What is customer service?
Customer service is the support a company provides to ensure customer satisfaction with its products or services. Also referred to as technical support, customer solutions, or customer support, this assistance can be offered over the phone, social media channels, website, email, or in person. Common customer service interactions include providing training, troubleshooting, maintenance, or product updates to users. It may also include some degree of business writing and written communication through email and other forms of contact.
Impact of automation on customer service
As smart technology becomes even more advanced, the customer service industry is experiencing a proliferation of self-service and automated support options. Popular examples are live chats powered by artificial intelligence (AI) or call centers that take advantage of voice recognition technologies.
Many users enjoy how easily these systems help them find the answers they’re looking for, as well as their 24/7 availability.
Measuring the quality of your customer service
Providing excellent customer service is necessary for client retention, and for building a positive reputation for your brand through word-of-mouth marketing. How do you gauge, then, whether you are delivering excellent customer service to your users?
The most popular customer service metrics include:
First response time: How long does it take a company representative to address a user question or complaint?
Average reply time: How long does it take, on average, for your support agents to respond to user messages? This metric takes the number of requests into account, so you can assess the impact of support request volume on reply time.
Average handle time (AHT): Also known as average time to resolution, this number represents how long it takes to solve a customer’s request, on average. It’s measured from the point of initial user contact to the final ‘goodbye’ on the last communication between your agent and the user.
Customer satisfaction score: This metric is determined from the answers of a post-support survey. Usually delivered via phone, email, or social media messaging or website chat platform, these questionnaires evaluate the customer’s satisfaction with the quality of support they received, and their overall impression with your brand. Because good customer service can be a strong indicator of a user doing business with you as a small business owner, in the future, this is an incredibly important factor to measure.
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The do’s and don’t of good customer service
Do: Respond to customers in a timely manner. This is a must when it comes to customer service and maintaining good relations.
Don’t: Require customers to wait for a response or a solution, which can sour the business relationship.
Do: Proactively engage with potentially dissatisfied customers. Use live chat, a knowledge based on your website, and email to address known issues.
Don’t: Avoid responsibility. Few things look worse than a string of frustrated customers complaining on your social media platforms.
Do: Know your product inside and out. Be informed on the most frequently asked questions, recent feature updates, and current known issues.
Don’t: Frustrate your customer by making them explain an issue multiple times to several different agents.
Do: Stay aware of who your customer base is, and what its members need. Personalization goes a long way. Address your users by their first name, ask for an update regarding past support interactions, or add a more personal email signoff to avoid sounding robotic.
Don’t: Send non-personalized templates for specific user issues. A vague and general response can be detrimental to your business and its reputation.