How do you offer excellent customer service

5 success factors for excellent customer service

Large companies as well as medium-sized companies and young startups try to make a difference when it comes to customer support and customer service, because with more and more software as a service, customer service plays a central role alongside the actual product.

Because: Good customer service is more important now than ever before. In times when you can publicly complain about a bad experience with a company via Facebook or Twitter or find ten other providers within seconds who are sure to do better, service is a must. Many products or services hardly differ in terms of their price - good support can be the decisive argument for a purchase for someone who has obtained detailed information before making a purchase.

We would therefore like to present five success factors that, sooner or later, will noticeably improve customer service and thus customer satisfaction.

1. Tip for your customer service: Help through self-help and automation

Any automation in customer service is good for the customer and also for you as a service provider in order to ultimately save a lot of time. And we all know: time is money. So it makes a lot of sense to put some effort into helping your customers to help themselves. This self-help can be provided by a help portal, functions in a software solution or a series of help articles are also conceivable.

Let's take help articles as an example: The better the articles are in detail and the greater the total number of topics covered, the lower the number of support requests that need to be answered. So before you answer a similar support request three times, it is better to create a meaningful help article and thus improve customer service. The article may take more time to create than answering the individual question - but in the end you never have to answer that particular question again after creation, as the article also helps all other customers.

We therefore try to check the self-help after every direct support contact, whether the requested information could have been found there. If so, that is a sign that we have to make self-help even more attractive because the customer apparently preferred to make a direct request. For the highest possible level of automation, it is necessary to advertise and make known the self-help. For example, we regularly refer to the help system in our manual answers to show the content there.

2. Tip for your customer service: speed and quality

Speed ​​and high-quality answers are of course the be-all and end-all for good customer service, because nobody likes to wait - and certainly not for an unsuitable answer. Here you can only improve customer service if you employ qualified staff and do without cheap temporary help. Especially with software systems or other products with a technical background, an experienced technical contact should always be available via the short official channel if a support employee does not know what to do next. We always have a programmer available who can provide more detailed information on the functionality or the logic behind a mechanism or solve small problems directly.

Incidentally, the success factors of speed and quality are largely related to the first tip, automation in customer support. If the majority of inquiries can be dealt with automatically, there is usually enough time for qualitative answers to the remaining questions. So if you do it well, your automation makes excellent first level support and leaves you free to deal with the remaining issues.

3. Tip for your customer service: Transparency as a success factor

Do you know the feeling when you submit a contact form on some website and are unsure whether everything will work as expected? Perhaps there will be no confirmation message afterwards, perhaps the page is so bad and full of errors that you fundamentally question all functions first. You lack transparency here. First of all, there is uncertainty about the question of whether it worked and whether the request will even get through. But even while the process is running, you might want to be able to see the current status.

So do better and make sure that a customer is transparently informed at all times about whether he still has to do something, whether he can still expect an answer or whether the support request is already considered "answered". An initial transparency is easily created by sending the customer a confirmation that his email has reached you. This will increase the satisfaction of your customers and ultimately increase customer loyalty.

4. Tip for your customer service: Knowledge management & learning from support requests

Your customers' questions in customer service are cries for help for information they apparently couldn't find anywhere. There are no questions to shake your head about simplicity or unnecessary. Rather, you should think about each question as to why the customer did not find this information on the way to his inquiry. Ideally, you design the software or the product so intuitively that the question does not even arise. If so, the customer should find the information they want quickly and easily on the way to the support ticket.

The best question is the one that doesn't even arise. Try to make the product as intuitive as possible. If there is a problem, you should offer your customer quick help.

An example from our everyday life: We regularly analyze the search queries on our help pages that did not lead to any result. In most cases this is only due to different search terms, although the content of an existing article was meant. An example is searching for “data import”, while our corresponding help articles can only be found by searching for “import”. In this case, we will revise the article so that an article will be found when searching in the future and the customer can save himself the wording of his question. This prevents us from receiving a similar request again and having to answer it manually.

You can and should also obtain feedback from your readers on individual help articles. A single negative rating of a help article is still not a big deal, but if an article receives a predominantly negative rating, then the information in it is probably old or ignores the customer's questions.

5. Tip for your customer service: Reducing complexity means anticipating questions

The best question is the one that doesn't need to be asked. By making the product or service self-explanatory and intuitive, you anticipate the majority of the questions. If you get a lot of questions on individual topics, then it probably makes sense to check the product accordingly. In customer service, for example, we noticed that the package design of our CRM software kept raising a question. This enabled us to adapt the product and make it more intuitive for existing and future customers. Since the change, we have not received any similar help requests.

Good luck in customer service!

We hope these success factors will help you.

Would you like to read more about customer service and dealing with customers in general? In another article we give five free sales tips and show how you can increase your customer loyalty.

Or would you prefer more general information? Then our series on the basics of sales might be something for you.