The New Customer Service: Using Technology and Marketing to Your Advantage

Three ways to tie traditional customer service operations with new technology and marketing tactics.
Customer Service

Is your company using smart technology and offering convenient access to elevate the customer service experience?

Thanks to social media, consumers now expect an easy way to connect with customer service representatives who can solve problems and answer questionsmore quickly than ever.

A big factor in meeting these new expectations is to tie traditional customer service operations with new technology and marketing tactics:

Customer-Friendly Tech

Technology focused around marketing and customer engagement can lead to more satisfied customers. Integration with apps such as Salesforce Service Cloud offers insight into the effectiveness of your team's customer service. They can point out weak spots in your protocol and offer suggestions for improvement.

Wait times play a huge role in customer satisfaction. Numerous software programs provide screen pops, which automatically pull up details about customers' accounts while agents speak with them. This saves both the agent and the customer time, and allows the agent to focus on delivering quality, in-depth service and call resolution. This access to customer data allows CSRs to make faster decisions and be more helpful.

Customers also want their questions answered in the method of communication with which they are most comfortable. Several options may be more convenient than phone calls. Email, chat, and text-to-chat functionality are viable channels which often solve issues quicker and increase customer satisfaction. It is vital that you make all of these options available, as according to Salesforce, 60 percent of your customers will change their preferred contact channel depending on what they are doing and where they are at the time of the interaction.

If your company does not use a CRM tool, you are probably missing out on the chance to supplement your customer satisfaction efforts and drive business growth. Automating the touches that your customer base receives will save your department countless hours while making customers feel supported and appreciated. In addition, most marketing tools provide metrics your team can use to analyze what works and what doesn't.

Don't Count Social Out

In addition to offering complementary customer service channels, interacting with customers on social media will often pleasantly surprise them. This can help deal with a complaint a customer has posted, or just let a happy customer know you value his or her feedback.

Respond to negative feedback as quickly as possible, and attempt to make the situation right in whichever social platform the customer initiates the conversation. It may not always be appropriate to escalate the issue in a public way, but dealing with the customer's problem in a private message on the site will still show you are trying to accommodate them.

While responding to unhappy customers is important, do not overlook customers that show your company love on social media. A quick "thank-you" reply on a positive comment could change the way that customer views your company for the rest of his relationship with it. Acknowledging positive feedback will set your company up with a solid foundation for customers when they do run into an issue in the future.

Strategies for Success

Interaction with customers is the most crucial part of successful customer service, but a proactive plan for improvement must also be incorporated. High costs per transaction, poor documentation of customer interactions, the inability to provide a customer's preferred method of communication, and the inability to analyze customer interaction to see bigger trends are among the most common customer service issues.

The key to providing effective customer service is tying all metrics back to customer satisfaction. Some metrics to consider as you assess your customer service department include calls answered percentage, first call resolution, and calls answered on first ring. Cost per incident is another important stat to consider, because while the goal of your department is to solve customers' issues, you must do so without breaking your budget.

Your company's Net Promoter Score represents the most important metric you can track as a customer service department. By assessing how likely it is that customers would recommend your company to a colleague or friend, you have a direct view into the relative success of your customer service efforts.

Integrating apps, social media, and marketing tools into your company's customer service mix will transform your department. Customer service is no longer a group of people sitting at phones and escalating problems, and with the help of new technology, it becomes an integrated aspect of a business that customers want to interact with again and again.