service isn't just in the eye of the beholder. In a Web 2.0 age where terms like "customer experience management" and "customer relationship management" are making headlines, providing outstanding customer service is still part art, part science -- and all about the customer.
Providing great customer service requires ongoing training, analysis of trends, really listening to your customers, and the ability to adapt to changes quickly and efficiently. All of that, plus a good dose of common sense -- asking yourself and your team how you all like to be treated when the tables are turned and you're in the role of customer.
To help keep your team fresh and focused on the customer, we've gathered customer service advice from several tech gurus who specialize in providing critical tools for the customer-serving masses. Our first three tips come from CRM expert Salesforce.com: leverage a community of experts; share helpful resources; and go mobile. Let's take a look.
Leverage the Community
"Encourage [your sales and customer service] agents to collaborate with external experts in your industry. Use their feedback to determine which areas of your products and processes need improvement," say the pros at Salesforce.com. "Customers are less likely to post egregiously negative comments when interacting with an individual rather than a brand."
Share the Knowledge
Salesforce also suggests helping your customers become sources of knowledge. That means sharing useful content, such as a blog post, webinar, or white paper to help solve their issues, and equipping them to share this information with others.
Mobilize Your Service
While businesses are beginning to provide in-app and text SMS support, Salesforce estimates only 25 percent of businesses have mobile customer service strategies. Yet, another estimate suggests sixty percent of consumers have the customer support apps from companies they do business with and whose products and services they buy. That means mobilizing your service offerings is becoming increasingly important.
Get Closer to Your Customers
Monica Norton, senior director of content marketing at ZenDesk, has a few tips of her own: Get closer to your customers; build good will; and, have a plan.
"Just like in your personal life, the best way to develop close, long-lasting relationships with your customers is to devote your time and energy to the process," she writes in a blog post. "Ask your customers for their input, listen to what they say, and act on what you learn."
Build Good Will and Plan Ahead
Posted: 2013-09-05 @ 8:42pm PT
One point that could some up several areas of this list is to be sure to maintain the human element in every interaction and relationship. Customer service agents, salespeople, etc are all hired to be humans for interfacing with human customers. If robots were good enough, you'd be out of a job, but you have something those robots don't and your customers have it to: you're both humans.
If you treat your customers like humans instead of numbers, you'll be much better off, will have more success, and will have a much more rewarding time working.
I wrote more about this topic on my blog. I hope it's ok to leave the link here: http://www.jobnimbus.com/bringing-the-human-element-back-to-crm/