When a customer gets in touch with your customer services, it is to get an answer to a question or to get help with solving a problem. Whether the customer is ultimately satisfied or frustrated depends on how quickly and well your business handles enquiries.
If your customers reflect the average consumer, it's worth spending time on service levels: As many as 46% of consumers get frustrated when dealing with customer services.
And when 68% of consumers also say they are willing to pay more for products or services with good customer service, delivering unbeatable customer service is not just about good form.
It is also good business.
This is the conclusion of several studies:
89% of consumers have stopped buying from a company after a bad customer experience.
As well as providing customers with the best possible buying experience, customer service can also play a vital role in optimising and growing your business.
To succeed, you need to tap the full potential of the vast customer knowledge that exists in customer services.
By rethinking customer services in three crucial areas, you can reform your customer services into a commercial value creator.
Here, we take a deep dive into the three areas.
From cost center to profit center
How customer service pays off
Our experience shows that many companies see customer services as a cost center. In some cases, it is even perceived as a "necessary evil".
It is often difficult to quantify the value created in customer services monetarily. It is a function that requires employees to engage in dialogue with customers. In particular, in the context of information about products and services or in the context of complaints.
As sales and the business grow, more and more enquiries are received. This challenge is often met by hiring more staff to handle the volume of customer enquiries.
In the process, you can lose track of the customer data and knowledge that flows into customer services. You may also lose sight of the sales opportunities inherent in the customer contact that customer services handles every day. Many thousands of enquiries – and potential sales opportunities – each year.
This means potentially losing revenue.
At Vertica, we see customer service as an essential part of the customer journey, where sales and service are inextricably linked. That is why we specialise in commercialising the customer services function and use it to drive overall business growth.
How do you create commercial growth in customer service?
To find the potential of your company's customer services, you should first prepare a detailed review of the customer journey. Here, all touchpoints should be mapped.
In Vertica we review where goodwill/badwill situations can arise. At all touchpoints, we develop action plans for dealing with known situations.
With a proactive approach to all scenarios, we work to avoid badwill before it occurs. We also make a plan for how goodwill can be translated into sales that create an even better customer experience.
For example, what do you do if a shipment is delayed, a product is discontinued or a product variant is sold out? Think about the service you can offer customers in all contexts. Perhaps it's a voucher, free shipping or something else. The most important thing is to make a plan of action before badwill occurs.
Customer services are in contact with hundreds or thousands of customers every day. By considering upselling and commercial growth in the department, customer service becomes a growth engine rather than a cost centre.
Business over system
It may sound cliché, but there's a point to this: it's about letting your strategy and business goals define your systems rather than the other way around.
Initially, there can be many reasons to look at optimising your customer service system or investing in a new one. These may include:
Challenges in handling a large number of enquiries.
Enquiries and information from customer contact are handled in different systems. This results in a lack of overview.
Business growth is not reflected in the customer service setup. Customer service may have been overlooked, as sales, digital and marketing are traditionally seen as major drivers of growth.
But before you buy a new system and power it up, ask yourself what you want to achieve with customer service and how the goals align with the strategy. A new system may not solve the challenges that underlie the need for a new system.
To go a step deeper, consider:
What are the challenges?
What do you want to improve?
What should a system be able to do?
What are your work processes in this area like?
What competences are available in the department?
How can customer service be linked to other digital channels?
A survey of staff in customer service units shows that one of the biggest challenges in this area is the high volume of cases received.
Combined with the fact that 41% of customers expect a response to their case within 6 hours, and almost all customers expect a response within 24 hours, there are many benefits to managing all enquiries in one system that offers an overview.
The most important thing when faced with implementing a new customer service system is that it fits with the customer journey that characterises your business. And that it fits with your overall strategy.
This is a prerequisite for creating a commercial customer service that creates value.
With more than 20 years of experience in software development for e-commerce businesses, we can model a solution that fits your business needs.
Share customer data across the organisation
Customer services have invaluable knowledge about customer challenges and their questions about the products and/or services your business offers.
Among other things, such knowledge includes:
How often each customer contacts us.
What challenges customers have with specific products and/or services.
What part of the communication around products and/or services generates the most questions from customers.
In busy times, it can be difficult to ensure that customer data and knowledge is shared across the organisation. This has implications for sales and marketing, who may not be getting the full benefit of their efforts due to a lack of understanding of customer challenges.
To get value of customer services you should:
Structure and build methods for handling customer data.
Optimise flows and processes across sales and digital/marketing and customer service
Create system links so that all data is available in a system that can be accessed across functions.
By leveraging customer data and building customer profiles based on enquiries, your business gets unique opportunities to personalise the purchase journey even further.
In this way, customer service contributes to the personalisation initiatives that already exist in your business.
Here, a Customer Data Platform is a relevant tool that can help you create a personalised and coherent customer journey throughout. You can read more about this here.
This allows you to work with loyalty and sales at all touch points.
Find your zen in customer service
With good reason, Zendesk is the most sought-after customer service software on the market. It's an agile software that can be shaped and modified according to the needs of your business.
Vertica is a Zendesk partner, which means that we advise on – and implement solutions in – Zendesk.
Do you want to know how we can strengthen your digital business?