As a small business ourselves, we know how important customer service is for you. Managing a small business means that you have to be more personal with your customer service. You are just selling to thousands of strangers online, you’re selling in person and you are interacting with people you see everyday. Your customers are your friends, family, and neighbors.
What are specific customer service goals? For most companies, if asked what their goal is for customer service, they would respond with something along the lines of “to help customers,” or “solving customer problems.” While those answers are true and accurate, you have to be able to narrow down your goals more and really dive deeper into customer service.
Customer service inquiries can give you a lot of valuable insight into what your customers are thinking and experiencing. You have to remember that each interaction with a customer isn’t just an isolated issue you are solving, but a human being that need continued satisfaction. To get more from each customer service interaction, you and your company need to have strong objectives.
Having good customer service objectives allows you to do more than just meet your customers’ basic needs. If you have strong, targeted objectives, you can take things one step further to truly satisfy your customers and exceed their expectations, both in the short term and the long term.
Measuring and Improving Brand Trust
The common saying “trust is the foundation for every relationship” even applies when it comes to a business/customer relationship. When customers don’t trust the brands that they rely on, especially when it comes to a small business, their satisfaction can seriously decline. Customer want to feel like they can depend on you, otherwise they will quickly move on to a new brand that they feel more trusting with.
Improving your brand’s trust should be a customer service objective for all companies. Brand trust can lead to longer, more profitable relationships with your customers. They will also feel more inclined to refer you to friends and family and ensure them they can trust you too. Customer referrals and word of mouth are two of the best ways to attract new customers and grow your business. The more that your customers can trust your business to provide them with what they need, when they need it, the bigger advocates for your company they will become.
So how exactly should you be measuring your customer’s trust in your business? If you can say “yes” to these questions, then you are on the right path.
- Do they refer your brand to friends & family?
- Do they leave positive reviews online?
- Are your company’s turnover rates low?
- Do customers renew their contracts or buy more items?
- Do customers engage with you on social media?
Building customer trust through your company’s customer service is a deeper task than it seems. You need to look further than each isolated incident to make sure that your customers are truly happy and trusting with you.
Deliver on your promises. If your customers can’t believe what you say, they won’t be able to trust your brand. If you are going to hand out promises but not make them happen, you’ll get a bad reputation for making false promises – and you definitely don’t want to be known for that.
Be consistent. It’s hard to trust a brand that’s all over the place – whether it’s with their values, their promises, their consistency, etc. When a customer purchases your goods or services, they want to know what they’re going to get. Maintain consistency in your products or services, and in the service you provide. If you make it a point to meet expectations each and every time, you’ll become dependable.
Be empathetic and kind. If a customer is struggling, do what you can to provide them customer service with empathy, reassurance, and kindness. Helping your customers feel like they are dealing with real empathetic humans instead of rude robots will up their trust. Take control of their problem by letting them know you understand their frustration and that you team is going to work to find a solution.
Be transparent. We all know that mistakes happen. Your customers don’t expect you to be absolutely perfect – but they do expect the truth. If you try to make excuses for your mistakes or hide them from your customers all together, they will struggle to trust your brand. If something goes wrong, let them know. Almost always, being open and communicative can help customers be more forgiving with you.
Measuring and Improving Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is a huge indicator for how good your customer service is. Customer satisfaction goes way beyond simple one time interactions or solutions. Your customers’ satisfaction with your company usually has more to do with their overall customer experience, and how they’ve been treated overall.
Think about this: satisfied customers are not as likely to reach out to your support team, because they’re not in need of help or guidance. If you use your support team solely for help, you could be missing out on some valuable customer feedback, beyond what they only ask your support team. Knowing how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are will help you shape your business and your products and services.
Measuring customer satisfaction is very important. You can’t measure customer satisfaction by waiting for customers to come to you with complaints or compliments. Instead, you need to connect with them proactively, and ask for feedback.
An easy and efficient way to connect with your customers and gain their feedback is by doing customer surveys. Surveys allow you to get helpful feedback that will better your understanding of your customers’ preferences and what they identify as opportunities. Feedback surveys are extremely important after you’ve had a customer service experience, so it’s always a good idea to send one via email after a service session. Doing regular surveys for non-customer service related feedback is also important. You can send out quarterly surveys to all customers that simply ask what they’ve liked/disliked about their service, how satisfied they are on a scale of 1-10 and why, and if you can improve anywhere, where it would be.
Check out these 10 steps for creating a great survey, from Survey Monkey:
- Clearly define the purpose of your online survey.
- Keep the survey short and focused.
- Keep the questions simple.
- Use closed ended questions whenever possible.
- Keep rating scale questions consistent through the survey.
- Logical ordering.
- Pre–test your survey.
- Consider your audience when sending survey invitations.
- Consider sending several reminders.
- Consider offering an incentives.
Measuring and Improving Agent Response and Resolution Times
Agent response and resolution times can be a huge make it or break it when it comes to customer satisfaction. When customers are coming to your service line for help with a question or concern, it’s probable that they are already feeling stressed and maybe even a little upset. The last thing these customers want is to wait a long time, and get an unhelpful experience. We’ve all been there… on hold for an hour and no resolution reached. It’s very overwhelming and gives us a bad taste for the company. Check out what customers say bother them the most about calling into a business helpline:
Being aware of what will make your customers relieved, or what will make your customers feel more irritated is always a path you need to cross. If your wait time is too long, and that customer decides they don’t want to wait, you could lose that customer forever. In the world of small businesses, losing one customer is a big deal.
Your first step in improving your customer service KPIs (key performance indicators) is to know your benchmarks. If you don’t have any KPI’s for customer service, check out these ten customer service metrics to track in our previous blog post. With CallHarbor, it’s easy to see if you are hitting your KPIs, because of all the great information you can find in your user portal. The numbers are readily available and easy for you to pull up.
If you are looking to improve your response and resolution times, you’ll want to look into doing the following things.
Improving your training. Ultimately, how well your employees do has a lot to say about your leadership methods. If you see that you’re having issues, the best thing to do right away is to improve your training styles and utilize different resources and guides to find what is right for your team. Make sure that your team is trained properly to handle any type of phone call, and if they aren’t, make sure the call is getting to the correct person the first time.
Take a multi-channel approach. Some customers don’t want to call customer service at all. They dread that experience and have already made up their mind that it’s going to be a negative one. Which means you may have unsatisfied customers sitting there and waiting around for something that isn’t going to happen. To combat this, make sure that your team is available on multiple channels to help your customers. Being active on social media can help customers recognize this friendliness and feel more comfortable about reaching out. CallHarbor support is available for phone calls, text messages, emails, and website chat 24/7, because we care about our customer and always want them to know that they can reach us, however they’re comfortable, at whatever time is convenient for them.
Measuring and tracking your customer service goals is an important way to make sure your business stays where it needs to be in terms of customer satisfaction. There are a lot of customer service objectives out there, but if you are utilizing and evaluating them properly, they won’t be helpful. Focus on a few, such as the ones we went over, and put all your effort into perfecting (as much as you can) them. Once you see customer service as much more than just helping with a single service incident, you’ll be able to progress down the customer servie road and keep your faithful customers happy in the long-term.