10 Ways to Improve Customer Service
Feb 03, 2023
Where would your business be without your customers? They’re your lifeblood, the reason you exist. So you shouldn’t have to be in business long to understand that providing an exceptional customer experience is just as important to your customers — if not more — as the products or services that draw them to you.
Let us say it again: Not just a good customer experience, but an exceptional one is vital to company growth and building customer loyalty. This is especially true in today’s world of mass communication and social media, where word of customer experiences — good and bad — can spread quickly and make an enormous impact on your business’s success either way. In fact, according to the National Business Research Institute, consumers are 81% more likely to do repeat business with a company after a good service experience. (1)
So, how can you as a company work to improve customer service? Read on for 10 effective tips to make it happen!
1. Understand Your Customers’ Needs
Everything your customer service team is doing should be based on a singular purpose: addressing, meeting and exceeding your customers’ needs, wants and expectations. Communicating with your customers is the key to getting valuable insights into their needs, then incorporating solutions into your customer service practices to provide the most optimal experience possible.
2. Practice Empathy
To paraphrase an often-used saying: You’re not so much remembered by a customer for what you said or did, but how you made them feel. Learning customers’ specific needs will help you understand what systems to implement, but practicing empathy with customers can lead to better customer loyalty. Engage, ask questions and be in the moment with them. Ask yourself how customers feel in the moments while they interact with your team and afterward. Remember: Your products and services exist to solve problems for your customers — and so should you.
3. Create Feedback Loops
Developing the right experience for your customers entails getting feedback not only from those customers, but from your employees as well. This ensures they have the tools they need to resolve customer issues. Also, create an environment within your company that will encourage employees to provide honest feedback of their experiences with customers. From there you can pinpoint what works in your current customer service system and where there are opportunities for improvement. It will also help your employees feel both valued and validated in their work.
4. Measure Performance and Progress
Setting up your team for success means choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for them to reach. Having a solid framework of KPIs (i.e., indicators or goals you can set up to track progress and success) will help employees to know exactly what they need to focus on during customer service interactions to achieve that success. Just a few of many indicators you could use to track progress include:
First Contact Resolution (FCR): The ability of your team to solve a customer’s problem the first time a customer contacts your company (e.g., in person, via chat, email or social media)
Negative Response Rate (NRR): Indicates the percentage or number of negative customer feedback or ratings a company receives.
Average Resolution Time (ART): The average time it takes to resolve a customer’s issue or answer their question in a giventime frame.
5. First Contact Solutions
If you’re trying to decide which KPI would be most effective to tackle first to create better customer relations, consider tackling the First Contact Resolution Score. The speed of resolution is important, but there is a benefit to creating a high-quality first response to do so. So tracking this indicator can help your team determine the quality of work that needs to go into ensuring a customer's issue is resolved to their satisfaction the first time around.
6. Set Short- and Long-Term Goals
Once you have those KPIs established, you can set goals for your team to meet. Giving employees individual goals and incentives to strive for not only allows their career goals to be met, but your overall business growth goals as well. Allowing employees to have a say in their own goals can have a greater impact on their motivation and performance.
7. Streamline Processes
Finding ways for your team to work smarter (not harder) can help save everyone time, money and energy; reduce errors in work; and allow employees to focus their energy on other matters. Streamlining certain processes within the customer experience can also make things less stressful for everyone.
Offering Acima Leasing is a great way to make this happen. Here’s how:
For customers, Acima Leasing lease-to-own options* help unlock your customers’ shopping power, especially those who do not want to use credit.*
For your employees, setting up Acima Leasing takes the pressure off of them by taking care of the approval process, setting up the program in stores, and even providing materials to help them explain Acima Leasing to customers.
For your business, Acima Leasing can be an avenue to easily increase revenue while giving customers an easy, seamless shopping experience. A win-win.
8. Create Accountability Strategies
Meet your customers where they are — online! Utilizing multiple digital channels to create more accessibility to your customer service team is crucial in today’s digital world. Customers will appreciate the ease and timeliness with which they’re able to communicate with a company representative through these channels. Some ideas include:
Make multiple points of contact information (e.g., phone number, webchat, email, etc.) easy to find on your website and use them (i.e., be responsive!).
Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as spaces to provide customer service communication.
Direct customers to an FAQ page, help center or community forum to find answers on their own — a potential time saver for everyone.
9. Be Transparent
If you’re looking for ways to improve that all-important communication among your teams, practice transparency. For example, sharing KPI results with your teams allows them to see actual data, and from there you have a path forward to discuss concerns and create real-time solutions. This type of honest communication is another way to facilitate a sense of ownership and independence among your team members, which usually leads to better productivity and performance.
10. Provide Rewards and Recognition
There are few more effective ways to keep team members motivated than praising and recognizing them when they are performing well. To keep motivation up, why not add actual, tangible rewards to the mix? Rewards can run the gamut from a small gift card to an “employee of the month” program, and can be done no matter what your company budget. The payoffs:
Team members work harder because they have a greater incentive to reach their goals.
It gives you a chance to reward your employees immediately, in real time.
Short-term goals and incentives are viewed as more achievable, so employees are more likely to participate.
A rewards program fosters a great company culture where employees feel valued.
Motivation to provide better customer service leads naturally to improved customer experiences.
Communication + Creativity = Happier Customers
Creating an excellent customer experience requires good communication and listening — to your team and your customers. Finding ways to make that experience come to life also entails thinking outside of the box and considering solutions like the ones Acima Leasing can provide. Put these tips into practice to improve your customer service, celebrate happier customers and employees, and watch your business grow like never before.