Companies such as Amazon and Zappos make providing great customer service quite easy. The fact that there are hundreds of tools and technologies that can help with this aspect may also appear to testify to its ease. However, the truth is that customer service is one of the most challenging aspects for businesses, a fact even customer service and customer experience experts agree on. The following are seven of the main challenges most of today’s businesses experience while trying to provide top notch service and support to clients.
#1) Meeting Diverse Customer Expectations
One of the major customer service issues companies face is having to meet customers’ expectations through multiple channels, mainly email, livechat, social media, and phone. The latter was the earliest alternative to face-to- face interactions, allowing businesses to understand people without seeing them. The other three solutions, on the other hand, are more complex since they mandate understanding emotions and communicating effectively without being able to determine the tone of voice. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to make a few changes, such as hiring staff members who love serving others, providing them with the freedom to use their talents and skills, and ensuring quick responses to show clients that the business cares.
#2) Providing End-to- End Customer Experience
If there’s one thing customers complain the most about, it’s having to repeat themselves after being forwarded from livechat or an IVR to a live agent. If they have to retell their stories from scratch, they’ll most probably take their business elsewhere. Now there are many technologies that can help avoid this touchpoint amnesia, i.e. forgetting customer info during multi-touch experiences. However, it is more important for you to connect departments and functions in order to foster collaboration and improve customer experience. For instance, you can entrust the marketers building your brand name on social networks to alert customer service staff if a client posts a complaint. Together, they can resolve it online for others to know just how good you are at providing great customer service.
#3) Providing Proactive Customer Service
Today’s top companies believe that proactive customer service is one of their most valuable assets. While a robust infrastructure and the latest technology can be helpful, businesses need to look beyond these and focus on training their support staff to be competent, customer- focused, and engaged. Your employees should know more than what to do and how to do it. They need to understand their purpose and what makes them valuable for your company’s custom support. Therefore, instead of giving them duties and tasks, give them something to work towards. That way, they can be more effective and deliver exceptional customer support.
#4) Shifting to a Customer-Centric Approach
Businesses are starting to focus more on customer success, i.e. ensuring that customers achieve their desired outcome through meaningful interactions with brands. However, this isn’t an overnight process or a one-man show. All the departments across the company need to collaborate to collect and analyze data relevant to clients and understand the value they seek. Moreover, you need to forget about the old school belief that products and services are what reels in customers and retains them. Today’s consumers want more attention and will opt for businesses that can satisfy this need of theirs.
#5) Ensuring Customers’ Security
Even if you are a small business, you should never neglect securing your customers’ data. Hackers can easily make their way to your computers, networks, and programs to gain unauthorized access and record your interactions to mine valuable data such as your clients’ social security information. Once your clients find out that your customer support is not as strong as advertised, they will jump ship and spread negative word of mouth. As a result, your business will suffer.
#6) Delivering Round the Clock Support
As businesses expand beyond local boundaries, covering all time zones has become a necessity to offer customer service and support to all clients across the globe. However, 24/7 service is a challenge considering how hectic it may be to hire and manage a team to cover all the hours of the day. Equally challenging is outsourcing to offshore companies as you need to maintain quality of service and manage them remotely. There are many outsourcing success stories around, but you will need to thoroughly research these to learn how they worked out.
#7) Personalizing Customer Service
Customer success depends on how easily you recognize loyal customers whenever they get in touch with you for assistance. However, approaching customers individually isn’t easy, which is why many professionals end up losing their clients’ loyalty and failing to make them happy. Luckily, there are ways out of this predicament, including tracking customer interactions and adding a human touch to support channels through a warm greeting or picture of a smiling rep.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges businesses face in providing customer service. Work on these before tackling other issues in order to begin streamlining operations and delivering only the best to your customers.