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Customer Service Benchmark Report
Follow-up Part 2

 

As promised in the last installment I will be looking at the first two of seven Benchmark results of a report carried out by SuperOffice,

However, I would like to recap on what has been written previously.
As mentioned before your business depends on how you manage your Customer Service enquiries.

It can make or break companies regardless of size, more so now than ever with the ”Name and Shame” culture as well as the added showcase of social media.
How many times have you regaled to friends and family: “Wait till I tell you” or “You’ll never guess what x, y or z, did when I complained about a b or c”. Then proceed to tell them about your bad experience of their customer service.

How do I know the experience was bad?
You are more often than not going to relay a bad experience and never a good one.
So what, as a consumer, are you looking for when it comes to customer service? Why are so many companies getting it completely wrong?
As the report said “Loyal and happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. They contribute to a healthy business, create new customers and act as referrals for future customers.”
On the other hand, in the world of social media an unhappy customer can share their complaints to thousands of friends, connections and followers. Which can eventually lead to business failure.
Most companies know that they need and should deliver excellent customer service.

But interestingly enough, research shows that while 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service. In fact only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service.”
So what can companies do to ensure they are providing excellent customer service?

How can we improve our customer service

Well they would not go far wrong by following the report’s seven key areas which contribute to good customer service. And ensuring that they have the correct processes in place for dealing with customer service requests.
1. Responding to customer requests.
2. Acknowledging that the email request has been received.
3. Following up with customers.
4. Solving the request in the first reply.
5. Reducing the response time.
6. Making it easy for customers to contact you.
7. Adding the element of sincerity.

Let’s start by having a look at the first two:-
1.Customer service – Responding to customer requests

When a customer sends an email they normally expect a response. In fact, that’s why most companies hire a team of professionals to handle customer service questions. So when Superoffice contacted a sample of 500 companies how many responses did they get?
What we found was that 41% (205 companies) did not respond to the customer service request. That’s nearly half of all companies that do not respond.
It was also noticeable that the companies who did not respond to customer service requests had quite a few things in common:-

  • They could only be contacted through an email on their website.
  • They were mostly smaller sized companies and employed less than 100 people.
  • They didn’t send an automated response once to confirm that our message had been received.
    .
    Based on these findings we can conclude that these companies do not have the correct processes established in handling support requests.
Best Practice tip #1

Always answer customers when they contact you. If you don’t respond they are likely to spend their hard-earned money elsewhere.

And even if you cannot answer the question right away. Inform them that you are working on it, and let them know they can expect a reply.

Pro Tip:- Customer Serviced software allows you to send an automated response. When a request has been received, it automatically forwards the request to the correct department, which means the right person.

Personally, I would try and use the Best Practice Tip as much as I can. – it lends itself to the personal touch or if you find you are being overwhelmed contact an email management company like Call Team who provide this service to clients…..

Also automated services can sometimes be just that, automated and generic and don’t allow editing to cover for ALL eventualities that may pop up.

You may also find that not everyone, especially if a start-up or small – medium business has the budget for that kind of software.

2. Customer service – Acknowledging their email.

Letting your customers know that you have received their support request shows that you are listening and working on a solution to help them. However, if customers send an email to your support team and they don’t receive a response, they may contact you on more than one channel looking for a reply. Then before you know it, you’ve got an increase in the number of customer service requests from the same customer on the same topic.
One way of letting the customer know you have received their request is to send a automated response..

Unfortunately, Superoffice found, after sending 500 emails to companies worldwide, only 33 companies acknowledged that they received our email request. This means that 94% didn’t acknowledge the request at all.

Get into the habit of acknowledging an email without the use of an automated service. However the whole point of this report is to equip companies with the means of providing better customer service and if an automated response suits you better then by all means use one, just as long as you acknowledge customers emails.
A third option again would be to use Call Team’s email management service where a team of highly professional VAs await to support you

Best Practice Tip #2

Setting up an auto-responder that includes working hours and an emergency telephone number. This will help reduce the number of follow up emails customers send.
On the other hand, most customer service software comes with the option to tag all emails with a unique code, which allows you to track all emails relating to that request.

The key here is to keep your customers informed, yes you got the email, yes you are working on a way to find a solution agreeable to both yourself and your customer. But unless you communicate this to them, how will they know? As the report stated will likely result in multiple emails all about the same request and each one escalating to a higher level of frustration as your customer increasingly feels ignored and left in the dark.
After all how would you feel if you were the customer?

It’s only common sense, and courteous, these simple steps will go a long way to keeping your customer happy and that is what we all want – Happy Customers.

Happy Customers, Happy Business