Food for Thought

Customer Support

5 Essentials of Great Customer Service

There is no greater value to any corporation than their customer service. Here are the top 5 needful customer service to be focused on:

1. Great customer service is caring.

Great customer service comes down to caring. Not only should the corporation care about the quality of their products, but should care even more-so about customer satisfaction. Companies should take the time to ensure the customer is delivered a product that works, and that the customer understands how to use and operate their product. Companies who pride themselves on great customer service take great value in creating referrals. To ensure this possibility, they make themselves available to their customers for any questions, repairs and or concerns, and if necessary offer to replace, compensate or refund what isn’t working.

2. Passion

Passion is the foundation of great customer service people and their organizations. Customer service is the “it” factor. It is passion which separates those individuals and organizations who excel from those who offer the customer the bare minimum to get by.

3. Communication

Solid communication is crucial when it comes to customer service. Communication requires effort, flexibility and a tremendous amount of patience and self-control on the part of the customer service agent. The customer, in most cases, should be treated as correct. And, customers are wrong sometimes as well.

4. Service-minded

Corporations that value customer service doesn’t just enforce procedures and shout instructions to their customers as an approach to problem-solving. It is the responsibility of each corporation to develop a culture of service and to see the undeniable value of serving those who purchase their products.

5. Willingness

The customer who is expressing a lack of satisfaction doesn’t become a more pleasant person when met with automated systems with unreasonable hold times, and one transfer after another once they have finally gotten someone live on the phone.

Customer Service Blog

Killer Words of Customer Service

There are customer service ramifications of eight commonly used words and sayings that we’ve designated as Killer Words. These eight phrases are normally used with good intentions, yet they are damaging to customer relationships. Let’s look at how we can avoid the Killer Words and see that it’s not how you perceive the phrases but how the recipient interprets them.

#1—Killer Words of Customer Service: “CALM DOWN.”

When a customer contacts you about a problem, they generally are not happy. So, it’s not a good idea to say something that might make them more unhappy. Let’s listen in on a customer phone call.

Jessica: Thanks for holding support. This is Jessica.

Customer: Yeah, your company promised me delivery on Tuesday. It’s now Friday and it’s still not here. Do you have any idea what kind of problems you’re causing me?

Jessica: Ma’am, please: Calm down!

CustomerCalm down?!? Calm down??? Don’t tell me to calm down!!! Thanks for the advice, but if your company would have done what they promised, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation!

Did you see what happened here? Instead of handling the customer’s concern immediately, Jessica chose to change the subject. Rather than dealing with the complaint, she sidetracked it into telling the customer what to do, and all of a sudden it’s an argument. The customer went from upset to furious. This can be handled much better.

Jessica: Thanks for holding. Support This is Jessica.

Customer: Yeah, your company promised me delivery on Tuesday. It’s now Friday and it’s still not here. Do you have any idea what kind of problems you’re causing me?

Jessica: My apologies. That’s got to be very frustrating. If need be, we can overnight your order so it’s there Monday. Now please tell me exactly what happened and I will get to work on fixing this.

Customer: Yes OK. Thanks. …

That was much better. Jessica apologized and focused her efforts on solving the problem and that’s what the customer wanted in the first place. Telling a customer how to act is never a good idea.

#2—Killer Words of Customer Service: “CAN I BE HONEST WITH YOU?”

Chris: Parts. This is Chris.

Customer: Yeah, Chris. This is Darius Jones. We spoke last week and you asked me to call today to arrange installation of the new pump for our hydraulic press.

Chris: Hello, Mr. Jones. Um, regarding your new pump, can I be honest with you?

Customer: No, I want you to lie to me. Yes, of course, you can be honest with me!

If ever there was a useless saying, it’s the Killer Words “can I be honest with you?” The customer assumes that you’re always going to be honest with them. They expect that. There are several variations of these words that needs to be dropped as well, such as:

  • Let me be perfectly frank.
  • You want the truth, right?
  • Look, I’m going to level with you.
  • Can I be candid with you?

Always choose correct words so that your customers can be fair and polite to you as well! If you liked this blog post, please share it with your friends! Thanks


IoT support services

Customer service in the era of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already a reality in the commercial world and it’s getting bigger by the minute in the consumer space. The number of devices connected to the internet continues to grow closer towards the 20 billion connections that research firm, Gartner, predicts there will be by 2020.

In the enterprise space, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications are one of the biggest growth areas in information technology, with the car industry one of the biggest adopters. However, the rampant growth of IOT holds significant ramifications in the consumer space, particularly when it comes to customer service.

People increasingly have to deal with objects – things – as well as other people. When that interaction goes wrong, or when people need assistance or simply more information, traditional customer service channels are not always up to scratch.

With all the improvements in customer service in recent years – improved contact center technology, chat lines, automated response systems and the like – consumer satisfaction with service levels have been dropping. A new report from research company Ovum, commissioned by LogMeIn, has identified a significant disconnect between what today’s mobile and always-connected customers have come to expect from customer service and what contact centers are delivering.

According to Ovum’s research, 48 percent of customers surveyed believe that the ability to reach the right representative has worsened over the last two years and as a result, 76 percent have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad encounter.

The findings also highlight that IoT technologies have a potential for helping with the technical resolution of customer issues. While the technology is not well understood by customers, they are evidently willing to use it if it means solving technical issues quicker. This presents a number of opportunities.

When asked whether they would be willing to connect their devices to the internet, over 50 percent of customers said that they didn’t believe it to be necessary, or that they would not be comfortable with connecting their devices. But 25 percent said they would be keen to do this if it would resolve their customer service issues faster.

On the useful benefits of connected devices, 63 percent of customers said that they would like to improve resolution rates for technical problems. Although not all of the surveyed customers are aware of what the IoT could mean for them, they all want to be able to resolve problems faster.

All of the surveyed contact center managers said they are aware of how the IoT can be beneficial to their organizations, and they understand that remote technical diagnosis is potentially a significant advantage. When asked about benefits of connected products, they stated that being able to optimize field service, chat directly to customers on a device, and carry out remote updates are all advantages that they would hope to gain.

Today’s highly mobile customers are empowered to seek out support from multiple touch points and have come to expect a response through those channels in minutes. It is possible, for example, to use a customer’s mobile phone to resolve problems in real time by sending images to the contact center representative, showing them exactly what the customer sees. It is an example of how the IoT is part of the solution to better customer service.

Such real-time visualization technology has the potential to shorten support times and greatly reducing product returns which end up with ‘no fault found’, which affects retailers’ and product manufacturers’ profit margins – consultancy Accenture estimates the cost of such returns is as much as US$9.4 billion annually.

Technology is constantly evolving. So is customer support. The IoT trend adds a new layer of complexity to customer support, but it also has the potential to greatly assist in the resolution of customer support issues.

AI in Support

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizes Customer Service

One of the most disruptive technologies of our time is Artificial Intelligence (AI) which makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. With the capacity to drastically change our entire world, early adopters are already experimenting with the lucrative functions of AI, especially within the contact center world.

As AI continues to perform outside the ways of human capacity, its implementation will only continue to grow as more than 62 percent of businesses plan to integrate AI-fueled solutions this year.

Here are five ways AI harnesses the power to revolutionize the customer experience:

Delivers proactive customer experiences

AI helps customer service teams further distinguish themselves from competitors in today’s highly-saturated marketplace by leveraging new customer data to deliver more personalized customer interactions. AI-fueled technology such as chatbots can fluently translate the information from various channels while determining patterns in customer behaviors to pinpoint customer needs and improve customer service operations on an individualized basis.

With this knowledge, AI conducts more productive conversations as well as anticipates needs based on context, preference and prior queries. As organizations accumulate more data on customers, predictive accuracy will increase and deliver proactive customer service that anticipates and acts prior to an issue arising.

Discovers new revenue streams

AI is the fuel that takes businesses to the next level by streamlining inquiries, assistance and outcomes. By extracting useful information from conversations – whether voice, digital or even an image – AI can predict trends and customer sentiment that could influence retention, loyalty and purchase inclinations.

Data examined by AI can help businesses uncover patterns companies can use to create entirely new and monetizable services for customers. In addition, insight delivered by AI can drive advanced levels of service at a fraction of the cost, saving some call centers as much as 60 to 80 percent in costs while helping them stand out in their industry as the “gold standard” for customer experience.

Increases contact center productivity

AI is not the sole driver of customer service, but it takes contact centers to the next level by streamlining inquiries and capturing resolutions. By extracting useful information from voice and digital conversations, images and machine-to-machine communications, AI can quickly predict trends and customer sentiment that may affect retention and loyalty. AI-infused automation also improves the experience of live agents, allowing them to resolve problems faster, waste less time handling routine inquiries and provide a better customer experience.

Enhances real-time agent training

In contact centers, managers can spend more than 50 percent of their time per week tackling administrative tasks, which drastically reduces the time they spend developing agents. As a result, managers struggle to support their employees who become increasingly frustrated with difficult processes and demanding KPIs. This frustration causes them to leave, pushing turnover rates higher.

AI can mitigate these concerns. By gathering and processing information from employees as well as customers, AI can provide real-time updates to supervisors as well as present in-line training for agents. Managers also can receive at-a-glance coaching objectives based on agent performance, allowing employees to gain feedback and training directly. The cycle of monitoring calls, training agents and improving for the next call is quicker and more insightful because of AI’s ability to gather and aggregate staggering amounts of data.

Improves human interaction

More than 40 percent of contact center decision makers are exploring AI’s uses, amplifying the theory that AI will replace human-powered jobs. Although it greatly enhances data collection and reporting tasks, customer service experts report AI solutions are only able to resolve 10 to 35 percent of customer inquiries without a human touch. As a result, customer service teams must refocus their agents on higher-level customer concerns rather than allowing AI to tackle every role. With these new skills, agents will be better equipped to handle interactions that require more complex insight and analysis to deliver faster and more effective customer experiences.

Final Thoughts

AI is a crucial part of improving both agent and customer experience. It does hold the key to greater customer insights and enabling real-time decision making but contact center leaders will need to cut through much of the hype surrounding AI to determine its real-world value in their settings. Once you assess and research how AI can streamline your business operations, the right vendor is ready with technology and guidance for bringing your vision to life.

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience

There’s a big difference between customer experience and customer service. In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Patrick Bet-David goes through the major differences between the two. Bet-David also recommends some exercises you can do to understand customer service at your business.

Customer service is reactive, where customer experience is proactive, Bet-David says. For example, customer service could be helping an upset client with an issue they are having with your product or service. Customer experience is providing things such as a loyalty rewards program or special promotions for customers’ birthdays.

How you treat your customers and the experience you create for them is key to running a successful business.

support services

6 secrets about customer service training that will boost your team’s results

While training and preparing your employees is clearly the first step taken by a good management team, it is nevertheless advisable to focus on what type of training they need and how to implement it. Below we will give you 6 secrets that will help you improve your customer service training and provide a significant boost to your business.

1. Train ALL your employees

Customer service is something that interests and concerns the entire company, not just a single department. In one way or another, the work of all your employees resonates with the end customer. For this reason, it is essential to provide customer service training instruction to your entire staff: not only will they be prepared to meet (or exceed) the expectations of users, but you will also be transmitting a consistent message across the company regarding the importance of customer service.

2. A coherent message: the customer comes first

While customer service training could include numerous technical aspects and personal skills, the essential message should be loud and clear: the customer comes first. These few words should waft throughout the organization as if they constituted a religious mantra. If your training is built upon this principle (which should be repeated until exhaustion), the foundation you are laying will help everything else run smoothly.

3. Practice, practice and continue practicing

If you want successful training, you have to commit to practice. Numerous studies confirm that experiential learning and learning by doing increase brain activity and the ability to memorize knowledge. Have your employees practice everything that they are learning so that they will never forget anything.

4. Exercise attitudes, positivity, and empathy

Many customer service training programs forget to teach the basics: kindness, empathy, positivity and courtesy. While many of these skills could appear naturally, the reality is that they must be reinforced and fostered throughout the company. Make sure that your courses drive home the need to be positive, smile, refer to the customer by name, remain calm, have patience and walk in our users’ shoes. Never assume that your employees are capable of doing all this in their day to day tasks.

5. Personalize your training

Every company is its own universe, and every customer support service is different. For this reason, if your company has some particular processes that you want to implement (welcome greeting, presentation of a product, packaging, closing a sale, returning an article, etc.), it is worth investing time into personalized training that satisfies the needs of your company and business.

6. Ongoing training: reinforce, reinforce and continue reinforcing

Customer service training should be a never-ending learning experience. Running a course during a month or two will neither significantly impact your staff nor improve your business’s figures. Employees (just like everyone else!) forget what they have learned and easily fall back into their old habits. It is thus essential to hold regular training courses (e.g., changing formats) to continue shoring up all the new knowledge and skills learned.