“If your retention is poor, then nothing else matters.” – Brian Balfour, founder of Reforge, former VP of Growth at Hubspot.
With complete respect, we disagree with Brian. Because customer retention comes from customer satisfaction, it comes from all those memorable experiences that you create for customers to satisfy their association with your brand. So, we’ll frame Brain’s statement like this;
If your customers aren’t satisfied, then nothing else matters.
If you’ve been running your business for quite a few years, you probably know the importance of satisfying customers. In that case, let’s ask you a simple question,
Is your customer service team doing the best job they can?
If your honest and unbiased assessment says “yes, they are!” then we would love to talk to you and probably learn a few tips for ourselves and our customers. But if it’s a “No.”, this blog is for you. Because great customer service is crucial for your business’s success, and improving your customers’ satisfaction is a sign of it.
Here’s one more question,
Is your coffee ready? Because we’re about to start!
What Is Customer Service?
To put it simply, Customer Service is the forever support that a business offers its customers. This support comes both before and after they buy your product or service. Now, offering great customer service becomes crucial if you want to give them the right experience. And you, as a leader, should focus on this, as there’s a lot your company might lose otherwise.
Well, the next section talks about the eventual profits you would make once the customers hail your customer service team as heroes! So, with no further ado, on we go.
How Can Your Customer Service Team Be Your Customer’s Hero
Interesting title, isn’t it? Well, it’s not just a fancy title but a reality too. Your customer service team can indeed be the customer’s hero. And if you go for a quick google search, you’ll find companies who’re doing this successfully. Our focus here is not to talk about them but to demystify the process they’re using for their customer service teams. To bring to you the rules their service teams follow that make them stand apart. And how can you use it to win over customers and improve your customer satisfaction score?
Want to know your brand’s Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)? SurveySparrow has got your back! Create an engaging Customer Satisfaction Survey, roll it out to your customers (both existing and previous ones), and find out!
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Coming back to the topic, after speaking to and reading about some of the best customer service teams, and after surveying our customers on “what they expect from their customer representative and team?” we’ve identified ten rules that are making the most difference.
We wanted to talk more here, to be honest. But knowing that you’re too goddamn excited to know all about it, we won’t keep you waiting anymore. Let’s raise the curtains on this.
#1 Let The Frustration Pass
“I took the subscription less than 48 hours ago, and now it’s not working! I have a meeting in the next hour, damn it. How will I present my report like this?”
That’s a frustrated customer for you, and rightly so. The tool he took subscription of, for his meeting, ain’t working. Now he’s super frustrated while being tensed on what’ll happen? The customer might say some not very nice (probably terrible) things about your company at this point.
If you’re the customer service representative assigned for this, just stay patient and let this frustration pass. Give the customer time to vent out his anger and frustration or use statements like “I understand your frustration. I’m here to help”. Why? Because every customer would take your help in the right stride after they’ve calmed down. They would follow what you ask them to do and would be determined to find a solution as quickly as possible. That’s the goal, isn’t it? To improve customer satisfaction by finding quick and efficient solutions. Plus, they’ll apologize for their reaction and appreciate your handling of the situation. So, problem solved, respect earned. Good job!
#2 Stay Serious. But Positive
As a customer service representative or team, your customer’s problems are your problems. Taking them seriously would help you find a solution faster. But does that mean you have to talk like a robot? What’s the issue with being cheerful and caring? Show your expertise and spread positivity. That’s the point we’re trying to make here.
“Sure, Mrs Andrews. I understand the issue completely. There seems to be a glitch that’s causing this error. Can I add one of the product guys to the call? Also, it’s 10 in the morning. Have you had your breakfast?”
With such statements, you’re spreading the positivity that you care not just about solving the problem but also about your customers. And believe us, they’ll reciprocate the same warmth while valuing you.
#3 Run Away From “No.”
“No” is demotivating, discouraging, and disinteresting. And if you’re in the customer service team, we would suggest you run far away from this “No”. For the reason that this 2-letter word is enough to instil a negative feeling about the company in your customer’s mind. So, if you can’t solve a problem they have, no issues, simply use phrases like these in place of a “No”,
- “What I can do is….”
- “I’ll get someone who can address this…”
- “Let me get back to you with a solution.”
#4 “That’s Not My Job” = Dissatisfied Customer
The title explains everything. If you’re a customer service head who wants to improve customer satisfaction big time, make sure your team isn’t using this phrase. Because just like a “No”, a “That’s not my job” instils the same negative feeling in your customers. It makes them think you don’t give a damn about their problem, and that’s one of the best ways to lose a good customer. Instead, try these out,
- “I’ll find the right way/person to help you out.”
- “I’ll look into this right away and get back.”
- “Can you give me some time to understand the problem?”
#5 Personalize To Win Hearts
Personalization. Its importance grows with every passing day. In 2018, 87% of Americans were willing to have various details of their activity tracked, hoping to get a more personalized experience. Just imagine how close this number would be to 100% now? From time immemorial, personalization has always reaped fruitful rewards. The type of rewards has changed from gold coins to satisfied customers (we were trying to be funny here!). But the efforts put into personalizing a conversation always pays handsomely.
You wish to improve customer satisfaction, right? Go all-in on personalization. Call your customers by their names to shape up your customer support and service based on their likes and dislikes and personalize every bit of their customer journey. Make them feel like a family where the likes, dislikes, wants, and needs are always taken care of.
#6 Do Smart Work, Not Hard Work
Let’s say a customer came to you with an issue where she cannot access her online dashboard. Now, as a customer representative, here are your four options,
- Understand the problem and solve it.
- I don’t understand the problem. Call a colleague who does and solve it.
- Understand the problem, solve it, figure out why it happened, and store the solution securely for faster access in the future.
- Solve the problem and educate the customer about the problem.
If you choose 1 & 2, you’re a hard worker who would do his best to solve customer problems quickly. But in this fast-changing world, and in your quest to improve customer satisfaction, you gotta be a smart worker and go for options 3 & 4. Why? Because the customers don’t enjoy coming to you again and again for similar issues. They want a solution that’s quick and which eliminates unnecessary repetition. And trust us, they would love it, if as a customer service representative, you’re solving their problems smartly.
#7 Your Customers Are Human
As a customer service lead, you and your team need to be empathetic towards the customer. To be very honest, we didn’t realize the importance of empathy that much before 2020. But after what we witnessed, we now believe that showing empathy hurts no one. It can benefit you and generate greater loyalty for your brand! So, treat your customers not just as a customer, but as a human. Empathize with their problems, give them the fastest solution, and if possible, bring a smile to their face. They’ll forever remember you for this. And when they are finally in a better situation, they’ll surely come back to you. That’s the impact of empathy.
#8 Be Honest; You’re Human Too!
- “I apologize, but finding a solution to this would take some time.”
- “Hey, Mr Smith. Can we reschedule our call for tomorrow? I’m on sick leave today.”
- “A mistake happened from my end in grasping the problem. I apologize for the delay.”
You can use such statements when needed. The customers know you’re a human, and they know you can be sick or make mistakes sometimes. So, as a customer service representative, don’t shy away from being honest. Beating around the bush would frustrate the customers, and their satisfaction levels would dive. They’re willing to cut you some slack if you’re willing, being honest with them. Remember that.
#9 Close The Conversation With A Bang
To improve customer satisfaction, the way you end your conversation with them is crucial. The way you close the conversation determines how well the interaction was. And that’s what every great customer service representative and the team does.
They always use a very motivating statement to highlight their customer’s journey and the patience they displayed. They ask them if they need help with any other issue and finally end the conversation positively with something like, “You’ll have a hugely productive day. I’m getting that positive vibe from you. I hope that happens. Goodbye.” That’s how you leave a lasting impression!
#10 Use The Right Strategies For Feedbacks
That’s right. Taking feedback that can reveal crucial information and data about customer satisfaction requires the proper strategy. The type of questions you include also plays a big role. How? Because you can inspire customers to share more about themselves and their habits by including well-directed questions. And once you’ve mastered this, feedbacks would allow you to improve customer satisfaction at an unimaginable pace!
6 Customer Service Metrics That Matter The Most
Being a leader, the way to measure your customer service team’s performance is through different metrics. Now, there are a huge number of metrics out there that allow you to do that. Some drill down into the nitty-gritty aspects of the work your team is doing to improve customer satisfaction. Then some overall business metrics can just as well be analyzed from the customer service perspective. In this section, we’ll focus on six metrics that matter and help you ensure customer service quality is top-notch. Ready to start?
First Response Time
First response time is one of the key customer support metrics to be measured. It’s a metric that measures the time taken from when a customer makes a support request until the customer service representative responds to that request for the first time. Measuring the first response time will help you understand your customer’s current wait time to get an initial response from your team. This will help you improve customer satisfaction as you’ll revise and optimize the process of handling customer support requests to bring down the response time.
Customer Satisfaction Score
Customer satisfaction,, commonly referred to as CSAT, is a key performance indicator used to measure your customer support team’s satisfaction level. It uses different satisfaction-oriented questions typically sent in customer feedback surveys to respond on a 5-point scale. Here’s a typical customer satisfaction question from one SurveySparrow’s customer satisfaction survey;
“Did our support team help you find the solution you were looking for?”
And here’s what the 5-point scale means:
- 1 means highly unsatisfied
- 2 means unsatisfied
- 3 is for neutral
- 4 means satisfied
- 5 means the customer is highly satisfied
The cumulative results of such questions are averaged to get a Composite Customer Satisfaction Score to have a consolidated understanding of how satisfied your customers are.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
While CSAT is about customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score is about measuring your customer’s loyalty towards your product or organization. CSAT measures the current interaction, whereas NPS measures the ongoing relationship of the customer with your company. NPS is a metric used to predict the possibility of purchases and referrals by your customer by asking their likeliness to refer your product to their connections. If used in the right way, NPS is a goldmine of actionable data!
It is rated on a 10-point scale and categorized as follows:
Detractors: Customers giving you a score of 0 to 6, indicating dissatisfaction.
Passives: Customers giving you a score of 7 or 8 but may not want to recommend your product to others.
Promoters: Customers giving you a score of 9 or 10, indicating a high likeliness to recommend your product to others.
Average Resolution Time
Measuring resolution time helps you understand the time taken for resolving a customer support request. It shows the time a customer has to wait to get their issue resolved. When the resolution time for all the customers is noted, an average resolution time is taken out using this, which shows the average time your customers are waiting to get a solution to their query. And based on this, you and your customer service team can improve this waiting period to bring fast, efficient solutions for customers and thus improve customer satisfaction.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Using this metric, you’ll know the amount of work the customers are putting in to resolve their problem. CES is measured by asking customers to rate on a statement like:
“Your Company made it easy for me to handle my issue.”
The easier it is for your customers to find and do everything they need, the more likely they will be your customers, and give a good rating on a scale of 0-10 for this question.
Internal Quality Metric (IQS)
CSAT and NPS tell you what your customers think about the service given to them. But they don’t know how efficiently your customer service representative worked to find the solution. They also don’t know the quality standards of your customer service team. This is where IQS comes in. As the name suggests, it’s a metric based on an internal evaluation given by peers, managers, and leaders like you to every representative. IQS allows you to maintain the right quality standards while working to improve customer satisfaction. And when you’re looking towards sustained growth for the company, this metric becomes crucial.
Improve Customer Satisfaction With These Top Questions
We now know how your customer service team can turn heroes for the customers. We also know the metrics to measure to improve customer satisfaction. Now is the time to help you with the right questions to ask. Because as we saw with CSAT, the questions you ask would determine the data you’ll get and the outcome you get out of it. So, we can’t ignore the questions you’re going to ask in your customer feedback or customer satisfaction surveys. And here are the ones that have always delivered the best results for our customers.
Questions On Customer Service Representative
- Did your customer service representative listen to you completely at the start of the conversation?
- How quickly do you think the representative understood your problem?
- Did the representative offer you just the solution or explained why the problem came up in the first place?
- How would you rate the attitude of your representative on a scale of 1 to 10?
Questions On Time Taken To Solve The Problem
- Did our customer service team respond to you within an hour after putting up the query?
- Was your query resolved after the customer service team addressed it for the first time?
- How satisfied are you on a scale from 1 to 10 on time taken to solve your query?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, where the numbers represent the number of hours, how long do you think your query should have taken to resolve?
Questions On The Solution Given
- Did the solution provided solve your query the first time itself?
- Were you given a walkthrough on the entire solution?
- Was the solution problem-specific, or would it work for other similar queries?
- Do you think the solution provided made your overall product experience better? If yes, how would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?
“Let’s take most of the money we would’ve spent on paid advertising and paid marketing.
Instead of spending it on that, invest it in the customer experience/customer service.
Then let our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”
-Tony Hsieh, Ex-CEO of @Zappos
— SurveySparrow (@surveysparrow) April 12, 2021
This quote from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, is what we completely resonate with. The world today has become much more competitive than it was just a decade back. There are many tools, interactive advertisements, and marketing campaigns to attract potential customers now. All this comes of no use if customers aren’t satisfied. The pandemic showed the true impact of customer satisfaction when only those businesses survive whose customers trust them and are satisfied with the association.
So, in this new normal of 2021, are you investing time and energy in your customer service team to improve customer satisfaction? We’ll leave you with this question. Until next time…