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Redefining customer support in 2022 could be the most valuable thing you do for your business.
We live in a world of rapid change. Communications are evolving, and new concepts like 5G, video conferencing and chatbots are taking the world by storm. In fact, interactions between businesses and their customers are fundamentally changing, with an increasingly “digitalized” environment replacing post-pandemic interactions.
On one hand, the digital revolution means great things for customer support, enabling faster, cross-channel interactions. On the other hand, in a digital environment, it’s easy to lose the “personal connection” that comes from face-to-face interactions.
Knowing how to define customer support in 2022 as a concept to support and delight your customers will be the key to long-term success.
What Does Customer Support Mean Today?
This question may seem strange when the concept of “customer support” has been around for so long. But the rapid evolution of the CX landscape and the buyer journey has left many of us wondering what customer support means.
Simply put, the term “customer support” refers to the set of services you use to guide and help your customers. This can include things like onboarding (automated or manual), troubleshooting common issues, upgrading customers to new services, managing transactions, or simply answering customer questions.
How you provide this support is also a relatively diverse topic. Depending on your industry and technology budget, your customer support solution can include everything from phone calls to ticket-based help desks to self-service chatbots designed to help your customers accomplish more on their own (without human assistance).
The Key Ingredient of Good Support: Empathy
Although the exact methods you use for customer support may vary, the general principles remain the same. Customer support should make your customers feel respected, supported, and empowered by your services.
While back-end technology is an important concept of customer support, how you think about your customers is even more important. Now more than ever, customer support strategies require a certain level of empathy and understanding.
Providing the right level of support to your customers in a digitized environment does not mean providing them with an automated FAQ system and leaving them to it. Instead, you need to think about how you can truly support your customers and provide them with a more personalized experience.
This means adding empathy not only to the strategies you use to guide your employees but also to the methods you champion for digital transformation.
For example, when developing your automated troubleshooting system, ask yourself: how can I make this experience as unique as possible for my customer? If you incorporate the right data into your technology, you can create a personalized experience.
Defining the Value of Customer Support
The value of excellent customer support is obvious – it keeps customers happy.
More than ever, customers say they pay more and buy more often from customers who provide good customer service. A good customer support strategy helps you give your customers the kind of experience they are looking for, so they can get the most out of their interactions with your brand.
With customer support, you ensure that your customers can effectively use the products and services you offer so that they can see the value or ROI of their purchase. You’ll also ensure that any potential issues with your product do not worsen and become significant problems.
Properly applied, your customer support strategy should ensure satisfaction, loyalty, and positive feedback from your customers (which in turn improves your brand’s reputation).
Key Features of Good Customer Support
The exact level and type of customer support you provide will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, access to key tools like automation, and the expectations of your target audience. Some other items to think about are:
Your Support Style
What kind of support will you provide? Will you try to answer all of your customers’ questions on your website using chatbots and FAQs, so they do not have to contact your team as often?
Will you put a lot of effort into the initial onboarding process to reduce the risk of your customers having to check in too early in the customer-brand relationship? Or will you be constantly engaging with your customers?
Your voice and tone
When building strong customer relationships, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it that matters. Every brand has a voice, and you should be aware of your voice when serving your customers. In the past, many companies stuck to the same formal tone of voice, but now we are seeing some variation.
Companies are using everything from emoji-wielding chatbots to colloquial expressions to create a friendlier, more informal tone. How you speak to your customers depends on the type of brand image you want to build. The most important thing you can do is make sure that once you find your voice, it remains consistent across all channels.
Quality of support
Although the quality of your support may seem to be a subjective concept, you will make decisions about quality as you implement your support strategy. For example, the more time and effort you invest in building an effective virtual agent to support your customers, the less likely your customers will become frustrated and call your human team anyway.
Also, investing in the right amount of training for your team members and hiring people with the right skills to succeed in your customer support community will help improve the quality of your support. Take time to consider what you can do to improve the quality of support.
Speed of Support
In an ideal world, all customers would talk to friendly and knowledgeable support staff in real-time when they have a problem. However, it’s important to remember that your customers are looking not only for a personal touch but also for speed.
As you develop your customer-obsessed strategy for support and service, keep in mind how important it is for your customers to get a response quickly. You may even want to think about building automation elements into your strategy so that when a customer reaches out through certain channels (such as email and chat), you can send them a response immediately to let them know you are on the case.
Whatever you decide on speed, make sure you are tracking the right metrics and hitting your benchmarks.
Will you cover support for your customers 24/7 or only during certain hours of the day and days of the week? While constant support may not have been feasible in the past, it is becoming more common in a world of AI and chatbots.
While you may not be able to provide in-person human service at all hours of the day, it’s worth considering whether the additional support of a chatbot or virtual assistant could be helpful to customers when your employees are not available.
Speaking of coverage, do not forget to also think about the languages you want to cover. Where are your customers located? If you need to offer multiple languages, will you use automated translation services or hire employees from different regions of the world?
Having the right support processes in place will ensure that you can continue to provide a consistently high level of customer satisfaction as your business begins to grow. Your processes will guide your staff and ensure they can make the right decisions when needed.
At the very least, you need to think about things like:
- Escalation: How do team members define when to escalate an issue?
- Emergencies: How do you know what an “emergency” is and what should happen in the event of an emergency?
- Communication: How do you issue notifications and alerts to team members.
Ready to Redefine Customer Support?
While many aspects of your customer support strategy will change over time as your business grows, it’s important to start planning as early as possible. If it’s time for you to redefine your customer support strategy, contact Bulb Tech today and see how we can help.