Back in 2018, Amazon charged a Georgia-based lady (the US) a humongous US$ 7455 to deliver three boxes of toilet paper. Initially, the woman thought the e-commerce goliath would identify its mistake and fix it as soon as possible.
However, things panned out against her favor.
She contacted customer service multiple times, but to no avail. Instead, Amazon blamed a third-party seller for the enormous charge. The company argued it was not liable to refund the money.
The woman even penned a letter to Jeff Bezos, but that, too, ended up nowhere. Frustrated, she took the matter to public attention through her local television station. Seeing the story spreading like wildfire, Amazon agreed to refund the additional shipping fees.
The moral of the story? Toilet paper can unroll in astounding and rather expensive ways.
On a serious note, a brand is responsible for everything that might go wrong after a customer purchases from it. Pinning a bad situation on someone else will do no good. Instead, playing the blame game will add to the buyer’s frustration.
Even if your business boasts the best product pipeline in the market, your audience will not engage with you if you ignore them. Maltreating customers and fixing problems inefficiently will ultimately taint your brand reputation.
If you are serious about taking your brand to new heights, the time is ripe to consider creating customer service processes.
Need concrete reasons? Read on.
Importance of Establishing Processes for Your Customer Service Team
Several businesses have upped their spending on customer service processes over the past few years but have failed to meet customer expectations fully. Indeed, half of Americans have not seen much improvement in customer service.
So, why do customer service levels seem so grim? One-word answer – complexity.
The reason behind this complexity? Customers’ demands and sentiments changing at a brisk clip and the rising fierceness in the business ecosystem.
This complexity creeps into roles and systems over time as you react to dynamic market conditions and find new revenue-creating sources.
Within that minefield, why should you prioritize building customer service processes?
Establishing processes for your customer service helps you reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) and develop a loyal following. These loyal customers even convince prospects to engage and do business with your brand. Their positive word of mouth will impact more than your existing marketing efforts – and cheaper as well.
The Challenges for Customer Service in 2023
Dealing with several people and trying to fulfill their expectations is way easier said than done. Brands need patience, sharp intellect, and wisdom to navigate changing consumer behaviours and still run professional customer support processes.
Here are five challenges customer service leaders are facing in 2023:
01. Stress-inducing Request Overflow
Spikes in customer queries are normal. At certain moments, businesses grapple with escalating customer support tickets. Such situations arise due to seasonal or daily peak hours, staffing issues, or unexpected service/product issues.
Overwhelming customer service agents with more requests while they are already working at capacity is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention, the huge toll it takes on agents’ morale due to multitasking and subsequent burnout.
Offering individual attention to every customer while addressing multiple inquiries simultaneously is daunting. Plus, this is the time when customer service agents might fall back on answering chats, phone calls, and emails. As such, customers feel ignored, and eventually leave in frustration.
02. Possible Self-service Frustrations
A survey reveals that 8 out of 10 customers echo the demand for more self-service options. Despite a strong willingness to utilize self-service options to fix their issues, only 15% of customers are delighted with the tools and resources.
These statistics reflect that despite significant investments in self-service portals, they still lack the functionality and information customers need. Hence, customer service firms fail to witness the desired customer experience and cost-saving benefits.
03. Accurate Personalization
Personalization in customer service processes positively affects customer relationships. When done well, personalized customer-facing conversations help brands boost customer satisfaction, engagement, and acquisition. The outcome – increased revenue and retention.
However, personalization is tricky. Brands must confront various obstacles that prevent them from hitting the bullseye.
The primary hurdle is an insufficient mutual understanding of what personalization actually means. Customers believe personalization is not about how well brands understand them but how receptive they are to their emotions, and how effectively they address their needs.
Besides, customers want to choose how they engage with brands instead of getting bombarded with helpful reminders or proactive offerings to cross-sell or upsell to them.
04. Offering Omnichannel Experience
Thanks to digitization, the number of channels through which customers can reach out to brands has surged over the recent past. Today, customers expect businesses to be available on prevalent communication channels, including social media, emails, and messaging apps.
Indeed, about 90% of customers want an omnichannel experience with smooth service between multiple communication methods. As such, brands need to station more dedicated support agents to cater to the growing demand.
However, managing all these customer service channels explicitly is an uphill battle. To kick-start an omnichannel strategy, businesses must research their customers, including their preferred communication channel (s) and sentiments about the brands. Based on these insights, customer service leaders must devise strategies for each channel and train relevant agents.
Overall, engaging with customers on multiple channels can spread customer service agents thin.
05. Staying Abreast of Customers’ Needs
Every human is different with their own behavior, opinions, and pain points. Hence, anticipating what a customer has in mind has become complicated over the past few months. As people’s needs and purchasing patterns evolve, pinpointing what they want gets challenging, considering how much expectations vary between multiple buyer personas.
Unfortunately, customer service leaders are yet to invent a ubiquitous potion for catching each customer’s intuitions.
(Do let us know if you know a one-size-fits-all recipe, please! 😁)
Customers today look for personalized interactions, proactive service, and consistent experiences across all online channels. In other words, outguessing a client’s next move is like playing a game of chess – brands must keep their sticks on the ice.
How to Establish Customer Service Processes?
Building a customer support process is best done with a clear-cut blueprint.
Whether you are starting from scratch or running a customer support team and want to restructure it to succeed, these five building blocks make for a solid base.
01. Define your Customer Service Vision
Every brand asserts to offer excellent customer support. However, not all clients leave with a broad smile after interacting with agents, indicating opportunities for improvement. That improvement begins with a crystal-clear vision for the customer service process – a statement (s) pointing your customer support agents toward the same guiding principles.
Use those principles to illustrate the experience you want to deliver to every client.
When establishing customer support processes, determine the specifics of the service quality you will offer and convey the same to your agents.
For instance, one of Atlassian’s underlying values is “Don’t #@!% the customer.”
Pretty direct, isn’t it? The software company ensures that its support staff never disrespect that value. Moreover, it is a public value, so clients expect the necessary attention and care.
02. Determine Clear Goals
Any customer service process works wonders when you have defined metrics and goals to pursue. These key performance indicators (KPI) will serve as a standard against which you can evaluate your support agents.
Common goals in customer service processes could be to improve:
- Average time to resolution (TTR): The average amount of time customer service organizations take to solve customers’ issues
- Number of escalated queries: Measures how many customer requests require a higher level of support
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): Measures how satisfied people are after interacting with customer service agents
- Net promoter score (NPS): Gauges the likelihood of customers recommending your brand to their acquaintances
- Cost per ticket: Total operating expenses per the number of tickets in a month
Define these big-picture goals with deadlines and numbers. For instance, take the CSAT score from 60% to 70% by Q3 starting in Q1. Or reducing query resolution time by 5 minutes within a particular date.
Have defined goals to work toward empowering customer service agents to work productively and efficiently address customer inquiries.
03. Audit your Existing Customer Support Process
You cannot capitalize on anything you do not understand.
Analyze your current customer support process and underline where to revamp or return to square one. Determine how your agents currently handle multiple support tasks.
- How many agents are involved in a particular task, and in what order?
- Which tasks take the most time?
- Which tasks occur the most frequently?
- Which actions directly impact customer experience?
Besides, ask customers for feedback to identify loopholes in your customer service process, what they think of it, and what areas irk them.
Case in point, most clients hate getting their calls transferred multiple times before connecting with the appropriate customer service agent.
Likewise, collect inputs from your agents as they have the most actionable insights into the customer support process that you otherwise may neglect.
04. Train Your Agents
Never keep your people on the sidelines. They are the ones who talk to your customers regularly. They remain on the front lines and have raw information about customers. So, tailor your employee training to each agent’s specific role.
Seek feedback and opinions of customer service agents and consider them seriously. Opening up communication channels will help your staff express themselves and encourage them to provide suggestions to the customer support process.
05. Say Hi to Technology
You need not build much of the customer support process by lining up your staff for hours for continuous evaluation and execution. Instead, deploy the right technology, such as customer service software, and free up your agents to focus on the core tasks.
Let them make decisions on their feet and manage multiple conversations and channels simultaneously.
Customer support software will help you deal with such a demanding environment. For instance, live chat enables agents to offer real-time assistance to more customers at a higher frequency. Chatbots deliver human-like support to customers beyond working hours.
Sign up for Helpwise for a 14-day free trial and refine your customer service process by notches.
Key things to keep in mind while establishing Customer Service Processes
01. Focus on Service Quality and Consistency
Quality and consistency might be among the least interesting topics for most customer service leaders.
However, they are tremendously powerful in creating sustainable customer relationships and your brand reputation. That is because people today are incredibly observant. They compare services and products online and draw quick conclusions about organizations. All these based on one interaction with a customer service agent.
Hence, deploy customer service software to sync conversations across communication channels. That way, you can foster a more unified interaction between your customers and customer support agents.
Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots answer common customer queries, such as return policies and service hours, in seconds and 24/7.
02. Put Customers First
Be customer-centric – an advice you must have heard dozens of times earlier. For starters, make customers the hero of your customer service process, not an annoyance to cope with.
The truth is most customers today – 7 out of 10 – expect a highly personalized experience. So, to build a solid connection, leverage data analytics to access customers’ sentiments and preferences across multiple channels and tailor customer service accordingly.
Remember all this information as customers prefer to avoid repeating themselves.
Further, assign your customer support champions to provide VIP treatment to specific customers to let them know they are appreciated.
03. Be agile and flexible
Your customers lie at the heart of your business – and they come before profits or products. So, treat them like they are the center of your orbit — because they are.
Integrate data analytics into your customer support process to track changes in customers’ behaviors and their lifetime value. Identify critical customer contexts, including purchase history, opened outbound emails, and previous support issues. Sharing these insights across multiple support teams can help you predict customers’ needs and create more relevant and accurate customer service processes.
Customer Service Processes: The Foundation to Build a Customer-centric Brand
As a customer service leader, you will likely face various hurdles, especially at a time when people’s choices and empowerment are increasing. Customer support process is an ongoing task that must adjust over time as markets, your clients, and your agents evolve – and as you learn.
Customers hold the reins in today’s customer service landscape. As such, the onus is on brands to devise leakproof customer support processes to enhance their image.
When you help your customers succeed, your business flourishes. You get to serve a larger client base and thus ride the gravy train.
So, implement these strategies and improvement ideas, and use the examples discussed for inspiration.
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Why are customer service processes important?
In the era of cutthroat competition, standing out solely based on products and services is becoming increasingly challenging. Moreover, customers flock to businesses offering better value compared to their competitors.
Creating a solid customer support process is a surefire to build better relationships with customers and shine in the crowd. When brands prioritize customer service, they enjoy umpteen benefits – more loyal clients, more positive reviews, and more profits.
What challenges do customer service leaders face today?
Customer service leaders are staring at the following challenges:
- Offering hyper-personalized conversations to customers
- Addressing customer queries/requests across multiple platforms
- Keeping pace with customers’ ever-changing needs and wants
What critical goals should be considered while establishing customer service processes?
While forming a customer support process, businesses should consider these goals and metrics:
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Average handling time (AHT)
- Customer effort score (CES)
- Number of queries resolved/escalated
How can technology help in customer service processes?
Technology, including customer support software, is a welcome addition to any customer service process. It helps businesses in:
- Gathering crucial insights into customer-facing conversations for possible improvements
- Automating manual and tedious tasks such as responding to repeated queries
- Understanding and anticipating customers’ expectations
- Accessing relevant data from a centralized repository
- Monitoring ongoing progress of agents’ performance