Excellence in customer service: what is it, why is it important and the best tips
In order to have excellence in customer service, it is necessary to solve consumer problems, ensuring that they achieve the desired results
Having excellence in customer service consists of relating effectively with consumers, solving their problems when they contact the company and helping them to achieve the desired results. The goal is to delight customers, add value and create connections with them, so that they become loyal to your business and still recommend it to others.
You’ve probably already had the need, at some point, to request some kind of technical assistance after purchasing a product, right? This is valid from calling a 0800 number, calling SAC, support via chat or going to the physical store.
The need may have arisen due to some equipment that stopped working, a defective product or even a service provided in an unsatisfactory manner. Unfortunately, in these cases, the probability that you have been underserved is high.
More than likely you will remember this poor service, you will remember the company name and even the name of the attendant. And what are the chances that you have commented with a colleague or family member about this bad experience?
According to Philip Kotler, a dissatisfied customer tells 11 others about his negative experience. In social networks, this scale expands so much that it is difficult to measure the amount and level of image damage caused to a company.
It is precise because of this difficulty in measuring impact that most companies do not see the customer service and support area as an investment, but rather as a cost. But what these companies don’t know is that 66% of consumers switch brands because of poor service, according to Accenture.
It is for data like this that every company that wants to remain competitive in the market must invest in having excellence in customer service. If your business doesn’t care about that yet, it’s time to get started!
What is customer service excellence?
Having excellence in customer service is about solving consumer problems accurately, helping that person to achieve the desired results.
Consumers who come into contact with the company must be well served by the service team, but not only. It is important that you are treated well in all contacts you have with your business, from the first contact to the post-sales.
Why invest in customer service excellence?
Offering excellence in customer service can retain consumers and also prevent crises and damage to your company’s image. A NewVoice survey, for example, indicates that 59% of consumers between 25 and 34 years old share the negative customer service experiences they have had online.
In other words, performing poor service not only impacts that specific customer but also has a great potential to impact your brand.
In addition, a negative impact mainly affects potential customers: a survey by CNDL and SPC Brasil showed that 47% of Internet users always seek information online before buying in physical stores.
How to structure the customer service area?
Now that you know the concept and the reasons for investing in excellence in customer service, here are some tips on how to do this. These first suggestions are aimed at leaders who are structuring this area.
1. Define who will be the people who will make up your customer service or support team
The people who will make up your service or support team must have two characteristics: technical and behavioral skills.
Some technical skills need to be specific to your business. For example, if your company provides financial services, it is important that people know a minimum of this type of operation.
But even more important is a behavioral skill. You should be part of this team with people who have a high capacity for empathy and who are happy to help the customer. After that, you can move on to the next point.
2. Start designing internal service processes
Here’s a very important point: these processes must think, above all, about the customer experience and not just how it will be best for your company.
At various times, you will have to opt for more time-consuming processes, but if this is better for the customer, it will also be better for you.
For example, at Resultados Digitais, our service via chat has no time limit to complete a call. This means that if a customer needs to spend two hours in chat service to resolve a problem, we’re fine with that.
Are you curious if this has already happened? Yes, sometimes!
3. Encourage your team to be creative
Solving the customer’s problem is your #1 purpose, but why not do it creatively? Leave your team free to find unusual solutions — you might be surprised by that.
For example we have users who have more technical difficulties and, to make the explanation easier, we have had support agents who have recorded amateur videos of their own screen to explain to the customer how to perform a certain configuration.
In addition, work can be more fun and the service friendlier for your customer.
How to have excellence in customer service? 10 tips for those dealing directly with consumers
Now that you already have a structured service area, see tips for those on the front line, dealing with consumers.
1. Listen to the customer
When your customer needs help from your service or technical support team, understand: it’s already 1 to 0 for them. He already has a problem and told someone about it. Your best chance of tying this game is by delivering excellent customer service.
For this, you must listen a lot to what the customer has to say. At various times, the first thing he wants is to let off steam. After that, investigate as much as possible what happened: ask as many questions as necessary, but make sure you are recording this information. After all, there’s nothing more annoying than repeating problems to multiple people, right?
2. Know how to search for the answers
When collecting all the necessary information, keep in mind that it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers ready and a complete resolution in the same call/call. Of course, this is the ideal scenario, but more important than that is to offer quality and assertive service. If you need more time to resolve, be transparent and let the customer know a deadline.
Don’t forget to involve all the people and areas necessary to ensure a complete solution. Is it technical? Your development team can help. If the customer felt cheated at the time of purchase, how about talking to the sales representative?
If your sales team is not willing to help, it’s worth informing them that it costs between 6-7 times more to acquire new customers than to keep a current customer. Who says this is the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos would say, “Customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company”. The American online footwear and clothing retailer is a reference in customer service and support worldwide.
3. Captivate the relationship
Try to maintain charming communication that makes your customer feel welcome and safe to talk about their needs.
This is a very important point for establishing a good relationship: listening carefully and showing willingness can make anyone’s day better, including yours.
See an example of a ticket that exemplifies this communication:
Hello good afternoon! Are you okay, Adriano? How was your weekend? I hope it was good!
Thank you for the information you sent. However, I need a few more details to know how best to help you, ok?
Can you send me a screenshot of this error message that appears when you try to send the email? Was it a one-off case or something that has happened frequently?
I await your information to continue this service.
Count on me! 😉
4. Define where you want to go
When you have a well-defined goal and outline an action plan to reach it, things become simpler.
Define points of improvement that you need to evolve in your service, keep a good follow-up and an evaluation of the results.
These attitudes will make you evolve in the most mature and assertive way in search of the excellence you want.
5. Use positive language
Being optimistic — keeping your feet on the ground, without over-idealizing — is an essential detail for you to get the same positive feedback when evaluating your service.
A positive language is one expressed in a direct, helpful way that abuses empathy. An example of what can be done: replace terms like “you have to” or “you need” — words that have a negative interpretation — with “you can”, “recommend” or “suggest”.
This small change sends the message that the customer has a choice of what to do—not that you’re telling them how to act.
6. Avoid using too many emojis
Emojis are super cute, but not all people like or get along with this kind of visual communication. Often the receiver may interpret them differently from you.
It is important to be aware of the language that the customer uses before leaving sending faces around!
7. “Mirror” the mood
Try to reflect the energy your client is experiencing, mirroring their mood. So, if he is more serious and objective, try to treat him in the same way
That way, he will feel that you understand him better and your communication will be closer. This tip is also valid for those customers who are more “playful” or who use slang, but it is always important to remember to maintain balance and respect in any interaction.
8. Balance is everything
Speaking of balance, the next tip is about that. Avoid very long paragraphs and, at the same time, try not to rush into the resolution of the calls you are handling. This can give a negative impression and the customer may feel that you are not as involved in the service.
It’s important that he realizes that you are working together. Calmness and attention are essential for the points to be clear.
9. Don’t be afraid to question
Each person expresses themselves in a way and we don’t always understand right away what some people mean.
So, don’t be afraid to question the customer on points that will help you to help him. When the situation is clear it is easier to find a solution.
10. Keep your authenticity
When we do the same action many times, sometimes it ends up becoming automatic. If we are not careful with this, a simple good morning or good night can give the impression that we are copying and pasting a finished message.
It’s important that we treat each case as if it were unique—as they really are. This care will convey a thoughtful message and will have a great advantage in your service.
How to say no to the customer?
One of the biggest challenges for those working in customer service is learning to say no to consumers, for fear of making that person upset. But there are some ways to minimize and reverse that feeling while maintaining excellent customer service. Here are some tips:
1. Be transparent
When you need to say “no”, be honest above all. Transparency builds trust, which is one of the basics of any relationship. Solid structures will make the customer more understanding of the situation. Explain why you cannot perform that action and, if possible, look for an alternative solution to his need, as in the example:
João, currently our tool has this feature, but to get closer to the result you want, you can follow this other path. That’s how I thought about helping. What do you think?
This care for the client’s situation will undoubtedly make him more satisfied, even if the outcome of the situation is not quite what he wanted.
2. Keep your word
If you have to answer questions like “when will a particular function be available in the software?”, for example, and say “what you want today is not possible, but in two months it will be”, keep your word.
If you give the customer a deadline or say you’ll do your best to help them, don’t let that situation go by the wayside. One of the things that most retains any person is committed.
3. Don’t be negative
Don’t be negative in any situation. Avoid terms like “unfortunately”, “I can’t help you” or using emojis with negative expressions. This language weighs heavily on the sentences and can make the situation even worse.
4. Write down complaints and frequent inquiries
Write down and pass on customer complaints and inquiries to those responsible. Opinions and suggestions that appear frequently should be taken into account. They are, without a doubt, the pillar of any corporation.
It is important that the consumer of your product or service knows that you are taking this situation forward and that their problem has been heard. Make that clear and keep your word.
Who already offers excellent customer service?
It is possible for you to turn this score around. For that, you need to know how to deal with the problem and turn it into an opportunity to surprise your customer.
We call this type of service action WOW, which is an expression used to describe the feeling when a delivery exceeds the user’s expectation.
To inspire your company, Blue World City has separated three cases that had great repercussions in the media and social networks. These are examples of companies that achieved a positive impact even at a time of crisis management. Check out:
Nubank is a Brazilian company in the financial services segment, acting as a credit card operator and digital bank. Its main differential is having its entire operation online, although the cards are still physical, sent via post office to their customers’ homes.
In 2016, a funny case caught the company’s attention. A customer had received his credit card at home, but didn’t have time to use it: the dog had eaten part of the card before the owner could save it.
What has Nubank done? Along with the new card, he sent a toy for the dog and a letter handwritten by the service team. See the full case here.
Avon is a North American cosmetics company, operating in all Brazilian states. In 2015, a client purchased a facial product and had a strong allergic reaction, getting burnt. The user immediately contacted Avon’s SAC to file a complaint and inform what happened.
In addition to reimbursing the value of the product, which would be the minimum expected, Avon also covered the costs of the treatment and accompanied the client until she was completely recovered.
With this example and other success stories, in 2015 Avon won the title of Service Champion in Reclame Aqui. Check out the article.
Paris 6 Restaurant
Who remembers the story of the woman who was dragged by the rain in front of the Paris 6 restaurant in São Paulo?
Well, she didn’t even go to the restaurant that day, but the video of the accident went viral. The restaurant staff was so moved by the scene that they ran a campaign on social media looking for who the woman would be. With the help of internet users, they managed to identify her and get in touch.
What most impressed people was that the restaurant owner himself signed the post, showing that there was widespread concern across the company with the customer.
The end of the story? The woman has earned lifetime VIP access to any Paris 6 restaurant in the world! Read more here.
Bonus: 3 customer service tips from Mikkel Svane, CEO of Zendesk
In his speech at RD Summit 2017, Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane spoke about the business scenario: there are many factors that can make a complex environment, carrying many of the problems of this complexity to the end customer, who ends up taking the brunt of everything. the problem by not understanding the solution you are getting.
Because of that, the key to a good customer experience as it is is: simplicity.
Customer service should be simple and can be made easier with these 3 tips:
- Responsiveness (responsiveness): to the extent that customers can get assistance looking through many different channels, the solution here is to react. Being available to respond in all communication channels and being open lets the customer know that you can really give a solution to what they are looking for;
- Empowerment: giving customers the opportunity to do things on their own, and quickly! This way, you avoid customer frustration and can also optimize internal actions in the company;
- Transparency: Allow access to all information throughout the experience. This can prevent the receipt of false data, which happens when customers do not trust the provision of information.
Investing efforts in building good customer relationships can be even more profitable than pursuing new customers. That’s why it pays to earn the customer’s trust.
The truth matters today more than ever. If your customers trust you, they stay with you, otherwise they won’t talk anymore.
And it’s not just a matter of permanence. Building good relationships improves on other topics:
- Reduces churn rate ;
- Increases revenue percentage;
- Decreases customer acquisition cost (CAC);
- Increases NPS (Net Promoter Score) ;
Mikkel Svane also reminded that building trust through simplicity is not an easy task. However, this can be done in a simpler way, having the multiple communication channels aligned.
Email, chat and calls must be centralized so as not to interrupt the communication between the customer and the company, regardless of its size.
Get started today!
How about you start applying some good practices in customer service today to avoid negative impacts on your company?
In case you still have doubts if this is a good strategy, it is worth mentioning that 58% of consumers never use a company’s products and services again after a bad service experience, according to NewVoice data.
So, let’s go there? Remember some quick tips on how to get started:
- Map out the main problems that lead your customers to call your service or support area;
- Have a team specialized in customer service and make constant training with them;
- Create processes that prioritize the customer, after all, the service needs to be good for him and not for you;
- Pay attention to the problem and focus on solving it. The customer doesn’t want to keep explaining several times, and he doesn’t want justifications either. He got in touch looking for a solution;
- According to Mikkel Svane, the key to good service is simplicity: facilitate service with responsiveness, empowerment and transparency.
With these steps you can start changes in your company. Remember: “There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everyone in the company, from the chairman of the board to the janitor, simply taking the money to spend elsewhere,” said Sam Walton, founder of the Walmart hypermarket chain.