We live in a world of increasingly immediate gratification. 7-Elevens are now being equipped with mashed potato and gravy dispensers, for goodness sake. Things that once took hours are now expected within minutes – and the same goes for good customer service.
Forrester data tells us 66% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. In addition, 45% of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question. And time is money: 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, and Forrester estimates that unnecessary service costs due to channel escalation are $22 million on average.
So how do we save our customers’ valuable time? Here are seven quick tips:
1. Match customers with the right CSR. Customer-centric organizations can take a lesson from Match.com and eHarmony, companies that take total strangers who have entered data on their website and pair them with an individual whom they believe is the best fit based on the information they have entered. That same type of matchmaking can be done using CRM software with routing capabilities.
Those customers submitting a help desk ticket, engaging in live chat, or posting a question on social media can successfully be matched with the best customer service rep for them based on criteria such as customer support level, VIP status, the CSR’s product expertise, experience with customers who need extra TLC, the need for a time-sensitive response and more. Matching customers with the right person to talk to saves not just the customer’s time, but the company’s, as well.
2. Make service and support easily available and accessible. Hiding phone numbers and support emails won’t keep complaints at bay; it will actually cause more of them. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to spend time scouring the search engines for ways to get in touch with a company; or worse yet, finally finding a phone number or email, but never receiving a response.
Seventy-three (73%) of customers leave a company because they are not happy with the customer serviced provided (Harris Interactive), and 91% of customers don’t ever return to a company after leaving (Lee Resources). One of Zappos’ keys to customer service and retention is providing its 1-800 number on every page of its website for easy access.
3. Be proactive. Don’t ask a customer to call back at another time, or to email someone else with their question. Putting the onus back on the customer when they have taken their time to initiate contact may quickly cost you their business.
4. Promote first contact resolution. CSRs may be spending extra time to resolve a customer’s question or problem, but if they’re delivering resolution in a single interaction rather than two, they’re actually saving time. (Click here to read 6 first contact resolution tips.)
5. Don’t make your customers repeat themselves. Maintain a real-time record of customer history and service interactions across all your customer service channels. If you don’t, you’ll frustrate your customers by making them repeat their information and problem every time they reengage with your organization via a different channel – and your staff will waste time by gathering the same data over and over again. Data from a recent NICE survey notes that 40% of respondents expect agents to be informed of their experiences upon beginning the conversation and to be able to successfully resolve their issues quickly.
6. Provide both self-serve and personalized options online. A recent study from Fleishman-Hillard found that 89% of consumers go directly to business websites or turn to Google or another search engine to find information on products, services or businesses before any direct consumer interaction takes place – if it ever does.
Make sure your company’s online knowledgebase is well-written, well-organized, searchable and search engine friendly. If customers don’t have time to look for their answer online, offer up live chat as a quick alternative. In a BoldChat survey of more than 2,000 US and UK consumers, 79% of respondents say they prefer to use live chat because their questions are answered immediately, while 51% prefer it because they can multitask while requesting service.
7. Make sure your CSRs know their stuff or readily have access to information. Don’t just give your customers access to a self-serve knowledgebase; give your CSRs the same or greater information access so that information delivery is quick and consistent.
What are more ways to save a customer’s time while still delivering good service? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.