Customer service is at the core of all businesses. B2B, B2C, and even P2P require people to have cordial and deliberate conversations that answer questions with results. However, those results are not always understood, or things go wrong. Sometimes communication breakdowns occur. To ensure the future success of transactions, a business needs to have an investment in customer service.
Whether you run a B2B or a B2C, you need to have a system for managing customer service. While some of the biggest platforms in the world try and escape responsibility by simply providing FAQs, it really isn’t the best approach to customer care. So how do you determine what matters, and how your business should approach customer service?
Sentiment analysis and CSAT
Advances in AI mean that customer service is getting better. Sentiment analysis uses natural language processing (NLP) to determine whether text-based data is positive, negative, or neutral. For example, when you use some online writing tools for SEO, they will rate your language to determine if it is friendly, business-like, or even angry. Companies use the technology to track brand or product sentiment. It is a fast and effective way to better understand what customers want.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are usually sent at the end of any customer support interaction with your company. The quick and easy surveys ask customers to rate their experience as good, neutral, or bad. Airport bathrooms often have these surveys as people exit to let housekeeping know if a bathroom is dirty.
AI-powered sentiment analysis is given to assess how customers were feeling when they first reached out (rated as either positive or negative) and the results are compared with the CSAT score for each ticket.
It is a good idea to get a rating at the first and last interaction to try and mitigate any bias. For instance, most people who are contacting customer service are already reporting a negative experience. They are the most likely to leave negative feedback. So by questioning people at both ends of the interaction you are able to get a gauge on your customer service response and determine if it is effective at providing resolutions.
Research has shown no compelling relationship between how upset a customer is initially and how they feel after interacting with customer support. This indicates that support teams define a customer’s impression of a business. Your customer interaction from the outset will determine how customers feel about your business in the long term, and there is very little that changes this impression.
Analysis shows that even if a customer reaches out with an issue if they were happy with the company interaction prior to that incident, they are likely to remain happy after the incident, even if it was not resolved to their full satisfaction. This indicates that more important than customer resolution services, you need agents who represent your brand at first contact. This does not only include human contact but how your website or app looks and feels.
Surveys show that upset customers have nearly identical CSAT scores to those with “happier” initial sentiment scores. This shows that a good experience can help change a customer’s mind about any issue. However, just one bad experience can also leave a massive impact. Customers that started off using more positive or friendly language were just as likely to leave a negative review.
While customer care agents who handle issues need to be professional, well trained and prepared with actionable answers, all of this amounts to nothing if your initial contact with customers leaves a poor impression. Issues are unavoidable. For every business, there will be the need to solve a customer issue, be that a payment, product, delivery, or other issues, they are unavoidable. The control you do have is your initial impression, and that is where you need to focus your customer care, according to studies.
Tips for customer service success
Clearly, the path to brand success and customer satisfaction lay in the hands of your agents. The best way to ensure your success?
- Hire the right agents
- Train your team (in the case of online, develop your site UX)
- Open communication channels, and be accessible
- Listen to customer and agent feedback
Developing your customer contact is vital to the success of your business. Studies show that the initial impression you make as a business is very difficult to shift. It is easier to recover from a bad transaction if you have already developed a good report with customers. However, it is almost impossible to develop any client relationship that starts with a poor first impression. Investing in your customer care, be it human agents or your online development, is valuable to the success of your business.
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