90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
Whether or not you know it, the essential elements of customer service are the most important thing when it comes to acquiring customers.
Customer service can mean a lot of different things, and there are many different types of customer service, but the important thing is that it is serving your customers well. Whether it’s self-service, a help desk, chat, or social media, it needs to put customers first.
Most of the time, bad customer service doesn’t stem from a bad employee or poor treatment of customers. It instead stems from a lack of support when customers need it most.
The elements of customer service can be broken down into skills that can be developed in order to create the best customer experience possible.
The most important of all the elements is patience. First and foremost, it shows customers that you are respectful and want to help. Being patient is a good skill for any trade, but when dealing with customers it is especially important.
Great service beats fast service. You have to be willing to take time to listen and fully understand your customers’ needs. Don’t worry so much about getting their inquiries answered and over and done with as fast as possible. Make sure you are thorough, patiently gathering all the information you need to get their problem solved.
Patience is especially important when dealing with rude customers. It’s bound to happen, and how you deal with them is important to your reputation.
You also need to be mindful of how your communication translates to your customers. Is there anything that is unclear? Does what you’re saying make sense to them? Are you explaining to the best of your ability?
Keep all communication clear, simple, and without any possibility for confusion.
This element is perhaps the most straightforward as far as skills are concerned. Put everything in layman’s terms and make sure nothing is lost in translation. Simple as that.
If you don’t have a deep knowledge of your brand and its products, you won’t know how to help your customers. You will have to get to know your product as well as a customer who uses it every day. That way, you understand their problems and what issues or complaints they may have.
Around 30% of people say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent.
It is not only important to listen to the individual needs of the customer, but also to understand and pay attention to the feedback as a whole. There is something deeply rooted in what your customers are saying, and that’s what you need to pay attention to.
Paying attention to those small details will help you adjust and improve more than just one specific issue. You can improve a larger issue and the company overall to avoid more issues that relate in the future.
“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.”HelpScout
This may seem really general, and not like a skill at all, but it is one of the most important elements of customer service. You have to be able to learn all of the above skills and adapt and you grow. With every interaction or piece of feedback you receive, you need to have the capacity to learn from it and move forward with that new knowledge.
Your brand will get left behind if you’re not willing to learn and adapt. Industries are rapidly growing as automation and software grow, and you have to keep up.
In order for you to use these skills to help your customers, you need to have a few things in place. The following list supports the elements listed above by making the experience easier for your customers.
A good website design is an essential part of a good customer experience. When your site has a good design, there are no outside distractions to inhibit the elements of customer service. What makes it deliver, however, is how it displays all of the customer service elements.
Good website designs are concise, updated, include a search box, provide visuals, and use categories. Design is more than just the way a page looks, and each piece of content on the page has an important role.
Without a good website design, clear communication would be impossible.
Your website should be accessible from all devices and on all platforms. Customers need to be able to access it whether they are on a mobile device or a computer, whatever is the most convenient to them. That way, they are not jumping through hoops to find help.
If customers aren’t able to find your customer service, then the above skills won’t matter. The service and support needs to be somewhere they can easily access it, like in the corner of every page of your website or in a link that is easily accessible.
Your customer service shouldn’t be one-sided. You should have multiple layers to the support you provide. If you use self-service, you should also have backups. Human chat/email support and human phone support should follow and be available for customers to access.
Customers need to know that they can reach a human if needed. This helps build trust in the support while ensuring human support isn’t overwhelmed. If automation is the first line of defense, there will be less to trickle through to human support.
For example, if you implement a knowledge base on your page, you should have an email or chat to back it up so that no one falls through the cracks. These layers are extra important for clear communication and attention to detail. It shows that your website is ready for whatever the customer needs.
Need software that will deliver these elements on its own? Try ChipBot’s knowledge base software!