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Ways to enhance your customer service in 2018

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by Startacus Admin

customer service 2018
A positive customer service experience is an integral part of any business strategy, yet it can often be overlooked. Siobhain Goodall, Head of Business Development at Mpl Contact, looks at five ways companies can improve their communication to create long-lasting customer relationships and increase retention rates.

Implement Web Chat 

It is apparent that web chats have grown in popularity amongst both businesses and consumers this year, and with the rise in AI, it’s a trend that’s expected to continue into 2018 and beyond. It’s something that businesses of all size should consider at the very least, as it may end up being the thing that differentiates you from your competitors.

Web chat is an online customer service software that can be used to manage all of your customer service activities and sales queries, and is often favoured by customers due to the personalised response to queries. According to Accenture, 76% of UK consumers still prefer human to human interaction, rather than communicating through chatbots to resolve their issues. 

Chatbots, however, have been growing in popularity - and for good reason. They’re less expensive than live chat and due to their robotic features, they are able to answer hundreds of queries simultaneously at a faster response rate with 24/7 availability. An emerging addition to chatbots integrates the rise in AI to their customer services operations. Intelligent chatbots allow for a far more effective chat process, showing compassion similar to humans and they do not get an error when receiving too much text or misspelled words.

You should spend some time weighing up the pros and cons of man vs machine web chats. Whatever you decide, test it first - ask yourself whether it’s responsive enough to meet the needs of your customers. Is it helpful? Or just frustrating? It may be that you need to try all three features to be able to truly assess what works best for your business.

customer service and chat bots

Outsource to the Professionals

Many small business owners choose to outsource one or more functions in order to control costs, increase efficiency and dedicate more time to growing their company. Functions could include accountancy, HR, marketing and PR or communications, which are typically done through professional contact centres.

Contact centres are often an ideal solution for businesses as they invest heavily in new technology, whether that’s the latest application for handling interactions from your social channel, or investing in headsets that reduce external noise. They also ensure their staff are trained to deliver quality customer service, while staying ahead of the latest regulations that may affect their industry, and yours too! This could include GDPR, which is coming into force in May 2018.

In addition, contact centres have no closing times, which means they are available to your customers round the clock. This high-responsiveness enhances their experience with you and builds brand loyalty.

Become Savvy with Social

The rise of social media and customer review websites has brought new challenges to many industries over the last decade or so.

More and more customers are taking to them to share their experiences - good or bad - and they are often the first port of call for people looking for recommendations. As the age-old saying goes you can’t please everyone all of the time, but fail to get the balance right and it can be hurtful to a business’ reputation.

Many review sites are now available at customers’ fingertips, not taking into account activity on Facebook and Twitter. While it may seem difficult to keep a track of everything, there are a number of online reputation management tools that businesses are able to use to make the monitoring process easier, alerting them to mentions of their brand on social media and review websites. 

Whether you agree with the guest’s comments or not, writing a professional reply is key. Start by thanking them, by name, for taking the time to write a review before addressing each of the issues they raise. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed to placate an angry customer and keep them from switching to a competitor!

customer service 2018

Improve Internal Processes

When frustrated customers are not communicated with promptly and effectively your retention rate will suffer, and customers will be more likely to speak negatively about your business to others. 

Customer frustration is likely to stem from an unorganised internal infrastructure, where the customer is required to repeat themselves to different people or departments, as well as being put on hold numerous times.

Take a look at your own business and ask yourself whether anything could be done to improve your internal communication and processes. Changes could include anything from creating achievable service standards for employees to reach when communicating with customers to cross-training staff to be more knowledgeable in different areas so that they can provide basic guidance on a wide range of queries.

Make More Time To Motivate Your Staff

Taking care of your staff has a direct impact on their happiness and wellbeing; if you feel looked after and valued then it’s more likely you’ll want to do a better job. 

Numerous studies have highlighted that the layout of desks, the design, colour schemes or seating plans you have can have a varying effect on the quality of life felt by your staff. Recent office design trends include creating more break out areas with relaxed lighting and comfortable furniture - such as sofas and bean bags - and long community tables which encourage better interaction and interaction among teams. 

Biophilic design is also growing in popularity, that is, bringing the outdoors in. Research has shown that adding greenery to your office can boost your employee productivity and even reduce common health complaints such as fatigue, headaches, coughs, sore throats and dry skin!

 


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Published on: 29th November 2017

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