This is a guest post by Cazoomi.
Customer support is often viewed as a “necessary evil”, something you must have, but not something that can bring you actual revenue. Unfortunately, we live in the era when people post memes about incredibly long support call waiting times, something made even more likely if that support line belongs to a large company.
These are a result of changing customer expectations. Those memes exist because customers know it can be better; long waiting times and poor customer support shouldn’t exist anymore.
And they're right in more ways than one.
According to a Bain & Company study, a company can grow its revenue by 4% to 8% above their market if they prioritize customer service experiences.
Hence customer support can’t be a mere afterthought anymore, it has to be a part of the holistic customer experience. And if you play your cards right, it can be one of the cornerstones of your customer experience, significantly padding your bottom line.
Moving from basic customer support—the kind where an agent only seeks to solve a customer’s problem and quickly move on—into weaving empathy into the very fabric of the customer experience is not complicated. At the very core, you only need two things: the right attitude and the right tools.
#1 Go multi-channel
You have a wide array of options to choose from when it comes to the platforms you choose for support: email, chat, phone, and social media are the most common ones.
And if you're wondering why you need multiple platforms, the answer is simple; it's where your customers are. While a single platform may be more convenient when trying to train and specialize support agents, your customers need all of the options available. Some are more comfortable on the phone, others prefer written chats; both should be able to contact you.
And because some customers won’t want to log in to your platform to access chat, social media is a great option to have for them. As most people are constantly logged into their social media accounts, it's pretty common for that to be the first place they go when looking for help.
Customer support on more than one platform offers you the chance to learn more about those who message or call you. You can gather all your chat info into a single platform that, in turn, can help you see opportunities to upsell or cross-sell them (more on that below).
#2 Always show empathy
Some of your customers will be angry. Others will be frustrated. Others will be unhappy with your services no matter what you do. And yes, others will be happy—but they are a rare breed since very few people contact support just to congratulate you on a job well done.
Whatever the customer’s mood, your first job is to empathize with them. They may be wrong; maybe they haven’t even bothered to read the first FAQ suggestion. Regardless, you still have to empathize with them.
Say you’re sorry for their issue and that you’re there to help them figure it out. This will show your customers that they have a reliable partner in you and that they should remain loyal to your brand, despite any issues that may arise.
#3 Personalize your customer interactions
What if you could know more about your customers than just their first name when they initiate a chat? What if you got an overview of the products they use and their journey with your brand? You'll better understand their needs and offer more personalized solutions.
For example, if the customer complains that their last order is late to arrive, you can pull up their data in an instant (even before they explicitly ask for details on their last order) and offer all the information you have. Better yet, if you integrate your CRM with an ERP, you can easily see their history.
When you have access to a customer’s entire history, you can ask follow-up questions that will make them feel like VIPs: “I see this is the first order that’s been late for you in the last year—is this correct?” Questions like these show that you care about the customers’ wellbeing, not just their wallets.
You can even integrate Zoho CRM with your marketing automation or customer support solutions using the SyncApps extension and derive insights from each of your support interactions. These data points will tell you how to improve customer support and how to better integrate it into the customer experience. For example, if your email marketing and your customer support platforms are connected, you can easily send follow-up emails to people who contacted support.
Treat customer support as a fundamental building block and watch your revenue and brand loyalty grow exponentially.
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