Home » Archive by category 'Customer Service'

5 Ways to Improve Caller Experience with Cloud Communications

When a customer calls your business, they expect to be helped right away. Without a basic phone number, a consistent answering system, an organized routing plan, and more, you could lose potential sales and repeat customers. Using our cloud communication tools, your company will have the speed, mobility, and flexibility to improve caller experience.

How to Create a Positive Caller Experience with Cloud Communication

Callers quickly abandon businesses or publish bad customer reviews when they have a bad customer service interaction. But, a well-designed caller experience produces increased consumer lifetime value (CLV), repeat clientele, and referrals. With cloud communication tools, your company can easily and reliably receive calls from anywhere in the world. Once a call comes in, you are in full control of how it is managed — this can make or break a caller’s experience.

Here are some ways to improve caller experience with our cloud communication tools:

1. Provide an Easy Contact Method

The first step in providing great service is being easy to contact. Consumers generally will switch to a different brand or service if they cannot find a simple and affordable way to call you. This is where toll-free numbers come in handy. Our toll-free numbers offer a free call to consumers in selected countries. You can expand your network with our international toll-free numbers to connect with your global customers. This option forwards long-distance incoming calls to your business’ location and stays free for callers.

2. Stay Consistent

When a client calls in, you want to pick it up within the first three rings. Callers are more likely to hang up or feel frustrated if a call rings too long. Our interactive voice response system (IVR) makes consistency easy by automatically answering inbound calls, even if your company has to manage a high call volume.

After IVR answers, it is capable of completing common tasks and transferring callers to the right department or employee.

Simply put, a cloud IVR can improve caller experience by:

  • reducing your employees’ workload
  • cutting down on average handling time (AHTs)
  • eliminating ignored or missed calls
  • delivering a consistent cloud communication service.

Plus, this call management feature comes included with our virtual number plans. This cloud communication tool guarantees that each inbound call will be answered in a consistent time frame and manner.

3. Be Professional and Friendly

A positive and professional greeting not only tells your consumer they called the right business but also that you’re happy to hear from them. Your opening message establishes the tone for the rest of the call. Voicemail messages are equally important as they leave a lasting impression and sometimes notify callers of the next steps.

Custom messaging such as on-hold messages, music, and sale promotions can drive sales and lower call abandonment rates. Our customized phone greeting feature makes it easy to set up opening messages and voicemails, using cloud IVR from our online control panel. You can upload any personalized recording as a greeting or voicemail.

Improve Caller Experience with Cloud Communications
Source: Stockphoto.com – O# 100062207713 ID#100186088462

4. Manage the Flow of your Inbound Calls

After your opening messages, what happens to the call? A well-thought-out call flow can improve the caller’s experience by letting you control where and how a call is routed to enhance customer experience.

Our call flow designer allows you to design how you manage and route incoming calls. With this tool, you can visualize how calls move through your system.

Here are some advanced call routing options we offer for any business model:

Geographical Routing
Geo-routing allows you to direct inbound calls to the nearest call center based on the caller’s location. This cloud routing tool helps establish a reliable and accessible caller experience by connecting consumers with a representative in their time zone and preferred language.

Round Robin Routing
This routing service distributes incoming calls evenly using your preset order of agents to determine the next rep in line and transfers the call to them. Round Robin strategy can improve caller experience, especially for high call volumes, by reducing hold times.

Follow the Sun Routing
With follow-the-sun routing, your company can provide 24/7 international customer support without depending on a singular support department. Additionally, your agents aren’t overwhelmed by midnight shifts, improving their customer interactions.

Time of Day Routing
Time-based routing diverts inbound calls to a different predetermined destination based on the time of day, such as past business hours or during a holiday. This can improve customer experience by automatically forwarding calls for the most convenient handling.

Sequential Forwarding
Our sequential ringing feature guarantees that every call is addressed. With this strategy, you can add multiple numbers to your sequence and program calls to go down the list or voicemail if they never connect. Having a backup system ensures a smooth caller experience and avoids any frustration from dropped calls.

5. Regularly Train and Give Feedback to your Support Team

You can consistently deliver a positive and successful caller interaction by proactively improving service interactions. Cloud call recording gives you the opportunity to listen back to previous calls. With this cloud communication tool, you can provide your staff members with feedback and personalize training. This allows you to fine-tune your customer service interactions and identify any room for improvement.

Bringing Cloud Communications to your Business

Cloud communications are the future of business communication. With the variety of advanced tools and features, you can not only improve the way your teams interact with customers but also improve office productivity.

Learn more about all our cloud telephony solutions. Call us at 1 (888) 908-6171 or chat with our representatives online today!

Customer Delight: What is it and How Can it Help Your Business?

It is easier than ever for consumers to switch to different services or rival products. Attracting new clients is also becoming increasingly expensive for businesses. To counter these trends, businesses have adopted a customer delight strategy. Here, we’ll walk through the importance of customer delight and how you can leverage it to improve customer relations.

Advancing your Business through Customer Delight

Delighting your customers is becoming necessary in successful business models. It can influence a client’s choice to stay with your brand or replace you with a competitor. A happy consumer base can increase sales, generate organic publicity, refer your business to others, and much more. This lasting positive impression can sustain your business and guide it towards continued success.

What is Customer Delight?

Simply put, customer delight is exceeding a consumer’s expectations — when a client has a beyond positive experience with the brand, products, support services, etc. When your business surprises or delights a user, you establish a bond and increase the likelihood of consumer loyalty. This is an ongoing process, which no one employee or department handles. Whether you’re in marketing, customer service, IT, or production — you’re all equally responsible for sustaining a company that delights clients.

Customer Satisfaction vs. Customer Delight

At first glance, customer satisfaction and customer delight are the same things. Customer satisfaction is a stepping stone to delight.

So, what’s the difference between customer satisfaction and customer delight? While consumer satisfaction just meets their experience, customer delight aims to exceed.

Let’s break down these two concepts further.

  • Customer Satisfaction – A satisfied client is someone who received average or decent service. The encounter didn’t blow their mind, but it will do. It’s easier for a satisfied user to switch to rival providers or products. This is also referred to as customer abandonment or churn rate. Satisfaction reduces the likelihood of customer retention as it creates a vulnerable state in the consumer’s journey.
  • Customer Delight – A delighted client is someone who received an above-average experience. The consumer’s entire encounter with the brand positively exceeded their expectations. This type of service leaves a lasting, favorable impression on the user and increases the likelihood of consumer loyalty. Overall, it contributes to the customer’s lifetime value and the company’s long-term success.

Calculating Success

It’s important to measure the success of your customer delight strategy to make sure it’s working. Start by creating an index or baseline of current consumer attitude toward your brand. Create your business’ baseline by asking for feedback or sending out client surveys. Once you’ve established a baseline, you can measure progress through a couple of different methods, including:

  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Retention Rate
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Churn Rate
  • Customer Effort Score, and more.

You can also ask for additional feedback or conduct follow-up surveys. This way, you can determine areas of your strategy that are working or need improvement.

Customer delight

5 Ways Delight Improves Your Business

We’ve already discussed how exceeding customer expectations breeds consumer loyalty. But, what other benefits does this tactic have for your business? Take a look below.

1. Stand Out from the Competition

By creating a personalized and unparalleled customer-first strategy, you separate your business from rival companies. Aiming for delight instead of consumer satisfaction can influence clients to stay with you or switch to your brand.

2. Sustained Growth

An above-average experience attracts clients to your business, products, or services. Striving for customer delight strengthens the possibility of customer retention and loyalty. This process of both attracting and retaining consumers leads to sustained growth and long-term company success.

3. Organic Publicity

A delighted customer is more likely to produce organic publicity for your brand. This happens naturally through consumer word-of-mouth marketing, recommendations, reviews, and more. Delight creates unofficial advocates and promoters for your company.

4. Protects Brand Reputation

Exceeding a customer’s expectations can protect your business’ reputation. In the same way, it can generate positive publicity, it also discourages consumers from writing bad reviews or criticizing you publicly. Even a social media blow can negatively influence your reputation and sales. Strategic customer delight works to prevent negative press. Delighted clients might even defend any negative comments against your company.

5. Cost-Effective

Delighting consumers is actually more cost-effective than customer satisfaction. Retaining clients through customer delight is far more lucrative than attracting new ones. According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring new customers costs anywhere from 5 to 25 times more than retaining current clients. Exceeding customer expectations additionally contributes to increased sales and user spending. In another study by Bain & Company, increasing consumer retention rates by 5 percent caused profits to increase by 25 to 95 percent.

How to Delight Customers?

A successful customer delight strategy doesn’t happen overnight. It is an all-encompassing and ongoing process that takes time to develop. If you’re just getting started with exceeding client expectations, take a look at these popular customer-first strategies:

Collect Consumer Data

Market research is an important part of exceeding customer expectations. You have to know your audience to deliver the best experience possible. Market data enables you to focus and target client needs, wishes, and interests. It also provides insight into possible improvements in your service or products. You can collect consumer data through:

Personalize the Customer’s Experience

Using the data you collected, you can tailor a consumer’s experience to their individual needs and wants. A customized experience comes as a result of one-of-a-kind interactions and consumer-first strategies. You can even use personalization software to design customer-focused web content and personalized emails for each client. Such personalized touches connect your client to your brand and help steer them towards delight and retention.

Empower Your Team

Above-average service begins with customer-facing employees. Proper foundational training helps employees recognize opportunities and deliver an unparalleled customer experience. Additionally, encourage your support team to take ownership of their work and give them the freedom to make decisions. This will lead to a boost in productivity and quicker decision-making – which will all lead to successful interactions.

Up Your Customer Service Game

Strengthen your customer support by being accessible to all your consumers. Make it as easy and painless as possible by providing follow-the-sun customer service. With the right tools such as our cloud communication tools, your business can be globally available with no added fees for your clients.

The Bottom Line

If your customer has a problem, fix it quickly and painlessly. Delivering a smooth service experience is more likely to improve customer loyalty and delight. Once you establish an effective service, you can start adding the little touches to seal the deal. Don’t strive for the bare minimum; keep evolving and progressing the customer’s experience.

Learn more about how Global Call Forwarding’s communication features can help your business generate delight. Reach out to us today to learn more — Call us at 1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

Customer Service Automation: Definition, Features, and Best Practices

Automation is everywhere and we cannot escape it. This is because we have been able to use automation tools to make our lives easier and improve accuracy and efficiency. It’s no wonder that companies have been using automation technology to streamline their business processes and improve productivity. And that includes customer service as well.

Here’s an in-depth guide about customer service automation tools, features, and best practices to help you boost your customer support teams and increase customer satisfaction.

What is Customer Service Automation?

Customer service automation uses technology and automation to streamline customer service processes, reduce human involvement, and speed up resolutions. Jugal Anchalia, CEO of Breakout, defines it as the process of “automating the interaction between customers and the company for support-related queries with minimum or no human involvement.”

By automating customer support, you can make it easy for customers to get help and assistance without overburdening your employees.

With automation, you can cut down on time spent on mundane, repetitive, and simple tasks. This way, your employees and agents can focus on more significant, more complex tasks requiring their undivided attention.

Customer service expectations have changed since 2020, with customers expecting quick resolutions along with personalized and unparalleled care. And if your business is behind on meeting these expectations, you may miss out on valuable customers. Customer service automation can help you offer this kind of personalized and quick service without adding additional tasks and processes.

Related: 23 Incredible Customer Service Tips for 2021

Benefits of Customer Service Automation

Oliver Andrews, the owner of OA Design Services, argues that “[w]ith automation, companies have access to many more opportunities than they ever had before. Improved efficiencies allow organizations to quickly ramp up their customer service, giving them new and improved opportunities to impress every customer. New automated tools give organizations the support to excel in customer service, making every customer experience a great one that buyers can only praise.”

So, why should your business consider automating customer service? And what benefits can you hope to achieve? Here are some advantages of automating your customer service:

1. Reduces customer service costs — According to a McKinsey report, companies using automation and other technology to improve customer service have saved up to 40% on costs.

2. Allows your business to offer 24/7 customer support — Use chatbots, live chat, and smart routing technology to adopt a Follow the Sun customer service model and be available to your customers 24/7.

3. Frees up employees for more complex issues and customer needs — Give employees the time they need to deal with high-profile and complicated cases to provide optimum customer service.

4. Encourages collaboration within teams — Make file-, document-, and information-sharing easy, therefore, helping teams work with each other effectively.

5. Helps collect customer feedback — Collect customer feedback through surveys triggered at different stages and touchpoints.

6. Increases speed and efficiency — Reduce time spent on mundane tasks and processes and increase efficiency.

7. Reduces human error — Make less room for mistakes by creating pre-determined templates and rules.

8. Helps centralize business communication — Connect all stakeholders through one platform where they can share and exchange information, documents, and more.

9. Supports users of all types — Make your business accessible to users who prefer to communicate via phone, email, chatbots, IVR systems, and so on.

Cons of Automating Customer Service

While businesses are increasingly adopting customer service automation solutions, some are still holding back. But why? Here are some reasons why people may be skeptical of automating services:

1. Reduces human intervention — Some fear that lack of or reduced human involvement may deter customers away or fail in de-escalating customer frustrations.

2. Resolves simple issues only — Automation can only support the resolution of simple issues and not complex issues.

3. Relies on modern technology and technical resources — To automate services means to rely even more on technology and more systems, and not every business is equipped financially to deal with these changes.

Popular Customer Service Automation Tools & Features

Here are some popular tools and features that small businesses and large enterprises use to automate customer service.

Smart and Advanced Call Routing

Smart or intelligent call routing lets you route or forward calls with automation and predetermined rules. This way, when calls come in, callers are automatically routed to the correct destination, department, or employee without the need of a receptionist or operator. Some call routing strategies include:

  • Time-based routing
  • Location-based routing
  • Skill-based routing
  • Geo routing
  • All-the-way-round or Round-robin routing
  • Least-occupied-agent routing
  • Simultaneous ringing (ringing on multiple phones with one number)
  • Sequential forwarding

The primary purpose of intelligent call routing is to route calls effectively, reduce missed calls, and improve the caller experience.

IVR Systems

Using cloud IVR as an automation tool has become increasingly popular with businesses of all sizes. An IVR system is an automated voice response system that answers the call, identifies the caller’s purpose, and assists the caller. The IVR system may assist the caller by transferring them to the correct department or by helping with pre-recorded messages. Advanced IVR systems can even help callers complete actions such as activating an account, providing balance information, making appointments, etc.

Traditional and cloud-based phone service providers offer IVR along with other virtual communication tools. Global Call Forwarding’s IVR service is highly customizable, and you can quickly change or update the system through our online control panel.

Email Automation

Automated email workflows play an essential role in inbound marketing and customer service. Email responses can be triggered automatically when a customer interacts with your business. These responses offer support, troubleshooting help, or confirmation. And they can help provide comfort to your customers. Popular email automation tools and software include:

  • HubSpot Email Marketing
  • Mailchimp
  • Sender
  • Sendinblue
  • Omnisend
  • Moosend
  • EmailOctopus
  • Benchmark Email
  • ActiveCampaign, and more

Chatbots & Conversational Marketing Automation

More and more businesses are using live chat and chatbots to provide 24/7 customer support. Conversational marketing automation uses targeted messaging and intelligent bots to engage with web visitors in language they understand and relate to. Using chatbots with conversational marketing makes chatbot interactions less robotic and more human. Popular chatbot automation tools and software include:

  • Intercom
  • Drift
  • Birdeye
  • Freshchat
  • Podium

You can also build a chatbot for your business using chatbot platform tools such as:

Self-Service Options

Another way to implement automation for customer service is to create self-service options and tools that customers and web visitors can use to resolve their queries on their own. For example, Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst, uses an FAQ sheet to help users search and find answers to their questions. Others may develop a support center with all necessary guides or simply create how-to content on their blogs. Common self-service options include:

  • Building FAQ pages or adding FAQs at the end of product pages to answer common customer questions.
  • Creating a Support Center or Knowledge Base where customers can go to find more information, features overviews, and troubleshooting guides to resolve their queries.
  • Providing customers with resources such as whitepapers, ebooks, how-to guides, etc., to help them help themselves.
  • Embedding these resources within chat, email, the account dashboard, and other communication channels.

Customer Feedback Tools

Why collect customer feedback? Customer feedback lets you know how your business performs and whether customers are satisfied with your products and services. Without customer feedback, you won’t know where your business needs to improve to gain new customers and retain existing ones. Different types of feedback and survey tools include the following:

Voice of the customer tools
– Qualaroo
– Qualtrics
– Wootric
Online survey tools
– Typeform
– SurveyMonkey
– Survey Anyplace
– Crowdsignal
– Nicereply
Customer review tools
– Google
– Trustpilot
G2
– Yelp
– TripAdvisor
– KiyOh
Visual feedback tools
– Usersnap
– Helio
– BugHerd
NPS tools
– SurveySparrow
– ProProfs NPS
– CustomerSure
– Podium
Social feedback tools
– Sprinklr
– HubSpot
– Brand24
– Hootsuite
– Sprout Social
customer retention
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#78488248 ID#27446420

8 Best Practices to Automate Customer Service

There are many ways to automate customer service. Here we will look at some best practices to follow.

1. Add Live Chat Along with an Automated Chatbot

Many web visitors expect live chat as a customer service channel when they visit a website and have queries. Live chat is used for a variety of purposes: customer service, lead qualification, submitting tickets, and more. Use live chat to understand what your customers need from you.

And by adding a chatbot, you can provide support even during off-hours. This way, customers and prospects can get assistance whenever they need and you can learn more about what your web visitors look for when they arrive at your website.

Before diving into using chatbots, study how customers and employees interact on live chat. This will help you develop appropriate and useful chatbot scripts.

2. Work on Templated Scripts and Responses

Whether it is via the chatbot, automated email, or the IVR system, you want to spend time creating good scripts and responses. People can be apprehensive about dealing with robots instead of a human person. And so, using conversational scripts can reduce friction and make users more comfortable.

3. Offer 24/7 Customer Service

Customer service automation options like smart call routing, international call forwarding, ticketing software, automated email, live chat and chatbots, and IVR systems provide 24/7, round-the-clock customer support. Make your business more accessible by learning where your customers are and what tools they prefer using to reach your business.

4. Offer Self-Service Options

Next, prepare self-service tools that customers can use to resolve their issues on their own. Work with your sales and marketing teams to identify common customer questions and issues regarding your products and services. Then, create a Support Center or Knowledge Base that incorporates how-to guides, glossary and definitions, troubleshooting help, and FAQs. You may even consider adding information about the current market or industry trends that may interest your customers.

These self-service tools not only help resolve common customer issues but also present your business as a reliable service.

5. Integrate Within Your CRM and Phone System

Integrate automation tools within your business systems to centralize business processes and keep everything in one place. Check with service providers how you might integrate these tools within your existing CRM and business phone system. By doing this, you can track all customers and interactions via one platform and trigger actions based on these interactions.

For example, Adam Garcia, founder of The Stock Dork, uses Agile CRM for sales enablement, marketing automation, and customer service. Using a service like this helps them set “standards for support teams and customers.” Tanner Arnold, CEO of Revelation Machinery, says that they use Zendesk to help teams track problem tickets and customer interactions, collect customer reviews, and more.

6. Update and Send Out Important Announcements

You can also use these tools to send out company and product updates and announcements to your customers and leads. Some ways to use automation for announcements:

  • Announce or introduce new products
  • Inform customers about defects or product issues
  • Share company news and milestones, and so on

Customers will appreciate knowing that you’re working on resolving an issue when they call for support. And they may also appreciate knowing what else your company is working on that may benefit them. Automating announcements like this can increase engagement and retention.

7. Collect Customer Feedback at Various Touchpoints

You can also collect customer feedback through automated surveys. Have these surveys trigger at various touchpoints or stages of use. And you can learn how customers are using your service and what areas can be improved.

You might even be able to use customer feedback to understand what customer service automation tools your business needs. Abby Ha, Head of Marketing & Business Development at WellPCB suggests talking to customers to identify ways to improve customer service via automation solutions.

8. Prepare Your Agents

Customer service automation solutions help take care of mundane and repetitive processes and issues. This means that agents are freed up to handle difficult and complex cases. However, if they haven’t been prepared or trained well for these cases, there may be a gap in customer service quality.

Will Cannon, CEO of Signaturely, suggests preparing agents to take on these complex tasks with the right resources. He says that “[It] can make agents’ jobs more difficult if they aren’t given the right resources and experience. Be sure your agents are involved in both the preparation and implementation of new automation programs so that you can be more aware of the unexpected obstacles that the process transition can bring.”

Think Your Business is Ready for Customer Service Automation?

Global Call Forwarding offers various customer service automation features such as intelligent call routing, international call forwarding, and IVR systems. Speak with our representatives today to learn more about our services and how we can help you provide better customer support. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

11 Key Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager in a SaaS Company

Customer success is a crucial pillar for SaaS companies. This is because the time customer success managers (CSM) spend on improving customer engagement and reducing churn rate directly impacts the success of that company.

And with SaaS companies, customers who have negative experiences grow frustrated and discouraged. A good customer success manager works hard on making customer experience pleasant and success-driven. Thereby, reducing frustrations and increasing retention.

So, what does a customer success manager do? And what are the key CSM responsibilities?

What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

A customer success manager is responsible for implementing customer success strategies and providing proactive support and care. But what is customer success and why do businesses need to invest in it?

Customer success is the process of pre-emptively or proactively reaching out to customers and offering support and onboarding. In other words, it is the act of transforming customer engagement and experience from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive.’ And, in SaaS companies, this is a crucial and rapidly expanding role.

Customer success managers and teams work closely with customers to help them achieve their goals and complete their tasks. And through this, your business can build strong and meaningful relationships with your customers, increasing customer loyalty and retention.

CSM responsibilities, therefore, range from providing support to helping customers onboard to collecting customer feedback. They keep up with current customer success trends to ensure they are up-to-date with customer expectations. We will go into these responsibilities in more detail below.

What Does it Take to Become a Successful Customer Success Manager?

In order to accomplish CSM responsibilities effectively, customer success managers need to have a specific skill set, especially soft skills. And they need to be able to understand and work with the business’ customers. So, what skills do customer success managers need to successfully do their jobs?

  • Leadership skills — to lead customer success teams.
  • Proactive approach — a central skill needed for customer success.
  • Strong organization and presentation skills — to organize projects and lead teams.
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence — to work well with others.
  • Industry knowledge — to make good decisions and execute effective strategies.
  • Relationship-building skills — core skills needed to build meaningful and healthy customer relations.
  • Project management abilities — to handle projects and achieve goals.
  • Analytical and critical thinking — to evaluate and study customer needs and team progress.

Key responsibilities of a customer success manager.

11 Key Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager

Merely having these skills does not make you a successful CSM. How you apply these skills in solving customer issues and improving satisfaction will determine your success. And in some cases, that means going above and beyond your basic job duties.

Here are 11 key responsibilities every CSM in a SaaS company should get involved in to improve customer engagement and experience.

1. Bridge Between Sales and Customer Support

So, where does a customer success manager come in? Customer success managers fall between sales and customer support teams. And yet they differ from account managers who work hard to win accounts or maintain existing accounts.

They usually come in after the sales team has made a sale and help new customers familiarize themselves with the product or service. Without the right team or user-friendly product in place, customers may have trouble using the product and achieving initial success. This can lead to churn, which no business wants.

The main goal of a customer success manager is to get customers started quickly and monitor their satisfaction. They expand customer accounts, improve retention, resolve issues, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce churn.

2. Customer Onboarding

New customer onboarding is the most important responsibility for any customer success manager. Customer onboarding involves educating new customers on how to use your product to complete tasks and achieve goals. When onboarding customers, you need to teach them key features that can help them do what they hired or bought your product to do.

CSMs need to develop a balance between teaching customers necessary features and overwhelming them with loads of information and instructions. The goal should be to get them up to speed as soon as possible. Long and complicated onboarding times will add friction and ruin customer experience and reduce engagement.

A common mistake most CSMs make is trying to teach customers all of the features in the beginning. And the reality is that you only need to teach them how to use features that can help them achieve initial value. Take time to understand what each customer needs and help customers take the shortest route possible. This way, they see ROI immediately and realize the value of your product.

3. Proactive Problem Solving and Handling Account Escalations

Another core responsibility is to manage account escalations with proactive problem-solving. This includes quickly responding to red flags, alerts, critical customer queries, overdue support tickets, and so on. The key is to jump on these issues when they are small and manageable to avoid them turning into bigger problems. And it presents your business and customer success teams as reliable and responsive.

4. Long-Term Customer Relationship Management

Customer success managers must build trust and transparency with clients. Relationship-building is key to retaining high-value customers and converting them into advocates for your products and services.

According to the IDC, 53% of software revenue will come through subscriptions. This means that your business needs to develop strong and healthy relationships with customers so they continue to subscribe to your service. And it means that you need to keep them continuously happy and satisfied. It’s no longer a ‘one and done’ deal. Focus on customer relationship goals and strategize ways your customer success teams can connect better with customers.

5. Customer Research: Understanding Needs and Value

In order to build and maintain long-term, meaningful relationships with your customers, you need to first understand them. This means conducting customer research to understand and evaluate their needs, goals, and customer value. Then, using this information to personalize customer experiences so that your customers find value in your product or service.

Focus on providing value to your customers instead of running down the list of everything your business can do. In your demos, show them how your product or service can cater to their requirements and needs. Customers aren’t interested in how great your company is unless it provides them value and solutions.

Related: Using Phone Surveys to Understand Customer Pain Points

6. Customer Advocacy and Customer Loyalty

Given that these managers are also known as relationship managers, one of the core CSM responsibilities is customer advocacy. They mediate between customer requests and the business by representing customer preferences. By acting as a customer advocate, CSMs ensure that customer complaints and feedback are recorded, heard, and acted upon. And when customers feel heard and validated, it builds loyalty towards the business.

7. Periodic Health Checks

While CSMs work on improving the experience and engagement of unhappy customers, they also need to conduct routine health checks of their most happy and loyal customers. Take time to calculate periodic health of key accounts, if not all. You may even consider investing in a customer success platform to help you monitor account health in real-time. Studying the account health of your happy and satisfied customers can also help you create better experiences for dissatisfied customers.

8. Subscription and Service Renewals

In SaaS companies, specifically, customer renewals (monthly or quarterly) maintain recurring revenue. This is because most of the revenue a SaaS company gets is through its existing customers, making it even more important to take care of those customers. Remind customers of upcoming renewals, inform them of any changes beforehand, and follow up on these renewals so that there are no surprises. You want your customers to be happy when a renewal is around. The larger the value or duration of a contract renewal, the more effort you should put in.

9. Brand and Product Promotion

Since a CSM’s job starts once a sale is made, it is only natural that part of a customer success manager’s responsibilities includes brand and product promotion. This means generating buzz and excitement around new products or new features rolling out. You may create new demos and training to go along with these feature rollouts. This also gives room for upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

10. Upsell and Cross-Sell Campaigns

A good customer success manager also encourages customers to upgrade their products. This may mean switching to a bigger or next-tier product or considering complementary products and features. Customer success managers work closely with customers and therefore have a good idea of their needs and goals. This can inform the suggestions they offer existing customers. Remember, don’t upsell for the sake of upselling. Provide suggestions and advice that can actually help your customers do their jobs or solve their issues better. And when you offer helpful and considerate advice, you increase customer lifetime value.

11. Referrals and Feedback

Finally, when you do your job well, you create valuable, lasting relationships with customers who now advocate for you and your business. This leads to referrals, testimonials, feedback, and reviews. Encourage your happy customers to spread the word, write reviews, and refer your business to others who may find it useful. And don’t forget about customer feedback. Collecting and studying feedback is crucial to understanding how your customers view and use your product. It is also essential for finding areas of improvement.

Ready to Revolutionize Customer Success?

If you’re behind in the game, it’s not too late to get started. There are many resources available to help you do your job well. Common CSM resources include:

  • Blogs: The ClientSuccess CSM From the Trenches, CSM Practice, Practical CSM
  • The Human Duct Tape Show Podcast (hosted by CX-guru Jeanne Bliss)
  • The Customer Success Community (an online forum)
  • The Customer Success Association
  • Slack teams such as Support Driven and CS in Focus.

Take your business’ customer success efforts to the next level and lead your customer success teams effectively. There’s no better time to start than today!

Related: What Is a Chief Customer Officer and What Do They Do?

Using Phone Surveys to Understand Customer Pain Points

Are phone surveys dead?

The short answer: no. However, with access to the internet and other channels of communication, phone surveys are often replaced with an email or post-chat survey. And yet, customer phone surveys remain a reliable method of collecting customer feedback and data.

Here’s a detailed guide on using phone surveys to gain insights into customer behavior, conduct market research, identify customer pain points, and improve CX.

Why Your Business Needs to Conduct Phone Surveys

A phone survey is a survey conducted via telephone calls and, in some cases, conducted over video calls. Phone surveys are conducted by various people for different purposes. But the primary goal of phone surveys is to collect data and information. Here, we will focus on phone surveys conducted by businesses to understand their customers and their pain points.

Phone surveys can help your business learn more about your target customer and market. You can use them to study market demographics, identify common issues, understand customer preferences and behaviors, and more. You can then use this information to provide customers with better experiences and products, and improve customer satisfaction.

Why is it Important to Understand Customer Pain Points?

So, what do we mean by customer pain points and why does your business need to pay attention to this? Customer pain points refer to specific problems or issues faced by your customers or prospects. These are issues that they may experience when trying to complete their jobs or live their daily lives. Or, these may be issues they face along their customer journey.

Some common customer pain points include:

  1. Convenience and Productivity — Wasting too much time on a current provider, service, or product. Lack of convenience and comfort.
  2. Financial — Spending too much money on their current provider, service, or product. Low life expectancy of the product or service. Subscription plans, membership fees, set-up fees, and so on.
  3. Process — Awkward or broken internal processes. Complicated workflows.
  4. Shopping journey — Online research. Website navigation. Checkout friction. Lack of support or information for queries. Tracking and delivery issues.
  5. Support — Not receiving the support they need at important points within the customer journey.

It is important to take time to understand and learn about your customers’ and prospects’ pain points so you can tailor their experience and offer them better solutions.

Types of Research You Can Conduct on the Phone

There are different types of customer research, data, and information you can collect through customer phone surveys. These include:

  • Market Research Surveys
  • Customer/Employee/Patient Experience Surveys
  • Assessment Surveys
  • Satisfaction Surveys
  • Risk Analysis
  • Validation/Verification

What research you want to conduct depends on the goals of your research or survey project. Do you want to survey the market? Or, learn more about your existing customers? Or, do you want to learn how your customers found out about your business? And so on.

china virtual-phone systems
Source: Stockphoto.com O#20443 – MID#100122583600

Types of Phone Survey Questions to Ask

There are two types of survey questions to ask customers when conducting phone surveys: short phone surveys and long-form surveys.

The type of phone survey you choose to conduct depends on your end goal. Do you need detailed answers or quick responses to simple questions? Check out our customer feedback sample questionnaire below for examples of questions you can ask customers when collecting feedback and market research.

Let’s look at the different types of phone survey questions you may consider:

Short Phone Surveys

Short customer phone surveys can be conducted during or after customer service and sales calls. These surveys are short and aim to get quick responses from customers without wasting too much of their time. Common types of short customer phone surveys include: yes/no questions and scale questions.

Yes/No questions are pretty straightforward. You ask a question and the customer responds with a Yes/No answer.

Scale questions, on the other hand, offer customers a scale asking them to measure their interaction. These types of questions can take a numerical (1 to 10) or qualitative (satisfied to dissatisfied) approach. These types of questions also give the customer a neutral option to choose from, as opposed to the Yes/No type of questions.

You can measure on a scale of 1 (extremely unsatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied) or 1 (unsatisfied) to 5 (satisfied). With qualitative questions, you give customers a short list of varied responses such as ‘Satisfied-Dissatisfied,’ ‘Excellent-Poor,’ and ‘Agree-Disagree.’ Before asking customers to rate, inform them of the rating scale options. For instance, 1 being extremely satisfied and 10 being extremely dissatisfied.

These surveys also help with measuring and calculating your Net Promoter Score (NPS) which determines customer satisfaction and loyalty. To calculate NPS, you ask customers to answer the questions on a scale of 1-10 and divide the responses into three categories: Promoters (rating of 9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (0-6).

Long-Form Surveys

These surveys ask open-ended questions and may even ask follow-up questions to get the most out of their customers. As such, these surveys may last longer than short phone surveys. Here, you are not asking a simple Yes/No or scale question but you are leaving the question open-ended so the customer is not limited in their responses.

You can ask detailed questions about the customer’s journey, pain points, preferences, behavior, product usage, demographics, and psychographics.

An example of a long-form, open-ended question is “Which alternatives did you consider before purchasing the product?” This gives you more insight into this particular customer’s journey. Even though these surveys may seem time-consuming, they can help you get additional insights and perspectives that simple Yes/No questions may miss out on.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Conducting Surveys Over the Phone

So, are customer phone surveys useful when it comes to studying your customers, their needs, and pain points? Is the time worth the work that goes into conducting such surveys? Let’s look at the pros and cons of phone surveys so you can make an informed decision.

Advantages:

  • Phone calls are more personal and can help the business and customers build relationships.
  • Phone surveys are relatively easy to conduct and require minimum equipment and technology. Talk to interviewees and enter data directly into a computer in real-time, and obtain results quickly.
  • Phone interviews are a great medium to get responses to open-ended questions and follow-up questions.
  • Research and data can be collected quickly since phone surveys are quick and immediate.
  • Most people have access to phones (landlines or cell phones).
  • Phone surveys are more effective than web or email surveys.
  • Phone surveys have a relatively higher response rate than web or email surveys.
  • Trained and professional interviewers can easily secure responses and participation from customers.
  • Data and research collected can be quickly used to develop better customer experiences (CX), products, and services.

Disadvantages:

  • Some customer phone surveys (especially if the customer does not know or use your service) may come across as telemarketing. This can influence the response rate.
  • Customers are less likely to answer calls if they do not recognize your business’ phone number (especially an international or out-of-state number). This can be easily rectified with an outbound call service (more on that below).
  • Phone interviews may not be as personal as face-to-face interviews.
  • Phone surveys are bound by time constraints; phone surveys should stay under 15 minutes.
  • Research is needed to determine the best time to make business calls. Calling during odd or off-hours can lead to lower response rates.

How to Measure Customer Experience (CX)?

There are various ways to accurately measure CX and customer satisfaction. You will need to decide what metric and methodology you will use. Then, you conduct the surveys and note down customer responses. Some metrics and methodologies to consider include:

  • Yes/no questions — Were you satisfied with the service you received? (Yes / No)
  • Numerical — How satisfied were you on a scale of 1-5, 1-10, etc.
  • Qualitative — Very satisfied, neutral, very unsatisfied, etc.
  • Open-ended questions — Why did you decide to use our service?

Once you decide what types of questions to ask and how to collect customer data, you can start conducting phone surveys.

Grab our sample questionnaire for a list of questions to ask customers when conducting phone surveys to measure customer satisfaction.

Customer Phone Surveys: Best Practices to Keep in Mind

How effective your research will be is based on how well these phone surveys and interviews go. For this, your survey teams need to be prepared and trained well. Here are some tips to consider when conducting phone surveys and training your survey team:

  1. Have a goal and purpose in mind.
  2. Use a reasonable sample size.
  3. Keep the interview short.
  4. Start by explaining the process of the interview.
  5. Establish time expectations.
  6. Keep the questions and answers simple.
  7. Make it measurable (limit open-ended questions, if appropriate).
  8. Consider sending out other surveys as well such as email, web, and chat surveys.
  9. Emphasize being personable and professional during the interviews.
  10. Make survey results available, when appropriate.
scripts
Download Your Free Phone Survey Sample Here
Questions to ask customers when collecting feedback and research.

Survey Questionnaire download

How to Conduct a Phone Survey to Collect Customer Data

Now that you know the benefits of conducting customer phone surveys to understand customers and their pain points, let’s go through the different steps involved in conducting a phone survey.

1. Decide on Survey Goals

First, have a thorough discussion on the goals and purpose of the survey. Don’t just conduct a survey for the sake of it. Take time to discuss what you want to achieve through this survey and how you will go about gathering this information. Make sure your research team and those conducting the surveys are on the same page.

2. Choose Target Audience

Next, choose the audience or market you want to research. This depends on the goals you have for each survey. Go through your email and subscription contacts and customer lists to create a shortlist of the target audience for each survey. You may even use existing market research to identify good participants for the survey. Then, share this list with the survey team.

3. Prepare the Questionnaire(s)

Based on the results you want and the types of customers you will be researching, prepare and share a phone survey questionnaire that agents and employees can use when conducting phone surveys. Run through these questions with them beforehand and show them how to input responses into your content or project management system where the research team can access the collected data.

4. Get Local Phone Numbers

Depending on your business coverage and expansion plans, you may even consider getting toll free and local phone numbers to conduct research and collect data. These numbers are more recognizable than international or out-of-state phone numbers. And will increase the chances of customers and prospects actually answering your calls. An outbound calling service enables your team to make outbound calls with a custom caller ID to improve response rates. Want to learn more? Speak with our experts today!

5. Make Calls and Collect Data

Finally, start making calls, conducting interviews, and gathering data. Remember, the work does not end here. What are you going to do with the data you have collected? How can you use this information to improve CX and retain more customers? Don’t let this data go to waste. Create action plans to make your customers more comfortable in their customer journeys by reducing their pain points when interacting with your business.

Want to Learn More About Business Phone Solutions?

Global Call Forwarding has various business phone service options that can help your business conduct market research and collect customer feedback. Browse through our blog posts or speak with our team to learn more!

9 Voice of the Customer Best Practices and Common Mistakes

Customer feedback is crucial in understanding the value your business offers its customers and how customers are using your products and services. Customers who don’t find value or growth will find a new service. But taking time to listen to their concerns or struggles and taking action will increase customer loyalty and retention. As you prepare your voice of the customer VoC research program, here are 9 best practices and 9 common mistakes to keep in mind.

Building an Effective Voice of the Customer Program

To create a voice of the customer (VoC) research program, there are a few key things to take into consideration:

  • What is the research for
  • Who will you interview
  • What customer segments and audiences to cover
  • How will this feedback be collected and stored
  • Who will be involved in this process
  • How will the data be analyzed
  • What next steps will your business take

By answering these questions, you can start building a focused research program with a clear idea of what you want to find and how you will handle data.

How to do VoC Research

There are a few different ways your research teams can go about collecting customer feedback. However, your goals and resources available will help you decide how to conduct customer research.

For instance, if your business interacts with customers primarily via phone conversations, then you would choose phone interviews for the research. On the other hand, if you want to collect feedback about a new service feature or product update, then you can insert a micro survey in the dashboard or send it in emails or push notifications.

Check out our detailed guide to voice of the customer methodologies to find the right methods for your VoC program.

VoC Research: 9 Best Practices

What practices should a research and feedback collection team implement when conducting voice of the customer research? Here we list 9 VoC best practices so you can get the most out of your research efforts.

1. Outline How the Program Will Run

First, design an effective voice of the customer research program. Determine what type of feedback and research you want to collect. How will you (or your research team) collect this research (methodologies)? What tools and resources will you use? Where will all the data be stored and analyzed? What do you hope to do with this information and feedback? What are the end goals?

Answering these questions will help prepare your teams. And when the time comes, your teams will be equipped to communicate with customers, understand their needs and pain points, collect and study data, and find ways to improve the customer experience.

2. Collect Feedback & Insights Across All Communication Channels

If your business communicates with customers on different channels, then you will want to collect feedback from all those channels. This means not only doing phone and email surveys but also chat and social media, if applicable.

Basically, any platform or channel you engage with customers and prospects on is a valuable platform for collecting voice of the customer research. You can decide the form and length of your survey or questionnaire based on the channel. Create short surveys and embed them in the email or chat window or attach links to longer surveys that may need more time.

You can increase the number of responses you receive by collecting feedback from all communication channels and also get varied responses and perspectives.

3. Collaborate with Other Teams & Share Reports

Depending on the purpose and goal of a research project, all relevant departments should have a say in how feedback should be collected and studied. Identify key leaders and players from each department. Get their support via perspectives and suggestions. Invest in the right communication tools to collaborate effectively with these teams. Once research is collected, share insights and reports with these leaders and departments.

4. Personalize VoC Requests

Think of every interaction with your customer as a way of delivering value. Therefore, when conducting VoC research and collecting feedback, treat your customer as a partner. Demonstrate that the purpose of this survey or phone interview is to understand how you can serve them better. Ask relevant questions; customers will not answer questions that have nothing to do with them or how they use your product.

5. Seek Feedback at the Right Touchpoints

This practice depends on how you stage your interviews and surveys and what data you want to gather. For example, do you want to know how your product is doing overall? Or, do you want to understand how specific processes are working? Hopefully, you want both.

But timing your requests for feedback is crucial. Doing so gives customers the opportunity to let you know about their frustrations or struggles and also let you know how a new feature or service is working out. Good moments for feedback can include:

  • After the customer has onboarded
  • As a follow-up to new product features or add-on services
  • After the customer has completed a big task or achieved a goal
  • As a response to customer behavior such as low levels of activity
  • After the customer reaches out for customer or tech support.

6. Respond to Customer Feedback

Don’t ignore feedback once you’ve collected it. Respond to the feedback by offering solutions or changing processes. Let your customers know that your business is aware of their concerns and working on a solution. Don’t leave them hanging.

7. Study Data & Act on Feedback

Don’t stop at collecting data and sharing it with other departments. Study and analyze the data. Then, together, work on creating action plans based on the feedback provided to make processes simpler and improve customer experience. This is the whole purpose of conducting voice of the customer research.

8. Consider the Voice of the Employee

Don’t forget about your employees. They are a big part of customer interactions and can provide valuable insights and perspectives. They may notice trends in customer queries, struggles, achievements, or pain points. And they can help you identify areas of improvement within internal policy and processes. In other words, they can direct your attention to areas that impede their ability to deliver good customer experience and service.

9. Track & Measure ROI

Finally, look at the results. All this work will be for nothing if you don’t get results that match your business goals. If your main goal is improving customer experience, you will also improve business ROI. This is because both work hand-in-hand: the better the customer experience, the longer the customer stays with your business and continues to purchase your products and services. Track your efforts and measure ROI to ensure your efforts and goals are aligned.

Voice of the customer best practices
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#68729195 ID#27446420

VoC Research: 9 Common Mistakes

Poorly designed VoC programs can greatly harm your research efforts and may even negatively affect your relationship with these customers. Here are 9 common mistakes to avoid when conducting voice of the customer research.

1. Being Unprepared

Not knowing what you need to do or how to do it is the biggest hurdle your research team can face. Do the research and talk to your leaders. Come up with realistic goals (more on that below) and a game plan that everyone approves of. Prepare a list of questions for inclusion in the survey or phone interview. And research the customer and their business to ensure your questions are relevant to their experience. In other words, don’t talk to them without knowing what you are looking for or what the end goal is.

2. Not Researching Customers Before Connecting with Them

If you prepare generic questions which may or may not be relevant to each customer, you run the risk of not getting accurate or helpful responses. This is because customers who don’t find your questions relevant to their experience will not know how to answer them. And if there is nothing for them to gain, they will not want to waste time.

Create questions that are customer-focused and not business-focused. Conduct market research to uncover their problems and potential pain points. What can your business do to solve a particular issue?

3. Setting Vague or Unrealistic Goals

This mistake may have pricey results. If the goals set are not clear enough or achievable, your team may end up wasting time and resources in this voice of the customer program. Additionally, in certain situations, goals may need to be adjusted or re-evaluated. Take time to do this and make a case for it based on insights gathered.

4. Asking the Wrong Questions

Not asking the right or relevant questions will cause a lot of wasted time. For one, customers may not provide valuable insights. And two, you may miss out on getting to the main point. Keep your VoC research goal in mind and draft questions accordingly. When you conduct interviews, you may come across other angles and perspectives to include in future questions; make a note of these. Ask follow-up questions and focus on “how” and “why” questions. These will help you dig deeper into their goals and how they use your product to achieve those goals.

5. Failure to Secure Support

Research is not easy; it takes time and demands resources. This means stakeholders need to buy in to your program and goals. The whole point of VoC research is to identify ways to make your company and its products more customer-friendly. The more satisfied customers are, the more your business will grow.

As such, VoC research can highlight changes that may affect the company culture and values. Therefore, if your VoC program does not have adequate support, the results may not be taken seriously. And these insights may get buried in other more urgent projects. Ensure your team and leaders understand the value of the research you will undertake before you begin.

6. Not Collaborating with Other Teams

Work closely with other teams before, during, and after the research project. Their perspective can help you devise better questions and valuable results. This means taking the time to sit down and talk to your marketing, sales, and customer service teams. You may even meet with product managers and development teams to get their take on the product and its purpose, and what future developments are possible.

Without working and collaborating with other members, you may miss out on key perspectives that can drive your research. For instance, if you do not speak with your sales or customer service teams, you may not learn of common customer problems that your research can help solve.

7. Not Using Automation When Available

Research is not easy; it takes time and needs resources. However, without the right resources and support, it can prove to be more expensive and less effective. Think: customer automation tools, lead qualification tools, data analytics tools, and so on.

Streamline your processes. Create separate workflows for different types of audiences and segments. Use efficient tools and resources that make it easy for your team to identify customers and leads and to collect and study the data.

Related: 6 Ways to Automate Customer Service in 2021

8. Not Sharing Insights & Feedback

While there is a tendency to ignore similar and low-level feedback, make it a point to keep sharing insights and feedback with your teams and leaders. Even a low-level issue can become a larger issue if it occurs consistently. Something that may seem like a small issue might be the root cause of a larger issue. The point is, sharing your insights with others may help you see things differently. And will also help leaders and managers learn more about their customers.

9. Failure to Act on Feedback

Finally, not acting on feedback defeats the whole purpose of conducting voice of the customer research. Whatever the feedback, work on ways to make the customer experience better. Customers should know that your business cares and is working on making their lives and jobs easier.

Why Voice of the Customer is Important

VoC research helps your business pay attention to the customer’s voice and feedback. At the end of the day, if your product or service does not cater to customer needs, they have no loyalty to your brand. Considering how competitive the market is, customers will find new services. Don’t lose out on valuable customers. You may even be able to use these insights in creating and updating customer journey maps that will, in turn, show you ways to bring more customers on board.

Your business will see huge returns from working with customers and learning from their feedback. And gradually, your customers will become brand advocates and help your business grow.

6 Customer Success Trends to Delight Your Customers in 2022

2021 was hard. Let’s face it: many businesses lost valuable customers and many customers lost their favorite businesses. However, there is still hope for those who need it. Reconnect with past customers and ignite the flame with new customers through customer success trends for 2022.

2021 Customer Success Trends

What is customer success and why is it going to be important in 2022? Customer success is the process of proactively reaching out to customers and clients and working on improving their experience with your business. While customer service is reactive (after a customer reaches out to a business), customer success is proactive and takes the first step.

The 2020 global pandemic caused much uncertainty and dramatically changed business practices. As such, customers need more care in the new year than ever before. This is where customer success comes in. Make your customers happy, develop strong customer relations, and increase sales with these 6 customer success trends for 2022.

1. Virtual and Multichannel Communication, Especially Video

COVID-19 led to many businesses coming up with creative ways of staying in contact with their customers and making themselves reachable. This led to a rise in multichannel communication and customer support with businesses offering voice calls, text messages, live chat, emails, and video calling.

Video streaming and video conferencing are important customer success trends for 2022. In 2021, many businesses had to switch to video conferences for sales and customer support services. With video streaming and conferencing, these businesses were able to engage in detailed and personalized meetings with valuable customers. In a time of uncertainty, this helped bring many customers on board. As such, customers will expect some degree of video and virtual support in the following years.

Related: 5 Ways to Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

2. More AI and Automation Technology

AI and automation in business continue to be a growing trend. Businesses across the board are finding ways to streamline and automate simple, repetitive processes so that their employees are free to focus on more complex and important tasks. Customer success teams can also benefit from automated processes. Some common customer success automation tools include:

  • Welcome emails and follow-up messages
  • AI chatbots
  • Automated IVR systems and auto-attendants
  • Personalization with regards to deals and offers
  • Ability to segment and prioritize customers

One example of an efficient customer success automation tool is the automated IVR system. An IVR system answers incoming calls, identifies the caller and their needs, and proceeds to assist. The IVR system can be programmed to simply transfer callers to the right department or employee. However, more advanced IVR systems can even assist callers in completing tasks without the need of an agent. These tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Collecting feedback and surveys
  • Providing troubleshooting help
  • Providing information about the company (hours, location, services offered, etc.)

Phone system automation can help streamline services, increase efficiency, and help your teams work like a well-oiled machine. Plus, you are guaranteed more accuracy when you use AI to conduct basic tasks.

3. Proactive and Customer-First Strategies

Customer success focuses on being proactive, as opposed to customer service which is reactive. In other words, customer success occurs before the customer reaches out to you. More specifically, in customer success, your business reaches out to customers to make their experience better.

Here is a great opportunity to put those customer-first strategies to use. These strategies focus on:

  • Understanding the customer’s needs and expectations.
  • Working closely with the customer to provide useful and relevant solutions.
  • Collecting feedback from current customers.
  • Conducting market research to develop strong buyer personas for your target audience.
  • Creating better experiences and interactions for your customers.
customer service trends in 2020
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#144154557 ID#27446420

4. Personalized Experience and Service

Over the years, businesses have noticed that customers respond better to personalized service. Providing personalized service for your customers can include:

  • Personalized or customized sales and customer service — researching or studying your customer and their needs before pitching them or providing assistance.
  • Including personalization features in your phone system that identify callers and help them with their account or query, keeping their history in mind.
  • Personalized email marketing with customized and relevant products and services.

By offering custom solutions and personalized service, your customer understands that their business is important to you. Additionally, you make it easier for them to see how your products and services can directly relieve their problems and make their lives or businesses function better.

Furthermore, by executing such an approach, you can increase your customer lifetime value. This is a great way to increase your value as a business when marketing to target customers.

5. Focus on Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is one of the most important customer success trends for 2021. Customer success as a service involves working closely with customers and clients and helping them achieve their goals. As such, your customer success teams will need to measure and map their journey.

For most businesses, the customer’s journey starts at the moment they show interest in your product or service. It ends when they make a purchase. However, for companies focusing on customer success, the actual journey begins at the customer’s purchase. How can you continue to serve this customer and ensure they will come back for more?

So, what is customer journey mapping and why is it significant? Customer journey mapping involves creating a journey map for your customer. In other words, developing a map that details the visual story of your customer’s interactions with your company. By doing so, your customer success teams gain insight into each customer’s behavior, needs, and perspective. And by understanding these factors, your business can provide better services to valuable customers. With customer journey mapping, you can:

  • Understand customer preferences via feedback
  • Create better alignment between teams
  • Measure and enhance customer experience
  • Define milestones and work towards them
  • Execute better customer success strategies that are more likely to be successful

6. Collecting and Reviewing Customer Success Metrics

Lastly, as with any significant business process or strategy: Collect, Measure, and Optimize. Collect data and feedback regarding customer experiences. Measure important customer success metrics such as customer health scores, CLV, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), etc. And based on your findings, improve and optimize customer experiences and interactions.

Strengthen Customer Relations with Care

Customer success helps you work with customers to better understand and serve them. By doing so, you can strengthen their relationship with your business and convert them into recurring customers or those that recommend your business to others! Give the above customer success trends for 2021 a try and give your business the tools it needs to thrive in the new year. Call us to learn more at 1 (888) 908 6171.

9 Tactics to Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Knowing your customers’ value and how much they bring back to your business is essential in understanding where your business stands and what it can do to increase revenue and sales. In this post, you will learn how to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV) and how to improve your business’ CLV by increasing customer retention and loyalty.

What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)?

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a customer success metric that determines how much net profit your business is able to make from one customer over time. The CLV can tell you the dollar worth associated with a long-lasting relationship with any customer. This is a metric used to determine the value of your customers and how much money they bring to your business. This metric is key when it comes to bringing aboard new customers and deciding how much to spend on existing customers.

Why Measure CLV?

Going by this definition, the higher your business’ CLV, the more revenue each customer brings into your business. Therefore, with each customer’s value increasing, your sales and marketing teams can afford to take on new customers. In other words, your business can spend more on attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. And this is simply because each customer is valuable and brings more to your business. CLV is important because:

  1. Acquiring new customers is expensive and difficult, at times
  2. Loyal and recurring clients will be your best promoters
  3. Current customers can help your business growth

So, calculating CLV can give you insights into the quality of your customers and what your business can do to increase revenue and sales.

Calculating CLV

Calculating your customer lifetime value can be tricky. Understanding the core components will prove helpful. We break this down into easy-to-follow steps. Calculate your CLV scores by following the below steps:

Step 1. Calculate Average Purchase Value

Value of each purchase.

Average Purchase Value = Total Revenue / Number of Orders

Step 2. Calculate Average Purchase Frequency

Frequency of each purchase.

Average Purchase Frequency = Number of Purchases / Number of Customers

Step 3: Calculate Average Customer’s Value

Value of a customer.

Average Customer’s Value = Average Purchase Value / Average Purchase Frequency

Step 4. Calculate Average Customer’s Lifetime Span

Number of years that each customer visits or uses your service.

Average Customer’s Lifetime Span = Sum of Customer Lifespans / Number of Customers

Step 5. Calculate Customer’s Lifetime Value (CLV)

Your Business’ CLV score

Customer’s Lifetime Value = Customer Value (step 3) x Average Customer Lifespan (step 4)

How to calculate Customer Lifetime Value.

9 CX Strategies to Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

When thinking of ways to improve customer lifetime value, there are three main factors to consider:

  1. Average Transaction Value
  2. Number of Repeat Sales
  3. Average Customer Retention Rate

By influencing or increasing these factors, your business’ CLV and customer experience (CX) will improve. So, what can you do to better these numbers?

1. Conduct Surveys and Ask Questions

One way to improve your product or service is by increasing the number of repeat customers and subscribers. To do this, you need to identify what keeps customers coming back and any significant deal breakers. The best way to learn more about what your customers like and expect is by asking them. Conduct surveys, ask questions, and collect voice of customer data. Learn more about your customers so you can serve them better and convert more into recurring customers.

2. Enhance Customer Service and Customer Success

According to a study conducted by PwC, 32% of customers will end their relationship with a business after a bad experience. And so, this goes without saying but improving your customer support and customer success services can go a long way in retaining customers and making them advocates for your brand.

Consider investing in omnichannel and multichannel customer support. By increasing the number of channels that customers can use to connect with you, you can appeal to a wider customer base and offer more responsive service.

You may even find it useful to utilize self-service options such as knowledge bases and support centers, automate IVR services, chatbots, trouble tickets, and more. Self-service options give users the ability to solve their problems themselves and on their own time. Read our post about customer service trends to determine where your business is lacking.

3. Design Relevant and Easy-to-Use Products and Services

How relevant your business and products are can greatly impact how prospects view and interact with your services. Stay relevant, discuss current issues, and offer up-to-date information and features. If customers find more relevant usage elsewhere, they will go to a competitor without hesitation.

4. Develop a Customer-First Strategy

To enhance CX for your business, you need to create a customer-first strategy. Such a strategy requires your sales and marketing teams to take time to understand the customer, their needs, pain points, and preferences. And then develop a strategy that supports them and their needs.

5. Consider Usability Testing

Usability testing is a kind of market research. In usability testing, your marketing and services teams observe how users interact with your product, software, or service. You can test specific processes (sign-up, purchasing stage, etc.) or the entire system. Usability testing lets you identify areas that need improvement; specifically what processes and features are not clear or easy-to-use. Then, you can create better products and software that make customers more comfortable and less confused.

6. Cross-Sell and Up-Sell

Most sales teams already know that cross-selling and up-selling can greatly improve customer retention. Offering additional services and add-on features is a good way to reduce cart abandonment and build customer loyalty. Furthermore, offering products and services that are relevant to your customers will make a great difference. Customers appreciate personalization and customized recommendations and see them as an effort to really help improve their lives.

7. Create Valuable and Engaging Content

Keep your customers engaged by creating and sharing valuable and informative content. Utilize your blog page, emails, and social media platforms to educate and inform your customers and also establish your business as a trustworthy and credible one. Show readers that your employees know the industry and are developing first-class products.

8. Consider Loyalty Programs

Invest in customer loyalty programs to keep your customers coming back for more. Discounts, member-only promotions, etc., will help retain valuable customers. Treating them with special care and effort will give them more reasons to stay.

9. Continue to Delight Your Customers

Lastly, don’t stop delighting your customers once you lock them down. Keep them happy. Surprise them with small gestures; these can be holiday greetings, birthday cards, gift cards, etc. These little gestures can go a long way in securing customer loyalty.

After All, It’s All About Customer Relationships

Your customers drive your business’ growth. Without them, your business can easily fall behind and into the shadows. Try these CX strategies to improve the way customers interact with your business and give them a reason to come back for more. Competition is everywhere and so it’s up to you to make your business stand out. How far are you willing to go?

Learn more about how Global Call Forwarding’s communication features can help your business communicate better. Reach out to us today to learn more!

How Empathy Can Improve Customer Service Efforts

Customer service has always been central to the success of any business. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how businesses offer customer support as well as customer service expectations held by consumers. Now, more than ever, each business needs to evaluate how they are engaging their customers and offering care and support. Here is where ensuring your reps and employees practice empathy in customer service becomes crucial.

What is the Role of Empathy in Customer Service?

The first thing we should learn about is the concept of empathy. It is the process of imagining or putting oneself into another’s shoes in an attempt to better understand the other and what they are going through. And so, empathy should be understood as one of the most important traits when interacting with customers. But what does empathy in customer service look like? And as a Chief Customer Officer, how can you train your team and yourself to be more empathetic?

What is Customer Empathy?

Customer empathy is the process of understanding your customers by digging deeper into their pain points, concerns, motivations, and more. This means taking a step forward instead of simply saying “I understand” and proceeding with stock responses.

Empathy in customer service, therefore, means taking the time to understand each customer individually. What are their concerns? What is their situation? How can your product help them specifically? And so on. By paying attention to these questions and each customer individually, your team can provide a more holistic and meaningful customer experience.

Why You Should be More Empathetic When Dealing with Customers

According to research conducted by PwC, about 32% of customers will end their relationship with a brand after having one bad experience. Customer service expectations have increased and customers no longer tolerate bad-to-moderate service. They expect businesses to go above and beyond and, specifically, to be considerate and empathetic.

Being more consciously empathetic in your customer interactions can prevent the loss of potentially valuable customers. If your business does not take steps to improve customer experience by creating products and services that are customer-focused, your customers will not hesitate to go to your competitors.

6 Signs Your Business is Lacking in Empathy

In order to determine whether your customer service team is lacking in empathy and needs to up its game, look closely at how your team is performing. Some key indicators include:

  1. Low customer satisfaction scores
  2. Negative customer feedback
  3. Multiple call transfers among agents
  4. Long wait times
  5. Bad customer reviews
  6. Low customer retention rates

9 Ways to Practice Empathy in Customer Service

Customer service and customer interactions happen in a variety of ways and across different platforms. Among these are:

  • In-person meetings
  • Phone and video conversations
  • Live chat
  • Email interactions
  • Social media platforms

Your customer service must be consistent across these platforms so that each customer leaves your business happier and more satisfied than when they arrived. How can you and your team be more empathetic in customer interactions? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Maintain Eye Contact

This one goes without saying — Always maintain eye contact. It is often considered rude if you are paying attention to anything other than the person you are interacting with. This becomes even more important when you are engaging with customers on video calls. It is easy to get distracted and focus on the slide share or other materials, but take time to look at your customer and listen to them. Make them feel seen and heard.

2. Adopt Active Listening

Don’t just assume that you know what the customer is going through and that it is a common issue. Even if the issue is one of the most common complaints you receive, try to treat it with a new perspective. Your customer may have tried different methods to resolve the issue. This could provide you with more information and insight.

Once they have described their issue, repeat it back to them so they know you were paying attention to every detail. Listen actively so you can provide helpful advice that they haven’t tried before.

3. Have a Positive Attitude

No matter what the situation, try to adopt a positive attitude throughout the interaction. Chances are your customer is really upset about the issue they are facing and their frustration may leak into their interaction with you. Don’t let that color the way you respond to them. Take a moment to understand what they may be going through and focus on solving the problem for them.

4. Be Patient and Respectful

Similar to the above tip, strive to be patient, kind, and respectful in your interaction. Give them time to speak (or vent, if they are really upset), avoid getting frustrated yourself, and focus on the end-goal which is resolving their concern so they can continue to enjoy your product or service.

5. Avoid Biases

As with any interaction, avoid making assumptions and biases based on your own perceptions. This means respecting the person for who they are and what they are trying to achieve. Don’t assume they don’t know anything or that they know everything. Always ask for clarification instead of making an assumption.

6. Be Careful When Cultural and Language Barriers are Involved

This is another area of concern where empathy in customer service is essential. When cultural and language barriers are present, there is room for confusion and misunderstanding. Take time to understand your customer. If you are struggling, ask to put them on hold, and find a supervisor or rep who can help. Make sure to get back to your customer soon, don’t keep them hanging on hold for long. Also, keep international phone etiquette in mind when calling customers in different regions and parts of the world.

7. Ask Follow Up Questions

This is a good way to show your customer that you are interested and invested in this conversation. Ask follow-up questions that are relevant and can help narrow down the issue at hand. This can also help you offer more personalized solutions.

8. Match Your Customer’s Tone

Whether it is through email or phone conversations, try to match the tone and enthusiasm of your customer. Don’t be too formal if your customer appears informal and casual, and vice versa. Personalize your interaction with each customer to connect with them in a better way.

9. Build a Bond, Be Flexible

Look for common interests. For example, the online pet company Chewy’s customer service agents always ask customers about their pets and share stories about their own pets. This is a good way to create a bond with their customers and talk about something both parties love: their dogs or cats!