The last thing you want to do when supporting your customers is put roadblocks in front of them. Long queues, callous agents, and poor customer support options are all common obstacles that create customer service issues.
You have to be ready to support them across channels, wherever your customers are in their journey and however they’re reaching out to you. These tips for resolving customer service issues will give you actionable advice on how you can sidestep common issues and improve your overall customer experience across messaging, voice, and web.
Leverage text surveys to gain insight into CSAT drivers.
Text surveys are a versatile way of resolving customer service issues. They function by collecting customers’ feedback about their support experience via surveys sent over text message. You get the same data that you ordinarily would have gotten via a phone survey (usually at the end of a support call) but with much higher response rates. A good 89% of consumers say they want to communicate with brands via text messaging, and 98% of recipients will open text messages, making text messaging an excellent way to gain insights into what’s driving customer satisfaction.
Aside from great ROI, surveys provide textual (written strings) or numeric data that you can apply to your contact center in a more objective and measurable way. If you’re consistently getting low scores on agent feedback, you can give that agent additional support options or training, so they can better respond to customer issues. Ultimately, texting makes it easier for you to collect customer feedback and respond at an organizational level to that feedback.
Always back up texting with live agents.
Live agents are the backbone of your contact center. So while automating parts of your customer’s journey might work in some scenarios, customers will inevitably reach dead ends in self-service channels, and customers don’t want to trust a chatbot with complex or sensitive information.
In fact, a number of customers still prefer to speak to a live agent. Of the 7,000 customers surveyed by Forrester, voice was still ranked as the support channel with the highest level of customer satisfaction, with 69% of respondents preferring voice compared to 63% preferring chat.
Brands aim for max efficiency and look to bots or live chat to enable lower-cost problem solving. But customers prefer to talk to a live human. How do you meet both needs?
When you’re building out your customer service text messaging strategy and trying to improve CSAT scores, always be ready to connect a customer with an agent, using SMS as a transition between support channels. Otherwise, customers will hunt down a phone number on your site, which makes them angry having to traverse an IVR, repeat their issue, and wait on hold. All the while, your brand loses visibility into their journey, and agents will struggle with an unproductive conversation.
Use a tool like Mindful to offer customers a chance to schedule their call directly from chat or text, so you can track their journey and provide a seamless transition.
Improve agent efficiency and reduce agent resources.
Improving agent efficiency should be the goal of any contact center. The more efficient the agent, the more tickets they can handle, meaning the fewer agents you have to hire—agents who are often the most expensive part of operating a contact center. A full-service agent help desk or ticketing system often costs about $150 to $300 a month per seat, in addition to salaries, benefits, and the standard costs of hiring and onboarding new employees.
If you improve agent efficiency, you drastically cut down on the agent resources required to operate your call center. But, even more to the point, better efficiency translates into a better customer experience.
You likely already know of and employ these strategies to improve efficiency:
- Sustain a knowledge base for agents to collectively draw from.
- Develop systems or processes to efficiently transfer between teams.
- Track agent efficiency metrics, such as customer effort scores (CES), average handle time (AHT), average resolution time, and average hold time.
- Centralize your agents’ workflows with CCaaS systems and cross-channel transition tools.
One key component to operational efficiency that gets overlooked is the customer journey. What does the customer’s journey look like leading up to the point of contact? Is it being tracked? Does the agent know? Is the customer and their issue being surfaced to the agent before the call? Does the customer have to repeat their problem? Are they going to vent about waiting on hold?
Here are some additional tactics that can create an incredibly efficient and effective voice or chat conversation:
- Track the customer’s journey online and display that journey to the agent on the conversation. This will help them see what the customer has done, where they reached their dead end, and allow the agent to fill in the gaps rather than have the customer repeat themselves.
- Collect information about a customer’s need up front when they request a chat or call, and deliver this information to the agent. This keeps the conversation on topic and shows the customer that the agent cares about not wasting the customer’s time.
- Minimize customer venting time by providing an option to be called back or have their call scheduled. If a customer has to wait on hold for more than a few minutes, they’re likely to vent at the top of the phone call for an average of one to three minutes. Over the course of thousands of phone calls, this could mean hours of agent spent to calming down a customer.
- Utilize customer-first dialing for callbacks to minimize agent time wasted waiting for a customer to answer. Average seconds to answer goes down to less than 30 seconds on average, and both agents and customers are primed for an efficient and positive call.
Increase customer satisfaction with scheduled calls.
A scheduled call drives customer satisfaction and resolve customer service issues by giving the customer time back in their day. They’re also easier for agents to manage. Instead of putting customers on hold, agents collect customer information and the nature of their call, then the customer gets placed in a virtual queue.
For Mindful clients, these queues are integrated seamlessly based on priority set by the brand (which can be optimized), weaving these customers into the agent’s queue like any other call.
In addition to improving customer satisfaction and reducing hold times for customers, call scheduling can also cut down on repeat calls—you can’t schedule more than one call—and abandonment—customers that don’t have to wait on hold are more likely to reconnect. Both of these metrics are crucial to increase customer satisfaction and resolve customer service issues.
Practice empathy with customer problems.
Practicing empathy with customer problems is a great way to start resolving customer service issues—at least the emotional side of things. Customers calling in or seeking support expect to be connected with someone who, at the very least, cares about their issues and will act appropriately to remediate things. Practicing empathy with customers pays huge dividends, at least according to Harvard Business Review. The top ten most empathetic companies increased their monetary value more than twice as much as the bottom ten companies and generated 50% more earnings.
How do you practice empathy when resolving customer service issues?
- Acknowledge a customer’s feelings (mirror a customer’s mood and identify the root problem) in order to make the customer feel like they’re not alone and that they’re working with a sympathetic agent.
- Use common statements to help build two-way empathy with a customer. Common statements might include saying things like, “You’re right,” and “I’ve had similar issues with this recently, too.” Statements like these let the customer know their concerns are valid and being heard.
- Take a high-level overview of the customer support journey using customer feedback. Adapt to what the customer wants in order to provide a more acute and empathetic support experience. So if your customers would rather talk over voice, be ready to invest resources into that channel.
- Build your touchpoints with the customer in mind—start with a customer-centric approach when you’re building your omnichannel support infrastructure by prioritizing empathy and resolving customer issues using all your available resources.
Give agents insights into CX issues with text logs.
Text logs in a CRM are a valuable source of context for agents jumping in to support a customer. They’re transcripts of what previous agents did to support the customer, or they might contain customer details and background information, giving agents more context for the issue that the customer is facing. Ultimately, this cuts down on the time an agent has to spend familiarizing themselves with the issue and can also make it easier for the agent to solve the problem.
If the agent is able to coordinate a solution or do research before going into the support conversation, they can come to a resolution faster.
Enhancing your brand’s customer service has no start or end point—it’s a constantly evolving and improving mechanism. But having the right tools in place definitely makes improvement easier, as both customers and agents will be thankful for a smoother experience.
Consider checking out Mindful to alleviate hold times, provide agents with additional context into issues for smoother calls, and increase agent performance and efficiency with robust analytics and customer journey context.
Learn more about how Mindful can resolve customer service issues and improve agent efficiency in this demo.