Good customer service is a critical factor in providing a valuable opportunity for a company to get to know and retain its customers better. The factors that characterize excellent customer service in order to be able to offer a positive experience are based on an optimal combination of empathy and persuasiveness on the one hand and the integration of technologies on the other hand to support customer advisors, thus enabling them to provide the right information to the customer at the right moment.
Customer Service: Customers are the Priority, Customers have Needs
In customer relationships – similar to other human relationships – the better the communication, the more robust they are. This awareness that customer service is a valuable opportunity for a company to get to know its customers better and to retain them, has become common sense in the last decade. Sure, the challenges around the topic of customer care still remain, but they have changed to the point that, after the earlier “why?”, the question today is “how” they take place.
Customer Service from Reactive to Proactive
At least since the turn of the millennium, customer service has become a strategic component of companies. Where customer contact was previously only interpreted as a cost factor with reluctant support to customers, the awareness has gained acceptance that customer service, customer care and customer success are the approaches to providing customer service tasks profitably on all sides. Customers are the priority, customers have needs. Customers enter into communication to convey these needs and this is exactly where they provide honest and valuable business insights.
KPIs and Metrics - and Francis Bacon
The famous saying, “knowledge is power” attributed to Francis Bacon (1561–1626), is the foundation of customer service. The English philosopher lived at a time when the term “customer service” or, in his case, “customer care” was not yet in use. Was that why there was no customer service? Yes, there certainly was customer service and the communication of needs was much more direct than it is today. If Mr. Bacon was dissatisfied with the work of his shoemaker, he could speak to the man who made the shoes and tell him how he would like his shoes to be. He did not have to hide behind any queue, but could enter into the dialog directly. In return, the shoemaker always had an overview of who was requesting, what the requests were – and he could even receive criticism without a Helpline. There was a personal relationship between service provider and customer. The service provider also knew how many people there were with the same requirements and he could discover them on the other side of the marketplace.
Customer Service - Potential on a Silver Tray
In present-day communication, which is not limited to the circle of those we know directly or who surround us, in addition to the transfer of knowledge, distances have to be bridged in communication. How can insights be gained beyond the typical KPIs of the call center – assuming necessary self-criticism – which can lead to better services and products? Here, Cloud call center can help to record metrics under the requirements of the EU GDPR.
Customer Service Basics: Training, Technology, Telephony
A good customer journey is the basis for successful customer service. Just like every supermarket and every furniture store guides its visitors through its interior, customers can be guided both in the pre- and after-sales processes, in order to achieve the best results. In addition to the definition and testing of the processes, training, appropriate technology and communication solutions are necessary for employees of a company to be able to support customers in these processes. The foundations for customer service are built on training courses on products and on communication itself.
The Human Factor - What do Studies Say?
Customer service can be carried out through a wide variety of channels. Practice indicates many different, also variously successful models of customer care. Processes and technologies can complement each other usefully in customer service. In IVRs and Chatbots, for example, already predictable communication steps can be intercepted or processed. However, studies show an astonishing continuity in the need for a personal conversation, whenever things get more complicated on the factual or especially on the relationship level. The evolutionary needs are unchanging, in spite of all the technological possibilities; the human voice and tone creates trust in critical situations. Under that premise, modern Cloud call center solutions have added video to the voice channel. This combination of video telephony is familiar to many users from private communication, but the logic of N:N distribution in video telephony is only a development of recent months.
But even if no additional technologies such as Chatbots or a video channel are used, the classic telephone conversation should always be assisted with all available information for an immediate response to any customer inquiry.
Customer Service – Inhouse or Outsourced?
The question of whether customer service should be mapped inhouse or outsourced is not easy to answer. There are good reasons for depicting such an essential point as the first touchpoint to the customer in the external presentation. At the same time, customer care, especially customer support and eCommerce, can be a highly volatile business, in which outsourcing can also be a sensible alternative or supplement. In any case, for the ideal scalability of** customer service**, it is important to be able to transport not only processes, but also moods over structural and spatial distances.
Customer Service- from Green Fields to Green Oases
In order to attend to customers in B2C models “in good and bad days”, diverse considerations and experiences have to be taken into account. In addition, observations, KPIs and metrics have to be evaluated. If customer service is understood as an investment in one's own products, services, brand loyalty and market position, it should be seen as a core element of the strategic budget planning of every company and every public institution.