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 talkdesk.com

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How to Get Knowledge Out of Your Product Manager’s Head and Into the Hands of Sales

Product Dossiers for MarketersWished you could on-board new sales reps more easily? Ever had a green product manager who needs deep product immersion? Here’s a simple tool to help you do both.

Creating a Product Dossier brings the sales team up-to-speed on new products and programs while helping unlock what’s in the product manager’s head

Product Dossiers Sales TrainingIt’s easy to overwhelm a sales team when launching many new products and programs at a rapid pace. The same is true for a new product manager or sales rep that’s unfamiliar with your product lines.

New sales reps need knowledge to gain confidence. Unfortunately, what they are given is a sell sheet or, worse, a 150 slide PowerPoint presentation. “It’s in there,” says marketing vaguely.

Truth is the sales team – especially the new guy – has to know all the details about the product, not just some specs and fluffy words. They need the knowledge that to have confidence to present the product and, more importantly, make the sale.

A Product Dossier can help the sale team drive more sales by:

  1. Providing detailed product, pricing, channel and support information to the field in an easy-to-use format.
  2. Delivering information to the field in a shorter period of time to enable them to start selling quicker.
  3. Improving the productivity of the sales force.
  4. Delivering the business proposition by audience and answers the question “why should I buy?”

A Product Dossier gets the critical marketing insights for a product line out of the product manager’s head and into the hands of the sales team

Product Dossiers TrainingIn other words, we were asking the product management team to take the time and write down all the key details about a product line. We call this document a Product Dossier.

The Product Dossier is for internal use only and always has these key topics in the following order:

  • Product Description
  • Product Performance
  • Application
  • Features and Benefits
  • Packaging
  • Business Proposition to channel
  • Business Proposition to end user
  • Pricing
  • Order/Ship/Bill
  • Stocking Plants
  • Market Description / Market Segmentation
  • Channel Positioning
  • Objectives
  • Competition
  • Sales Tools

The Product Dossier is distributed to the field sales forces by email and should also be posted on the intranet. This tool can also easily become part of the broader set of tools that any new product commercialization process already has.

While the Product Dossier is an internal document, a Program Sell Sheet can be created from it for use by the field as a customer hand out and as a quick read cheat sheet just before a sales call.

Program Sell Sheets are based on the Product Dossier and can be used as a customer product knowledge and training tool

Marketing Communications EffectivenessProgram Sell Sheets are simply edited, formatted and printed versions of the Product Dossier and always contain the following information in the following order:

  • Product Description
  • Product Performance
  • Application
  • Features and Benefits
  • Packaging
  • Business Proposition
  • Order/Ship/Bill
  • Sales Tools

Notice all the internal details are stripped out – it is a generic sell sheet now, but with far richer content. These sell sheets can be now be used as a customer education tool. They are particularly valuable when the customer’s sales team needs product knowledge and training.

Product Dossiers don’t write themselves…they take time and effort to become valuable sales training tools

Product Dossiers KnowledgeDon’t be deceived, this process takes time. It forces the product team to make sure they have all the facts. This process requires deep immersion into the product line – which is why it’s such a great teaching tool for green product managers.

Don’t be so bold as to say you’re going to knock off 20 of these in a short period of time. Maybe you can but the best process is to start with your new products and then roll the process out to the more established product lines.

Be sure to save the finished Product Dossiers electronically. They obviously need to be updated every so often to stay relevant.

By the way, this process works for products, services and programs. The headings are broad enough that they allow you considerable flexibility.

Do you have other great ways of bringing the sales team up-to-speed? Let me know about them!

Good Selling!