customer service

Jonathan Anguelov, co-founder and COO at Aircall, on how you can improve the way you provide customer service.

Great customer service is the cornerstone of a company because it guarantees a reliable and positive customer experience. If a good salesperson has the ability to sell a product, good customer support allows a company to determine if a customer will turn into a loyal one, beyond the initial point of purchase. After all, isn’t a satisfied customer the best ambassador a brand can have?

With 57% of customers willing to switch to a competitor providing better customer service, the pressure is on for businesses of all sizes. In order to grow your audience, retain and satisfy customers and therefore increase revenue, your company must have the right customer service strategy. Here are three tips to achieve this:

1. Equipping teams with the right tools

Businesses of all sizes need to set their teams up for success by providing them with the latest technology developments in customer support. This may be obvious to some, but it is essential that support teams have the right tools in order to respond to evolving consumer habits and expectations.

A professional telephone system is one of the simplest, yet more important tools. A very common trap for businesses is to sacrifice the efficiency of established support channels in order to spearhead new ones. The telephone remains the main tool for customer service, with 62% of customer support leaders saying that the phone is their customers’ top preference for handling urgent issues.

Cloud Call Center Softwares in particular are driving a revolution in the field of customer service – not only do they drive efficiencies, but they also enable a flexible and agile customer experience. Cloud phone systems are accessible through your computer or smartphone from anywhere, as long as you have a stable internet connection. Your coworkers can use their business phone system from anywhere, especially useful for sales teams. So even if your team is small, doesn’t have a physical office or is based abroad, you’d be able to have a delocalised presence while remaining a cohesive team. Being local in different countries means being present for customers in different languages and in different time zones. You can work as a team, from anywhere, anytime. Your customers won’t tell the difference, but they will appreciate being able to reach you easily, and be met with attentive and efficient support.

2. Customer service should not only be reactive

Don’t wait for a complaint to take action – customer service can’t only be reactive. Use data insights to anticipate customers’ needs and be prepared to match them. Customer support is generally considered a reactive profession, offering help only once customers have reached out first. Now, rather than waiting for consumers to take the first step, support teams need to be more proactive than ever and actively drive the customer experience.

To achieve this, nothing beats regular analysis of consumer feedback to identify areas for improvement of the purchase journey and drive brand loyalty. Today, offering consumers a smooth and seamless experience, whether they connect to a smartphone, a tablet or the phone, is the norm. To achieve this, teams must be equipped with powerful CRM software to track each customer from one channel to another and thus obtain a 360° view of his journey.

A call center agent is to perform a precise and detailed record of each call concluded either way. This includes personal details, feedback, any issues and all kinds of data added to your CRM automatically via an integrated call centre software, to make sure you have enough information when you call customers back, or when that person comes back to contact the company. Knowledge sharing and management is a critical necessity for agents who rely on historic data to efficiently address customer inquiries.

3. Bringing down silos between the support team and the rest of the company

Using the right tools to share knowledge definitely enables agent-to-agent collaboration, but if the data insights and learnings aren’t shared within the company, you are missing a great opportunity to add strategic business value.

Use insights from customer support and sales staff to advise your product development and business strategy. If you want your company to anticipate problems related to its product and thus improve it, it is crucial that customer service is not compartmentalised. This department must be part of the company’s decision-making process because, being in constant contact with users, they know what they think of the product. This information is a goldmine for the organisation and it is essential that this department holds the position it deserves internally.

Indeed, customer support and sales departments have access to a lot of data on users: frequently asked questions, preferences, problems encountered, use cases of the product, and so on. These employees are therefore in a good position to influence the product development cycle by passing on this information to the relevant teams. So, rather than only addressing product or service related issues, support teams must contribute to the research and development cycle.

In a hyper-connected world, the contact centre must be able to answer customers’ questions on different channels and offer a superior experience, but also anticipate issues before they occur – working alongside the rest of the organisation. Proper data analysis, evaluation and measurement will allow you to understand the cost and success of end-to-end customer journeys and identify pain points. These insights around customer behaviour will help better contextualise and personalise end-to-end experiences increasing satisfaction and long-term loyalty.