Good and Bad Customer Service Trends

New customer service trends emerge all the time because everyone is looking to improve their company’s customer service. Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, so adopting new customer service techniques and mediums can vastly benefit your company. However, just because they are trending does not mean that all of these techniques are effective. Here is a look at both good and bad customer service trends.

 

Good Customer Service Trends

 

Text Messages: Studies and surveys show that most customers prefer a text response. They are great for communicating with customers quickly, with little to no hold time. The only real caveat is that your responses have to be precise and accurate. Your customer service agents will need to be highly trained, in order to think and solve problems quickly.

Rapid Response Times: Customers are getting used to customer service response that is nearly instantaneous, and they come to expect it out of every company. So, no matter which medium you use for customer service responses, the faster your response times are, the happier customers will be.

Social Media Outreach: More and more customers are reaching out to companies through social media. It is usually one of the fastest ways to get in contact with a company, and people are taking advantage of it. You are missing out if you are not responding to customer service inquiries on your social media, because companies that are responding publicly are getting a lot of customer satisfaction because of it.

Follow Ups: Customers do not like to think that you solved their problem and then forgot about them. So, a follow-up contact to check in and make sure they are not still encountering a problem can go a long way towards increasing a customer’s satisfaction level. Follow-ups can be done in the form of phone calls, emails, texts, etc., so they are pretty easy to implement.

Scheduling Apps: In this fast-paced world, customers do not want to wait on hold to schedule an appointment. It is far simpler for customers to schedule the appointments themselves. You can implement this system in a couple of different ways: you could add a section on your website for DIY scheduling, or you could use an app like Schedulista.

FAQ Videos: Customers tend to like to solve their problems themselves before breaking down and calling customer service. So, having a large list of FAQs is a great way for customers to troubleshoot. However, they like “how to” videos even more. Short videos that explain how to use features or fix common problems give your customer step-by-step instructions, along with visuals. It is easy to upload such videos to YouTube.

 

Bad Customer Service Trends

 

Negative Online Contacts: Just because celebrities get into arguments with their followers online does not mean that your business can afford to. Anyone who represents your company should maintain a positive online presence. Treating a customer badly in such a public way can have a drastically negative effect on your company.

Using Only Facebook: People are turning away from Facebook as more types of social media sites and apps are emerging. So, if your only social media presence is on Facebook, you are missing out on a large customer base.

Exclusively Telephone Customer Service Support: Customers are evolving to use new technologies, and we now have other ways that they can contact us. Text, chat, and email customer service make up a lot of customer service contact volume today. If you are only using telephone customer service support, you are really missing out.

 

 

This is the age of the informed consumer. They can see a good business when they see that others like it too. So, when you treat them well, they are really good at writing rave reviews online. So, if you provide good, fast customer service, not only will your customers be happy, they will sing your praises to others. Since the majority of people now rely on the reviews of a business to make decisions on which company they will choose, a great review will hopefully result in even more customers.

 

 

Proper Customer Service Email Communication

There are a lot of customer service email scripts and templates out there. They are pretty easy to find, and all you have to do is copy and paste to use them. However, while they may be a quick way to communicate with your customers, scripted email responses may not be the most effective way to communicate with your customers regarding their inquiries. If a customer receives a scripted response, they are likely going to call customer service later, and be unhappy. As anyone who has worked in customer service can tell you, if the customer is already upset before contact, it has a real potential not to be a good outcome. The information in this article will help you to avoid that whole fiasco and provide you with more satisfied customers, and an enjoyable customer service experience.

 

Problems with Scripts

 

Poorly scripted emails from customer service are common enough that you have probably received one yourself at one time or another. Here is an example of a typical scripted customer service email:

“Hi, <<customer.first_name>>, Thanks for contacting the XXXX”. Then, it usually goes on to give the customer service team’s hours and days of operation.

There are a few problems with this type of email, and you can sense them as you are reading it. Someone did not use your name, and the whole thing just feels robotic and computerized. Worse still, the email points out that nothing can be done to fix the customer’s problem because it is after business hours. It is one thing to tell a customer that you can’t fix their problems after you have tried, or at least heard what they had to say, but to tell them right away with the first response that you can’t fix their problems, without even talking to them, can be a put off.

 

How to Send Better Emails and Make Better Scripts

 

If you do not have a 24-hour customer service response team, and someone sends you an email after business hours, it is okay to use an automated, scripted response. However, the script needs to be written the right way. Rather than stating that you are unable to fix the customer’s problem because it is after business hours, add “This is an automatically generated email” at the end of your automated email. Why does this work? Generally, people who see that the reply they got back was automatically generated, they know that their message was received and once your business is open, they will get a real response. People sometimes will feel anxious if they receive no response back at all and will begin to wonder if their message was received in the first place. So, an automated response helps reassure them that their message was received. When you add that the business is closed at this time, but that their email will be replied to as soon as possible, or answered in order, they at least know they are in line to have a response.

 

You could consider sending out personalized emails yourself. No matter how big your company is, it should still be rooted in making the customers happy. However, it takes a lot of time and commitment that many business owners do not have. If you are wanting your business to have expanded hours for customer response, it is a great idea to hire a contact center like KPI Connect that is able to provide customer service email response outside of your normal business hours. This way your customers are able to be replied to by a real person vs an automated response. Whether you’re sending personal emails or automated scripted emails, it’s important that your customers feel like they have been heard.

 

How Outsourcing Your Car Dealership Customer Service Can Make A Difference to Your Bottom Line

With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and social media, both potential and existing customers have more opportunities to connect with businesses and brands – and vice versa – than ever before. No longer can a business thrive solely on the basis of high-quality products and services; in this age of constant connectivity, high-quality multi-platform customer service is the ultimate key to sustained success. While this is true in any field, it is especially relevant if you own and operate an automobile dealership.

 

You are not just selling cars, you are presenting a lifestyle choice, and a major component of that process is the ability to provide convenient and satisfying customer service that results in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. Rather than handling these duties in-house, outsourcing your car dealership’s customer service to a reputable multi-channel contact center can make a real difference to your bottom line in many ways.

 

Reduce Operating Costs

 

 

Since most call centers serve multiple clients in a range of industries, the operating costs of the facility, equipment, maintenance, and training are spread out instead of footing the bill all by yourself. By the same token, these agents are experienced, knowledgeable, adept at dealing with customers in a courteous manner, and versatile enough to handle any situation that may arise. With everything already in place, you only pay for services as needed. Whether it’s on a regular basis, during peak periods or holidays, or if you find yourself shorthanded for any reason, the parameters depend entirely upon the unique needs of your dealership.

 

Increase Customer Satisfaction

 

Because strict quality control is the name of the game, you can rest assured that the agents representing your dealership will uphold the same high standards of professionalism and dedication to customer satisfaction exhibited by your in-house team. Entrusting your inbound and outbound customer service needs to a first-class call center means reduced hold times when customers try to contact you, and the extended hours offered by firms such as KPI Connect allow customers the convenience to connect with your dealership outside of traditional business hours.

 

 

Free Up Staff

 

 

Instead of tasking your skilled in-house team with answering common questions via phone, email, web chat, or social media, outsourcing these duties to experienced customer service specialists will free up your staff to do what they do best and focus their valuable time and effort on core business activities. Not only will outsourcing allow your staff to be more productive, but potential walk-in customers will appreciate receiving prompt attention rather than waiting for someone to finish up a phone call or email.

 

 

Why Your Pharmacy Would benefit By Complimenting Its Customer Service By Outsourcing

Pharmacies handle a great deal of sensitive personal information. Not only do they fill people’s medication that they are in need of, they are also privy to knowledge of people’s ailments, all of their medical, insurance, personal information, and more. Most people see pharmacies as one of the most trusted community businesses because pharmacists help people when they are in need of medications that range from minor to life saving. They know that they are able to trust their pharmacists.

So, when it comes to customer service calls, outsourcing may be a scary idea for many pharmacy owners. However, it can actually benefit the business in many ways, and be done in a secure and confidential manner.

As a customer, it can be very frustrating to call your pharmacy, especially if they are known to have long hold times or that your call will be unanswered. This causes a negative customer service experience for customers, especially given that pharmacy calls can be vitally important to their health. Your business likely misses calls every day due to high call volumes and after-hours calls. In other businesses, missed calls are missed business opportunities, which is true of pharmacies, as well. One of the most beneficial aspects of outsourcing customer service calls is that they can help with answering calls during high call volume times, and they can answer calls after hours, creating less work for pharmacy employees and leaving your customers happy knowing that they are able to fill their prescriptions in a timely manner.

For the most part, pharmacists do not end up answering the phones and have assistants or clerks to do so. Today, customers often do not even interact with the pharmacist, coming in contact with assistants or clerks instead unless it is necessary that the pharmacist speak directly to the customer about their medications. Call center agents are trained to handle customer service calls and handle them efficiently. This means that they’re able to solve customers’ problems and answer their questions accurately as they are highly trained. Not only that, they excel at providing customer satisfaction, ensuring that customers come away from the calls feeling positive about them and are far less likely to provide businesses with negative customer service feedback.

Lots of pharmacies have only a handful of employees to answer calls, most of which perform other job duties, as well. This takes them away from their other work and burdens them with a heavy workload. Stressed out employees are not as capable to provide the same level of service to each customer if they have multiple things that they need to do at once. They become distracted, make mistakes, which one doesn’t want in a pharmacy. You’re likely to start seeing a higher employee turnover rate, as well. In this scenario, everyone loses. Outsourcing your pharmacy customer service calls to a call center can ease their workload and provide your employees with a better working environment with less stress.

If your pharmacy has experienced lots of high call volume, you’ve likely started thinking about hiring more employees to answer the calls. But, when exploring this idea, it doesn’t take long to learn that there are tons of extra costs and equipment needed. Many pharmacies don’t have room to expand to include a call-center or office in which several people can answer calls. But, outsourcing the calls to an already established call center can offset these costs. You won’t be paying to install extra equipment, phones, furnishings or office supplies. Instead, the call center already has them and you’re paying for their associates’ work and training, rather than the equipment they use.

There is a stigma that surrounds outsourcing. Many people believe that it takes jobs from other employees. The reality instead is that outsourcing creates jobs and will improve both employee and customer satisfaction. So, if you’ve ever considered outsourcing your pharmacy’s customer service calls, contact KPI Connect to see how they can help your pharmacy run more smoothly and help more people with their needs.

 

More Tips to Reduce Hold Times

Lengthy hold times are a cardinal sin for any business. Once a customer has been banished to the dark void of the hold queue, there is a one-in-three chance that they give up after waiting less than two minutes and never try calling back again. Rather than losing both existing and potential customers, it is imperative to cut back the amount of time a caller has to wait and allow the calls to flow more efficiently. If our first list of ways to reduce hold times was not enough, here are:

 

Six Ways to Increase Call Efficiency

 

  1. More Efficient Call Routing

 

When a customer contacts a business with a question or concern, they want to speak to the most qualified agent available in the appropriate department right away. With the right system in place, a customer should be able to do exactly that and have their issues resolved with minimal hold time. An automated self-service queue may eliminate the need to speak to a live agent altogether by enabling customers to pay bills, reset passwords, and track packages on their own.

 

  1. Trust Your Team

 

Rather than wasting valuable time escalating calls to management, entrust your well-trained team of agents with the ability to make important decisions that are both fair and consistent. Figure out what the most common reasons (and resolutions) for call escalation, and find solutions that the first level agents can implement. Not only does this reduce hold times, it keeps customers happy and proves to your staff that you are confident in their judgment, knowledge, and problem-solving skills.

 

  1. Conference Call

 

There are few things more tedious for a customer than being put on hold repeatedly and having to explain their situation over and over to multiple agents, support personnel, and managers. Cut down on hold times and customer frustration with the use of conference calls, allowing a more qualified staff member to join the conversation, hear what  is going on, and help to resolve the issue without the caller needing to repeat themselves.

 

  1. Update Customer Information

 

Having up-to-date customer information available at an agent’s fingertips reduces both handling times and hold times. Ensure that your software is fully integrated so that all updates are saved on every system and instruct agents to occasionally ask customers if any changes need to be made.

 

  1. Schedule Shifts Smartly

 

By analyzing call volume data, you can determine the peak periods when agents are busier and hold times increase. Instead of simply hiring additional agents, schedule more shifts for times when agents are most needed and less shifts during normally low-volume periods.

 

  1. Build a Better Hold Message

 

Putting customers on hold is inevitable, so make sure you have an upgraded hold message designed to keep them on the line. Music plays a big rolethe average caller sticks around for up to one minute longer if they hear music, and the type of music should be geared toward your target demographic for maximum effectiveness. Some newer systems even allow the caller to choose from a list of musical genres, or you can use your hold message to promote your products and services. Alternatively, give your customers the ultimate freedom by offering a callback option rather than waiting on hold.

 

 

Great Ways to Reduce Hold Times

Hold times can be a call center’s worst enemy.

When a customer contacts a business, the last thing they want is to be put on hold. Making them wait even longer than expected can sometimes be unforgivable. The average caller generally hangs up after less than two minutes on hold, and more than one-third of them never call back. That is a sizable loss of business and a brief window of opportunity, so reducing hold times is an essential part of keeping customers satisfied.

 

Six Ways to Help Hold Times be Reduced

 

  1. Have a Sense of Urgency

 

It goes without saying that when a caller contacts a business, they have pressing needs that they would like addressed promptly and efficiently so they can move on with their day. Treating each interaction with a sense of urgency does not mean that agents or managers should rush customers through calls, but rather strive toward reaching a satisfying conclusion as soon as possible with respect for the customer’s valuable time.

 

  1. Be Responsive

 

Along the same lines as the first tip, make sure your entire team is always at the ready. A surefire way to reduce hold times is to dissuade agents from engaging in an excessive amount of chatter among one another between calls. This responsive attitude should extend to internal departments and even managers, cutting down on the amount of time that agents – and customers – have to spend waiting for an answer to a question or to escalate a call.

 

  1. Grow a Knowledge Database

 

Creating, updating, and providing easy access to a database of company knowledge containing relevant information and helpful answers to frequently asked questions allows agents to effortlessly respond to customer queries without the need to place them on hold. These indexes should be made available both online and offline in case of a faulty or slow network or internet connection.

 

  1. Dig into the Data

 

Reputable contact centers, such as KPI Connect, have access to a suite of cutting-edge advanced analytics that allow them to pinpoint the areas in which they can improve. Take advantage of the data and manage call queues according to the patience level of your customers by finding out as much as you can about the callers who hang up, when they called, and how long they waited before abandoning ship.

 

  1. Keep Tabs on Your Team

 

Determine inefficiencies and reduce hold times by listening in on live calls, providing feedback that only the agent can hear, and even conferencing in as the situation warrants. If you are unavailable, listen to recorded calls to get a gauge on how your team is performing and use these examples to train new agents. Don’t just spend time just on the slower agents either. Check in on your top performers, and try to figure out their tricks and strategies to keep things moving along. You could discover some real gems that you can then pass on to the rest of the department.

 

  1. Appreciate Your Agents

 

As a high-stress job, call centers can experience a high volume of turnover, which means more time (and money) spent on hiring and training new agents, managers, and supervisors. Avoid the hassle and build loyalty among your staff by rewarding positive and efficient performance, encouraging suggestions and feedback, and foster a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.