How to improve customer relationships with conversational support

Your current ticketing workflow may be designed to have operations moving as swiftly as possible, but are your customers getting the seamless experience they deserve, even when they run into problems? Personal, sincere, one-on-one conversations are key to creating broader, more beneficial relationships on both sides.

Instead of outsourcing customer care and brushing it under the carpet, make incredible customer relationships your USP. Turn soulless transactions into meaningful interactions and strengthen customer relationships with conversations.

Leaving the support ticket assembly line behind 

The typical support ticket procedure that most companies follow can be quick to churn out frustrated, unsatisfied, and downright angry customers. Alternatively, businesses can opt to leverage customer service as a value-adding experience, and avoid the net loss of failing to put enough focus on their customers.

Despite its negative connotations, a ticketing model is still used by most businesses in support software for customer care. But, by replacing soulless ticketing with human conversations, you’ll reap the rewards—long term. 

Embracing conversational marketing means waving goodbye to sterile ticketing tactics. Ticketing treats customers like an assembly line. One case in, one case out. This may be practical, but think about its implications for a moment. Boredom, waiting, and impersonal, tiresome service.

Image by DRIFT

Invite conversation like a human being 

Giving your CS agents room to adjust their language to be more friendly can soothe disgruntled customers. Aim for a service style that is friendly and personable, not stale and lifeless. Treat customers as engaged partners, not ticket numbers. 

That means being organic, and addressing customers on a first-name basis. Always. Time may be of the essence, but the customer should never feel rushed. Give them time to express their needs, and build trust in your brand. 

Don’t scrimp on the pleasantries. Ask customers how they’re doing. Ask them what’s concerning them today. Making your customers feel comfortable and valued will encourage them to engage with you on a recurring basis. Failing to put your customer first will lose you money, so treat them like a person, not a number. 

A ticketing approach is a sure-fire way to robotize and ostracize your clients. Open conversation encourages human interaction, and builds trusting relationships with your users. 

To achieve the best results, think like a customer. Don’t be afraid to exploit modern business intelligence solutions. This will help you to collect valuable information and insights. After all, what is business intelligence if not unmoderated customer feedback data? 

Use your data infrastructure to know your market and gain competitive intelligence. Preempt common follow-up questions. Offer the solutions before your customers even have to ask. You’ll be sure to impress them.

Personalize every response 

Personalization gives customers the confidence to know that every query is unique. Once you’ve established conversation as a core service value, it’s time to refine your approach. First-name personalization is a good start, but it’s not enough.  

It’s no good conversing if you’re awkward, impersonal, and unnecessarily formal. Aim for a welcoming and consistent service. Messaging apps are commonplace in our personal lives. It’s about time businesses embrace the new normal.

Photo by Denis Cherkashin on Unsplash

Chatbots and emojis have their place in customer care. They are quick and casual, and mimic friendly, everyday interactions. These technologies are useful resources. Chatbots are an efficient way to triage customer queries for a personal service. 

By using AI and automation, bots answer simple questions instantly. More complex inquiries are redirected to the appropriate professional. 

Offering customer-friendly design is also part and parcel of a personalized service. Start with your webpage. Choose from website builders that offer simple, user-friendly, customizable designs. Aim for ease of use and opportunities for personalized interaction. 

The key is to value individuals and offer each customer a bespoke experience. That means avoiding canned responses at all costs.  Even if you’ve received a question a thousand times. Keep in mind that different people will respond to different answers. 

Always take the blame 

Understand and resolve. As a customer service provider, you need to be humble as well as practical. Even negative feedback can end in positive customer experiences. Follow these three pillars of service at all times:

  1. Never blame your customer. No matter how difficult or challenging, your customer is always right. It’s an age-old saying for good reason. Battling your customers will only harm your reputation and all-important sales. 
  2. Always apologize for the problems they are experiencing. The customer wants to know you care. Your clients are more likely to take a forgiving attitude to slip-ups and blunders if you offer them a sincere apology. 
  3. Offer a solution. Reassure your clients that improvements are being made. Customer service translates as custom solutions. Never skip this step. 

Remember, customer service is all about problem-solving. Conversations should always end in resolution. This will leave your customers reassured and satisfied. When an obvious solution is not at hand, offer honest responses. Clients value this over fickle and false promises.

As much as possible, it’s important to make provisions for these difficult conversations in your call centers. An automated switchboard can work wonders by giving you full control over routing incoming calls. 

Make sure common questions can be answered quickly and always have experienced professionals in place for technical queries. Careful management of your switchboard will boost efficiency and user experience.

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Help agents handle multiple conversations

Waiting times are critical. Customer waiting times can make or break your competitive edge. Asynchronous messaging and call center solutions can maximize customer service quality and efficiency. 

Maintaining multiple conversations used to be time-consuming and costly. But this need not be the case. In today’s day and age, service management technology comes to the rescue. Asynchronous messaging platforms allow different parties to respond in their own time. 

Make sure you’re also tracking call center performance. Use cloud based call recording to keep service conversations on record. This will help you identify areas for improvement. Keeping tabs on service quality is essential for maintaining consistent customer care and maximizing sales.

Know the ins and outs of the product

Every customer is different. It’s important to be adaptable. Be ready to explain things in ways that everyone can understand. Know your product inside out and to a tee. Be ready to answer any question that comes your way. 

That means being constantly aware of updates, changes, features, and specifications. Having this information at your fingertips will help you help your customers. Linking out to knowledge-based articles can bog down your quality of service so avoid this and prioritize dynamic support conversations based on extensive product knowledge. 

If you do find yourself short of an answer from time to time, don’t sweat. Even the most knowledgeable employees can’t know everything. Be sure to have other experienced professionals on hand to step in when you fall short. 

Today it’s easier than ever to get a second opinion. With wireless screen sharing you can share your screen with an experienced colleague. They don’t even have to be in the same department. Let’s be honest, they don’t even have to be in the same country!

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Don’t assume anything about the customer

Try not to assume your customer’s level of technical knowledge. Be neutral and gauge their needs accordingly. 

Every customer will have different needs so it’s important to log customer data. This will save time in the long-run. When the customer returns, future agents will know their purchase history and technical capabilities. 

But great customer care isn’t just about your existing client base. Sure, it’s imperative that you treat them well, but these aren’t the only people that need your attention. Customer service is just as much about anticipating your future customers’ every need. 

Attracting loyal clients is the foundation of business success. One way to serve your customers-to-be is by distributing informative emails. There are loads of newsletter templates out there. Choose a template that suits your business model, and start building an audience.

Always invite more questions

It’s also good practice to ask your customers some questions. Especially as your conversation is drawing to a close. The most important thing to ask is whether you have resolved their particular issue. Ask yourself, is there anything else you can do to improve their customer experience

Invite questions with pleasure. Resolution might be the primary service goal, but openness to questions will make customers feel even more valued. Allow customers to ask as many questions as they need without feeling like a nuisance. This will foster lasting relationships that end in sales. 

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Go on, have a chat 

So, there we have it. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, customer service is about human interaction and human relationships. Avoiding sterile interactions is not just a nicety, it’s an essential business ethic. Conversations really do make cash. 

At the end of the day, failing to provide satisfactory customer care will only hurt your business. Don’t let shoddy service drive away your customers and lose you money. 

By valuing your clients and offering the best service out there, you’ll be armed with an epic USP that money can’t buy.