Categories Articles, Service

In order to provide top-notch customer service, you need to be where your customers are. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

Traditionally, that has meant providing a phone number that customers can call to reach you. Now, customers are on social media, on their smartphones, and on your website. In some cases, the best way to resolve problems for customers is allowing them to self-service by reading documentation or watching a video.

We spoke with industry expert Shep Hyken to reveal the best practices for using customer service channels to communicate efficiently and effectively.

Read an excerpt from the interview below or click here to download the full interview.

InsightSquared: How can customer service reps who communicate primarily through email or tickets as customer service channels create Moments of Magic® for their customers?

Shep Hyken:You have to manage every interaction, one interaction at a time, one step at a time. You start off with a strong opening. You deliver what the customer expects. You ask extra questions to make sure you understand exactly what the customer needs. If you can become proactive and answer a question that a customer doesn’t even know he or she has yet, that’s even better. Then always end strong. Your first impressions and last impressions are really lasting impressions.

You have to manage every interaction, one interaction at a time, one step at a time.

Read Our Full Interview with Shep Hyken on Customer Service Excellence »

Do you think that every company should be using social media to communicate with customers? Or does it depend on the company?

Every company needs to be where their customers are. If your customers are hanging out in social media channels and making comments about your company, you need to be there. If the average customer of a company is 85 years old, there’s a pretty good chance that those older generation people aren’t focused on Twitter and Facebook, but you never know…

The other day, I was standing in a line and there were two people in front of me. One person used a check to pay for their merchandise, making everybody wait while they wrote the check and fumbled with the pen. The other person – same age, both in their 60s – used Apple Pay. In that particular case, it’s like, “Hey, we’ve got to offer both options because our demographic is saying and our research is showing that customers at that age are using both forms of payment.” You go where your customer is. If your customers are on Pinterest or Instagram and not Twitter and Facebook, well, that’s fine.

I was just over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and we were talking about Twitter and different social media channels. They said that Twitter hasn’t caught on in that part of that world yet, so they don’t put a lot of effort towards Twitter yet. Wait til it’s time. But don’t wait until after it’s happened – watch the trends, watch where people are going.

Can Moments of Magic® be created through documentation?

Sure they can. The self-service solution – in a sense – is an easier, more frictionless solution than a phone. Customers have to wait on hold, “Push 1 for this, 2 for that,” get to a person who says, “Hey, I need proof that you’re a customer,” then asks for my name, Social Security number, my first-born child’s name, etc.

The self-service solution – in a sense – is an easier, more frictionless solution than a phone.

Instead, imagine this: I bought a ping pong table and went to set it up. There were all these bars, nuts, bolts, and metal pieces that had to go together, and I’m thinking, “This is crazy! I’ve got to call and get some help.”

So I called and the call center was closed. But their recording said, “Please go online and look at our video-based solutions.” I could actually go on YouTube and put in the manufacturer’s name and model number and pull up a video of exactly how to put this ping pong table together. It was like having an instructor looking over my shoulder. I thought, “Wow, that worked really well.”

Do you think the trend of service teams using videos to solve problems for customers will catch on?

It already is. You’re also seeing other self-service solutions. At its basic root, a self-service solution is a frequently asked questions page on your website, but you can go far beyond that with video. You can go even further by crowdsourcing and creating a forum where customers can ask questions and then other customers share their answers.

At its basic root, a self-service solution is a frequently asked questions page on your website, but you can go far beyond that with video.

Some companies have a chief customer officer or chief experience officer. These people, in these positions, are tasked with not only analyzing data and looking for better ways to improve service, but also creating a culture that’s focused on the customer.

At the end of the day, all departments need to be working together, not as separate, siloed departments. They’re all focused on one thing: creating a great experience for customers that’s going to make them come back and do business with you again. When that happens, the company prospers, there’s job security, there’s longevity, and there’s success – that’s what it’s all about.

Read Our Full Interview with Shep Hyken on Customer Service Excellence »

Do you think that support community forums are an effective customer service channel that will grow in popularity in the future?

In certain industries, they’re definitely catching on, especially in the software industry where people are talking about how they’re creatively coming up with solutions to problems, how they’re using certain items in different ways to the company’s advantage. Hence, the concept of the user group.

Want more insights from Shep about using customer service channels? Download our full interview here: The Keys to Customer Service Excellence with Shep Hyken.

 

 

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