Customer Service Process Flow
There’s no doubt that your customers are your lifeline. Without robust customer loyalty, your business will not be able to thrive and your brand. To keep your customers happy and loyal, you must provide excellent and timely customer service.
We all know efficient customer service is vital for brand reputation. Your customer support process and your customer support employees can make or break your relationships with your customers. Conversely, a lack of fast and effective customer service results in angry customers who will leave you for your competitors and possibly give your brand a bad rap.
Considering that 89% of consumers will stop doing business with a company after a poor customer experience makes excellent customer service crucial for the success of your business. On a positive note, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better service.
Some may think once they get a sale from a prospect, the hard work is done. But the reality is completing a sale and offering great products or services is just the beginning. What you do after you gain a customer is a critical part.
Now that anyone and everyone can create processes for marketing automation, customers see dozens of advertisements from dozens of different brands every day: You need to provide impeccable customer service to avoid losing a customer to a competitor with a savvy ad. The best way to boost sales and grow your business is to improve your customer service processes and customer support team.
What is Customer Service Process Flow?
Designing an efficient customer service process flow can be what sets you apart from your competitors. And it's not just your customer service and support teams--different teams from every department are involved in ensuring customer service goals are clearly defined. After all, a customer support employee must sometimes pull information from a variety of department sources to ensure customer satisfaction.
The customer service process should include the basic structure for customer relationship management. A robust customer service process will account for customer support workflow and customer support operations strategies. Customer complaints and requests filled out via a customer's form should receive service that provides answers and solutions quickly with little to no support issues. To avoid any upset or trigger an escalation of customer issues, conflicts should be resolved in a timely manner. Effective issue resolution is a key part of any customer service process flow.
Steps to Building an Effective Customer Service Process Flow
1. Develop a Customer Journey Map
The first step to developing a customer service process is to create a seamless customer journey on a map to visualize the process flow. Understanding the customer journey will help you smooth out every stage of their lifecycle from a prospect to a paying customer to a long-term loyal repeat customer. Small businesses especially need to get their customer journey ironed out, as they’re built on the idea that the flow of their support is more streamlined and personal than what a huge brand could offer.
2. Develop a Plan for Every Touchpoint
Every customer will have their preferred method of contact. One may decide to contact your customer service on social media, SMS, online chat, phone, or email. So, establishing a customer service flow for every channel is necessary. Keeping in mind, no matter the channel, the customer doesn’t want to wait long for service and to resolve issues.
3. Find Out What Customers Want to Solve
Every buyer has a goal or a buying reason, which brought them to your business. When you identify this, you could offer the right features and build an effective support plan to provide a hassle-free journey every step of the way, such as a FAQ that answers common questions. Surveys or customer feedback forms can be a great way to learn your customers’ aspirations, and asking the right questions matters. It helps to ask questions such as:
- How did you hear about our company?
- What made you give us a try?
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- Does the content on our website help you get a full understanding of our business?
- Have you had interactions with our customer service team? If so, were you satisfied with the service provided? How much would you rate the service out of 10?
- What is something you think we could improve?
- Is there anything you think that our customer service approach is lacking?
- What would be the deciding factor for you purchasing from us again or renewing your service with us?
Learning your customers’ answers to questions like these will help you develop a foolproof approach to meeting their expectations and increasing retention.
2. Know Your Customers In and Out
Your existing customer base is the buoy keeping your business afloat. And it probably goes without saying, but it costs less to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. Customer’s close at a higher rate also since they already have an established relationship with your business. But they need to be continuously nurtured. So, knowing your customers’ likes, dislikes, purchase history, and any prior support interactions, you can personalize the best journey for them.
When you know your customers, it will help you identify additional selling opportunities, increasing their worth. Personal customer information can be added to their customer profiles to ensure that their support is tailored to fit their expectations.
3. Develop a Customer Support Team with a Customer-First Approach
When your customer service process is centered around customer-first, it allows your agents to provide exceptional service and solve any issues that arise quickly to obtain complete customer satisfaction. Potential pain points can also be identified before-hand to eliminate problems before it reaches the customer, and identify areas that need improvement. Your support agents should go above and beyond to ensure the customer is happy and has a positive buying experience with your brand.
4. Understand the Baseline of Customer Problems
Support requests or complaints need to be analyzed to find the root cause of every issue to avoid them in the future. The support agent should know all about your business, products (new products and old ones), processes, best practices, and policies to independently resolve customer queries with expertise and without needing to pass the torch to another agent that would need to communicate with the customer.
Keep in mind, when a customer needs several interactions with multiple agents to solve a problem, they’re likely to get frustrated and churn.
Align Customer Service Processes and Goals with KPIs
KPIs help motivate agents to excel in customer service by working towards a common measurable goal of total customer satisfaction. Some of the metrics KPIs measure productivity, service levels, support quality, customer engagement, customer calls, the number of tickets resolved, time taken to resolve a ticket, resolution time, and first response time.
Sending customer satisfaction surveys, whether it be net promoter score (NPS) or customer satisfaction (CSAT), you find out what it takes to satisfy your customers. You’ll also have the data you need to figure out how your customer service team is doing and how you stack up against the competition.
4. Develop an Escalation Process for Customer Service
The escalation process will help handle unhappy customers who demand a higher level of service to solve their issues when the first resolution attempt was inadequate. Escalations need a dedicated high-touch customer service process. Escalation happens when a customer has been waiting for a long time with too many or too few contacts to resolve an issue. So, it has to be handled strategically and wisely with a sense of urgency and a healthy dose of empathy.
Speed Up Customer Service
Your customer service agents don’t need to walk and talk at lightning speed to make the support times move faster. The key is to work smarter, not harder. Here are a few tips to speed up your customer service:
Start From the Beginning
Your customer service speed starts with the pre-order, then the purchase, then the delivery, and lastly, the service. Taking a proactive approach to seeing your process through the customer's eyes will give you an idea of where any slow in service is to implement changes to streamline the processes to be smoother and faster.
Implement Customer Self-Service
Self-service is one of the biggest competitive differentiators right now. This is also true of customer support, where customers increasingly prefer to solve issues on their own rather than needing to contact an agent. Rather than waste your resources on labor to manage every support question and need, focus on giving your customers ample resources to work on their own.
Segment Your Service into Different Service Lines
Instead of a single line for customers who seek assistance, for instance, ordering, technical support, and post-order issues, you can have three separate ones. This helps speed up the hold times and process by getting them to the right customer service agent the first time and improving the customer experience.
If you tell a customer you will get back to them in 30 minutes but respond in 10, they’ll be delighted. On the other hand, if you say to a customer you will call in 30 minutes and call in 50, they may be upset. With customer service, it’s best to underpromise and overdeliver, so the customer’s expectations are satisfied.
Keep Customers Busy and Informed
Let’s be real: Nobody likes to sit on hold, waiting for a representative to answer. When a customer is on hold, it’s best to inform them of their estimated wait time to avoid a potential upset. Keeping them busy with wait music will help the time seem faster than a silent hold.
Summing It Up
Preparation is vital when it comes to customer service. Preparing includes solving issues before they arise, providing adequate information on your site for customers to get the information they need, and training support staff to accurately answer questions and satisfy the customer’s needs quickly. Streamlining your processes for a smooth buying experience makes for a happier customer. And when it comes down to it, satisfied customers are the key to success and growth for any business.
Do you need to develop a fast and efficient customer service team that will wow your customers with exceptional service and live chat support? If so, contact Awesome CX today, and we’ll show you the way!