White Paper » Customer Service Best Practices For 2023

Customer Service Best Practices For 2023

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  • A guide for brands and CX leaders to elevate customer experience, contact center performance, and agent productivity for long-term business growth.

Table of contents

Introduction

Customer Service Challenges Faced by Customers

Customer Service Challenges faced by agents and CX Leaders

Negative outcomes Of Poor Customer Service for businesses

Customer Service Best practices For 2023

Essential Contact Center Metrics & KPIs

Top Must-know CX Trends To Prepare For 2023

Conclusion: Key takeaways

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Introduction

  • Never miss a customer again because of poor customer service. Adopt these latest research findings on customer service best practices to improve customer support operations, retain existing customers, provide delightful customer experience, increase CSAT score, reduce agent attrition rates and enhance support agent performance.
  • In today’s fast-paced digital world, consumers are expecting a faster resolution to their queries but contact center teams that fail to deliver positive customer experience forces customers to switch brand and it ends in increased churn rates.
  • This whitepaper on customer service best practices would help customer service leaders and businesses navigate in the right direction and will provide solutions to all support center challenges, also helps to prepare customer care representatives for the next outbreak in customer experience trends.

Customer Service Challenges Faced by Customers

Slow response time

  • Your customers are a major source of your revenue and it’s important for businesses to deliver faster support for incoming support queries from all channels.
  • A delay in response time for queries from email, live chat, or IVR call results in a horrible customer experience, as a result, customers would not satisfy with your service and they leave your brand and switch to your competitors if it continues for longer.
  • 62% of companies do not respond to customer emails revealed SuperOffice annual customer service study.

Unanswered calls

  • When customers contact your support number for complaints, they frequently end up with call hang-ups. It mostly occurs due to busy call center agents, service outages, network failures, and long call queues.
  • But these mistakes create a bad impression among customers especially when they need help in emergency situations. 25% of customers will hang up if hold times are too long.

Poor after-sales support

  • Most brands didn't have an effective follow-up strategy once they onboarded the clients and it might increase customer churn rates.
  • The reason for increasing customer churn rates is mostly due to the lack of frequent touchpoints with customers.
  • If your business goal is to win lifetime customers and then it's vital to have a strong relationship between your brand and customers through frequent emails, offers, product releases, and so on.

Being transferred from one agent to another

  • When customers call the toll-free number for complaints, they are sometimes transferred from one agent to another and it hurts the customer experience as they want to repeat the queries again.
  • Through intelligent routing to the right departments and adopting warm transfer, businesses can overcome these support center drawbacks.

Rude communication of support agents

  • Your call center representatives act as an important factor when it comes to delivering a delightful customer experience.
  • Unfortunately, a large volume of ticket backlogs, a higher workload, a lack of the right tools in place, and a fast-paced work environment make agents impatient and unproductive and this leads to angry conversations and horrible customer service.

Underskilled support agents

  • Your contact center agents should possess strong customer engagement skills like active listening to customer calls, being empathetic and patient, emotional stability, higher efficiency, handling pressures, product knowledge, and verbal skills.
  • Underskilled agents might fail to meet customer expectations and resulting in revenue and customer loss.
Customer Service Challenges faced by agents and CX Leaders

No unified customer view

  • With the raising adaptation of omnichannel contact center platforms, more brands have reported a spike in customer engagement, agent productivity, faster query processing, and enhanced contact center performance by offering omnichannel experiences.
  • That's because of better data visibility and streamlined conversations in one dashboard that allows agents easily identify customers' queries from multiple channels.
  • Unfortunately, enabling a unified customer view is still a challenge for support leaders and agents who don't have access to omnichannel-enabled tools. Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel, Zendesk reports.

Lack of resources

  • Contact center agents should be provided with all the necessary tools and knowledge to serve customers as best as possible.
  • Call center software with limited features, an uncomfortable work atmosphere, and a lack of product and skill training could affect agents’ performance and unhappy agents would also give poor support to your customers and end in serious negative outcomes in the long term.

Training, hiring, and retaining agents

  • Agent attrition rate is one of the core metrics to look for in operating a healthy call center.
  • Due to the high pressure, low wages, and micromanagement involved in most call centers, call center managers are facing headaches with frequent employee exits, new hires, and training.
  • Especially entry-level staffs and staffs in contract-based call centers contribute to over 25% of agent attrition rates.

High ticket backlogs

  • Contact center teams often encounter massive ticket backlogs due to a sudden surge of complaints and refund requests, improper customer service automation, more manual processing, and unskilled workers.
  • This might increases resolution time and damage customer loyalty to the brand.

Not knowing answers

  • The lack of in-depth product knowledge often results in low performing call center team.
  • As it creates situations where agents could not able to answer questions to customer queries.
  • It really hurts customer satisfaction score as customers mostly end up with no solutions to their complaints or being transferred to other agents or departments and it will shoot up average query resolution time.

Lack of product knowledge

  • Support teams at product-based companies should always be prepared with prior and regular product training.
  • This will allow staffs to process support queries rapidly. But not all workers are getting adequate knowledge of the company’s products and hence customer support leaders are fully accountable for the negative outcomes of illiterate agents.
  • Only 50% of customer care executives say they engage in learning at least a few times a month.

Dealing angry customers

  • Convincing angry customers are the most common problems a support team faces. In these situations, support reps should be patient in providing assistance to frustrated customers.
  • But the lack of emotional intelligence and stability among call center employees results in rude communication with customers and it can be reversed through active listening, on-time follow-up, remaining calm, and apologizing for the inconveniences caused.

A sudden surge of queries

  • Customer care representatives often encounter a sudden spike in support calls and this creates a way for call center errors, stressful work environments, and demotivated agents.
  • It's usually caused by a lack of well-equipped customer service automation tools and increased manual efforts.

Mapping customer journey with workflows

  • Having the right customer support strategy in place gives clear navigation for customer service leaders and helps to predict future workloads and support queries.
  • But teams at the contact center face the biggest challenges in aligning customer journeys with current workflows.
  • It can be eliminated by understanding the channels where customers are reporting queries, and analyzing the customers' current stage i.e. 15 days after onboarding, and 1 month after onboarding, these are the stages where most customers requests refunds, returns, etc.

Negative outcomes Of Poor Customer Service for businesses

Switching the brand

  • Since all enterprise companies provide the same product and service with equally rich features and standards, customer support act as a main competency factor in the enterprise-level ecosystem to distinguish one brand from another.
  • Businesses offering horrible support like delayed responses, irrelevant answers, and unanswered calls might cause customers to switch from your brand.
  • A customer is 4X more likely to buy from a competitor if they have a problem with something service-related as opposed to an issue with the price or product.

Increased churn rates

  • Although multiple factors like product quality, limited features, overpaying, and frequent service outages let customers leave your brand, your customer service is the major contributor to high customer churn rates.
  • The bad customer experience moves your customer base downwards and creates a negative impact on client retention rates.
  • 40% of American customers stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer service experience according to one study.

Revenue loss

  • Unhappy customers don't like to stay with the brand and prefer your peers which results in significant revenue loss.
  • Unfortunately, the rise of online platforms easily allows anyone to submit negative reviews and spread negative messages to hundreds of potential prospects and it impacts future business significantly.
  • U.S. companies lose over $62 billion in annual revenue due to poor customer service, American Express report shows.

Negative brand reputation

  • If you are not taking care of your customers, then your competitor will, and the unsatisfied customers spread their negative experiences encountered with the brand to their friends' circle and in the social media platforms and business directories, if these messages spread like wildfire, it hurts brand reputation seriously.

Customer Service Best practices For 2023

Make Customer Experience a Priority

  • According to reports, brands giving importance to customer service enjoy a high customer satisfaction score, increased agents' KPIs, and customer lifetime value.
  • Compared to established and enterprise companies, small businesses and startups are failing to offer full-fledged customer support. By realizing positive CX is a new normal, it can be improved.

Collect customer feedbacks

  • Taking post-call and after-support feedback surveys helps agents and support center leaders identify customer emotions and their view on brands' customer service and it also eliminates bottlenecks that hinder contact center growth.
  • Apart from enhancing customer service, regular feedback collections help with product enhancements and releases. 67% of companies have shown tremendous growth by collecting customer feedback.

Train the support teams

  • It’s vital for customer support leaders to provide regular customer support training to workers by harnessing new cx trends, data analytics, and recorded conversations. This helps agents stay updated and provide quick and excellent support.

Offer omnichannel experiences

  • Omnichannel communication platforms are emerging in the customer service field since it empowers agents to understand customers' queries from different channels like email, IVR, WhatsApp, and live chat in a unified dashboard.
  • And gives holistic visibility to customers’ history and previous interactions and results in improved first contact resolution rates.

Expand manpower

  • Eventhough virtual agents and an automated phone system reduce the workload for agents, but it's not supportive during managing complex queries that require live human agents to solve than voice bots.
  • Multiplying workers increases agent availability, call connection rates, first call resolution, and response time, and minimizes long call queues.

Provide product training

  • When support reps have no answers to customer complaints, it results in delayed query processing and unhappy customers.
  • This can be eliminated through frequent product training sessions to agents and updating them with product enhancements and new feature releases.

Use intelligent routing

  • Intelligent AI routing uses advanced routing methods like IVR, skill-based, and time-based routing to redirect incoming support calls to the right departments and agents who are capable of solving queries within first contact.

Review agent conversations regularly

  • Call record and transcription features in contact center tools allow team managers to review and monitor agents’ communications with customers and verify whether they are following protocols, chat scripts, and are making rude conversations.

Set up alternative support channels

  • Having more than one support channel in place gives customers more ways to reach your business. And also offers customers the flexibility to prefer their favorite channels.
  • As discussed earlier, managing tickets from multiple channels become hassle-free when agents have an omnichannel contact center platform.
  • Nearly 80% of consumers say they would speak to a machine (IVR,chatbots, voicebots) to avoid long wait times.

Create FAQ page

  • One of the best ways to reduce incoming customer queries is adding a frequently asked questions page to your website and making it easy to find for customers.
  • So customers will find answers to most of their questions themselves without requiring customer care agents’ help.

Provide chat scripts

  • Chat scripts for common conversations like saying thank you, apologizing in problematic situations, general greetings, and conveying chat recording messages will develop consistency in conversations, reduce response time, and allow reps to sound professional.

Keep customers informed

  • Sometimes queries and complaints are not resolved within the first contact, hence it's necessary for agents to update customers about their complaints with on-time follow-up and callbacks.
  • This proactive communication builds trust among customers and makes them feel you're really caring about their complaints.

Implement customer service automation tools

  • Deployment of automated contact center tools like omnichannel and IVR-enabled call center software and live chat will minimize agents’ workload far down and automated chatbot and voice bot features make human like conversations with customers and guide them smoothly and promote customer self service. 77.79% of people feel optimistic about AI for customer service interactions.

Integrate sales, support, and marketing teams

  • Since support executives are in customer facing rules, they can understand customer pain points, expectations, needs, and requests.
  • The feedbacks and data collected from the customers could be applied for product enhancements, unlocking upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and launching high-return marketing campaigns.

Create an effective follow-up plan

  • Post call or after support, thank you note, and customer welcome email follow-up via voice and email should be practiced to collect feedback for understanding customers’ overall experience with your brand and take steps to enhance engagement in the future.

Set up & Measure Essential Contact Center Metrics

Net promoter score

  • The Net Promoter Score is a measure of customer loyalty and is based on asking the question, “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” and categorizing responses into three groups:
  • Promoters (score 9-10) who are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others,
  • Passives (score 7-8) who are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers,
  • Detractors (score 0-6) who are unhappy customers who can damage the company’s reputation.
  • 36% of customer care professionals mention their organizations track NPS score (Net Promoter Score) to analyze customer satisfaction.

First call resolution rate

  • First contact resolution is the process of resolving customer complaints or queries in the first instance.
  • The aim of this process is to provide customers with a quick, easy, and satisfying resolution to their issues so that they are not likely to seek out other channels such as social media.
  • A good FCR strategy will need to be made up of five steps:
  • 1) The customer must be able to identify what they want
  • 2) The company needs to identify if it can provide a solution
  • 3) If the company can't solve it, they need to find someone who can
  • 4) If the customer still isn't satisfied, then they should offer them a refund or some other gesture of goodwill
  • 5) Finally, the company should follow up with the customer by asking them how their experience was and if there is anything else they would like.

Average resolution time

  • Average resolve time benchmarks vary by support channels used like live chat, email, social media, and voice call. This metric can be calculated using the formula, the total duration of all resolved conversations divided by the number of customer conversations that took place in a given time period.

Ticket backlog

  • As ticket backlogs grow, the customer experience suffers. The more tickets that pile up, the more time it takes to address them. And as customers wait for a response, they are likely to get frustrated and leave. The solution is to reduce ticket backlogs by prioritizing which tickets need to be addressed first.

Customer effort score

  • The customer effort score is an important metric to measure the level of customer effort required to resolve issues. It is calculated by looking at how much time and effort it would take for a customer to get a solution for their queries. It's measured from 1 to 7 and the lower the CES is, the more positive it is for a business.

Customer satisfaction score

  • Customer satisfaction score is the most important metric for any business. It reveals how well a company is meeting its customer's needs, and it gives a glimpse of its future success.
  • It's measured by asking customers questions like how you're satisfied with our service, usually conducted after interactions with the business.

Customer churn rate

  • Churn rates are a metric that measures the percentage of customers who stop using a company’s service or product. They are also called customer retention rates.
  • The churn rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers who left in a given time period by the total number of customers at the start of that time period and then multiplying by 100%.
  • A low churn rate means that people are more likely to remain with a company, which can lead to more revenue for the company. A high churn rate can mean less revenue and fewer new customers coming in.

Customer lifetime value

  • Customer lifetime value is the total profit made from a customer over their lifetime. It is calculated by taking the average of the customer's spending and dividing it by the customer's lifespan.
  • The benefits of calculating customer lifetime value are that it can help companies understand which customers are worth more to them and what they should be focusing on.

First reply time

  • A call center’s first reply time is an important metric that can be used to measure how fast the company's support agents are replying to incoming customer complaints.
  • This metric measures the amount of time that a customer has to wait before their call is answered.

Average response time

  • The metric of average response time is a measure of how long it takes for call center agents to respond to customer service requests.
  • The goal is to provide a quick and efficient response time, usually within 30 seconds. This will make the customer feel that their needs are being met.

Number of support tickets

  • Support tickets are an important metric for call centers. They tell the company how many customers have contacted them for assistance. Support tickets measure the number of customer contacts a call center receives in a given time period.
  • For example, if a call center has 100 agents and takes on 10 support tickets daily, then they have 1000 support tickets per month. A large number of support tickets also denotes a deficiency in products and services.

Customer service cost

  • The cost of customer service can be calculated by taking into account the number of agents and their salaries, the amount paid for call center management, and the average length of each call.
  • A company's customer service cost is an important metric because it can help determine how well they are doing in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

Top Must-know CX Trends To Prepare For 2023

  • 1. 74% of global customers have used a self-service support portal for customer service.
  • 2. Omnichannel self-service is set to become a priority for the future of call centers. 40% of organizations have increased their use of self-service IVR software.
  • 3. Supporting the trend for increased usage of digital channels, video calls have seen a 48% increase since the pandemic. However, voice communication has also increased by 41%.
  • 4. McKinsey study of 260 US CX leaders from 14 industries, 93 percent said that they continue to rely on survey-based measurement systems to understand customer preferences and behaviors and to improve satisfaction.
  • 5. A research by Kayako shows 79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
  • 6. Query resolution speed is more important, more than one in three consumers (38%) expect agents to have prior information about their query and its context. Such a statistic indicates a growing demand for omnichannel integration as a contact center, shows Freshworks report.
  • 7. The report from Juniper research has found that the adoption of chatbots across the retail, banking and healthcare sectors will realise business cost savings of $11 billion annually by 2023.
  • 8. 49% of call and contact centers now consider employee satisfaction as a top five KPI after customer satisfaction, response time, and quality assurance.
  • 9. If the company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will do business with them again after a mistake, according to Salesforce research.
  • 10. 84% of business buyers are more likely to buy from a company that demonstrates an understanding of their business goals, shows Salesforce research.
  • 11. 59% of startup businesses report that the integration of sales and support data has been a game-changer, says Zendesk research.
  • 12. According to Harvard Business Review, customer ideated products performed 20% better. Many brands are applying this technique and using customer feedback to nurture product design. Actively showing taking customer reviews, product issues. and recommendations into consideration through their product range development will be the key driver behind brand loyalty in 2023 and beyond.
  • 13. Cloud-based call centers report having 27% less downtime than others.
  • 14. Freshworks found that 80% of customers were more likely to buy from brands that provide personalized experiences. Fortunately, one in three business leaders is investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand customer expectations and personalize CX accordingly.
  • 15. Cloud-based call centers with 500-seats report saving an average of 43%.
  • 16. The global contact center market size is worth $339.40 billion and the global contact center market is expected to reach $496 billion by 2027.
  • 17. 90% of customers globally reported issue resolution as their top customer service concern.
  • 18. 44% of people report being annoyed or irritated when kept on hold for 5 to 15 minutes.
  • 19. Call and contact center leaders anticipate a long-term hybrid work environment, with about 53% of agents working in an office and 47% working remotely. 64% of agents primarily operated remotely in 2021.
  • 20. According to a NewVantage 2022 report, 91% of large enterprises planned to expand investments in big data analytics and AI. Predictive analytics could further help call centers improve their customer service.

Conclusion: Key takeaways

  • We reached the end, here are key takeaways for business and CX leaders to operate a customer-friendly support center.
  • (1) Always give priority to customer experience irrespective of business size.
  • (2) Adopt cloud and omnichannel-enabled contact center platforms for delivering faster and personalized service to customers while saving customer service costs.
  • (3) Providing regular product and skill-development training enhance the agent's performance and KPIs.
  • (4) Integration of support and sales data unlocks better revenue-generating opportunities for brands.
  • (5) Executing effective follow-up strategy in accordance with the customer lifecycle strengthens brand and customer relationships through frequent touchpoints.
  • And finally
  • (6) setting and measuring above mentioned contact center KPIs gives better visibility on agent's and call center performance and unlocks room for improvement and also improve business sustainability.

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