In today’s competitive market, it’s hard to stand out. Only a handful of startups blow up and get a piece of the cake controlled by large corporations. Many other businesses use great customer care to build up a dedicated following.
Many factors are involved when it comes to the success of a business, all of which amount to customer satisfaction. Quality, utility, price, and more all play a role in the success of the business.
However, not all of these factors relate to the product. Brand factors also play a huge role. Customer care is one of the most important aspects that determine a brand’s success.
Ultimately, every customer invests money in return for a product and service.
This is why customer satisfaction is considered by many the ultimate metric for evaluating the success of a business and its potential.
Providing excellent customer service is crucial for business success, but the bar keeps increasing. 81% of customers expect more from companies today than a year ago. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the latest techniques, strategies and technologies to wow your customers and Stand out against the competition.
Whether you run a support team or want to improve frontline skills, use these actionable best practices to turn satisfied customers into loyal brand advocates.
Customer care is where it all starts.
Table of Contents
What Is Customer Care?
Customer care or customer service is an integral part of any business. It is concerned with supporting the clients before, during, and after the purchase. Customer service isn’t a perk offered to customers after they purchase your product or service.
It’s a powerful tool that can help drive and maintain high customer satisfaction.
Most of us associate customer care with answering queries from confused or angry customers. However, that is an example of bad customer care. In reality, a company should provide customer support throughout the user’s experience with the brand.
When experiencing a product problem, most of us usually try everything from the internet to trial and error to solve the problem before contacting customer support. Having reliable remote support solutions in place can empower users to resolve issues independently and efficiently.
Because honestly, we all dread that long hold on the phone or the difficulty of email customer care.
This doesn’t have to be the case. The goal is for your customer care team to be the number one source of information on your product. It should be the easy way to solve a problem or inquire about something regarding your products.
Why Is Customer Care So Important?
Before learning how to improve your customer experience through customer care, knowing why is important.
1. Keeping Customers is Cheaper Than Making New Ones
If you’re in the business world, you probably often heard this phrase. This is because it is simply true. Maintaining a relationship with existing clients is easier and much cheaper.
Studies show that retention is six times cheaper than acquiring new customers. Why is that?
Because most of a product’s sales expenses concern introducing a customer to your product. Your existing customers already know about your product. They just need a reason to keep coming back for it.
This is done by maintaining a quality standard, but in today’s ever-changing market can’t be guaranteed. A more practical approach is maintaining a quality customer care standard.
In the catering industry, for example, a survey showed that 74% of people would choose where to dine based on the quality of service rather than the quality of food.
This is a crucial indication that customers buy good customer service and the product itself, if not more so.
2. Increasing Your Brand Loyalty
There is no doubt that when we’re browsing for a new product, we start our search with the brands we already know. This happens consciously and subconsciously because it’s safer to bet on a provider we know.
This is in almost all markets, from clothes to electronics to fast food.
Providing good customer care is a major deciding factor regarding brand loyalty. Imagine you want to buy new shoes; you will automatically think of the shop where you had the best shopping experience, even before thinking where you last found the best shoes you got.
3. Free Advertisement
How often have you bought a certain brand just because a friend told you about it or saw reviews online? The internet nowadays makes a brand’s reputation hang on the thin thread.
Thanks to social media websites and review blogs replacing word of mouth, the masses can now decide the fate of your brand. This isn’t necessarily bad since the positive spreads just as much as the negative.
It all starts with the way you treat your customers. Ultimately, they will spread the word if you provide them with good customer care and an overall positive experience. This means your clients can become free brand ambassadors if treated right.
4. Increasing Revenue
The fact is, people are willing to pay more money for a better service. If you are confident in your overall customer experience, starting with the customer care team, you can mark up your product at a higher price.
You can also use customer contact as a chance to upsell additional products.
In the end, your clients are looking for value for their money, including a valuable relationship. Most purchasing decisions are highly biased and personalised according to our experiences.
How to Improve Your Customer Experience with Customer Care
Customer service isn’t just about smiling and being polite, although that’s a start. It’s a set of skills that everyone in the customer care team needs to perfect. But before learning how to react to customers, learning how to read the customer is important.
Types of Customers
Of course, not all customers are alike. After all, some of us expect different things from brands than others. With that in mind, here are the four key customer care personas you should know.
1. Potential Buyers
These people are not your clients yet but can be if you persuade them. They already know about your product but need a little push to purchase it.
Customer care can be the deciding factor in gaining this client.
This is done by creating a clear communication line available to anyone needing more information about the product. In short, you need to show them you’re here to answer any concerns about your product easily and honestly.
2. Fresh Buyers
They are those who have already bought something from you. New customers are where most of your customer care efforts should take place. There can be no room for error because new clients are very volatile.
It comes down to the same concept as first impressions in person. A good practice is to advise your team to assume all clients are fresh buyers. This gives your team a sense of priority and delicacy when treating every customer.
3. Deal Hunters
These customers only visit you because you’re offering a discount on a certain product. This means they are the most challenging when adding value through customer care.
However, this doesn’t make supporting them any less important. Deal hunters are a great pool for new market segments. If they are treated well, they can return later, at least next time you have a sale.
4. Loyal Clients
It’s important to distinguish your loyal customers who frequent your brand from others. Why?
For two reasons:
- Firstly, you have a guaranteed client and want to keep it that way.
- Another reason is to attract others to the benefits of frequenting your brand.
Who wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant or shop where employees know you by name?
Skills Needed for a Better Customer Care Experience
Customer service goes beyond your day-to-day personality, just like any profession. You need a few specific skills directly related to your line of work to stand out. This is especially true when difficult situations arise.
You simply need to be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes in any situation.
No matter how absurd the client’s concerns or questions may seem, they probably have context from their point of view; you need to understand what the customer needs exactly and the best way to deliver it to each one.
Needless to say it’s important for anyone dealing with a customer to have the maximum amount of patience.
This means taking as much time to address the customer’s needs as they want. Most of the time, clients – especially those contacting customer care – are frustrated and confused. This inevitably requires a certain degree of patience.
The ability to pay attention to customers goes a long way beyond simply listening to their questions. It’s about reading what’s between the lines and understanding the customer’s needs.
The client, in the end, is probably not an expert. Chances are you’ve encountered their problem, but they haven’t. Even so, it’s worth hearing out the customer’s exact circumstances and concerns.
Attentiveness gives your business insights into something that needs fixing in the product or the brand. For example, a client with problems finding a certain feature on your software or website could have bigger problems.
If one customer has found a problem, other people are probably experiencing it, too.
With feedback from enough clients, your customer care team can provide recommendations to the developers. A good employee can tell what’s wrong without the customer saying it explicitly.
4. Product Awareness
Having the proper knowledge of a product promotes trust from the client, not only to the employee but to the brand. Because when the customer contacts customer service, he usually calls the company without department distinction.
Nothing aggravates customer care more than “I don’t know, let me get back to you.” It’s important to have as much background on the products as possible, this reduces the response time and gives a good impression that you know what you’re doing.
5. Communication Skills
Having the proper knowledge on the product and the ability to listen to the customer only covers the input part of customer care.
What about the output? Being a good listener is great, but without being able to respond quickly and on point, you aren’t of much use to the customer.
It’s important to know how to relay your information to every individual client in simple and clear terms. A simple act of miscommunication can mean the loss of that client’s trust or the loss of the client altogether.
6. Positive Language
A huge difference exists in saying “Your SIM card will not work for the next 2 hours.” And saying, “Your SIM card will work shortly in the next 2 hours.” Even though they both say the same information.
However, the first uses negative language, automatically giving the client a feeling that they will be immobilized for the next two hours. On the other hand, using positive language promotes a feeling of relief that in the next two hours, my problems will be solved.
7. Emotional Intelligence
The truth is you’re not going to be happy dealing with your customers all the time. Sometimes, the customer can be slightly more annoying, or you could just be having a bad day.
This, however, cannot reflect on your ability to do your job, which is to solve their problem.
Emotional intelligence means controlling your emotions and showing empathy towards people in difficult conversations. This only means you’re a professional and can work under pressure.
The skills needed for good customer care are useful in all careers and life. However, it’s all about how you harness and condition these skills in the situation at hand, which is, in this case, helping a customer.
Implementing Omnichannel Customer Care
One critical aspect of providing exemplary customer service is having an omnichannel strategy. This means giving customers a seamless experience whether they reach out via phone, email, live chat, social media, or any other channel.
Here are a few tips for delivering omnichannel customer care:
- Use CRM software to maintain unified customer profiles across channels. This provides agents with the full history and context to deliver personalised support. Popular platforms like Salesforce and Zendesk have omnichannel capabilities.
- Meet customers where they are by offering support across all major channels. Be responsive on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
- Maintain brand consistency across channels through aligned workflows and tone of voice. This helps manage expectations.
- Offer self-service options via FAQ pages, help centres and chatbots. These provide quick answers off-hours or for simple inquiries.
- Enable seamless hand-offs between channels. So conversations can transition smoothly from chat to phone support.
- Analyse data at the customer level to identify channel preferences and gaps in the journey.
- Train agents to provide consistent experiences by role-playing across different channels.
- Monitor cross-channel KPIs like resolution time and CSAT across all touchpoints.
- The key is mapping the customer journey end-to-end, eliminating silos between channels and back-end teams. This allows brands to continually optimize based on how UK customers want to engage.
Specific tips, actionable steps and examples to create an ultimate guide.
1 – Customer Service Training
- Conduct role-playing exercises regularly to practice key scenarios like complaints.
- Shadow top-performing agents to learn best practices first-hand.
- Refresh training frequently as policies and offerings change.
- Make training interactive with videos, quizzes, and simulations.
- Have supervisors monitor calls periodically and provide feedback.
- Emphasize soft skills like building rapport, empathy and listening.
2 – Handling Difficult Customers
- Actively listen without interrupting to understand frustrations.
- Offer apologies and sympathize with their situation.
- Take ownership of the issue and offer ways you can help.
- Remain calm and avoid arguing back.
- Empower agents to provide discretionary perks like express shipping.
- Have escalation processes for complex or high-severity issues.
3 – Service Recovery Strategies
- Set expectations upfront on timelines and next steps.
- Follow up proactively if commitments cannot be met.
- Offer concessions like discounts, upgrades, and perks for any service failures.
- Ask for feedback on if the solution met their needs.
- Have management contact customers directly for severe issues.
- Analyze failures to improve policies and avoid repeated issues.
4 – Key Customer Service Metrics
- First response/reply time
- Backlog volume
- Resolution time
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer retention rate
- Number of repeat customers
- Customer lifetime value
5 – Customer Service Tools and Technology
- Ticketing systems like Zendesk to track queries.
- Live chat for instant, personal support.
- Customer service CRMs and knowledge bases.
- AI chatbots for faster response.
- Customer service analytics.
- Customer feedback and community tools.
Customer Care Means Taking Care of Your Business
Open any company website, and you’ll find it all seemingly customer-oriented. Starting from the company’s vision, mission and values, everything says in one way or another that it’s for the customers.
These statements are not only words and empty promises.
They should be the general theme of how every department operates and the standards that they’re held by. Customer care is the storefront to your company values, and your business will be judged according to the care and support it has for its customers.
Customer Care: FAQ
Q: What is the #1 priority in customer service?
A: Understanding and empathizing with the customer’s needs and perspective. This builds trust and loyalty.
Q: How quickly should we respond to customer inquiries?
A: Aim for the first response within 1 hour. Urgent issues should be addressed instantly.
Q: What metrics best reflect customer service success?
A: CSAT, NPS and customer retention rate are key indicators of service quality and impact.
Q: How much should we invest in customer service?
A: Industry research shows that every $1 invested in CX yields a return of $2 to $10 in revenue.
Q: How can we standardize customer service across channels?
A: Create detailed protocols, train staff thoroughly, and use integrated platforms.
Customer Care: Conclusion
Exceptional customer service requires an organization-wide commitment and a customer-centric culture. By implementing the strategies and best practices outlined in this guide, you can enhance every touchpoint and interaction to deliver personalized, empathetic service.
Take a programmatic approach to improving skills, metrics and processes over time. Continually gather customer feedback through surveys and dialogue. Leverage technology but stay focused on the human element of understanding people’s needs. With this comprehensive approach, you will retain happy customers, create brand advocates, and build a loyal customer base for long-term success.