No Matter How Good You Think Your Customer Service Is, It Could Be Better

No matter what industry you’re in, most companies are constantly looking for a competitive advantage. There is one very powerful tool that most of them overlook. That tool is customer service.

Here’s why customer service is such an opportunity

Better customer service means better salesIn today’s real-time economy, customers have high customer service expectations. Excellent customer service starts with offering a speedy and seamless experience across your support channels. How will your company keep up with demand and deliver great omni-channel support?

This infographic will show you best practices for boosting your customer service on your phone and social media.

Executives and Customer Experience

  • 93% of executives say that improving the customer experience is one of their organization’s top priorities.
  • 91% of executives want to be considered a customer experience leader in their industry.
  • In reality, only 37% of executives have a formal customer experience plan.
  • 20% of executives consider the state of their customer service experience to be advanced.

What Support Channels Are Your Customers Using?

  • 36% phone.
  • 33% live chat.
  • 25% email.
  • 5% online support portal.
  • 2% social media.

What Frustrates Customers Most?

  • Upset customers equals bad business22% being passed between agents.
  • 21% having to contact a brand or organization multiple times for the same issue.
  • 18% not being able to reach a live person.
  • 17% not being able to resolve an issue or find enough helpful information online.
  • 13% impolite customer service agents.
  • 9% being kept waiting on hold.

The Most Important Aspects of an Excellent Customer Service Experience

  • 34% getting the issue resolved fast.
  • 29% resolving the problem on first contact, no matter how long it takes.
  • 27% a friendly, knowledgeable agent.
  • 10% finding the information without help.

Social Media’s Role in Excellent Customer Service

  • Customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal. They spend up to 40% more with those companies than other customers.
  • When customers reach out to companies on social media, they expect a response:
    • 15% in less than an hour.
    • 46% in 24 hours or less.
    • 14% in 48 hours or less.
    • 25% never.
  • To improve your response times on social media, use tools like Google Alerts and Mention to track social mentions of your company online. You can also manage multiple social media accounts simultaneously from one dashboard so nothing falls through the cracks. Consider tools like Buffer and Hootsuite.

When Customers Call Your Business They Expect:

  • To have their issue handled quickly and effectively.
  • To speak to a person without jumping through hoops.
  • To deal with professional and courteous agents.
  • To have their problem solved correctly the first time.

Common Customer Service Complaints Over the Phone:

Customer service is an opportunity for differentiationProblem #1 – “I keep getting transferred from person to person.” 56% of customers have to re-explain the problem. Here’s how to solve it:

  • Try to answer the question where it was asked: don’t shuffle customers around by telling them to contact you another way. Frustrated customers or those with more complex problems should be helped over the phone or email.
  • Instead of cold transfers, use call center software to conference in a colleague rather than transfer the call. If a transfer is still necessary, use a warm transfer.

Problem #2 – “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” 50% of the time customer service fails to answer customers’ questions. Here’s how to solve it:

  • Address recurring questions or comments with a more thorough response: add the answer to the FAQ section of your website. Write a blog post customers can reference. Chronic problems mays need to be addressed with in-house changes.
  • Use call center software that integrates with your other databases: always know the customer’s entire interaction history.

Problem #3 – “You were impatient and nasty to me.” 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. 82% of customers experience bad customer service and were most frustrated by unfriendly or impolite agents. Here’s how to solve it:

  • Show you care: use phrases like “I hear you” or “I’m sorry” when communicating online. Make it personal by allowing the rep to use his or her name in the response. “Don’t just listen; understand.”
  • Engage in active listening: allows for better understanding of the customers’ needs and shows a willingness to help. You can actively listen by allowing the customer to talk without interruption, reflect back their main question or concern and ask clarifying questions when necessary.
  • Ensure the customer is aware you understand them.

Upset customers are bad for businessSocial media is a valuable tool for customer service teams, but it can’t be the only one. Use it in conjunction with solid phone support to deliver excellent customer service, boost customer loyalty and increase your bottom line.

While everyone else is using traditional and expected solutions in an effort gain a competitive advantage, you should explore becoming the customer service leader to grow your sales.

Better Customer Service = More Sales

Best Practices to Boost Your Customer Service Across Channels

Good Selling!

Infographic created by


Do You Accept LinkedIn Connections From People You Don’t Personally Know?

Connect with LinkedInNot long ago, most people’s advice was to ignore invitations from those you don’t know. However, recently I have been receiving a significant number of that type of invitation, which makes me want to revisit the following questions:

If you don’t, are you concerned that you may miss out on job or other opportunities?

If you do, has there ever been a downside?

This is a good question for us all to consider, especially as LinkedIn makes it easier to invite connections. (It’s also pretty clear that LinkedIn likes larger networks.)

It’s ok to accept a LinkedIn connection from someone you don’t know

It’s ok to accept a LinkedIn connection from someone you don’t knowI make a value judgement based on the contact if I don’t know them personally:

  • Who do they know in my network, 1 person, a bunch of people? Is that person or persons a recent contact or one I know well?
  • What is their profile like – fully filled out with lots of recommendations or something quick and slapped together?
  • What do they do – if they’re someone looking to farm contacts and spam me with sales messages I’m less likely to link them.
  • Did they look at my profile first – I can decide if people bothered to look at my profile before I link back to them.
  • Are they a potential customer or valuable networking contact?
  • How many other contacts do THEY have?
  • Are they active at blogging or posting or does everything in their feed look like an advertisement?
  • If they are active, do they engage?
  • Are they inside or outside the US?
  • Are they in the local area or someplace else in the US?
  • Are they in a competitive company to mine or one that might complement it?

In other words, their profile is key even if no contacts in common.

I also look at behavior:

  • Custom invite message vs canned one (not as good a predictor as some of the mobile invite workflows don’t allow you to customize the invite)
  • If they spam me right away – I block them right away.
  • Do they send me a thank you for the accept or just ignore me?

A strong LinkedIn network is built with strong connections

My main use of LinkedIn is to see who I know that knows someone I want to meetOriginally, I LinkedIn only with people I knew and could vouch for. But my main use of LinkedIn is to see who I know that knows someone I want to meet. So for that purpose, having a larger network is better.

I have met some really interesting people who initiated a friend request with me, and based on their background and LinkedIn profile, I decided it would be helpful to get to know them.

So to meet new and interesting people, and to have a big network that can help me to get a warm introduction to people I want to meet, I now accept some requests from people I don’t know. I especially accept them if they are interesting to me, or if we have several or many mutual connections consisting of people I know and respect.

The biggest downside for me is that every week I get connection requests from people who want to sell me something. If they abuse me with sales messages, most of the time I go back and remove those connections.

What’s your thoughts?

Good Selling!
Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.