The experience that customers have with your business matters more now than ever before. One of the best ways to ensure the pleasant customer experience is by offering superior support and assistance in time of need.
But as more and more customers are interacting with businesses through digital platforms rather than face-to-face, it is easy for a sense of disconnect to breed between consumers and the brands they buy from.
If a customer has a negative experience with a business, the chances that they will return are slim to none. However, positive interaction with a sales or customer service rep can not only encourage conversion, but it can also turn a consumer into an advocate for the brand.
According to a research report from Experience Matters, 77% of customers who had a positive support interaction would highly recommend the brand to others. Plus, 86% would be likely to repurchase and 79% reported that it would increase their trust in the business.
Customer’s expectations are on the rise. According to Microsoft’s report, over half of the consumers say they expect customer service teams to offer higher levels of support than they have in the past.
This leaves many businesses scrambling to find ways to match up to the expectations that customers are setting for their service experiences. In order to offer the kind of support that customers expect and deserve, you and your team need to be asking both customers and yourselves the right questions.
Questions to Ask Your Customers
Whether your support team is communicating over the phone or through digital tools, there are three very important questions that customers should be asked in order to create a better experience. When you are interacting with customers, it is important that the questions have a specific purpose. Ultimately, these questions should help to get to the root of the issue and identify the solution.
1. What Can We Do to Make This Right?
Of course, the majority of customers reach out to the support team because they are having an issue or problem that they cannot fix themselves. Rather than just offering an apology or suggesting a solution that you think will resolve the problem, just go ahead and ask them what exactly would help them out.
This simple question will likely throw them off guard. After all, have you ever been asked this question when calling into a customer support center? It may help soothe some ruffled feathers.
center? It may help soothe some ruffled feathers.
Of course, you may not be able to match their demands every single time. If this is the case, be sure to offer a compromise. Although you may not be able to offer them exactly what they are looking for, chances are that just being heard and asked this question will make the customer feel they are truly important to the business.
According to research from Customer Thermometer, this feeling of importance is critical to brand loyalty. In their report, they found that when customers felt like a brand cared about them and understood them, it greatly influenced their loyalty and advocacy for that company.
2. What Made You Decide to Give Us a Try?
Knowing why a customer is intrigued by your business or wanted to try your product is great for determining the best way to help them out. If they believe that your brand is top-notch quality or they have been a loyal fan for a long time, you can certainly use this information to offer a better and possibly more personalized experience through meaningful engagement.
Asking this question can also help to better understand customer sentiment.
- Why do customers choose your business?
- Is it because they trust the quality of your products, or is it because you offer the lowest price point?
- Is your brand often recommended to them by others?
Understanding how customers are learning about your company can lead to more relevant content and experiences. The support team for the SaaS company Sales Host asked this question to their customers in order to guide their targeted marketing strategies.
They soon learned that over 25% of customers were arriving to their website via referrals. By knowing this, Sales Host was able to direct their efforts by partnering with influencers and offering more incentives for customers to give recommendations.
3. Would You Leave a Referral or Review for Us?
It is always important to gather feedback from your customers, whether it is positive or negative. This is particularly true if you are wanting to improve the experience through your support team. Encourage asking all of your customers if they would leave a public review for your business to help your company improve and increase customer awareness at the same time.
It is important here to ask customers to share their reviews on multiple sites – not just your business website or common review sources like Yelp or Google. For example, the company Trustpilot uses a mix of multiple review sites to promote their platform through customer referrals. Some of these are general business review pages, while others are highly targeted niche sites.
By asking customers to leave feedback on multiple sites, you can build an external link presence while also gathering relevant feedback from customers to measure sentiment and identify areas for improvement.
Questions to Ask Your Team
It is quite easy for customer service representatives to grow complacent and fall into a steady pattern. However, this leads to generic interactions that do nothing to support a positive resolution. In order to provide a better service experience, it is also important that your customer support team is self-reflective by asking themselves some key questions.
1. How Are We Offering Customers the Help They Want?
Although telephone and email are the most common communication channels customers use to contact a business, it is important that your service team is offering multiple service options. Customers don’t always want to call in and speak to a customer service representative, especially if there is a long wait time or they have a quick question to ask.
Have your team ask themselves if they are offering enough information through other sources to create a more positive support experience. It is important to offer features that meet all of your customer’s expectations, such as an FAQ page for simple questions, a live chat support plugin for instant assistance, and content pieces that address in-depth customer issues.
Salesforce does a great job of this with their online experience. Their company blog has an entire section dedicated to useful tips and tricks that answer lots of common user questions. Customers can instantly connect through a live chat option, submit an inquiry via email, or call into a representative.
2. What Are the Questions and Problems We Face Most Often?
If you spend enough time in the customer service industry, you will start to notice that the majority of inquiries will be related to similar issues or questions. Rather than just having a scripted answer engrained in your mind for fast resolution, customer support teams should ask themselves what these patterns mean and how they can be used to improve the customer experience.
Look for patterns in the customer queries that your support team receives and see what solutions can be integrated to prevent them from recurring. For instance, if customers keep complaining about delayed shipments, inventory management systems may need to be adjusted. If website issues keep arising, it may be a sign that structures need to be updated and changed in order to provide a better online experience.
3. How Well Do We Know Our Customers?
No customer wants to feel like “just a number” to a business, no matter how large or small that company may be. This is why so many of us keep going to the same coffee shop, grocery store, or hair salon that we’ve been to for years. When the people in that business know us by name and remember our favorite order, it makes us feel special - and that leads to long-term loyalty.
When a customer calls in, how much information do you have off-hand that can be used to offer a better experience? By using a CRM system that keeps track of every single interaction and puts important data at your fingertips, customer service teams can create a much better support experience. Representatives can easily add in personal details like:
“I see that you’ve been a customer for the past three years, your last purchase was a blue sweater and a pair of jeans.”
“Looks like you were just talking to Jeff in the sales department and he sent you here in order to receive a refund on your credit card, is that correct?”
By keeping track of this information and ensuring that every single support team member can access this data, it ensures that customers do not have to repeat themselves or reiterate their information over and over again. Furthermore, it provides your support team with the exact information they need to offer superior assistance that is specific to that person’s situation.
As the customer experience becomes more and more important in the business world, it is critical that customer service teams do all that they can to ensure they are meeting and exceeding consumer standards. By asking both customers and yourselves these important questions, you and your team can lay the foundation for superior support by giving customers the kind of experience that fulfills their needs.
Jaykishan Panchal is an SEO & Content Marketing Manager at E2M Solutions Inc. Implementing cutting edge SEO strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence is his forte. Apart from helping small and big businesses, he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Start Ups, Technology Geeks with his knowledge and expertise of 9 years in the industry.