The modern customer’s needs are constantly evolving and expectations are getting higher and higher. Brands can’t keep up unless they are perpetually enhancing their customer service processes with efficiency tools. We realize this is easier said than done, as there are always obstacles to establishing fine-tuned customer service processes and tools, such as executive buy-in and budget.
The most important place to start is to take a step back and assess where you are with your process for every customer support avenue. Ask yourself, “Do I have a process set up for phone calls, emails, text messages, and tracking?”
Let’s explore the importance of developing these processes and how efficiency tools can resolve those issues to create the most streamlined experience for every customer.
What Is Customer Support?
Customer support is the help and advice that a company gives both current and prospective customers from the discovery stage through to becoming loyal customers. The modern idea of customer support is to be “customer-first.”
It’s all about creating a personalized interaction from the moment the conversation begins until it ends. It’s about recognizing that, while you may be behind a phone or computer, you’re still speaking to an actual person who is not only confiding in you with their issues, but is also trusting you to provide them with the support and solutions they need. Customers want agents to interact with them just as they would engage with someone in person who can provide assistance.
Why Is Customer Support Important?
The importance of efficient and effective customer support processes comes down to how you make the customer feel — how the customer feels impacts everything about how they perceive your brand.
- A customer is four times more likely to move to a competitor when facing a service-related issue rather than a price or product-related issue.
- From a purely financial perspective, it will cost six to seven times more to bring in a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
- If a customer has one negative experience it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for it.
- Seventy percent of buying experiences are simply based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
5 Ways to Enhance Your Customer Support Processes With Efficiency Tools
From getting executive buy-in to personalized communication to tracking results, we’ve pulled together five essential ways that efficiency tools will improve your customer support processes.
1. Get C-level buy-in
It can be nearly impossible to move forward with efficiency initiatives without approval at the executive level. Without buy-in, teams can’t have the budget they need to implement customer support processes with efficiency tools. We see this evidenced in Kustomer research that shows the top reasons that organizations aren’t adopting efficiency tools are a lack of executive buy-in (34%) and a lack of budget (56%).
In order to get that crucial buy-in, you can help executives understand that adopting efficiency tools could completely transform a CX organization from a cost center into a profit center, ultimately benefiting not only the executives but also the business as a whole. Only 18% of companies use chatbots, for example, which means there is a huge opportunity for companies to stay ahead of the competition and streamline processes on both the brand and customer sides.
2. Get the right technology
Efficiency in customer service is all about automating tedious tasks to streamline the process for customers and free up your team to focus on more complex tasks that require a human touch.
Messaging is the future, as consumers most frequently (52%) respond to text messages from businesses multiple times a day. But much of that communication can be completed automatically with the right tools, allowing agents to put their energy into customer interactions that need more personal attention.
For the most efficient automation features, invest in technology that:
- Automates low-level support: Chatbots can be used to answer simple questions like order status or business hours, and direct customers to a help center if human intervention is not needed.
- Automates routine tasks: Manual and repetitive tasks may not require any human intervention. Luckily intelligent automation can auto-populate useful data like contact information, or tag conversations based on factors like issue type or location.
- Predicts outcomes: By using predictive analytics, companies can forecast future conversation volume and staffing needs based on historical data.
3. Identify CX channels
CX professionals believe live chat (79%), social media (72%), and SMS (56%) will become more popular in the next three years, and 83% of consumers believe they should be able to contact customer service on any channel they want. To meet your customers where they are, you have to be flexible in the different CX channels offered throughout your customer support processes.
Regardless of your other channels, your brand website will always be a primary resource for current and prospective customers to gain information or contact you. With the increasing demand for virtual support options, putting your website to work with a live chat feature is another critical piece of the future of customer experience. Kustomer research found that 79% of CX professionals believe live chat will become more popular over the next three years.
Live chat helps resolve customer issues more efficiently. Many customers may have questions about policies or products when doing business online, and the easier businesses can make it to get those questions answered, the more likely they are to complete their purchase instead of abandoning their carts. For so many customers, their frustration stems from an inability to connect with another human for support. Live chat is a low-cost, easy-to-use solution that benefits the agent and customer.
SMS customer support means support via text messaging or apps like WhatsApp. While this support style requires no face-to-face interaction, its convenience and reliability have led it to become an incredibly popular virtual support option. Kustomer research found that 72% of CX professionals believe SMS will become more popular over the next three years.
SMS is significantly less costly than routing all support inquiries to a call center. A Forrester study shows that, on average, a customer service phone call costs $16, while an entire SMS thread between agent and customer costs between $1 and $6.
Not only do your operating costs dwindle with SMS support, but your labor efficiency also skyrockets. A single phone call with a customer can cost an agent precious time that could be better used to service multiple customers via text.
Plus, the beauty of SMS is the seamless integration of automation. Whether it’s a simple SMS appointment reminder or an AI-powered conversation, automation can save your agents time and your company money.
Social media channels allow companies to engage with customers on a one-on-one basis via platform-specific direct messaging. Kustomer research found that 56% of CX professionals believe social messaging will become more popular over the next three years.
In terms of post-purchase support, it’s becoming best practice to create customer support-specific channels for consumers to reach on social media. Plus, it shows them that you are using an omnichannel approach and are willing to meet your customers where they feel most comfortable.
Social platforms also allow you to shape your brand’s perception. Platforms like Facebook reward active and communicative companies with responsiveness badges. Not only do these badges show your commitment to good customer support, but they also encourage users to utilize social messaging for support.
4. Personalize your customer communication
Kustomer research indicates that CX professionals believe personalized experiences will be the most important attribute in customer service by 2025. In order to create customer support processes that offer the personalized interactions customers are looking for, brands need to be:
- Friendly and authentic: 83% of consumers expect customer service reps to reflect the brand’s ethos and values, and 82% appreciate it when businesses communicate with them in a friendly, conversational manner.
- Proactive: 81% of consumers appreciate proactive customer support, like when brands reach out about a change, update, or issue before the customer has a chance to reach out with a question.
- Aware of customer history: 80% of customers believe CS reps should already know about their orders and history without having to tell them. This awareness requires data collection and analysis technology that can harness customer history and deliver it to agents at key moments. Another 82% of consumers believe they should be treated better for being loyal customers, so it’s important to acknowledge a customer’s patronage when interacting with them.
5. Measure customer service success
In order to continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer service processes, you need to establish the metrics by which you can measure what is and isn’t working. To do this, you’ll need to have systems in place to collect and analyze important customer feedback.
- Customer Effort Score (CES): Your customer effort score tracks how much effort your customers feel they have to dedicate toward resolving an issue. The more effort required, the more frustrating the experience. Following a customer service interaction, you can capture these feelings with a Likert scale question.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT measures your customers’ feelings immediately following an interaction with a customer service agent. As with CES, you can send out a Likert scale survey question to capture your customer’s satisfaction level on a scale from one to five.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is a popular metric for measuring customer service effectiveness and gauging customer satisfaction. As with CSAT and CES, you can gather customer feedback with this type of survey question: “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?” High responses indicate higher levels of satisfaction with your company and the customer experience.
To see where your customer support processes are at, take our assessment quiz, or download Kustomer’s latest guide, 5 Steps to Develop a More Efficient and Effective CX Strategy.