Chapter 3: How You Drive Customer Engagement for Service

Learn the best ways to meet new customer service expectations.
Mark Abramowitz
SVP, Product Marketing, Service Cloud

In any time of uncertainty, customers want human connection — especially during a health crisis. Seventy percent of Americans say that the organizations that showed care and empathy during the pandemic earned their loyalty.

As your business stabilizes, how do you ensure that your service team continues to create meaningful connections with customers? How do you make every interaction feel personalized and unique to them? Discover the different ways to engage customers and meet new expectations for customer support.

“Empathy facilitates trust, and it's one of the surest paths to connecting with customers.”
Shonnah Hughes
Global Product Growth and Innovation Evangelist, GetFeedback
Put the customer at the center of every decision

Connect technology, teams, and data to get a 360-degree view. Marketing, commerce, sales, and service teams work together from a single platform with a complete view of the customer. This helps your team stay agile and deliver more personalized experiences. For example, if a high-value customer reaches out, agents already know about an existing deal. They can handle the issue with care and alert the right team for additional support.

For field service providers, a single view brings together customer information, asset management, maintenance plans, equipment lifespans, and warranty coverage. Agents contact customers prior to milestones to schedule maintenance or order replacement parts for proactive service.

“My team is creating case rules daily based on email subject lines and automated SMS responses. This allows us to focus on supporting our nurses and facilities with care and concern instead of spending energy chasing down information, reassigning cases, or trolling through excess noise.”
Julie ODonnell
Team Lead for Customer Success, connectRN
Optimize digital channels

The top reasons customers contacted companies during the pandemic were to check or confirm operating hours, make a purchase, or verify account information. Provide consistent support across social, email, chat, and mobile, including WhatsApp, SMS, and Facebook Messenger. From a single screen, agents monitor these channels and respond quickly to questions and concerns as they happen.

Use chatbots to extend service by helping customers with common questions, such as order status, while freeing up agents to focus on more complex cases. You can enhance your chatbot to handle transactional requests like refunds, too. As you program your chatbot, ensure that the welcome message indicates that customers are interacting with a bot and not a human. If a case requires live agent support, have bots collect case details for handoff in the same chat message.

“Prior to COVID-19, we were already using the chatbot to help customers track their orders or packages, report any issues with delays or damage, and get a credit or refund. That has continued through the surge, enabling us to reduce the volume agents receive. Now agents can work directly with customers to resolve questions and issues around delivery address changes, menu and subscription options, promotions, and gifting.”
Samantha Philip
Developer, CS Systems, Sun Basket
Scale support with self-service

As contact volumes fluctuate, self-service is an invaluable tool to deflect cases and get customers the answers they need right away. Update your self-service channels in these ways:

  • Channel menu: Use a simple widget or code snippet to integrate a fixed channel menu on your help center or website. Show available support channels to customers or direct them to a web-to-case input form, a community, or a knowledge base.
  • Help center: Analyze frequently asked questions across channels to create help center content. Update your help center to include a dedicated section with regular updates on your company’s response to the crisis.
  • Knowledge articles: As processes change, knowledge articles keep customers up to date. Optimize content for SEO. Pair chatbots with your knowledge base for an even better self-service experience. Subscription meal delivery service Sun Basket is combining automation and self-service to help customers quickly and manage high support volumes.

Communities and portals: Quickly launch a community or portal with declarative builders and out-of-the-box templates. Include knowledge articles and access to important information for customers to get answers quickly. Field service providers can also enable customers to make and change appointments. This reduces call volume and is convenient for customers.

If a customer requires additional support, set up omni-channel routing to classify and push cases to the right agent based on skill set, availability, and workload.

Guide customers with step-by-step processes

Implement intelligent workflows on your help center or portal to guide customers through step-by-step processes. This may include initiating a return or reporting a stolen or lost credit card.

For field service customers, respect social distancing by offering to transition to a video chat with a dispatcher, agent, or mobile worker. They can walk customers through simple processes and troubleshoot remotely. Then, follow up with additional instructions and request feedback to improve virtual support.

Reshape customer engagement for your service teams
We hope these tools, processes, and best practices help you on your journey to build a resilient service organization. See what service leaders are already doing to reshape customer and employee engagement with our guide Secrets to Resilient Service from 5 Trailblazers.

About the Author

Mark Abramowitz
SVP, Product Marketing, Service Cloud
Mark Abramowitz is a Marketing and Product Executive at Salesforce.

He’s an experienced Vice President of Product Marketing with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry.

More Resources

How A Coffee Shop Continues Serving Customers From Home
Help Customers Quickly Find the Answers They Need
Service from Home: How Industry Leaders are Restructuring Operations

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