Redefining customer support in 2022
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 taking the place of post-pandemic interactions.
On the one hand, the digital revolution means big benefits 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.
Properly defining customer support as a concept to empower and delight your audience in 2022 will be key to long-term success.
What Does Customer Support Mean Today?
This question may seem strange, given that the term “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 actually means.
Put simply, the term “customer support” refers to the set of services you use to guide and support your customers. It 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 offer everything from phone calls to ticket-based help desks to self-service chatbots that help your customers get more done on their own (without human help).
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 the services you provide.
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 doesn’t 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 use in your 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? By incorporating the right data into your technology, you can create a more personalized experience.
Defining the Value of Customer Support
The value of excellent customer support is clear – it ensures happy customers.
More than ever, customers say they will pay more, and buy more often from customers who deliver a higher level of customer service. A good customer support strategy helps you to provide the kind of experiences your customers are looking for, so they can get the most out of their interactions with your brand.
With customer support, you ensure your customers can use the products and services you offer effectively, so they can see the value or ROI of their purchase. You also ensure any potential issues with your product don’t fester and become significant problems.
Used correctly, your customer support strategy should create customer happiness, loyalty, and positive feedback (which helps to improve your brand 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 points to consider 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 don’t 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 it when serving your customers. In the past, many companies have stuck to the same formal tone of voice, but now there are some variations.
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. Most importantly, once you’ve found your voice, make sure 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 end up frustrated and call your human team anyway.
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 also help improve your support quality. Take time to consider what you can do to improve support quality.
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, you should keep in mind that your customers aren’t only looking 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’s 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 contacts you through certain channels (like email or chat), you can send them a response immediately to let them know you’re on the case.
Whatever you decide on speed, make sure you’re tracking the right metrics and meeting your benchmarks.
Will you provide support for your customers around the clock or only during certain hours of the day and on certain days of the week? While constant support may not have been feasible in the past, it’s becoming more common in a world of AI and chatbots.
While you may not be able to provide personalized 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 staff is unavailable.
Speaking of coverage, don’t forget to think about the languages you want to cover as well. 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 consistent level of service to your customers 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 the following things:
- 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 an emergency?
- Communication: How are notifications and alerts issued to team members?
Ready to Redefine Customer Support?
While many aspects of your customer support strategy are likely to evolve as the landscape continues to change and your business grows, it’s important to start planning as early as possible. If the time is right for you to start redefining your customer support strategy, reach out to Bulb Tech today, and see how we can help.