Customer service is of increasing importance to all businesses, and there are more tools than ever before that reflect this. We’ve got advanced CRMs hitting the market, insanely capable chatbots, and intuitive help desk software that’s all designed to help businesses offer improved customer service to their clients and save some time and/or money along the way.
The tools we’re using, however, will only really be effective if we know which ones to choose and how to leverage them correctly. With technology seeing rapid developmental strides, it can be hard for businesses to keep up and know exactly how to do this.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at 6 of the best customer service technology tips for small businesses so you can choose the tools that will best serve your business and use them to their full potential.
Use Technology to Enhance Customer Service, Not Replace It
Today’s customer service tools have incredible features and abilities that can be an enormous asset to businesses of all shapes and sizes. There’s no denying that, but it is important to remember that if you rely too much on these tools, it can hurt you as much as not using them.
Having chatbots running your live chat on your site isn’t bad for the first line of defense, but they aren’t meant to completely replace customer service representatives, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get past Bartie the Chatbot and in front of an actual person.
Similarly, it’s great to rely on your CRM system that can automatically send out template-based emails to re-engage customers, but having one of your account managers take the time to send out personalized emails just to check-in can be even more powerful.
As you’re adding new tools to your arsenal, remember that technology should only ever be used to enhance real customer service, not replace it entirely. Your customers still want to connect with real people, not robots and autoresponders.
Find Tools That Will Yield Positive ROI
When you’re choosing which tools you want to subscribe to, consider those that will directly benefit your business. You need tools that are cost-effective, but this also means looking for tools that can save you so much time and offer enough benefits that it actually saves you money.
If you’re using a help desk tool, for example, that is so organized your team is able to help 15% more customers per day, that’s a huge productivity booster. The more customers you’re able to help, the less likely you are to see returns, unpleasant reviews, and requests for refunds, and you have a chance to sell more, too. This earns you a direct increase in your profit, and it does so while saving you time.
You want the return on your investment for these tools to be as high as possible. If they’re not making you money even indirectly, it may be better to look for other alternatives.
Implement New Automation Processes
Automation is one of the best uses of customer service technology.
Even small automated tasks– like alerting a customer that their help desk ticket has been received and will receive a response in 24 hours– can go a long way. It saves your team time while ensuring that the customer is being taken care of as much as possible.
Another example of automation is having short follow-up surveys or emails being sent to customers shortly after their experience with your customer service team. This prevents your own staff from having to remember to do this, and it gives you actionable feedback you can use to improve your processes moving forward.
If any of your customer service tools offer automation, consider implementing those features as soon as possible, so long as they won’t hinder your ability to help your customers.
Choose Tools That Offer Natural Organization
Customer service can be chaotic. Anyone who has ever worked in a client-facing position knows this, so organization is key.
If a customer emails you to let you know that the software they’ve subscribed to through your company keeps kicking them out and they can’t log in, you don’t want that message to slip through the cracks and get missed.
And even if it does get answered the second time, if that same customer emails you a month later to say they need help logging in, they’d be annoyed if they were matched up with a new customer service rep who asks if they just need to change their password.
CRM tools, therefore, that allow you to track all messages that have been received from a past client will help your team members get up to speed quickly on each individual client and resolve their problems more successfully.
Help desk software is another one to look at. According to a recent study from Hubspot, 85.36% of companies using help desk systems said that it made them more productive, and 90% of people who used help desk tickets agreed it helped better manage questions. Organization is key in these instances to getting customers the help they need fast, so tools with inherent organizational features should be high on your list.
Take Advantage of Native Analytics
Tracking customer service performance is important; you can’t improve if you don’t know what needs improving, after all.
Many technology tools offer some form of native analytics that can give you the actionable information you need to make significant changes within your customer service department.
You may notice, for example, that some help desk tickets are taking more than 24 hours to be addressed, resulting in a decreased customer satisfaction rate. This is something to flag; Are messages getting missed, or does your team need more support or even a new employee to pick up extra slack?
The more you know, the more power you have to offer more support, training, and resources to your team. Take advantage of that.
Use Feedback-Gauging Tools to Measure Customer Satisfaction
There are several customer service tools that automatically generate follow-ups to see how happy your customers were with their recent purchase, help desk support, even your site experience.
Make sure that you’re using these tools to send out simple surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of your customer service and its impact on client satisfaction. Even if this is a single question of “how well did we resolve your concerns?” with a sliding scale, this will give you actionable feedback on how happy your customers really are.
Whenever possible, leave a space for clients to explain why they were or weren’t happy with the support they received. They’ll often be specific, listing grievances like “not fast enough response times” or “they couldn’t change the shipping times.” This will make it easy to assess gaps in customer service that you may not be able to see otherwise.
Having the right tools on hand will be an enormous asset to your customer service team. They’ll help you serve your customers faster, with more care, and more successfully, which is good news for everyone involved.
When it comes to customer service technology, remember that you can pick and choose which features you want to use from every tool that you use. If you want to set up some automation features but not others, that’s fully within your right. Focus on the tools and features that will help your team instead of hindering them, and prioritize those.