. It also shares how outsourced technical support can help, plus tips to improve customer service.
Essential Elements of Excellent Customer Service
Running and growing your business boil down to the strength of your customer service. Customers always say that they’re willing to pay a higher price for exceptional customer support. Buyers also forego doing business with companies if the service is bad.
This trend shows that client satisfaction and retention rates depend on your customer service. Here is a closer look at the critical elements that make up good customer service.
1. Support That Surpasses Customer Expectations
The most important aspect of exceptional customer service is exceeding customer expectations. Make each customer feel important instead of treating them as another task to accomplish for the day. Develop ways to improve their experience and go beyond offering the minimum.
The key is to make your customer service memorable in a positive way. Customers will remember how you treat them years after and can use this to recommend your product to others or stop doing business with you.
2. Round-the-clock Availability
The internet made it possible for shoppers to access your product 24/7. Hence, they sometimes encounter a problem at night or have questions about a product after business hours. Because most in-house agents work a typical eight-hour shift, you cannot provide round-the-clock support when you manage customer service in-house.
Consider hiring a back-office outsourcing company to manage customer service 24/7 on your behalf. Its agents work on a shifting schedule so that they can support you even through the evening.
3. Support That Prioritizes Customer Concerns
Prioritizing clients according to their concerns is more effective than replying in chronological order. Exceptional customer service begins with requests and problems that are time-sensitive. Additionally, prioritize tickets that might lead to lost customers.
Nevertheless, avoid repeatedly pushing a less-urgent ticket to the bottom of the list.
4. Personalized Support
Personalizing your support is an excellent way to ensure that each customer is treated as an individual.
Put in the effort to remember customers’ names and other information. Using their names and details in your interaction lets you see them as people and not just a way to make money.
5. Immediate Response
Ninety percent of consumers consider immediate responses to questions and problems important. They want a fast reply if they send you a message on social media or via email. If they call your customer service, they expect to speak to an agent immediately—no one likes to wait in queue for long.
A fast response is crucial if a lead has a question that can help the buying decision. Failing to answer immediately can cause the lead to look for a different solution from one of your competitors.
6. Human Support
Technology streamlines workflows, but sometimes customers need to talk to a live agent. A website chatbot and an automated phone system provide basic information, but they might not be enough in some situations. Make the most of these tools by using them to determine what clients need and send the customers to the appropriate agent.
Exceptional customer service goes beyond having live agents reply to chat and answer calls. You must treat customers individually, which means going beyond scripted responses and taking time to listen and empathize.
7. Friendly Demeanor
How you communicate to clients is as important as what you tell them. Once customers sense a negative attitude, they will be unwilling to return, even if you provide them with everything they need.
Conversely, showing enthusiasm and taking the time to ensure customers are happy with the service make them feel valued. Research shows that 93% of customers are more likely to repeat purchase with excellent service companies.
8. Good Listening Skills
Exceptional customer service requires many skills, but listening is the most critical. Take the time to listen to customer concerns and avoid jumping to conclusions. Although active listening can be difficult, especially when the customer is upset, it is your chance to solve the problem and retain the client.
Show the customer that you have actively listened. Repeat what they have said in your own words and demonstrate that you understand their concern to let customers know that you will find a solution.
9. Support That Makes Customers Feel Special
Each customer interaction must revolve around the concept of mutual respect, individual value, and a shared vision of your future relationship as their chosen brand. Find ways to let your customers know they are special and that:
- They are more than a transaction to your company
- Their money and time enable you to pursue your mission
- Their journey is an important part of your business
Many businesses neglect honesty in their customer service. If you promise a customer you will accomplish their request within a particular time, you must do your best to fulfill it. Let your customer know if you cannot follow through for any reason—although make only promises you can keep.
Remember this when hiring a back-office outsourcing service. Your company will gain a bad reputation if you’re all words and no action.
11. Ease of Collaboration
Client engagement is the foundation of your brand. Brand interaction, product use, application, and consultation are all part of your engagement tactics. You must be willing to engage your clients in ways competitors can’t.
Engaging with customers can be risky, but the payoff is immense. Social media platforms make it easier to interact with clients, but you also need to be careful.
Keep in mind your business’ focus. Select a few talented employees with the necessary skills to lead your engagement tactics. Remember that it takes only one post to make or break your brand, so choose your moments wisely.
12. Going Beyond What Competitors Offer
You might believe you’re delivering exceptional customer service, but you might just be meeting the status quo your industry sets. Good customer support does not exist in a vacuum. Your customers might leave if they discover that your competitors offer better services.
For instance, a 14-day free trial is not a major selling point if your competitors offer one. Always remember your competitor’s strategy and keep innovating customer experience.
13. Fulfilling Customer Demands
Customer demands are ever-changing, and failing to deliver creates a poor experience. However, you deliver good customer support if you go above and beyond to fulfill customer needs.
Meeting the needs of customers makes them happy. Such satisfaction has many benefits for your business. A positive customer experience significantly influences recommendations. Consumers who receive good customer service are 38% more likely to recommend a brand.
Agility means knowing that customer expectations constantly change, learning to adapt, and adjusting your support services accordingly. You need to consider several aspects to respond to modern consumer needs. Agility in customer service requires:
- Automation to help call center teams with recurring activities and enable agents to focus on higher-value tasks
- Employee engagement system that takes note of staff’s personal preferences and attributes to optimize their potential
- Ability to move through various channels easily as part of the same interaction, creating a consistent experience
15. Frictionless and Convenient Support
Customers want easy and quick access to support. They want a simple and timely rectification process when encountering problems with your brand. Moreover, they want to receive support on a platform that they are comfortable with.
Communicate with customers to identify and eliminate friction points in their experience. Offer omnichannel support to serve customers on their preferred platforms. You can also outsource data entry services to establish a systematic way to organize customer information.
16. Ease for Customers
Exceptional customer service makes it easy for clients to do business with you. Know and reduce the customer effort needed for a post-sale service request, phone call, and even delivery experience.
Consider what it’s like to do business with your brand to get more familiar with the experience you are providing customers. You can use automation technologies to improve employee performance and provide better support.
17. Unobtrusive Call Support
Technology is not the only aspect that affects customer engagement success. Take, for example, call quality. Although you need an excellent device to ensure the voice quality in each call is clear, this alone is not enough.
Even the correct positioning of the headset’s arm or the boom arm affects the sound quality. Ensuring proper position is necessary so that callers can clearly hear the agent on the other line, and the agent need not repeat themselves.
This seemingly irrelevant adjustment can significantly improve your customer service quality.
18. Excellent Communication
Effective communication has a two-way benefit. For one, it informs your company regarding the state of customer expectations. Such insight is an important opportunity to connect with customers, listen to their feedback, and obtain clues on how to serve them better.
On the other hand, good external communication ensures that you can properly promote your products and services to your customers. Clear communication also makes sure that customers understand the solutions to their problems.
19. Omnichannel Support
Not all customers want to call your help desk or contact center to get the necessary answers. Some prefer to use other communication channels to solve problems and issues. Companies must know which platforms customers prefer and regularly review them to deliver exceptional customer service.
Consider using technologies to analyze interactions across various contact channels to access real-time customer intelligence. This approach allows you to determine the problem that has triggered them to call an agent. You can outsource data entry to note important client information.
Once identified, you can make the necessary changes to satisfy clients’ needs on their preferred platform. Omnichannel support lets you interact with customers conveniently and with the right information.
20. Effortless Connection
Agents must be able to connect with callers effortlessly and provide a customized experience to achieve excellent support service. A major hurdle is the tedious security process that impedes conversations, particularly voice channels.
Overcome this challenge using voice biometrics systems. This technology has a sophisticated algorithm that examines more than 1,000 voice characteristics—such as size, the shape of the nasal passage, pronunciation, and many more.
Conversely, behavioral biometrics analyze how individuals type, hold the phone, or whether they pause after completing a task. Both voice and behavioral biometrics validate the caller’s identity based on how they sound and act.
21. A Mix of Various Elements
You deliver exemplary customer support through generosity, timeliness, empathy, unexpectedness, and being solution-driven. All these elements make a notable customer service proposition that sets your company apart from competitors.
Providing excellent customer service involves going above and beyond customer needs and raising the bar that your competitors set. To be truly exceptional, monitor the industry and place extra effort where they’re lacking.
22. Telephone Services
Despite the huge variety of customer support channels available, phone calls remain the most popular option. More than 76% of customers prefer voice to reach agents. Phone support remains the most used channel for complex and time-sensitive issues because most customers can’t resolve problems using self-help services alone.
Bringing clarity to voice support is essential for client experience. Choosing the right tools such as headsets is key so that customer service representatives and callers can open a constructive and meaningful conversation that boosts satisfaction.
Providing the best customer service means eliminating the need for clients to expend time and effort while offering them what they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. To deliver efficient support, companies must understand the following:
- Efficiency in support services means understanding the customer journey. Think about the various customer interaction stages and their needs at each level.
- Achieving efficiency means combining man and machine. Companies that offer good customer service regularly assess and update their self-support channels.
- Self-support channels allow customers to get the help they need while offering a chance to escalate the issue to a human agent.
- If you eliminate their tedious and recurring tasks, agents can concentrate on higher-value interactions. Freeing their time also prepares them to manage more difficult and emotion-fueled customer interactions.
Exceptional customer service is based on empathy. Customers need to feel like a priority, cared for as a person, and uniquely understood when they reach out to you. Although troublesome, companies can establish a customer experience strategy that puts clients at the center—whether automation or a live agent handles the support.
In more emotional or complex situations, call center teams should prioritize the issues and connect the caller to a live agent who focuses on empathizing with the problem.
The agent then addresses the problem and predicts what the customer needs next before the latter knows it themselves.
Why Is Providing Exceptional Customer Service Important?
Delivering good customer service is important because it sets you apart from your competitors and makes it effortless for clients to do business with you. An excellent support service also helps increase customer retention and repeat revenue.
Here are other reasons providing exceptional customer service should be a priority.
- Offers value: Customer service that focuses on answering questions, treating clients well, and fulfilling demands help you build a stronger and long-lasting relationship. Shoppers who receive good treatment are more likely to repeat purchases than those who don’t.
- Retains customers: Acquiring new customers is more expensive than keeping existing ones. Happy customers become loyal buyers when a brand is trustworthy and offers good customer service.
- Serves as a revenue generator: Many businesses mistakenly see customer support as a cost center. Instead, good customer service is a revenue generator. A positive and engaging experience delights clients, resulting in positive reviews and pushing them to keep supporting your brand.
- Creates endorsement on your behalf: Satisfied customers give positive online reviews that help you strengthen your reputation. If a customer is happy, they are more likely to recommend your product to others. Research shows that recommendations from family heavily influence people’s purchasing decisions.
- Boost employee morale: No agent wants to be on the receiving end of an angry tirade from an unsatisfied customer. Giving your agents the right equipment and training to quickly solve an issue is one of the keys to boosting morale and lowering turnover.
Tips for Delivering Exceptional Customer Service
Now that you know what goes into providing exceptional customer service and its significance in your business, it’s time to apply.
Outsource Customer Service
Outsourcing customer service is an excellent solution to maintaining outstanding customer service. However, outsourcing does not mean forgoing all responsibilities—it only reduces pressure on your in-house team.
Your agents still require training in your products, services, brand image, and best practices. Training involves teaching agents how to identify and examine problems, develop relevant solutions, and assess each to determine the best option.
Make sure that your customer support quality is consistent throughout your organization. Your staff must know the brand image, terms and conditions, and procedures. You don’t want one agent to tell a client one thing and another to say the complete opposite.
Offer the Kind of Service You Want to Receive
Excellent customer service means giving clients the kind of treatment they want to receive. Succeeding here requires your agents to develop good communication skills and be clear about the solution.
Be as creative with customer support as you can. Creativity is one of the greatest ways to stand out from the competition and achieve positive client reviews.
Gather and Implement Feedback From Clients
In most cases, you do not need to guess when improving your customer service experience. Your shoppers will tell you if you give them a platform to express their suggestions. Whether you gather feedback from an email survey or a Net Promoter Score (NPS) system, you get an idea regarding your customers’ satisfaction and the areas that need improvement.
Use Digital Tools To Put Customers First
People are more connected now, thanks to the advent of digital devices. Leveraging connectivity offers you a unique opportunity to deliver a superior customer experience through mobile devices.
Allow customers to manage features and account services on their mobile devices. They can have basic problems and questions that apps and direct chats can help resolve. The ability to place an order online independently is also important for customers with limited time. Lastly, don’t over-direct the clients to your app for help; this might irritate or turn them off.
Use Effective Social Media Techniques
Social media offers many opportunities for building personal connections. Consumers can share, comment, and show interest in your product, service, and brand anytime, anywhere. Leverage the personal touch of social media to make clients feel like confidants and insiders to your company.
The Bottom Line
Excellent customer service involves good listening skills, empathy, a friendly demeanor, immediate response, and 24/7 availability. Delivering a positive experience requires you to prioritize collaboration, fulfill changing expectations, remain agile, and go beyond the competition.
An excellent support service takes a lot of thought and care. You must address inquiries and frustrations immediately while allowing clients to solve certain problems independently. Lastly, keep service staff happy because this is a powerful change agent for distressed customers.
Giving customers a superior and consistent support experience keeps them loyal to your brand. It earns you a positive reputation for being caring, helpful, and a pleasure to work with.