🎧 The Customer Service Communication Playbook
7 minute read
In a customer-centric age, it is important to communicate with customers in a way that makes them feel welcome and valued.
Customer service and support are crucial for generating and maintaining business results. This includes ensuring maximum customer satisfaction and increasing revenues by improving customer service delivery.
So how do you ensure that you communicate your brand’s messaging to your customers effectively? In this article, we shall provide you with a complete guide on how you can effectively communicate with your customers.
Defining communication in customer service
Communication in customer service is commonly known as customer communication management (CCM). It can be defined as the process of understanding customer pain points in order to deliver consistent brand messaging and support across all channels.
Brand messaging means choosing the correct words to convey what your business stands for to potential buyers. Depending on your brand strategy, you will be able to communicate everything, from your affordable rates to the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your brand.
Additionally, good customer service communication emphasises on developing stronger ties with customers. It also aids in customer acquisition and retention.
When a brand communicates with its customers, it does so through various channels. Maintaining consistency across all channels in an integrated manner is important for communicating effectively. And, the challenge as well.
Being able to assess your customer's expectations and then reflect on them and respond appropriately is the key to effective customer service communication.
In short, effective communications aids in
- Customer acquisition
- Customer retention
- Maintaining brand image
How to communicate effectively in customer service?
Just keep the following points in mind.
Adopt an omnichannel strategy
Businesses implementing an omnichannel customer service strategy keep 89% more customers on average compared to 33% of companies with sub-standard omnichannel strategies.
Connecting with customers on platforms where they are the most active is important. This helps you know your customers better and tailor your services. By doing this, you can provide reliable customer support via your customers' preferred channels.
The modern customer can design their own customer journey based on preferences at every stage. Customers can select their preferred method of communication at any time based on their needs.
They can send an email outlining their problem in great detail. In the following step, if a live chat is more convenient for them, they can contact the support staff.
The fundamental concept is that they select the channel they want to use. The business does not compel them to use a specific channel. So you must cater to their needs across their preferred channels.
For instance, you can interact with your customers through various channels on one dashboard using Chatwoot's free service. Simply choose a channel and start communicating with your customers seamlessly.
Thus, in short, an omnichannel communication strategy will help you to
- Communicate with a wider base of audience
- Cater to the platforms your customers prefer the most
- Integrate all your communication channels
- Manage time better and communicate more efficiently
Improve the first interaction a customer has with your brand
Making a great first impression is crucial when a customer contacts you. From the very beginning, employees should demonstrate professionalism, respect, and proactiveness.
To assist less experienced employees as they develop their skills, you can write a script or a guide. You can lay out a few simple steps for them to follow when starting out as customer service reps. This will help them better, and in return your customers.
But how to assess the quality of these first interactions? One way to understand this is to measure First Contact Resolution.
First contact resolution determines whether your company is good at resolving problems the moment a customer contacts or does it take more than one interaction to do so.
Reduce barriers to communication
Reducing barriers during communication, whether you're speaking or listening, promotes a positive, productive atmosphere.
There can be multiple communication barriers that you might have to deal with as a customer service person. These can include a lack of technical knowledge on the part of the customers, language barriers, etc. Communicating clearly and concisely is important for overcoming these barriers.
For instance, nowadays, mostly, your target audience could be spread across different regions. This means that people come from different cultures and speak different languages.
So it gets important that you provide multilingual support. There should be multilingual chat support when implementing live chat and chatbots as communication channels.
Chatwoot, for instance, lets you offer customer support in more than 30 languages.
Similarly, customers might not have the specialised knowledge required to comprehend a problem. Agents must understand this and provide detailed responses to technical inquiries.
Now, imagine this. A customer contacts your business with a technical question related to the product setup or a fault in the product. In such a situation, you need to remember that the customer isn’t equipped with in-depth knowledge.
So when dealing with such a situation, you should put customers at ease and give them clear explanations in simple terms they can understand.
Pro Tip – Avoid using jargon or complicated phrases. Break down the solution in simple steps to make it easier for the customer.
Prioritise employee engagement and satisfaction
Happy employees and excellent customer service communication go hand in hand. Numerous studies have found that committed employees go above and beyond to ensure the customer has an engaging and useful conversation.
Creating a conducive work environment, taking feedback, acting on employee issues and offering benefits like health insurance, paid leaves, or wellness stipends will increase employee engagement.
Additionally, you should periodically survey employee satisfaction to learn about their concerns and discover ways to improve team members' working conditions.
For instance, SouthWest Airlines recognises staff members every week by giving them shoutouts for providing excellent customer service. The company also mentions empathetic and engaging interactions in their internal calls and videos as a form of recognition and to inspire others to deliver the same.
Personalise customer interactions
Customers look for a personal touch, because many other brands provide them that. So agents must ensure to do so from the beginning. To do that, agents must:
- Make an introduction and use the customer's name.
- Ask genuinely how they may be of assistance.
- Consider the severity of a customer's issues and empathise with them.
- Offer well-thought-out answers.
- Make an effort to communicate in a natural, conversational tone both orally and in writing.
- Be careful about humanising the experience on non-voice channels.
- Personalise the response and create a bond with the customer at every stage of the customer interaction cycle.
- Make every sign-off gracious and positive to help your clients feel good about working with you.
If customers have previously had good experiences with your business, they are more likely to spend more and stay loyal for a longer period.
Effective customer service communication combines a personalised approach with effective procedures that ultimately win customers' loyalty while saving them time and frustration.
Collect customer feedback and improve the communication
You must gather and pay attention to feedback if you are serious about enhancing the quality of your customer service communications.
Many businesses frequently believe their financial performance to be their only indicator of success. However, without monitoring customer feedback, they cannot clearly identify their advantages and disadvantages.
The skills and touch points that don't satisfy the customers can be greatly highlighted by feedback. Feedback is essentially the insight on where to focus your efforts.
Additionally, gathering feedback gives you the chance to show your clients that you value them and work hard to provide the best service possible.
There are various KPIs that you can track to understand customer satisfaction and your performance as well. Some of these KPIs include (Customer Satisfaction Score) CSAT, Net Promoter Score (NPS), First Contact Resolution (FCR) etc.
Tips to remember while communicating with customers
Effective communication involves more listening than talking. In order to actively listen, one must not only hear what the other person is saying but also comprehend their feelings and point of view.
Understanding the other person or party is the aim of effective communication. Put them first. If you're not paying attention, you also won't be able to pick up on nonverbal or verbal cues.
Without interjecting when the other person is speaking, show interest in what they are saying. Ask questions and give affirming feedback, such as "Is this what you mean?" or "What I'm hearing is..."
You can fully understand what the other person is saying and feeling when you engage in active listening. That is the goal of good communication.
Empathetic conversations give you an edge
Empathy in customer service is the ability to validate a customer's emotions and show that you share their frustration or pain, even if the issue was beyond your control.
To put it another way, empathy involves understanding someone else's perspective. Although it isn't always simple, doing this will help you connect with your customers and comprehend their needs.
Customers are much more likely to be satisfied by agents who speak positively, empathetically and exude confidence. Positive and empathetic language boosts customer confidence because it is comforting, proactive, and sympathetic.
Avoid using negative phrases or statements
A cheerful tone in voice calls and upbeat language in written communication are very helpful for a fulfilling customer experience. Customers should be able to sense the agent's desire to assist them.
For instance, imagine the scenario where a customer has asked you something but you don’t know the exact solution or it is not your area of expertise. Instead of saying a blunt “No”, you can request the customer to give you time to redirect to another teammate who has the expertise.
Alternatively, you can suggest other communication channels. For instance, if someone has contacted you over live chat but the issue requires a more detailed description, you can request the customer to send a more detailed email for better support.
Know how to start and close the conversation
Customers who contact customer service want their issues resolved as soon as possible. This requires support teams to be smooth at starting and ending conversations.
You don't want to neglect your customers by cutting them off. Doing so could lead to problems arising from your neglect. Instead, just ask. It should be up to the customer to decide whether or not their problems have been resolved.
But, you also might have a queue of customers waiting for your assistance. So you can't afford to take too long to respond to pointless inquiries. After a customer's issue has been resolved, check to see if there are any new problems, and if not, move on to the next case.
Bonus – Here are 30 quick customer service tips for you.
Our two cents on effective communication
Treat others as you want to be treated.
The right word at the right time always makes a difference.
It might seem straightforward, yet it is missed. Ensure to show appreciation for your customers' time and empathy for their difficulties. Every. single. interaction.
This will almost guarantee that you stay ahead of your competitors.
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