Rising customer expectations are just one thing customer care leaders must contend with as they navigate a tricky time across the industry.
Increasing costs and staff shortages, as well as shortcomings in some automated services, make customer care as challenging as ever – yet it remains integral to the customer journey.
Enhancing customer care is crucial even when facing budget constraints. Nonetheless, businesses can still improve customer care while being mindful of their budget.
Focusing on this, Blair Strachan of customer service outsourcing specialists Kura, says: “Outsourcing customer services can be a way of improving the customer care experience, while also considering costs.
“Moving your customer service team to a customer manager BPO can save money within your business, on salaries, as well as office space and equipment. It’s not uncommon for an outsourcer to have onshore or offshore locations which specialise in certain types of services.
Each supplier has its own set of USPs, which is why choosing the right partner can really help improve the service.
“It can even allow to you redistribute your own reason to focus on other areas.
“At Kura we look to see what solution is going to deliver the best result. We have a track record of delivering against our commitments, but we recognise that you always need to look to improve service through process or technology enhancements.
“At times we include our software business Inisoft who can offer products such as an omnichannel solution. They can also automate the easy stuff so we can focus on the tough stuff which is a win-win for our partners.”
Personalisation and Continuous Improvement
Within customer care, staff members are going to be interacting with customers and members of the public throughout the day, and are often the first, or even only, point of contact a person has with an organisation.
The importance of providing a good standard of customer care rings true; brands need customers to finish their customer care interaction feeling satisfied, with their issues resolved and having had a good all-round experience.
In competitive, challenging markets like the ones we experience today, customer care is of high importance. The best personalised experiences see customers made part of the dialogue and interaction, with the agent referring to the customer by name, personally talking about their issues, rather than a generic customer service interaction.
Personalisation is so expected of companies now, it is essential the approach is adopted for a brand to survive in crowded markets. Yet personalisation, for all its importance, need not be something that requires a great deal of financial outlay.
Training and communicating to agents to ensure they refer to the customer by name, show a genuine interest in the interaction, and deliver a personalised response that helps the customer, rather than a template stock response, will go a long way to improving the customer care experience.
Timely Responses and Clear Communication Channels
Of course, customers do not want to wait around for a response from a brand – particularly if they are experiencing an issue or problem with one of their products or services.
Timely responses are crucial, and just as important is the ability to be contacted on multiple platforms.
Having an omnichannel customer care program may be important, but it could be seen as a costly option – businesses may not have the capacity for existing staff to also take over other channels, and employing new customer service agents can be expensive.
By empowering your employees, you are giving them the authority to make decisions and solve customer queries independently without awaiting authorisation from higher up within the business.
This approach in customer care eliminates many unnecessary delays and is something that can be implemented with minimal cost, which can have a big impact.
Monitoring of the employees, with regular check-ins and catch-ups, alongside training can help with empowering staff and making them feel comfortable to take important decisions.
Initial delegation of tasks can be a good starting point, with regular engagement from managers leading to the end goal of an empowered employee, making decisions, streamlining the process, and providing an excellent customer care experience for the customer and the brand.
Listen to Customer Feedback
One way to improve is to listen to the thoughts of your customers. Feedback on your service can highlight areas for improvement; some of which you may not have realised needed work on to bring up to a higher standard.
With the ethos of continuous improvement, brands can learn from customers, and see what they would like to see as part of their customer care programme.
Consider online feedback forms, follow up surveys, and use online reviews to your advantage, and to improve the experience your customer care provides.
Not only do customers feel you care about their thoughts and input, but the suggestions may also be small tweaks that require minimal effort and cost to implement.