Customer stories are at an all-time high. Stories about terrible customer service? They are at an all-time high too. Besides teaching in ways no amount of research can, these stories tell clients which companies to avoid like the plague.
So which customer service companies provide the best experience? The short answer: supermarkets, car manufacturers, restaurants… the list goes on.
But the long answer is fascinating. Some companies are still struggling to design a delightful CX. In fact, 72% of companies say improving customer service is their top priority. Whether they have integrated the strategy into their funnel still remains a mystery.
Honestly, the best customer service companies don’t get recognized for a stroke of brilliance in certain moments. Their strength depends on robust support and customer-centric culture. If you’re wondering what a good customer service company looks like, fear not. In this write-up, we’ll cover customer service 101.
Developing or selling a product is only half the battle. You could have the highest and most exciting products to sell, but it means nothing if your customer service is poor. Businesses spend a hefty amount to attract and lure clients, so why shouldn’t the same apply to customer service?
Simply customer service is:
Broadly, customer service is about serving the needs of consumers. It can take many forms– from troubleshooting a product to processing a refund. It also contains aspects like:
Customer service starts when clients learn about your services and end when they forget. Customer service can vary depending on the products and personalization of the organization,
Here are three questions to help you figure out how to provide better customer service:
Can you quickly provide answers to customer queries? Are your sales reps highly educated about your services?
Is it easy to place an order in your business? Can you provide the customer with order details, such as the tracking number?
Can you quickly solve the issues if the product is faulty? Are you rewarding customers for their loyalty and repeat purchases?
Providing excellent customer experience can generate more marketing and sales opportunities. Here, we discover the key reasons why it is essential and how it can benefit customer service companies.
Did you know good customer service can justify a higher price tag for your services?
A good product or service can only take you so far. But if you add substantial customer service to the equation, the value of your offerings immediately fires up. And added value can translate to increased revenue.
It’s always cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones. Research shows that acquiring new customers costs 6-7x more than keeping current ones. And word-of-mouth can also be an effective driver for new prospects. Therefore, superb customer service is an effective way to retain and acquire new customers. Plus, every consumer that stays with your business is one less customer leaving for your competitor.
Your existing customers are your best sources for business. Everyone in your company will be in the loop about customer satisfaction when you connect all your support channels and the software you use to run a business. When you share product insights, customer information, and support metrics across the company, everyone will be productive and uncover new opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
What’s the first thing a client might do after having a negative experience with your company? A post on social media tagging your brand, a 1-star review on yelp, or worse– a full-blown blog on Google about your company.
The good news is you can prevent this with a little hack. You can easily avoid the dread by providing each of your customers with top-notch services. Even if a customer has left a 1-star review, follow up and assist them further to turn it into a 5.
When customers gain a positive experience with your brand, it turns into a positive reputation, which results in a positive workforce. This workforce is then motivated to work harder and offer better services. Over time, your brand name will be interchangeable with positive CX. This can be a massive advantage when launching new products, attracting investors, expanding into new industries, etc.
Good customer service makes it easier for prospects to do business with you. When customers have a positive attitude towards your company, they are more likely to recur.
Good customer service also makes it easier for people to recommend your brand. Why? Because a buoyant customer is one of the primary factors influencing purchasing decisions.
No one likes to receive daily rants from displeased customers. So, providing your staff with the proper tools and training to solve customer queries is the trick to boosting employee morale and reducing turnover (turnover is expensive)!
This also goes beyond your customer support agents and applies to recruitment. In fact, people hate working with companies that are flooded with negative reviews.
Generally, there are three different kinds of customer service companies.
Whether you are launching a restaurant, super-shop, or tech company– an in-house service department is always a good option. In-house means the support team will work in the same place as you. Therefore you will have better control over their performance.
Even though having an in-house support department sounds convenient for a business, more and more companies are turning to outsourcing support agents. In the IT industry, support services are delegated to outer contractors having more knowledge in a particular aspect. Outsourcing customer service companies can also save you lots of resources since it allows you to hire specialists globally.
At its core, hybrid models don’t look much different from in-house support teams. Here support agents work from home, office, or combine the two. The intermediate approach spares the company’s financial and human resources without sacrificing efficiency.
What we love the best about hybrid customer service models is that- if AI chatbots fail to answer a query, they will pass all the information to a human rep.
What might be considered good customer service for one industry might not be helpful for another. But exceptional customer service is about shifting from reactive to proactive situations to solve issues.
Take Amazon and Disney theme parks as an example. These are two of the top customer service companies.
Amazon– the retail giant stays out of your way as much as possible. The e-commerce platform has a straightforward interface and offers lucrative prices by ruthlessly optimizing operating costs. Its customer support is superb and acts promptly to resolve any problems. However, you’ll rarely have the occasion to experience them. The platform is designed to prevent bottlenecks, so you barely need assistance.
Contrarily, Disney created a sophisticated system to deliver a thrilling and memorable experience. It even features its terms: employees are cast members, and visitors are guests. Unlike Amazon, price isn’t the focus here. Disney stands out based on the unique experience it offers, not on the price or efficiency.
Even with a massive difference in their motto, customer service practices in both places has the same set of goals:
Your business should prop its hierarchy with stellar customer service. If delivering outstanding customer service is not a priority for a business, it could lose both potential and current customers.
Customer service companies do a lot more than answer and resolve issues. Here are some of them:
As a small business, you can’t afford the expenses a corporate giant charges. But that doesn’t mean your venture should stop. Customer service companies are often cheaper and provide support for your business at low prices.
Your company doesn’t always have to hire full-time experts to deal with a specific field. If there’s a bottleneck in your process, you can outsource customer service companies having specialized aptitudes and expertise.
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a pretty good metric while running a business. Growing this value means your customers will spend more money on your business. And customer service companies are a great way to achieve that.
Customers crave a frictionless experience. For 89% of consumers, speed of response and resolution are the two vital parts of excellent customer service. Unfortunately, traditional methods are plagued with inefficiencies. So, hiring a swift and efficient support company can give you a competitive advantage.
You can find a vendor to improve your efficiency and overall customer satisfaction by knowing what factors to look for.
Here are some features you might want to consider before choosing a company.
You can’t just collaborate with anyone. If your business specializes in supply chain management, but the vendor’s forte is study help for international students, it wouldn’t be the best fit. If your agent can’t handle a situation, clients won’t reach out in the future.
Does the vendor have great experience solving customer queries in the least timeframe? If a vendor has support centers that consistently function and can handle high-pressure situations, you know they are a quality service. Since customers require quick and accurate solutions, select support agents specializing in the industry for a long time.
The scalability of your business has a direct impact on the type of company you should aim for. Does your business have plans to grow in the future? If so, matching the size of your business won’t just be enough. Ensure the support company you select can accommodate your expected growth without unnecessary costs.
Where are your clients from? Are they from around the globe speaking a different language? This is something to consider when choosing a customer service company. Companies specializing in English will do you no good if you have many customers who speak Japanese.
It’s obvious you would want a company with high performance and low prices. However, make sure everything is explicit when estimating costs. Compare the prices of various vendors and find out if there’s an outlier. Note the difference in currency and taxes while contacting a multinational vendor.
Excellent customer service is an evolving process, but these ideas have been devised to help you with a long-term plan.
Your clients want to be part of a relationship. And becoming customer-centric is the art of prioritizing that relationship throughout your organization. Brands that put relationships first benefit from high customer loyalty and reputation.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
This comes as a no-brainer. Customers are evolving, and so is their communication channel. Whether it’s phone, email, or messages– every customer has a preference. So, integrate all the platforms to create a convenient way for customer support.
Also, more than 69% of customers try to solve their own issues. In response, most businesses are developing knowledge bases or FAQ segments on their website for customers to seek out touchless services whenever they need them.
As uniquely helpful self-service is, the demand for trained support agents will never diminish. But it’s not just enough to have a few trained employees manning your hub– you need to empower your employees to become proactive and functional.
Implement thorough training and monitoring programs to ensure your employees are well-prepared. Further, grant them the clearance to make decisions without jumping through complicated hoops.
Don’t just hang there with traditional CRM software. Upgrade your technologies and software to improve the quality of your services. Taking the extra mile is one of the most powerful things you can do to improve customer satisfaction.
Still lingering on support phone calls? Try live chat widgets to provide instant customer support. Wish to create a personalized customer experience? Get an operational CRM to track every interaction you have with your prospect.
Customer service best practices should never be stagnant. Your customer service practices must change with the attitude of customers.
Best way to gauge the information? Collect and measure critical data. Without records and references, you can’t improve your customer service performance.
Customer support and service aren’t easy. Often, there’s a lot at stake. Unless these are handled proactively, companies might lose their customers.
So, let’s dig in.
No matter how superior your service is, there will be queries. While you might maintain documentation to handle these complexities, there will be instances where clients will catch you off-guard with questions you don’t know.
Solution: If you don’t have the fix, acknowledge and find the answer. Assure them you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
Angry customers are hard to navigate not because it’s emotionally draining– it’s impossible to understand their problem. And to cap it all off, sometimes they might forget to tell you what their problem is.
Solution: Follow the HEARD method.
It’s no secret that customer support companies are flooded with complaints. So customers have to wait, which annoys them. And employees get too tired to deliver the energy companies want them to.
Solution: Assign agents based on their experience, expertise, and seniority. And launch a routine based on rep experience or issue to enable faster communication.
Terrible product batches, unexpected outages, or natural disasters might happen. Panicked clients will come knocking, and there’s nothing you can do because factors are out of your control.
Solution: Be transparent about the issues on board, including if there’s no specific resolution time.
Just because your competitors use specific tools doesn’t mean you should too. Picking software that doesn’t serve your unique needs will only overcomplicate things.
Solution: Everyone including sales, marketing, and customer service teams must work together to find accurate answers to improve customer experience.
Omnichannel support is about creating a cohesive CX. But when done poorly, confusion rises, frustration boils, and customers drop off.
Solution: Embed support inside the service or empower customers with support blogs.
Here are some more case studies about customer service companies:
Apple is the brainchild of the man who exemplified excellent customer service, Steve Jobs. And continuing his legacy, Tim Cook is leaving no stone unturned to gain loyal customers.
Apple delivers a personalized support portal where you can view every Apple product you ever bought and receive support for the same. And rapid assistance over different channels makes it one of the best customer support platforms. At this rate, they will soon have a cult following.
Lesson: Maintain an upbeat tonality during client interaction and empathize with the slightest issue.
Toyota’s luxury vehicle Lexus is known for its thrilling customer service. Right from the website to employee IDs, they have customer support etched everywhere. Any car owner walking in for a car wash is welcomed with lattes, fresh cookies, and agents who can vigorously support them. The company even supports independent car maintenance in their stations.
Lesson: Provide a pleasant experience and take the extra mile to keep your customers happy.
Honestly, this grocery chain has an entire cult following. The privately-owned store with locations across the country prioritizes customers. And almost everyone has a favorite Trader Joe’s story.
One winter, an 89-year-old man was stuck at his Pennsylvania home due to extreme snowfall. His daughter was concerned about getting him food and called several stores to see if anyone delivered during severe weather.
Wait till you hear the rest! The company broke all their policies to deliver the gentleman items that fit his low-sodium diet– free of charge! And that too in less than thirty minutes.
Lesson: If your team members don’t have the flexibility to change rules, they won’t always be able to deliver the best services for customers. So, make sure there’s an easy way for your support agents to show actions of kindness that makes people’s lives better.
The company is a well-known customer service fanatic in the hospitality industry. The folks here know how to deliver superior services. Ritz makes its customers receive rational and personalized services to justify their premium prices. Every staff member acknowledges customers warmly, they are always available round the clock, and they have foolproof damage control strategies.
The brand spends a lot of time and effort on its voice. For instance, instead of ‘fully booked for the night,’ they say, ‘we’re fully committed.’ They constantly toss off words like ‘my pleasure’ and ‘we guarantee that’ among other phrases that sound crisp yet non-robotic. And the best part? Ritz Carlton never denies you anything unless you demand a mammoth.
Lesson: Your bottom line will improve if you align your services with customer needs rather than expecting them to acclimate to your services.
Chick-fil-A, America’s fast food chain, is renowned for taking the extra mile to please customers. The brand is known for delivering services that we don’t witness in the typical quick-style restaurant.
Their staff will happily carry heavy trays for mothers with small kids or provide sudden surprises like a bag of nuggets. Whatever you ask for, the team will always greet you with a smile. The fast food chain restaurant allows its franchise operators to get creative with services occasionally.
Lesson: A positive culture with employee empowerment will yield excellent customer service. If leaders prioritize a happy in-house environment, business shoots up in no time.
When we talk about customer service, people keep wondering about B2C companies. But B2B companies like StudioPress are definitely one of the leading suites delivering spectacular customer service.
If you work in the digital marketing industry, you already know the organization is super active on its support forums. But what we love about it is the team emphasizing generating quality content. They know when to get out of their customer’s way.
Clients don’t always have to grab someone’s attention to solve an issue. Customers can tackle their affairs instantly, leveraging the massive array of blogs and tutorials on their websites. Not every question requires an emergency phone line. Content in this category can empower customers to be in charge of their work.
Lesson: Sometimes excellent customer support means moving out of your customer’s way and giving them the flexibility to solve their own dilemmas in their own time.
The airline JetBlue set a bombastic example of delighting customers when it took off in 1988. Their Customer Bill of Rights stowed new standards for the industry, and the remote customer support team can deliver assistance from the comfort of their homes.
The company believes in ‘bringing humanity back to air travel.’ The culture took root, and fun, customer-centric traditions emerged.
For instance, the airline has a mysterious police officer who surprises people on planes and airports with sudden gifts.
During the pandemic, they offered free flights for medical personnel and supplies, even while their own business was in jeopardy. It’s one of the reasons why JetBlue became a well-liked airline for most people. The company bets a quality experience can overturn the status quo and continues to raise the bar.
Lesson: Go above and beyond to provide sweet and pleasant experiences. It’s one of the best ways to retain customers.
Every step the coffee maestro takes results in building a personal relationship with almost everyone.
The average customer visits the place six times a month, whereas their loyal customers visit them sixteen times. This could only mean the customer service company consistently delivers sublime services besides delicious treats.
However, the cherry on top is their reward programs. No customers would want to miss out on recurring complimentary drinks or points that convert to free add-ons or merchandise. The company also engages in philanthropy involving gift cards and customer visits, making customers feel IMPORTANT.
Lesson: Reward your consumers with the help of a strong voice. Invest in ensuring quality services. You are wrong if you think millions of people follow them on social media just to find out how their caramel latte tastes.
Nordstrom, a luxury department store, has been reigning the customer service standards for more than 120 years. There’s actually a fun story involving their customer service.
In 1975, a man drove to a tire store to replace his defective snow tires. He didn’t realize Nordstrom had substituted the tire store and explained his urgent situation to the reps. You might be thinking Nordstrom cleared the confusion and sent the man away.
But behold. The luxury brand allowed the man to return the tires and refunded him. And the best part is– Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires.
Lesson: Don’t say no to your customers, even if there’s a tiny chance to say yes. Even if you don’t have the perfect solution, give the best alternative instead of refusing the request. Your customers will pay you back in spades in terms of word-of-mouth marketing.
The world-class furniture brand IKEA has been ruling the customer satisfaction standards for 75 years. The brand keeps reinventing itself every now and then.
Cafes and recreation centers inside the sprawling showrooms give customers a homely experience. The company also chose to bind seamless customer experience with the latest technology.
IKEA updated its mobile app with augmented reality so that customers can see how the pieces of furniture will fit into their home spaces. The AR also makes furniture recommendations based on the look and ambiance of your home.
Lesson: Don’t shy away from integrating technology with your services. Make the shopping experience fun and exciting for your customers.
Let’s take a look at which trends will take over customer support companies:
AI and automation in support are just different methods to make life easier.
The benefits of automation and AI are twofold:
Over the next 10-25 years, AI and automation will be game-changers for customer support.
Experts anticipate there will be no one-size-fits-all solution in the future. Instead, every resolution will be tailored according to unique needs. In fact, training of support agents in the future will become more bespoke for customized service.
Customers are rapidly changing and expect more self-service avenues like never before. Big businesses like Amazon, Google, etc., are embracing it because it lowers the cost of doing business and promotes a more sophisticated method of customer interaction. Organizations that can’t accommodate the change will look like dinosaurs to the average customer.
The future trend of customer service will push both customers and agents online.
Instead of being confined to call centers, support agents can work remotely and deliver virtual assistance. They’ll entertain customer queries from the comfort of their homes. As businesses see the potential savings of reducing office space, it’ll become common for people to work remotely.
Customer success is a constant walk-in process. In this guide, we have covered everything you need to know about customer service companies. These aspects are not features that can be left on autopilot. Instead, they require constant learning and improvement. If you are choosing a company to collaborate with for customer support, make sure it has a driven and motivated team.