7 Tips to Improve Your Customer Support for Small Businesses
Going above and beyond for customers is a must. In this competitive market, one thing consumers can’t and won’t forget is great customer service. That service is what increases sales for your small business.
According to research, 81% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase if they have a positive customer support experience. If they reach uninterested and unhelpful representatives, however, they will think twice about doing business with your brand.
This means you should invest in your customer support. It is not enough to have a dedicated team that answers calls or replies to emails and social media messages. That team must be trained and skilled to impress your customers.
In this article, we will go over seven tips that can help you turn your customer support into consumer-oriented champs.
How to improve your customer support
Some small businesses miss the point of customer support. They think that their agents will do alright if they provide them with relevant software, proofreading tools and equipment. Customer service, however, is much more than that.
Customer service representatives are the first point of contact. Consumers base their first impressions on the agents they interact with.
Although it’s crucial those agents have the right tools, it is much more important they have people skills and a problem-solving mindset. Our tips on how to improve your customer support will ensure you cover all the bases.
Let’s go over them!
Hire dedicated customer service representatives
Consumers turn to your agents to resolve a specific issue or get more information about your products or services. When they send a message or make a call, they expect to get immediate help.
This is impossible if they reach untrained and impolite representatives.
Almost 70% of customers believe that a polite agent is crucial for great customer service. You must keep this in mind when forming your support team. Don’t hire someone just for the sake of hiring them. Ensure they have what it takes to represent your small business the right way!
Answering the following questions can help you hire dedicated customer service representatives:
- What are the key responsibilities of new employees?
- How many team members do you need for each communication channel?
- What are the skills new hires must possess?
- How long should the training process be?
- How will you track their performance?
When you know what kind of services you want to provide, it will be much easier to hire people who share your goals.
During the interview process, find candidates who possess great interpersonal skills such as empathy, patience and active listening. Agents with these skills will go to great lengths to impress your consumers.
Invest in customer support software
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Customer support agents need assistance to provide a great experience. They cannot do much if they lack the right tools and software. You should make their lives easier by investing in the appropriate tools.
According to research, the most used technology for customer service is:
- Help desk software
- Live chat
As most small businesses rely on these tools, you should leverage them as well. Your agents will be grateful if you do.
If you are unsure which technology to use, look for tools that automate and streamline processes. Your representatives will be able to focus on more pressing issues instead of worrying about mundane tasks.
Your go-to customer support software should also help you manage numerous communication channels from a single dashboard.
Let’s say that your customer support is available on social media, help center, live chat and email. Instead of dividing these channels across multiple tools, your agents can be more efficient if a single tool allows them to centralize communication.
These software tools act as virtual assistants as they keep track of every interaction you have with customers. No email, call or post will go unnoticed when you leverage this technology.
Another technology you can invest in is VoIP for call center teams. This system enables you to interact with customers wherever they are, use call forwarding and call recording to improve your service and manage open issues.
With appropriate tools, you will make your team members much more efficient and productive.
Small businesses grow faster when they set clear, measurable goals for each department. With the goals in place, your agents know what they are working towards.
Goals are important because:
- They give direction and focus. Imagine if your customer support numbers 30 employees. They will run around like a headless chicken if they don’t know what you expect from them. Communicate the plan to them and they will be able to act more autonomously.
- They help you track team performance. Wondering how your team is doing? You will know the answer if you check whether or not they have accomplished a specific goal.
- They inspire action. Let’s say that your primary goal is to minimize customer wait times. Managers and agents are aware of this goal which motivates their actions.
Which goals should you set for your customer support team? Here are a few examples:
- Improve response time
- Work on average handle time (AHT)
- Improve employee skill
- Boost customer satisfaction
- Drive customer loyalty
Setting goals does not mean your team will reach them immediately. What you need to do is track their performance to determine whether they need help to accomplish a specific objective.
Measure your team’s performance
Let’s say that your customer service agents have tasks they must finish. You might use a task time tracker to see how long it takes them to accomplish them or ask them in person where they are at.
This can give you an idea of how difficult a particular task is for your agents or how skilled they are at solving it. If you want to keep track of the goals, however, you need to introduce customer service metrics.
Metrics are the perfect way to measure how successful your team is. They ensure you understand which areas need improvement or which skills your agents lack.
Depending on the team’s goals, you can track:
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Customer effort score (CES)
- First contact resolution (FCR)
- Average resolution time (ART)
- Reopen rate (RR)
These are some of the metrics you should consider. They exist to help you provide the best customer service possible.
Be present on multiple channels
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Being available to customers on one or two channels is not ideal. Nowadays, small businesses must be present on multiple channels to deliver a great customer service experience.
It’s no secret that consumers have become demanding. They expect to interact with representatives on channels they choose:
- 57% of consumers prefer email or social media to voice-based customer support
- 40% of customers would rather talk to a representative over the phone to solve a more complicated issue
The above statistics show that you must consider numerous channels to please your customers. If one person likes interacting with a brand on Facebook, it doesn’t mean that another would choose this social media platform.
The channels you should consider are:
- Live chat
- Social media
Of course, your agents need to provide consistent support throughout each channel. This is where training comes in.
Train employees to offer great support no matter which channel they are on. Alternatively, you can have a dedicated team for each channel. For instance, some agents might thrive while communicating via email. You can teach them how they can write engaging messages, add an email signature and solve issues in no time.
Highlight the need for empathy
Customers who present their issues expect to be treated with empathy. They do not want to interact with "robots" who show no sympathy for their situation. This will drive them away from your small business.
Empathy in customer support means training your agents to understand the emotions your consumers are going through. The representatives must be compassionate and patient. This will calm the customers and show you are there for them.
In short, the agents must put themselves in your customers’ shoes. For instance, let’s say that a consumer reports a missing package. They ordered your products for their best friend’s birthday. The party is approaching, but there is no sign of the package.
Instead of saying to the customer to wait a few more days, your agents need to be more empathetic. They should understand the situation and provide a solution to the customer. Your small business will come across as caring and respectful.
You see—your customer support really affects the way the buyers view your small business!
Request customer feedback
How can you grow your small business? By keeping track of what customers have to say about your brand. Disregarding their comments can be detrimental to your business. On top of that, it can drive them to your competitors.
Listening to customer feedback is the best way to improve your customer support.
Having a dedicated development team in charge of your products or an efficient sales team can make lives easier for your customer service. What can also help them are employees who collect and act on customer feedback.
When people see a brand takes their feedback into consideration, they want to purchase more from that company. You can use the following methods to collect their comments:
- Surveys. This is one of the most efficient ways of gathering feedback. Have your team prepare a list of questions for customers. Those questions should focus on the service your agents provide. For instance, you can ask: "How likely are you to recommend our customer service to another client?"
- Newsletters. Your email marketing team probably sends newsletters every week. One of those newsletters can ask customers to leave feedback regarding your customer support. Ask them to be as detailed as possible because you want to improve the service for them.
- Social media. Whether you are in search of a YouTube banner maker or the latest TikTok challenge, you should know that social media is not only for posting content. It is a powerful tool that can tell you how satisfied customers are with you. Create polls or ask followers to leave comments about your customer support team.
Customer support represents your small business and your values. A customer is able to tell how dedicated you are to them just by interacting with your agents. If they are met with uninterested and unfriendly representatives, they will associate your brand with this behavior.
That is why you should work on improving your customer support. Go over our tips and decide which ones you can apply to your situation. Remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer!
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