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Customer experience is a top priority for consumers. So much so that 86% of customers will pay more for a great experience. And if they are not satisfied, not buying from you is the least they can do

In a world where most of us are glued to our smartphones, reports of bad customer experiences spread online very quickly. It's vital that you design your customer service experience in a way that makes your customers feel that you do care about them. 

Today, we’ll show you how to turn a good customer service experience you might already deliver into a great customer service experience your customers will fall in love with. 

In the meantime, you can start discovering what matters most to your customers with a Voice of Customer survey:

What is customer service experience?

Customer service experience is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with a company, both in direct communication and through other actions. These experiences can include checking out after making a purchase, talking to a sales representative, or trying to return a product.

Why is customer service experience important?

First of all, customer experience affects your customers’ loyalty to your brand and how they talk about you to other people, both online and offline. Retaining customers is the only natural way to grow businesses, and research says so, too. In fact, acquiring a new customer costs 5 times more than retaining an existing one.

If you deliver at least decent customer service experience, it pays off in more referrals, more satisfied customers, more sustainable growth, and more feedback you can use to develop your product or services further. 

And a lack of customer service experience measures can, in turn, lead to disappointment on all sides.

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The difference between good and great customer service experience

The little things that you do to make your customer feel valued can make a huge difference in how they perceive your brand.

Let's suppose your customer is experiencing a problem and they’re speaking directly with your team. 

Good customer service experience means you’ll hear their problems and assess how to tackle them. You look at what to do. Your customer service agents may not find a solution instantly, but in the end, the problem is remedied. 

Great customer service experience, however, means that you’ll listen to their problems and look for solutions straight away. You quickly see what can be done, and how. If applicable, you compensate your client and turn a negative situation into a positive brand experience.

One of the many ways you can collect feedback on your customers' needs is by using surveys:

To offer great customer service experience, you need to have a solid customer experience strategy in place and clear processes for your team to follow. That way, every customer gets the same quality of customer service.

Every step of the customer experience with you, from discovery to post-purchase support, should be designed with your customers in mind

Think about Amazon. It’s become a powerhouse thanks to the fantastic customer experience it provides. Whether you’re just browsing, going through the checkout process, or returning an item: it just works.

Delivering great customer service experience doesn’t always have to be about going the extra mile. Very often, it’s just doing the right things in the right way.

Great customer service experience: an example

Here's an example of a small business giving the best customer experience:

"I bought my car used from a dealership, and after seeing the advert online, I called to check if it was still available. It was. So the next day I went to have a look at it.

The moment I arrived, I looked at the car and then went inside to talk to the salesman, who was also the owner. He immediately got up, got the car out of the bay, handed me the keys, and let me have my time with the vehicle.

He didn't hover or try and tell me what to do. He just let me take the car out.

When I got back, I said I liked it. I asked if there was any movement on the price, and we quickly made a deal. I put down my deposit, and the next day I returned to pay in full and collected the car.

Doing the paperwork at his desk was stress-free: We were sitting in an open space with big windows. His wife was working at another desk, and their cocker spaniel was weaving around my feet. When everything was signed and paid for, we shook hands. I took my car home, enjoying the awareness of having a year-long warranty included in the deal."

What makes this customer service experience great?

"Buying a car is stressful. If the seller had hovered around bombarding me with questions while I was trying to figure things out, it would have turned me off. At no point did I feel pressured or like a nuisance.

While I was waiting for the paperwork to be done, a customer came in. The woman wanted to have her car worked on in the shop. She seemed to be deliberately difficult. I sat there admiring how he and his wife dealt with that awkward customer with considerable aplomb."

How you can ensure a great customer service process 

What steps can you take to ensure that you provide an excellent experience? 

Do you remember the last time you had to call customer service to get a question answered about a product or service? Can you recall the experience?

You went to the website, found a contact number, and you embarked on a long wait that lasted way too long, making you anxious about the bill you'd pay. Finally, when you managed to get through, you didn't get help.

Maybe the person was rude, perhaps just incompetent, and, since the call was recorded, they passed you on to somebody else.

Or, maybe they transferred your call, and then the connection broke. Or you hit a communication barrier, unable to break through the jargon they used. 

There are countless things that can go wrong with customer service today. How can you provide customer service experience that excels?

1. Use a customer feedback management system

With solid customer feedback management software, you can provide the best customer experience at every touchpoint along a customer journey.

Customer feedback software allows you to:

  • easily create and send surveys,
  • gain insights into how customers experience using your product or service,
  • have an overview of all the feedback you receive in one platform, 
  • detect the most pressing problems your customers have that may lead to customer churn,
  • integrate with other solutions to make the most of your data.

Any company should understand the importance of customer service. Still, if you want to excel at providing top customer experiences, track customer experience metrics such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS): 

and the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). 

The first one measures your customers' readiness to promote you. The latter tells you how satisfied your customers are with various aspects of your product or service.

Good customer feedback management software, such as Survicate, integrates with major marketing platforms, including Intercom and Hubspot.

This way, you can analyze the feedback you proactively gain with surveys and expand it even further. Moreover, you can compare it with the feedback your customers voluntarily give in your communication channels. The result is an accurate picture of your customer experience.

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2. Offer multiple customer service channels

Providing your customers with avenues such as a website, blog content, phone number, text message, email, and social media channels allows them to reach you the way that works for them.

It’s often said that millennials hate picking up the phone to make a call. Creating different opportunities to connect with reps avoids lousy customer service experiences that ruin your reputation. 

3. Be proactive in your customer service

Being reactive is not ideal for customer service. 

Be proactive instead. If you're only talking to your customers when there's a problem, then you're doing something wrong.

Reach out to your customers and give them an opportunity to give feedback about their experience. This allows you to mitigate any issues before they escalate.

Here is a Customer Effort Score survey template you could send out to your customers to gather their feedback:

This type of survey helps you test how difficult it is for customers to perform a certain activity with your product or service. You can use the survey template above for free—just sign up for a Survicate freemium plan and you’ll find it in the template library.

4. Provide consistency in your customer service

Regardless of what avenue you're using, customer service should be customer-centric and consistent. Adjust the communication channel to the preferences of your target group. Make all the communication—be it on the phone, via email, or text—consistent.   

And remember: great customer experience starts with great employee experience. 

If something doesn't feel right, you need to identify the challenges and bottlenecks within your department. For this purpose, you can also use surveys. With Survicate, you can measure employee satisfaction with easy-to-use templates.

5. Manage customer expectations

A lot of customer dissatisfaction stems from misinformation or incorrect expectations. That is why it is essential to go the extra mile to make sure your messaging is logically designed against customer/user journey maps.  

To manage customer expectations, you must commit to educating your business about what your customers need and how they perceive your product or services. 

Here are some survey templates you can send out regularly to collect customer feedback

  1. Net Promoter Score will reveal how likely your customers are to recommend you to someone they know.
  2. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) will put a number on the customer satisfaction level. Make sure you run the survey at touchpoints crucial to your business. 
  3. Customer Effort Score will show you which types of processes your customers are struggling with and how.

There are countless types of surveys you can use to collect customer feedback. To get inspired, check out a list of survey templates most popular with Survicate's customers. There are over 125 templates that you can use for free and customize to suit your needs.

Common signs of poor customer service 

Here are some fairly common causes of poor customer service. If any of the items on this list apply to your business, you need to reevaluate the way you provide customer support.

1. Providing only one specific channel for customer service

If you provide only a phone number or only an online contact form, you’re not doing everything you can to help customers reach out to you. Not every customer loves to sit hours on the phone with a customer service representative, and not everyone will take the time to write to you using a form. 

A good rule of thumb is supporting customers on the same platform they used to contact you. So, you shouldn’t redirect your clients to a phone call if they sent their request via email, and vice versa. 

Livechat apps and chatbots are a growing market for a very good reason: customers feel less intimidated by using a chat than by filling in a contact form. Chatbots are also proactive, which takes the weight of starting the conversation off your customers' shoulders. 

If you want to find out if your helpdesk is doing a good job, this survey template will be particularly useful: 

2. Displaying poor communication skills and little empathy

There are few things worse than being frustrated with a bad customer service representative. Someone rude either doesn't listen to your issue or can't relate to the problem you are experiencing. That’s if you manage to reach them… 

In business, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and react immediately if something doesn’t work. 

Keep a close eye on individual agent performance to spot underperforming reps in time. If someone in your team is not great at showing empathy, you can offer them additional training.

You can use this survey template to learn directly from your clients how your customer service is performing:

3. Fear of ownership

Everyone makes mistakes. When someone at your company does something wrong, you need to own up. Make sure that your customer service staff know when to admit they, or the company, put a foot wrong. Train them to be polite when apologizing. 

According to research by American Express, 33% of customers say they’d consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. However, most of them are willing to stay if the company shows genuine remorse. 

Even if you're unsure whether it should be you saying this, a simple "we apologize" can go a long way.

4. Not educating customers

Customer service fails when customers don't understand the company's process. Whether they're returning a product or looking to get assistance with some other issue, educating them step by step is crucial.

It’s not about putting a few FAQs or contact details here and there. It’s actually about creating and publishing helpful resources for your clients so they can find their answers more quickly. For example, you can use an open-ended website survey asking “why are you leaving our site?” inside your help desk resources. 

Create an amazing customer service experience today

Customers expect support to be tailored to their needs, work seamlessly, and to take place immediately. Alongside all those expectations, they also value the human touch.

Your business simply cannot afford to deliver a mediocre customer service experience. To stand out from the crowd, you need to sweep your customers off their feet. 

And it does not have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, all the best things in life are free, including Survicate.

With Survicate, you can use over 300 survey templates and start collecting customer feedback where it matters. If you’re ready to gather amazing client insights, sign up today for a 10-day free trial and check out all Business plan features free of charge.