The times when customer complaints were seen as a distraction that should be eliminated are over. Most businesses today understand that complaints are a valuable source of information. In fact, there might be no better way to collect direct feedback from your customers. A complaint not only shows what and where went wrong, whether it’s a problem with your product, service, customer support or internal processes. By hearing these problems and acting upon customer feedback you can improve your business and prevent similar complaints in the future.
Very often, though, dissatisfied customers don’t give voice to the complaints. Actually, a study by TARP Research as far back as 1999 uncovered the fact that for every 26 unhappy customers, only 1 will bother to make a formal complaint. The rest will either stay where they are disappointed or will silently take their business elsewhere. According to another research by 1st Financial Training services, 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back. >>>
The cost of losing customers differs wildly between businesses, but it gets even higher if a customer is lost due to poor customer service experiences. No doubt, customer service has a long-term impact on buying decisions, with customers continuing to avoid companies years after the initial negative interaction.
But what’s more, social media and online review websites enable bad service stories to be shared not only with family, friends or colleagues, but also with the general public affecting other potential customers. Which definitely means future lost sales for businesses, because:
95% of customers share bad experiences with others, 54% share bad experiences with 5+ people, 45% share negative reviews on social media;
63% of consumers read negative reviews on social media;
88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust friends;
A single negative online review can cost the average business an average loss of 30 customers.
Providing outstanding customer service naturally starts from finding and hiring the right employees for your customer support team. While perfection can hardly ever be achieved – some people just happen to possess the qualities that make them more suited for the role of a customer service representative, while others simply don’t. Before we jump into exploring what makes a fantastic customer service employee, here are the key questions you should ask before hunting for a perfect support agent:
What is the ideal support personality for YOUR company culture?
What hard skills are absolutely necessary for the job?
What soft skills are ‘must-have’ and desirable to have?
What exactly will the agent be responsible for?
Having those questions answered in detail will give you a better understanding of what you should be looking for in your ideal candidate. But beyond that, there are certain characteristics and qualities that set excellent customer service employees apart. >>>
With over 2 billion Facebook users, +700 million Instagram users, and +300 million Twitter users, it’s no longer enough for brands to be merely present on social media. They need to be active and engaging. Today’s customers want their voices heard and problems resolved quickly and effortlessly whenever they reach out to brands on social media. And if brands are not part of the conversation – they will be left behind.
Obviously, it’s no longer a question if your business should listen to customers on social media – it’s a question of how you listen and, what’s even more important, how you respond. By delivering great customer support on social media, you can truly build stronger relationships with customers and improve customer loyalty. In fact, according to Aberdeen, companies that have a well-crafted social customer service approach experience 92% customer retention. >>>
Millennials now make up the largest consumer demographic with more spending power than any other generation. According to Accenture, while Millennials are already a potent force (spending approximately $600 billion each year), they will truly come into their own by 2020, when their spending in the US is projected to hit $1.4 trillion annually and represent 30% of total retail sales. Businesses that intend to keep them as customers need to rethink how to approach this generation.
Is your customer service Millennial-friendly?
Millennials have high standards for fast, seamless and consistent cross-channel, cross-platform, real-time, personalized experiences. And they can easily take their business to a competitor, if you fail to meet their expectations. In fact, studies reveal that 68% of 18 – 34-year-old consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience. >>>
It’s no secret that customer service employees have to deal with angry customers nearly about 80% of the time. In this digital age only a few people will call your support to inquire about a product or service when most of the answers can be easily found online.
While you obviously can’t control problems caused by malfunctioning products or service errors, you can control how you respond to complaining customers. The stats show why you should take them seriously:
Nearly 70% of customers quit doing business with an organization because they felt they were treated rudely or with indifference.
95% of customers share bad experiences with others, 54% share bad experiences with 5+ people, 45% share negative reviews on social media.
66% of customers are most frustrated from interacting with employees who are rude or unfriendly.
Customer engagement is the future of e-commerce. – Brennan Loh, head of business development of Shopify
Now that global consumers are able to purchase nearly anything they wish on whatever device they want and wherever they happen to be, the eCommerce customer experience has dramatically changed. And while competition has grown and will continue to grow (according to Big Commerce, eCommerce is growing 23% year-over-year), businesses of all sizes ultimately must learn to separate themselves from competitors. The best way to do that is through improving customer engagement.
Whether you have just set up an eCommerce business or have been running one for years, you might need to take a closer look at the quality of your customer engagement practices. The infographic below explains why eCommerce customer engagement is absolutely critical today and offers 10 effective ways to instantly improve it. The ideas could be successfully applied to both B2C and B2B sectors. >>>
The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers. – Sybil F. Stershic
Companies like Zappos, Southwest Airlines and Ritz-Carlton Hotels have one thing in common – they are worldwide famous for providing excellent customer service and having friendly employees. Their employees are obviously passionate about their work and are willing to go the extra mile to help customers.
“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.” – Kevin Kruse – NY Times Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker
When employees are engaged, they truly care about customers, deliver better service and brand advocacy, and they are less likely to leave their jobs. While organizations enjoy better employee productivity and increased revenue: >>>
When it comes to providing outstanding customer service, it’s the people who make all the difference. While it certainly takes time, training, practice and dedication to become a rockstar in customer service, it doesn’t have to be that hard when you know where exactly to focus your efforts on. Here’s the list of 10 must-have soft skills that matter most and that everyone involved in customer service should master and use in their daily interactions with customers.
# 1 Effective Listening
Listening is the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen carefully to what a customer is saying, a message could be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. As a result, communication breaks down leaving a customer frustrated. Listening isn’t just about hearing. A good listener will not only listen to what is being said, but also what is left unsaid or partially said. Luckily, if your listening skills are weak, there are certain techniques for improving them. >>>
There’s no question that live chat is getting huge as more and more businesses are adopting the tool to stay competitive in the industry. In fact, according to Gartner, by 2018, over 80% of companies will offer some form of live chat on their website or on mobile devices to interact with their customers. Is your business still lagging behind the trend?
There are many reasons why offering chat support might be a valuable customer service strategy. One of the most compelling arguments is that customers have come to expect it and they absolutely love it. The SalesForce research found that 64% of consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real-time, while 80% of business buyers expect the same.
People aren’t just using live chat, they’re actually getting more satisfaction out of it than from any other support channel. As stated in the Zopim survey, 94% customers proactively invited to chat were somewhat or very satisfied with their live chat experience. >>>