Customer service is not just about being cordial to and helping your customers when they are making a purchase. Customer service includes everything a company does to smoothen customer experience before, during, and after sales.
Good customer service delights customers, and sets businesses apart from their competition. The better your customer service is, the stronger retention and brand loyalty you can build.
For this, it is important to establish good customer service management practices, processes, and teams that make customers feel valued.
According to Salesforce’s fourth edition of the State of Connected Customer report, 79% of consumers and 85% of business buyers consider experience as important as the products and services companies provide.
Customer service management makes doing business with you more convenient and helps you continuously improve customer support. This is more important than ever as today’s customers have access to varied knowledge and choices, making it easier for them to switch to competitors that may be offering better service than your company.
As companies and their customer bases grow, developing processes and systems that streamline how customer information and requests are managed is important. This requires building strategies that can guide your customer service management. Adopting the right customer service management software can also make managing customer expectations easier, and enable digital-first services.
Customer service management is all about understanding your customers and their needs and fulfilling them in the best way possible. The first step here is to get to know your customers. Here are common customer types you need to know about:
Customer needs are ever-evolving, and this particularly changes based on the stages customers are at in their journey with your company. There are two broad categories of customer needs – related to the product or service that is being sold and additional services that you provide.
Most of the customers that reach out to you would already have done some research. They would know about the basic features of your product or have a fair idea about the different services you offer. But you may also have customers that are looking for a particular feature or functionality. For example, a furniture buyer may be looking for chairs with a special kind of back support or cushioning.
Customer service teams need to have a strong understanding of the different products or services their company provides, so they can help customers find the answers to specific questions that can make or break their buying decision. They also need to know what their competitors are offering and be able to justify their price point.
Similarly, customers may want to know if there are any special deal packages or payment methods that can make their purchase more cost-effective. Fair pricing and value are customer needs every company must meet.
Once customers make a purchase, they may have questions about the usage or maintenance of the products they bought. Or they may want to know about post-sales services and warranty details.
To create differentiation through good customer service, it should meet basic customer needs such as:
Empathy – in the way customer service teams approach customer challenges and requests
Speed – in responding to and resolving customer issues
Ease – of buying and returning purchased items or revising transaction terms
Transparency – in what can be offered and what isn’t possible
Guidance – to make informed buying decisions and optimally use the product or service
Accessibility – to customer support through their preferred channels
There are four fundamental factors to fulfilling customer needs. These are:
Quality customer service helps attract new customers and keep existing ones happy. Here’s how you can improve your customer service management to deliver exceptional experiences:
Here are a few customer service management tips that are sure to increase customer satisfaction levels:
Tip #1: Hire people with skills and qualities that match your business’ needs
Processes and systems are important, but the quality of customer service you provide is largely determined by the people who run that front. It is great when service agents can speak well or are tech-savvy. But service team members need soft skills as well – like empathy, active listening, patience, etc. – to connect and communicate effectively with customers.
Tip #2: Clearly define roles and responsibilities within service teams
Broadly, customer service teams are responsible for handling interactions that have to do with managing service requests, case resolution, and answering queries. But service cases can be of various types and come in from multiple channels like email, live chat, calling, etc. Assigning specific roles and responsibilities among the right team members ensures customers are attended to at the soonest by the best-suited agents. It also prevents duplication of efforts and keeps service cases from falling through the cracks.
Tip #3: Enable communication and coordination with other departments
Service teams handle all kinds of customer interactions, and many of these are sales and marketing related. Use a system that enables data share across functions and enables service teams to easily connect with other departments. This can drastically improve service quality, particularly when working on complex cases.
Tip #4: Follow a customer service philosophy
Create customer service mantras that your service team can swear by. Saying “customers always come first” or “fast service is good service” may sound obvious. But customer service management is much more than just ensuring customers’ needs are addressed when they reach out to you. It is a way to really show what your company stands for and how you intend to build stronger customer relationships. When you reinforce this across the team, it becomes a guiding philosophy to deal with different types of customers.
Tip #5: Equip your service team with useful tools and technologies
Customer needs and expectations will continue to change. As your company grows, you also need to scale quality customer service. Provide your service team with tech solutions that make their job easier. For instance, Service Cloud puts all the necessary tools and customer data service teams need at their fingertips. All cases, from any customer service touchpoint, are queued and assigned to the most appropriate agent. The agent has a unified view of all data they need as well as knowledge articles - all on one console - so they can quickly and accurately respond to customers without having to toggle between multiple screens. So, customers' wait time is drastically reduced and their issues can be resolved the first time they reach out.
It is known that keeping customers costs lesser than acquiring new ones - almost 5-10 times less. To ensure customers stick around with your company for longer, customer service management should focus on –
Customer service management is all about understanding customer needs and fulfilling them in the most efficient manner. They say that 'service is the new sales'. Customer service teams are often seen as the face of their companies. Service agents closely interact with customers in defining moments in which brand perceptions are shaped.
Enabling smooth, efficient customer service management can help businesses zero in on issues their customers face and things they demand. But customer service interactions don’t happen on just one or two channels now. Most customers today expect the convenience of being able to reach out to businesses on multiple channels and switch between them seamlessly.
Using a solution like Salesforce Service Cloud offers service teams a single view of their customers and provides visibility into service cases raised on any channel or touchpoint in one place. It has a feature-filled and intuitive console that allows service agents and managers to access all the information and tools they need, to respond to customer needs with speed and context. It also helps you embed service capabilities into different channels and allows you to manage self-service portals to help customers help themselves.