How can your customer service team prepare for 2022?
| 6 min
The scope of customer expectations keeps growing, and in 2022 this will be no different. Customers want to be helped more quickly, when and where they want to be helped. And they want this experience to feel personal. It’s no wonder customer satisfaction has been increasingly important to businesses: 89% of customers make a repeat purchase when they’ve had a positive customer service interaction.
It’s also then, to no surprise that 45.9% of businesses have named ‘improve customer service’ as a top priority for 2022. How can your customer service team best prepare for the rapidly unfolding year? We’ve brought you answers to the following questions in this article:
How can I offer a personal approach to customer service?
Who doesn’t want to have a personal customer service interaction? And how does your customer service team deliver on this expectation? By recognising the customer and knowing who they are! Recognition breeds trust and bring a personal nature to an interaction. This positive experience means you’re more likely top of mind the next time the customer thinks about your company. You can easily recognise a customer by building customer profiles. You can have your team gather this information, but you can also gather information for customer profiles using a customer service tool.
By having all the data in one place, including name, email and address, as well as conversation history, you can take an even more focused, personal approach to service. Building customer profiles gives you insight as to the wishes and needs of your customers, giving you an opportunity to give your customer satisfaction rating a boost.
One fantastic example of this comes from Hunter Douglas, the world leader in blinds and window coverings. Hunter Douglas uses a chatbot to generate leads. They’ve linked the chatbot to their CRM system, meaning the chatbot saves the conversation and provides it to the sales team. A sales team member can see which conversations have been had by which contacts and when, as well as the topics or main interest points of the conversations. This allows the sales team to then continue that personal approach and focus on serving the customer in the best way possible!
How can I be available more often or all the time?
If the past has taught us anything, it’s that customers want response times to be shorter. It used to be a bit odd if we had to wait for an email reply - whereas today with the pace of digital life it’s odd if we have to wait more than a few hours. The volume of customers who want to be helped in the evenings and weekends is also growing. You’re familiar with the feeling, you’re working full time and want to reach out to a customer service team at night to get an answer right away. To ensure these inquiries don’t go unanswered (and potentially have your customers leave), you’ll want to increase your customer service team’s availability.
To determine when you customer is looking for service, it’s helpful to get insight into customer behavior. What times of day are they on the website? How are they trying to seek contact with you, on what channels? Always be available during these times and on those channels. This might be a contact form, a chat option or a chatbot. As long as you’re managing that first point of contact, you’ll have the details of that customer or that lead to follow up with later.
Our client Logistiekconcurrent also wanted to improve their availability, and thus boost their customer satisfaction rating. They realised that many questions came in overnight that remained unanswered ‘til the next morning. Standing up a new team to answer questions at night was too costly. That’s why Logistiekconcurrent chose to implement a chatbot. Chatbot Loggi independently handles about 25% of chats outside of working hours. The other 75% receive a message from the chatbot that the question has been received and will be answered the next morning.
How can I better prepare for moments of peak volume?
Your customer service team must have experienced peak moments in 2021. This might have been during the hectic school holidays, or perhaps at the end of the year when customers want to know about their annual policy or subscription renewal. Research reveals that about 60% of customers consider long wait times to be the most frustrating aspect of seeking customer service.
You can’t predict every peak moment, but you can learn from the ones you’ve lived through. Take a magnifying glass to the busiest moments on your customer service team last year. What channels saw the most volume? What were the main topics of those conversations? Use the answers to these questions to think about when your peak moments might come up again. This allows you to scale up for 2022 and be better prepared for peaks!
How can I be available on all or more customer service channels?
The Sixties were the first era of customer service, where the call center wave started. These later grew into fully-fledged customer service departments. In the first few years after 2000, email was a new channel on the scene. Over the last ten years, the main focus point of customer service has been availability and reachability, including on channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter.
In examining research from Gartner, organisations had on average 5.4 customer service channels. According to research from Frankwatching, 98.55% of consumers used at least 4 different social media channels in 2021.
With the rise of social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it’s recommended that you also offer customer service on these channels. In order to be available everywhere your customers are in 2022, it’s advisable to research where your customers are. Perhaps your target audience is flocking to TikTok, and that’s where they want to reach out to you. By finding and interpreting these insights, you can optimally design the online customer service experience that your team provides.
How can I balance the workload for my customer service team?
We’ve already covered being available everywhere, all the time. We’ve also covered why you need to offer personal customer service. How is your team going to keep juggling all of these initiatives? You don’t want your team to drown in work… so you may investigate how to scale your team. Scaling a team of human agents can be time-consuming and expensive. There are more efficient, automated ways to make your customer service operation successful.
You can automate a number of manual tasks. Think about automating the gathering of customer details, or sorting through customer questions by topic. You can also enable self-service options for your customers, such as a FAQ page on your website, a help centre with articles or a chatbot that can answer questions. By offering customers these tools, you allow your team more time to focus on complex tasks.
Take the municipality Gemeente Veenendaal for example. Last year they realised that website visitors switched channels unnecessarily. They were on the website looking for the phone number, while the answer to their question existed on the website. By using a chatbot to make this information more readily accessible, the Gemeente Veenendaal reduced the volume of phone calls and helped customers more quickly.
The solution for 2022: a chatbot!
Do you recognise yourself in the questions above and strive to answer them in 2022? Then you may want to consider using a chatbot. No matter how passionate an employee may be about their role, no one can work 24/7 with no sleep, lunch breaks or days off. A chatbot can do all of this and more, helping every customer on every service channel!
In response to the murmurs that you may have heard: a chatbot can actually be quite personal. Since the chatbot leverages information from customer profiles, it can recognise who’s chatting and interact in a personal way. If the chatbot can’t answer the question being asked, it transfers the conversation to a human agent.
A chatbot also allows you to scale your customer service organisation. The chatbot can be the first point of contact, then transfer the conversation to the right person or the right team. This means the human agent can answer more meaningful questions and have more time to answer more complex questions.
Do you want to learn more about how a chatbot can help you prepare for offering better customer service in 2022? Request a free demo and see what Watermelon can do for your business!