Most companies have some level of interaction with customers. There are four main types of customer service: phone calls to a company employee, phone calls to an automated voice service, face to face communication, and email. Regardless of the type of customer service your business provides, how you handle this interaction can be make or break for your company’s reputation.
Good customer service is about making your customers feel valued and respected and happy. This will bring them back to your service time and time again and provide positive feedback about your business to others. In turn this will generate more people trying your product or service who will also then enjoy your customer service and become repeat customers. On the other hand, poor customer service can result in bad word of mouth and reviews, which can cause terrible damage to your business.
By taking time to consider the different types of customer service you can make sure you pick the one’s that are right for your business. By identifying them you can learn how to use them well and consistently, ensuring a better overall customer service for your business.
Areas of customer service
Phone calls to an employee/ Live chat
Known as ‘live’ phone calls, this area of customer service involves the individual calling a number provided by you, to discuss your business, their requirements or perhaps to arrange a refund or discuss a concern. For example, a customer may not be able to find an item of clothing in their size. They call your number for assistance. If you provide a number but do not have a system or the capacity to deal with these calls, you will leave the individual frustrated and possibly annoyed enough to leave a negative review.
On the other hand, if the phone call is answered promptly, the advisor knows what they are talking about, and is able to help, they individual will feel valued and confident in your business. This will encourage them to return to you again.
- Employees who handle phone calls need to have certain key skills:
- Good communication
- Good understanding of the products
- Problem solving thinking
- Friendly and helpful attitude
Live chat works in the same way but online. With live chat web users instantaneous access customer service. Phones aren’t necessary, so this is great for customers who would prefer not to make calls. Overall, live chat is the most popular customer support method – 73% of live chat customers report satisfaction, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone, according to eDigital.
2. Phone calls to an automated voice service/ live chat
Known as an ‘interactive voice response’ representative, or IVR representative, this is a computerised system that provides specific information to callers. This form of customer service is becoming more and more widely used. Most of us have some experience of calling the bank to discuss an issue, only to be greeted by a computer generated voice rather than an assistant.
IVR has some well known negative, as many people much prefer speaking to a person and become frustrated by IVR. But this system is popular for a reason. It saves valuable time and money by providing answers and direction for the most commonly asked questions and queries and can prioritise customer enquiries. This can often work very well alongside a support team.
Live chat works in the same way but online. With live chat web users instantaneous access customer service. Phones aren’t necessary, so customers who would prefer not to make calls like this option. Overall, live chat is the most popular customer support method: 73% of live chat customers report satisfaction, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone, according to eDigital.
3. Face to face communication
The traditional, well worn area of customer service. We all know exactly what this entails. But, it but should never been taken for granted and staff should be fully trained to work in this way.
In order to get the customer what they want it is vital to firstly listen to what they want. Forget going in with a sales pitch and bombarding them with product information. Always start with them doing the talking. Why are they in your business today, what are they looking for, how can you help? Actively listen to their responses. Show them you are listening by summarising what they have said and checking if your understanding is correct. Use the information they have given you to help them.
In today’s modern world, billions of emails are sent every day. In this environment, email is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways for customers to communicate with businesses. Using email customer support, customers can ask questions about your products quickly and easily. Similarly to IVR and live chat, email should be used to complement other forms of communication with your customers, rather than to replace them. But once in place, they will make customer service more streamlined and easier.
Engage in Learning provide Customer Service training courses which will help you understand why good customer service should be a crucial part of your business and how you can achieve it. The Customer Service Essentials course will show you how to evaluate the real impact of poor and good customer service.