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Top 9 Customer Service Trends You Must Know in 2021 [Updated]

In 2020, due to the pandemic, customers and businesses are working from home. They are considering ways to change their lifestyles to support their work-from-home lifestyle. This may lead them to your business as a possible and comfortable solution. If that is the case, then you need to up your customer service game to support all types of customer queries. Here are some important customer service trends to keep in mind this year.

9 Top Customer Service Trends in 2021

Ensuring your customer service and support efforts are always top-notch is important to maintaining customer satisfaction and retention. If your teams don’t do their best, then it becomes easy to lose valuable customers. Therefore, you must check your customer service strategies and tools every year to see where and how you can improve.

So, if you are looking to upgrade your customer service and stay of the game, here are the top 9 customer service trends to keep in mind.

1. Offer Multimodal Communication

If you are only responding to phone calls and emails, then you are way behind the game. Most companies are adopting multi-channel communication tools so they can assist customers no matter how they choose to reach out. This includes live chat, trouble tickets, text messaging, video conferencing, social media messaging, and more.

2. Become Mobile-Friendly

Most potential customers will find your business through their smartphones. This may occur due to a targeted ad that pops up on their social media or they do a quick mobile search for services like yours. For this reason, you want to make your website and reaching your customer support team easy for mobile users. Consider optimizing your website for mobile-view and adding click-to-call buttons that allow users to call instantly from their phones. You may also want to add easy-to-fill forms on the website for customers who want to send a quick message or email.

3. Include More AI and Automation

Use office automation to streamline processes and save time spent on simple, mundane tasks. Project management systems that automate tasks and enable file-sharing are essential for keeping offices well-connected and functioning seamlessly. Well-designed CRMs or customer information storage systems, IVR systems, chatbots, etc., are some additional ways to incorporate AI and automation in the office.

4. Be Active on Social Media

Having social media accounts is a must in this day and age. Not only does it give you the opportunity to market and target a different demographic, but it also gives you the ability to advertise and run social media campaigns. These campaigns can help bring new customers to your business while also adding another quick customer service tool. Be active on your social accounts, educate customers about products and services, and respond regularly to comments and messages.

5. Offer 24/7 and Real-Time Support

Besides offering various channels for customer support, you also want to provide 24/7 and real-time support. Consider live chat and chatbots to answer common customer queries, solve problems quickly, offer product/service descriptions, and guide them to completing a purchase. A phone equivalent of live chat is your IVR system. You can design the IVR to offer 24/7 service with troubleshooting support and self-service options. This way, callers can get assistance even after hours or on the weekends.

Related: 9 Best Customer Service Examples for 2020

6. Invest in Easy-to-Use Software

Provide your team with simple and user-friendly software. Complicated software takes longer to learn and has more room for error. If your team is spending more time navigating through the software, that is less time spent on providing excellent customer service. Research and find easy and more efficient solutions for your business phone system, CRMs, and project management tools.

7. Offer Work-from-Home Opportunities

One of the most important customer service trends this year is remote work. Working from home is growing more and more popular because it accommodates productivity. And your customer service team may want the option to work remotely, possibly until the end of the year. Prepare for this by considering call forwarding that can keep your remote workers and teams connected without increasing your monthly business communication bill.

8. Consider Video Streaming

A new development in customer service trends is the inclusion of video streaming and conferencing. Video is a useful form of communication and should be incorporated as much as possible in sales, marketing, and customer service. You can use videos for product descriptions, service education, launching new items, and more.

9. Personalize and Customize for Each Customer

Finally, continue to personalize your services for your customer. Stock emails and responses can easily disenchant prospects. Based on their search and purchase history, offer personalized offers or discounts, rewards, and recommendations that mean something to them.

Related: 23 Incredible Customer Service Tips for 2021

Improve Customer Service Today!

All of these trends may not be applicable to your business. However, identify the ones that do and make an attempt to include them effectively and creatively so your business can care for their customers better. Happy customers lead to a happy business, after all!

6 Ways Customer Service Expectations Have Changed for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way companies conduct business as well as the way customers interact and purchase from these companies. As such, customer service expectations have changed for 2021 with more customers expecting high-quality support, personalized care, multiple communication channels, and more.

Customer Service Expectations in 2021

Customers switched to online shopping in 2020. However, this is not limited to just purchasing but also in terms of having conversations with businesses through video conferencing and emails. Many businesses had to transform their sales pitches and customer support to fit video screens, social media posts, and email marketing. And these businesses had to try harder to improve overall customer experience: from finding the business website online to offering easy customer support options.

So, how have customer service expectations changed since 2020, and what are the most common customer service expectations in 2021? Let’s have a look.

1. Offer Higher-Quality Support

The pandemic led to businesses and their customer support teams finding new ways to connect with customers. However, customer service expectations rose to new heights. According to a 2020 Hiver survey focused on customer support expectations in 2020, 80% of consumers expect better and more empathetic support.

More and more customers are shopping online and expect to continue to do so. This means businesses need to develop their websites and e-commerce platforms to prepare for higher volumes of online traffic and movement. Customers will expect quick responses, easy navigation, and high-quality products. Some ways to improve your customer service include:

  • Updating website content to be more relevant and informative.
  • Create mobile-friendly webpages that load quickly.
  • Convenient online purchasing and order-placing abilities.
  • Better business phone system with advanced features such as call forwarding, routing, cloud IVR systems, call recording, and so on. These features can help with better call management and improve quality assurance.
  • Offering multiple channels of communication such as live chat, email, video conferencing, etc. You may even consider a chatbot for common FAQs and troubleshooting where customers don’t need to get in touch with a rep.

2. More Personalized Care

Customers are also looking for personalized care. Here is where a customer-centric strategy comes into place. Customer experience (CX) is highly significant with respect to business growth. If your customers are unhappy and don’t feel valued, they won’t hesitate to leave.

Personalization or customization means tailoring customer experiences to make them more relevant and useful to their particular situations. This means:

  • Paying attention to their profile and their past purchases and interactions
  • Offering recommendations based on past purchases
  • Understanding their needs and goals
  • Visualizing their goals through customer journey mapping
  • Offering customized solutions

Improving customer service and providing personalized care is as simple as knowing your customer and understanding what they need. Then, making your products and their interaction with it more relevant and personal.

3. More Modes of Contact

Since in-person contact was reduced during the pandemic, businesses had to get creative and find new ways to stay connected with their customers. For many businesses, this meant:

  • Updating website content
  • Creating support and knowledge bases for self-support
  • Staying active on email, chat, and social media channels
  • Considering automation tools such as chatbots and automated IVR phone systems

And so, customers expect to contact a business through the channel they prefer. The Hiver survey suggests that:
Gen Z customers and millennials prefer email and chat options more than phone conversations.
Baby boomer customers prefer phone conversations over others.

If your business supports all generations of customers, then you need to cater to their preferences and behaviors.

customer service

4. Focus on Empathy

According to a survey conducted by Hiver, 34% of customers state that customer support needs to be more responsive and empathetic. And this does not mean during the pandemic exclusively. Customers expect more empathetic and quick responses as everyone is dealing with a global issue. In fact, research has found that millennials and Gen Z customers are more likely to connect with businesses that offer empathic support.

So what does a more empathetic customer service approach look like? Here are a few examples:

  • Try to see the problem from their perspective.
  • Allow them to express themselves and their concerns and frustrations without interrupting.
  • Pay attention to your own biases and actively work on them.
  • Maintain positivity.
  • Respect your customer and don’t treat them like another number.
  • Gather and learn from feedback (peers, customers, mentors).

Striving to be more empathetic in your customer interactions can help you develop strong relationships and find better ways to help them. This, in turn, leads to greater customer satisfaction.

5. Pay Attention and Understand Them Better

Similar to the need for empathy, customers expect to be paid attention to, listened to, and cared for. Customers know what all businesses do to track their preferences and capitalize on them — such as targeted ads, personal recommendations, and so on. As such, they expect that businesses have the information to know what they like, prefer, and need. And so, when businesses don’t, customers are typically left disappointed and frustrated.

So, what can you do to work better with your customer? Listen to them carefully and do not make their issue seem small or irrelevant. The Hiver survey found out that 23% of customers will claim good customer support if they don’t have to explain their issue over and over again. Don’t make them repeat their concerns and issues or transfer them to multiple reps and employees.

Paying attention to them and repeating their concerns to confirm them can go a long way in reducing customers’ frustrations and increasing appreciation.

6. Be Clear and Follow-Up

Lastly, be clear in your communication and avoid vague and confusing phrases. Customers appreciate clear communication without any hidden agendas. This is one of the top customer service expectations. They expect honesty and clarity. If, as a customer service rep, you do not know the answer to a query, tell them that you will follow-up. And make sure you follow-up soon.

Meet Customer Service Expectations with Virtual Communication

We, at Global Call Forwarding, can get you set up with a robust virtual phone system that can help you become more accessible to customers, no matter the location. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 to find out more about international call forwarding and other communication tools.

16 Tips to Ensure Outstanding Call Center Etiquette

Effective and excellent call center etiquette can go a long way in securing valuable customers and leads. However, you may have noticed that the rules are constantly changing. In this post, we detail the dos and don’ts of call center etiquette and how you can offer an outstanding call center experience. Read on to learn more!

Top Tips for Excellent Call Center Etiquette

How call center agents conduct themselves during calls can determine customer satisfaction and retention. Poor etiquette leads to bad customer service and low caller satisfaction. Call center etiquette can be divided into four different phases of the call such as:

  • Answering the call.
  • Speaking to customers and identifying issues.
  • Transferring customers to another agent or supervisor.
  • Ending the call.

In each of these phases, you must demonstrate professionalism, concern, and a desire to genuinely assist your caller. We’ll look at each of these phases individually and the different aspects to keep in mind to ensure you are providing outstanding call center etiquette. Learn more about promising customer service tips here.

When Answering the Call

The speed at which you answer the call as well as your tone can determine how the rest of the call goes. If you take too long or answer the call in a rushed manner, callers will immediately be put off. Keep these tips in mind as well:

1. Answer the Call Promptly
Customers do not like to be kept waiting when they are trying to reach customer support. Always answer the call on the second or third ring. Any longer than that, they may feel frustrated and abandon the call. Additionally, if it is too hard to reach your business time and time again, that customer will likely switch over to a competitor instead.

2. Greet with a Friendly Tone
Always greet callers with a positive attitude. Callers can sense your inflection on the phone. Smiling while you’re on a call is an old trick that conveys a friendly tone through the phone. Starting a call with a positive attitude encourages the same from the caller on the other line.

If someone is distraught about their product and in need of help, your positivity will help ease their frustrations because they will know by your tone that you are eager to help. You do not need to go overboard with this. A simple greeting like “Hello, you’ve reached (name of company) my name is ___, how can I help you today?” will suffice.

Identifying the Issue

Next up is taking the time to listen to your caller and identify the issue. This means you should key into their emotions and being empathetic while clearly understanding what the problem is. After all, if you do not know what is concerning them, you may not be able to help effectively.

3. Adopt Active Listening
Let them explain and describe the issue to you before you repeat it. Nothing frustrates a customer more than an employee that is not paying attention to them and seems in a rush to finish the call. Take time to understand where they are coming from and what the problem is. Reinforce your understanding by showing you have heard their situation and are working on a resolution.

4. Identify the Issue
Once you think you have a good handle over what the issue is, confirm it with them. Reiterate the problem as best as you understand it. Something like, “So, from what you are telling me, I understand that you are having an issue with . . .” or “. . . that you would like to . . .” This will help you ensure you have thoroughly understood the issue and will also demonstrate to the caller that you have been paying attention.

5. Be Patient and Helpful
Always be patient. Whether they are taking too long to explain the problem or are repeating themselves, your patience will determine whether this customer returns or not. When a client calls a company, it is more than likely to resolve an issue. Patiently listen to them. If you are unable to help them, transfer them to the correct department.

Transferring the Call or Placing the Caller on Hold

Most callers do not enjoy being placed on hold or transferred to another employee. Unfortunately, at times, it is necessary to transfer the call to someone who can handle it better or place them on hold so you can find the right information and help them better. Here are rules to observe when transferring a call or placing it on hold:

6. Determine Who to Transfer to
Again, listening intently to what their needs are will help you determine what department to send them to. After all, customers will only get more agitated if they need support but you sent them to sales.

7. Explain Why They Need to be Transferred
Most callers do not like to be bounced around. However, sometimes it is inevitable, especially if they reached the wrong department, to begin with. Explain to your caller why they need to be transferred to another department or employee.

8. During the Transfer
When you transfer a phone call, make sure that there is someone in that department available to take the call. Stay on the phone with your caller until someone answers and then you can introduce the caller to this new department. Do not abandon your caller till they have someone who can take care of them.

9. Ask Before Placing on Hold
Before you put someone on hold, ask them for their permission. Instead of saying “I’m going to put you on hold now” or nothing at all, say “Would it be alright if I put you on hold for a brief moment?” Then wait for an answer.

10. Use The Hold Button Appropriately
Make sure you and your teams know how to use the hold button so there is no confusion. For example, when you place someone on hold while you speak to another customer, the person on hold should not hear you speaking with the other customer or hear employees in the background. Hold music or a custom message can be played when they are on hold, instead.

11. Do Not Place Callers on Hold for Too Long
Do not leave someone on hold for a long time. If they are waiting to speak to someone in particular who is not available, inform them that they will be waiting for a certain period of time. If the wait exceeds 2-5 minutes, check in to let them know you have not forgotten about them but are taking longer to find what they need. If they do not want to stay on hold for long, encourage them to call back later or offer to call them when you have the information or person available.

call center software
Source: Stockphoto.com O#100053743383

Ending the Call

The last part of maintaining good call center etiquette focuses on how to end a call. This largely depends on how the call went. Were you able to resolve everything or is a follow-up required?

12. End The Call Politely

Always aim to end the call on a “high note.” If something needs your attention right away, offer to call the person back and let them know you will finish the conversation after you have dealt with this urgent matter.

When the conversation has come to a natural end, ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. If yes, proceed to assist. If no, thank them for their call. An example of a good way to end a phone call is, “Thank you so much for calling (company) today, I hope you enjoy your weekend.” Or, “It was a pleasure speaking with you, I’m glad that we could help you out today. Have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Additionally, if your company asks for surveys post calls, ask your caller if they would be interested in participating in a brief survey. And respect their wishes, whichever way they lean.

Do not rush them off the phone, and always wait for the customer to hang up before you hang up.

13. Offer Follow-Up Information
Alternatively, if a follow-up is required, let them know how to expect it. Will you send an email or phone call reminder? Should they call you back instead of your company contacting them? Either way, make sure that you have the information they need when the follow-up occurs.

Additional Call Center Etiquette

In addition to the above points, there are some other aspects of call center etiquette to pay attention to, such as call management and training.

14. Training Employees and Agents
So that agents know what they are supposed to do and how to best help customers, they need to be trained well. This includes:

    • Training new employees, even those that come with experience
    • Offering refresher courses and workshops to current employees periodically
    • Using call recording to record and review interactions
    • Conduct regular performance analysis
    • Provide access to seminars and training programs

15. Making a Call
Employees should be trained to make calls professionally. Be sure to introduce yourself and the reason for your call right away. Provide them with all the necessary details at the beginning of the call.

Leaving a voicemail is similar to making a call. Even with the voicemail, introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call. Also include contact details such as a phone number and, if needed, a time frame for them to call you back.

16. Forward Your Phone To Voicemail
If you are out of your office, send all incoming phone calls immediately to your voicemail so that the caller knows that you are unavailable. Having a caller sit through 20 rings before realizing that you’re not going to answer is impolite and leaves the caller with a negative feeling. Your voicemail should state who you are and when you will be back. An instant and informative voicemail saves the caller time and allows them the option of leaving a message or calling back at a more convenient time.

Offer Better Customer Service with the Right Etiquette

If you don’t try to do the best you can, chances are, you will miss the buck. To gain new customers and convert them into regulars and to treat your regulars like royalty, your call center etiquette needs to be on-point. Make the necessary changes, implement a strategy for continuous education, and watch as your business grows!

Related: 5 Surefire Ways to Improve Virtual Call Center CSAT Scores

Building a Robust Customer-First Strategy for 2021

A customer-first strategy can help your business enhance customer experience, increase customer retention, and boost employee productivity. An effective strategy is designed to focus on the customer and develop strong customer relations. Happy customers lead to happy businesses, after all.

What is a Customer-First Strategy?

A customer-first strategy is a business plan that revolves around the success of your customers. It focuses on the customer and improving the customer experience. Such an approach looks at the situation of your target customer and identifies ways to make their experience with your company and your product better. If customers are unhappy with your service or cannot relate to your product, then there is no reason for them to do business with you. They will take their money elsewhere.

This includes addressing the following points:

  • What are the expectations of your customer?
  • How can you make life easier for your customers?
  • What are the common issues your customers are looking to solve?
  • How is your customer’s team set up?
  • How can you improve your customers’ experiences by leveraging customer stories from the past?

Besides focusing on your customers, an effective customer-first strategy will also focus on employee needs. After all, your employees will be interacting with your customers or creating products and services for them. If your employees feel undervalued, they will not put 100% into satisfying your customers.

Why You Must Put Your Customers First

Any business that relies on recurring revenue must put its customers first. Improved engagement and the quality of customer interactions will drive sales down the line. We all know that happy customers spend more and are more likely to refer your business to others.

A customer-first approach that focuses on solving customers’ problems will improve the longevity of your business.

customer first

 

How Do You Put the Customer First?

So, what do you need to focus on to create a customer-first strategy that will be successful and draw more customers to your business?

  • Customer expectations — What is your target customer expecting from your service? High quality, quick response time, multichannel support, etc.?
  • Customer preferences — Do customers prefer self-service options or assisted customer support? Do they look for product information and reviews on social media? Would they prefer multichannel support and not just voice calls?
  • Customer experience when interacting with your brand — How and where are customers interacting with your business? How can this interaction be improved to their satisfaction?
  • Customer’s situation — How is your customer’s business set up? What essentials do they need? How can your business help?
  • Employee experiences — How can you improve the experience of your employees so that they do their job well and treat customers with care?
  • Common issues customers want solved — What issues are they looking to resolve with your product? How can you market your product to that end?

Related: 7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them

How to Establish an Effective Customer-First Strategy

An effective customer strategy usually consists of two initiatives: customer-focused and employee-focused. You will need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of both your customers and employees so you can put your customers first.

Here are some ways to create a customer-first strategy that boosts business growth:

1. Know Your Target Audience and Customer Base

The most important part of creating a customer-centric strategy includes understanding your target audience and your existing customer base. If you don’t know who you are selling to or have a good idea of their situation and needs, you will not be able to provide them with a useful and helpful product.

Conduct market research for new customers and target audiences to gain insight into their needs, expectations, and preferences. Collect feedback from current customers to understand what you can do to improve their experience.

2. Build a Buyer Persona for Your Product

If you haven’t yet, it is extremely crucial to create personas depending on your customer. This step should occur when you create your business plan.

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer or target audience. This persona is created by including your target customer’s demographic, career, job position, personal interests, and so on. Create a buyer persona through market research and collecting data about individuals within your target audience range.

Creating customer personas helps you get into the mindset of your audience, their needs, demands, expectations, preferences, and so on. This can further help you serve them better.

3. Study Customer Behaviors, Preferences, and Needs

To execute a customer-first strategy, your business needs to work closely with its customers. How else will you learn what they need and the best ways to help them? By paying attention to their needs, you can:

  • Offer better, more wholesome products
  • Become more accessible through multichannel support
  • Understand when and where they are interacting with your brand to optimize marketing efforts
  • Customize and personalize customer support and sales efforts

All of these steps can help you develop stronger customer relationships and encourage these customers to continue doing business with your company. This will help you retain more high-quality accounts. It’s essential to study your customers so that you can proactively respond to their needs.

Start by tracking customer metrics such as lifetime value (LTV), customer retention, satisfaction, and net promoter score. Ensure that all departments (especially sales, operations, and support) have access to this data. Your business can then start building an incredible overall customer experience.

By failing to understand the needs of your customer base, you might not be able to guide customers along the right journey. In addition, you might not be able to solve their problems quickly.

4. Focus on Improving Employee Experience

While the term “customer-first strategy” naturally implies a focus on customers, remember that customers interact the most with your employees. Specifically, your customer support and sales teams. Overburdened and stressed-out employees will not make a good impression on customers and sales leads.

Employee experience (EX) must be considered as part of your customer strategy. The value of a great employee experience is immense! As such, your employees need to be treated well and provided with the right business tools so they can do their jobs effectively.

EX means taking key steps towards improving the collective experience of your employees. You may consider popular incentives such as remote work and perks. Additionally, you can provide employees with training materials and courses to continue to better their skills and talents. Above all, you should allow for growth within the company. This helps lower employee turnover rates and ensure productive employees but also save.

Working on your business’ EX means creating a stable and healthy work environment. Happier employees have more pleasant customer interactions, which in turn drives customer success.

5. Make Your Business Easily Reachable

Part of a strong customer-first strategy is being accessible and reachable to your customers no matter where they are. No customer should have to pass through hoops or wait for days to get support. You must have enough customer service and technical support reps to satisfy customer needs. Furthermore, be active on multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, social media, video. This ensures that you are always reachable.

If you are running an international business, it is important to have strong global communication. Consider subscribing to an international call forwarding service. Such a service will route calls to your team anywhere in the world. This gives your customers a free or inexpensive way to call your business, irrespective of physical distance.

Being reachable and providing quick responses will increase customer trust in your business and improve customer success. Here at Global Call Forwarding, we can help get you set up with a reliable and well-functioning business phone system for round-the-clock support.

6. Collect Feedback & Grow

Finally, collect feedback from customers regularly. You can use surveys to understand where your business is succeeding and what problems you can solve for customers in the future. Then, brainstorm and apply practical solutions to key issues. A strategy that puts your customers first will make your business a better place to be.

Draw in More Customers in 2021 with a Customer-Centric Strategy

How can Global Call Forwarding help? Check out this list of great customer service tips. Implement the above tips to build and execute an effective customer-first strategy that proves helpful for your customers and employees.

Speak with our experts to see what tools and services are available to help your business focus on customer experience. Call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online today!

7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them

The best way to provide A+ customer service is to identify common customer complaints and be prepared to resolve them. Having your agents and reps trained to quickly and effectively handle complaints will lead to better and improved customer service. And this sets you on the path of gaining loyal and returning customers.

Resolving Common Customer Complaints

Customers reach out to a business for a variety of reasons ranging from help with signing up, product inquiries, request for quotes to assistance and support. However, they do not always have a good experience. This is why over the years so much emphasis has been placed on good and effective customer service.

So, what are some common types of customer complaints and how can they be resolved?

1. Waiting in Queue for Long Periods

Problem: Most of the time customers calling a business for customer support end up waiting in line for 15-45 minutes. Waiting on hold can be extremely frustrating for customers who have a small inquiry or an urgent issue.

Solution: Have more agents on call during high call volume periods. For most businesses, these periods occur between 12 pm – 2 pm (during lunch) or 4 pm – 6 pm (end of the workday). Additionally, use call routing to forward calls to different agents or office locations, when one is overburdened.

2. Long Response Times

Problem: One of the most common customer complaints is long response times. This includes customers sending emails, queries through webforms, responding to voicemails, etc., and not receiving a response within 1-2 business days.

Solution: Prioritize responding quickly and actively. Ensure your employees are on top of the emails, queries, voicemails within 1-2 business days. Longer than that and a potential customer will go with a competitor instead. While automated responses can do the trick, personalize these responses to make them less “mechanical.”

3. Frustrating Automated Systems

Problem: Dealing with chatbots and IVR systems can be hard, especially for customers that have a unique issue. Automated systems are useful for handling simple, common, mundane tasks such as:

    • Transferring calls to the right department
    • Offering troubleshooting help
    • Providing company information
    • Activating or renewing services, etc.

Customers love self-service. However, more complex tasks will need a real agent’s help. Additionally, some customers may not even know how to use and navigate through an IVR system. Some may select the wrong option and end up in the wrong department. While others may find the long menu options more annoying than helpful.

Solution: Have a simple and easy-to-use automated system with an option for voicemail or “speak with a representative” easy to find. Keep menu options short and clear. Avoid jarring hold music or repeating your services on a loop when calls are transferred. And also, be sure to allow for the option to “speak to a representative.” This way, customers can request to speak with an agent if all else fails.

4. Being Passed Around

Problem: Customers being passed around from one employee to another will definitely leave your business for another more organized and efficient one. This includes in-person, phone, and email conversations.

Solution: When they connect with your business, it should be easy for them to find the right person to speak with. Therefore, your teams need to be organized with useful department extensions or email addresses. An IVR system will come in handy here; offer menu options to callers such as Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Customer Support, Press 3 for Billing & Accounting, etc. Route calls effectively using attribute-based routing to ensure customers get the help they need with their preferences in mind.

5. Impatient or Rude Staff

Problem: This is a no-brainer. Agents that are impatient and trying to quickly resolve a call without making the customer feel welcomed and valuable or are rude and condescending will lose customers promptly.

Solution: Train your agents and reps to adopt active and empathetic listening, be patient on their calls, and behave appropriately with customers. We recommend that you use these customer service tips for 2020.

6. Staff Not Helpful or Knowledgeable

Problem: Customer complaints also include staff or agents being unhelpful or unaware of a solution. When customers interact with your business for customer support, it is usually to inquire about a product or resolve an issue they are facing. And so, they expect to talk to someone who has the knowledge and expertise to assist them.

Solution: Train agents in the subject matter of your product and service as well as the industry they serve. Create knowledge bases for employees to use when they are in a pinch and need additional support. Furthermore, you may even consider call barging and call whispering to have supervisors and managers enter a call and provide support.

7. Poor Product or Service

Problem: Another common complaint is that the quality of the product or service is poor and deceptive. Customers may feel that the description of your product or service doesn’t match the result which can lead to cancellation and refund requests.

Solution: Take these complaints seriously because they may be an indication of a much larger problem with your product or service. Customer feedback is useful not only in improving the development of your service but also in understanding your customers’ expectations and preferences. Train your staff to deal with unhappy customers. Once you see a common issue with your product, be prepared with solutions, alternatives, refunds, or promotions for future customers that may experience the same issue.

Why Paying Attention to Customer Complaints is Important

Listening to your customers and their complaints can help you improve how you serve them. Additionally, it will help you offer better and more efficient service. This can directly enhance customer support and increase customer retention, as these two factors are necessary for any business’ success!

5 Ways to Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in our plans to grow this year. Yet, instead of being disheartened about the current state of your business and future prospects, now is the time to see how you can reinvent your company and keep your customers.

This means: developing a post-pandemic customer support strategy.

In this post, we will look at creative and successful ways to bring your post-pandemic customers back to your business.

How to Provide Excellent Post-Pandemic Customer Support

To ensure that your customer relationships outlast the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a customer-first strategy. This includes understanding what your customers need from you and how you can offer that in a safe and secure way. Take time to devise a post-pandemic customer support strategy in a way that elevates your customers and your customer support team. Let’s look at these 5 ways to win back post-pandemic customers.

1. Gather New Customer Insights & Preferences

The first step to implementing a customer-first strategy for your post-pandemic customers is focusing on what they need. Gather information about customer insights and preferences by asking them, conducting social media polls, and getting your marketing team on task. Brainstorm ways in which you can surprise your customers or make them feel valued. Thank you notes or emails, complimentary presents for using your service, etc., are some ways to get their attention and make them feel welcomed.

2. Demonstrate What You Are Doing to Stay Safe

Since individual and collective safety is of utmost importance at this time, you will need to show your customers what your business is doing to stay safe. Social media posts and an email detailing your safety plan can go a long way in gaining their trust. Some ways to display good and safe practices include:

  • Mandating face masks when in your store
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Ensuring the availability of hand sanitizers
  • Offering flexible return to business policies
  • Keeping your website and online transactions secure from hackers
  • Highlighting employee safety regulations; what employees are doing to stay safe and healthy

All of this information not only educates your customers about the virus and how your business is dealing with it but also helps them trust you and your employees enough to make a purchase.

3. Offer Multichannel Communication & Support

Another key element to include in your post-pandemic customer support strategy is to make your business available via multiple channels. Besides offering phone and email support, you may even consider other channels of communication. For example, instant messaging, social media engagement, live chat, and video conferencing. Video conferencing can go a long way in interacting with a potential customer, doing product demonstrations, and securing their purchases.

4. Prepare for Antsy and Worried Customers

Now this one is important. There is general anxiety all over the world right now. And so, your customers may be angry, worried, or antsy. But be mindful and respectful of this. Treat them with kindness. Be prepared with solutions to their issues and concerns. And you will gain global customers for the long-run.

5. Make it Easy for Customers to Come Back to Your Business

Encourage your post-pandemic customers to come back. It is not going to be easy, which is why your business must attempt to make it convenient for them to return. Shower them with deals and promotions, membership programs, let them know how much you miss them. These actions will reap results in the future when everything opens up again.

Prepare For When the Pandemic is Over

Take time to improve your business’ post-pandemic customer support. Remember that even if customers do not immediately start purchasing from your business, they will remember the above initiatives when the pandemic is over. They will know that your business did everything it could to ensure safety and customer satisfaction, and that will also influence them to come back. Work now so that when COVID-19 is gone, your business is the first thing customers think about!

Global Customer Support: 8 Strategies to Get More Global Customers

Supporting a global customer base may seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, with the right tools and business moves, bringing aboard more global customers can be a piece of cake. Here are 8 proven tactics to appeal to an international customer base and offer excellent global customer support.

What is Global Customer Support and Why is it Important?

Global customer support or global customer service is the process of offering excellent service to your customers across all platforms, channels, and markets. It also means developing key strategies and support systems to assist global customers spread around the world. By taking time to execute a strong global customer support system, you can improve brand awareness and customer support on an international scale. As such, multinational and mid-large-sized businesses invest the necessary resources to be available for their international clientele.

How Can You Support International Customers?

In order to support your global customers, you will need a plan or strategy. This involves identifying ways in which your business will provide global support, investing in tools and technology needed, financial planning, and more. The first step is to create a CX and customer support strategy for your global customers. Once you have a plan in mind, you can start taking steps towards building a robust international customer support system.

Global Customer Support Strategies: 8 Surefire Tips

Bringing on new global customers requires a few different strategies working at the same time. For example, you will need to increase business visibility and awareness through advertising and international marketing. Then, you will have to make your business easily accessible to customers in these global markets. More and more companies are adopting a Follow the Sun model to offer global customer support and stay in touch with their international clients. Read on for specific tactics you can use to entice new customers as you expand globally.

1. Hire Locals

Work with local recruiters to bring locals on board who know how to work within these target markets. Hiring locals means you can offer customer support in that area’s time zone and in regional languages. Furthermore, these employees know what the purchasing and buying culture is like within that country, state, or city. And this information can be used to better appeal to customers and vendors.

2. Work with Remote Teams

Hiring employees for global markets does not always mean opening field offices or relocating your current employees. You can easily hire and manage remote workers and teams by using a virtual phone system that allows users to centralize business communications from any location and any device. This lets you hire locals without needing to worry about getting an office space, equipment, etc. This helps you keep communication costs low as well as save on moving or office costs.

3. Plan to Offer Customer Support in Different Time Zones

To reach maximum global customers, it is important to offer support in current time zones. This means making your agents available in the time zone of the region you are targeting. This can be done by hiring locals from the countries or regions where you want to offer global customer support. Then, you can have incoming calls forwarded to those agents and remote workers during certain times of the day through time-based routing or location-based call routing. This way, global customers can get support quickly.

4. Invest in Multilingual Support Tools

A global expansion best practice is being able to reach global customers in languages and terms they understand and appreciate. More than 29% of businesses in a recent survey conducted by Inside Intercom said that they lost customers by not offering multilingual support. This is why it’s essential to use multilingual support tools to make your business more accessible. Consider investing in:

  • Multilingual agents
  • Language and location targeting
  • Localization services
  • Machine translation features to translate your website
  • Chatbots that support different languages, etc.

This can help you reach a larger audience and improve brand awareness and visibility giving your business an international reputation.

5. Consider Automation

Automation can help offer global customer support, especially when agents are unavailable. For instance, you can develop a cloud IVR system to answer incoming calls, identify the purpose of the call, and take action accordingly. This automated voice response service will interact with callers, ask pre-determined questions, and present callers with pre-recorded menu options. Then, based on caller input, the system will offer support, transfer the caller to the right agent, or send them to voicemail. The same goes for chatbots.

These automation services can help reduce the burden agents feel by taking care of smaller concerns, giving employees the time needed to work on more complicated issues. Automation also helps provide support during off-hours and the weekend, making your business more reachable to global customers when they need you most.

6. Use Multiple Social Media Platforms

If your business is not on social media platforms, then it is lacking in business awareness. Social media has grown into an important and effective global marketing tool. Use your platforms to demonstrate your business’ (geographical) reach, its values and products, customer reviews, events, and more. Engage with followers, respond to queries and concerns, and adopt a neutral, non-political stance.

7. International SEO

Consider search engine optimization or SEO for international marketing. This usually includes boosting your website and increasing your business’ visibility through country targeting and language targeting. Develop content that is original and relevant and use keywords that will draw local as well as international traffic to your website.

8. Display Quality Testimonials and Reviews

Lastly, highlight reviews and testimonials from your global customers. Social proof goes a long way in showing new prospects how your business values its customers and how your business works. You may even choose to publish case studies on successful clients, detailing how your product or service benefits them, and so on.

Need Communication Tools to Reach Global Customers?

Global Call Forwarding can help you get the right communications tools for global expansion. Call us today at 1 (561) 908 6171 to find out how we can help you improve the customer experience for your global customers. Improve business awareness and make your business a reliable one by offering global customer support.

7 Proven Tips to Deal With Difficult or Angry Customers

Dealing with a difficult or angry customer can be tricky, yet it is a common occurrence in the customer service industry. And because it happens so often, customer service employees and agents need to be prepared to deal with such customers. In this post, we discuss 7 proven tips to help you deal with difficult customers while doing your job effectively!

Dealing with Angry Customers? Try These 7 Tips

Quite often customer service teams are not trained specifically to deal with angry or difficult customers. This can lead to conflicts and the loss of a potentially valuable customer. For this reason, it is important to practice the below tips so you are better equipped to work with difficult customers.

1. Adopt Active and Reflective Listening

The first step to dealing with an angry customer is identifying the issue. And to do so, you need to listen carefully. Listen to your customer actively to identify what their concern is so you can find the appropriate solution. Another tactic is reflective listening where you pay attention to what the other is saying and then respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings heard. For example:

Customer: “I’m annoyed because your service has the features we need but does not fit our budget.”
Agent: “What I understand is that your budget is limited and we are not offering you any discounts or promotions that fit your requirement.” Or, “Tell me more so that I can understand better and find the right solution for you.”

When you are practicing reflective listening, be careful not to promise a definitive solution to the problem. For issues such as pricing, you will need to check with supervisors and managers before you give the customer exactly what they need. But when interacting with the difficult customer, you must focus on listening and identifying the issue while making them feel heard.

2. Keep Calm and Focus on the Process

It is easy in a hostile situation to lose your calm (even slightly) and get nervous. However, remember that conflict and disagreement are common in business. But how you respond to conflict is essential because it determines your relationships with your employers as well as your customers.

Even in the heat of the moment, make an attempt to treat your customers with respect and consideration. Lower your voice, take deep breaths, and maintain a professional tone. Additionally, try to resolve disputes while over the phone. And ask for help, if you need it.

3. Try to Genuinely Empathize with the Customer

Besides listening to the angry customer, try to empathize with them. Call them by their name, instead of “sir” or “ma’am.” Pull up their customer records so that you know their history with the company. Make them feel heard and valued and treat them as an individual person as opposed to just another customer. This can go a long way in calming the customer down and arriving at a solution.

Related: 23 Incredible Customer Service Tips for 2020

4. Use Support Resources

Most businesses should have some kind of knowledge base or support center that agents and employees can use when dealing with difficult customers. If your company does not have one, it may be helpful to suggest it. This knowledgebase can help you:

  • Walk customers through common processes
  • De-escalate conflict with useful strategies
  • Set up audio/video recording
  • Get help from a fellow employee or supervisor

5. Demonstrate That You Are Taking Their Issue Seriously

Provide realistic solutions and avoid sounding monotonous. If you are repeating a script that you use with other customers without personalizing it, the customer will recognize this and become even more agitated. You need to demonstrate that you are taking their case seriously without simply saying it.

6. Don’t Take it Personally

This is hard to do when certain angry customers target their anger towards you instead of the issue they are facing. However, remember that this is not a personal problem. At the end of the day, the customer does not know who you are. And since you are the only way they can interact with the company, their anger is targeted towards you. Avoid taking it personally and attacking the customer back. Instead, apply the above tips to diffuse the tension.

7. Follow Up and Ask for Help, if Needed

Finally, if the problem is above your paygrade or the interaction gets too intense, then it may be prudent to ask a co-worker or manager for help. Let the angry customer know that you will contact them again with a solution or to follow up, and make sure that you do.

Related: 9 Best Customer Service Examples for 2020

Dealing with Difficult Customers Can Be Hard, But Not Impossible

Different customers will require different methods of interaction. Similarly, dealing with angry customers needs time and patience. Use your discretion but learn from mistakes. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for help from managers and bosses who may be able to offer additional options for handling tricky situations properly.

What is Customer Success?

If customer retention and churn are a problem for your business, then you need to up your customer success game. Here’s an in-depth guide to customer success and how to improve your strategy.

What is Customer Success?

Customer success refers to the process of providing proactive customer support and service. This includes anticipating potential challenges or issues faced by customers and reaching out to them beforehand to resolve those concerns.

With customer success, businesses can work closely with customers to improve customer satisfaction and boost relations. By doing so, your business can increase customer loyalty and retention. After all, who doesn’t want to work with a business that takes the time and effort to care for its customers?

Customer Success and Customer Support

To execute good customer success strategies, it is first important to understand the differences between customer support and success. Here is a table highlighting key points:

Customer Success Customer Support
1. Type of approach Proactive approach; reach out to customers before they reach out to you Reactive approach; provide support when a customer connects with you over an issue
2. Duration of interaction Long-term interactions; you work with the customer closely over a longer period of time Shorter interactions; you work with the customer to provide immediate solutions to a problem
3. Teams responsible Team collaboration between sales, marketing, support, product development, etc Operated solely by the customer support or service team
4. Metrics to measure Customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer health, customer lifetime value, etc Customer satisfaction, number of cases and tickets issued, first call resolution rates, hold time, average handle time, etc
5. Tasks to accomplish Improve customer experience, upsells, cross-sells, etc Technical support, knowledge base and guides, resolve tickets, etc.
6. Discover Areas of opportunity Problem areas
7. Ultimate goal To ensure a successful customer lifetime value To react and quickly solve issues

6 Proven Ways to Improve Your Customer Success Strategy

Any company that has customers and depends on customer satisfaction must invest in customer success. Being in the service industry, you will notice that it is harder and more expensive to acquire new customers. It is much cheaper and healthier, instead, to retain your current ones by taking care of them. These happy customers, in turn, will make good recommendations and advocate for your service.

1. Increase Brand Awareness
Work on brand visibility to make your brand a real thing for customers. An updated website and social media accounts, stats and valid data, attractive design, and user experience are a few ways to grab customer attention. Use your marketing team to improve the way customers and potential prospects see your brand and interact with it whether online (through social media, your website, web forms, product demos, content marketing) or offline (exhibitions, stores, advertising platforms).

2. Create Buyer Personas
Your marketing and sales team must collaborate to create ideal buyer personas for your product so your targeting efforts don’t go to waste. When developing buyer personas consider these questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • Factors or demographics are important to your persona: their budget, age range, income, location, purchasing power, etc.
  • What does your persona value?
  • Which problems are you trying to help your persona solve?
  • What content or information will catch your persona’s attention?

3. Provide Educational and Informative Content About Your Product
Use your website, emails, and social media accounts to provide your viewers with information:

  • About your product
  • How it is used
  • What issues or problems it can solve
  • How other businesses have used the product, etc.

The point is to demonstrate your expertise in the field and highlight your product or service’s successes. Maintain an updated website, highlight interviews, customer testimonials, blog posts, etc. Use common terms, avoid overwhelming technical jargon, and make knowledge bases or guides accessible. All of this will help solidify your business’ credibility, making customers trust it more. Educating customers makes your product or service more user-friendly, thereby improving the customer experience.

4. Provide Guided Onboarding
Spend extra time and energy on onboarding new customers. Guide them through the beginning of their journey with your service so they clearly understand how processes work and where they can find help. Once they are well-settled, make yourself available and reachable for initial issues that may turn up. Then, gradually move to automation and alerting so customers become more independent.

5. Offer Customer Support
Whether it is email, phone calls, live chat, or trouble tickets, your customer support team should be easy to contact. Additionally, you must equip your team with resources for quick resolution such as guides, etc. Make your business available 24/7 for customer support. You can do so by forwarding calls to other office locations or remote offices or using an IVR system to help with common issues and troubleshooting support.

6. Work to Improve Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty means that for your customer, your business is “the one.” They will not look for another service or product to replace you. This is crucial to customer retention because a loyal customer will recommend your service to others and bring in more business.

Are You Ready to Build Successful Relationships With Your Customers?

Customer success is important as it can help your business build strong and meaningful customer relations. If your business needs to increase its customer retention rates, then it’s time to start offering more proactive support today!