Customer service. It has to be one of the most rapidly evolving industries out there. That’s due to a few things, including technology, automation and AI.
Your customer service staff are still at the heart of customer retention, but their job has become more technical and advanced than just calling customers or asking for feedback.
It’s easy to see why – when you’re a customer, how often do you take the extra time and effort to leave feedback? We are either compliant with the places we visit regularly, or we simply don’t have the time to take that extra step. We’ve got what we needed, why do any more?
The truth of the matter is that the consumer is lazy. They crave convenience and incentive. With hundreds, if not thousands of brands all vying for their attention at once, it’s easy for a business to get lost in the noise.
Feedback is Business Gold Dust
It’s difficult to get, but let’s take a moment to explore why it’s so valuable. This is due in two parts; to business development and to marketing.
Of course, every department benefits from feedback from customers, it’s how we practice continuous improvement after all.
Marketing can use feedback for the following purposes:
- Online Reviews help with social proof. Social proof allows customers to see that your business is legitimate if it is small or new, and also that it is reliable and trustworthy.
- SEO. The more sites and reviews that point to your website as a 5 star establishment or refer to it as ‘the best place for…’ or ‘the top 10…’ etc, the more likely search engines will recognise your brand as an influencer within its industry.
- Social Media is another key place that can use this data. Snippets of reviews shared in social graphics help to hammer home the message that your brand is the best at what it does.
- Your Website. Again, customers are always looking for proof to back up the marketing claims you make. If your website advertises ‘99% customer satisfaction’ you need the data to back it up.
Feedback also helps your business to develop. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways it can do this:
- Feedback can help those who are on the front line of your business develop and learn – namely those in sales positions. They’ll be able to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what to try in future.
- Feedback can shape the direction the company is going in, enabling top-level decision makers to decide a path. For example, if lots of customers are asking for a digital offering, this can show you where to invest for future.
- Feedback can also quickly identify areas that the business needs to quickly address. Customers may be highlighting an area that you’re falling behind your competitors, or point out that some of your staff need further training and development. Identifying these problems early means you can address them before they get out of hand and lose you customers.
So now we know why feedback is important, how exactly do we get it?
Making The Feedback Process Easy
One of the clearest answers to this conundrum is to make your feedback process automated and digital. Phone calls may work in limited situations, for example if your demographic is older generations who do not engage with the internet.
However, on the whole, you’re going to utilise a piece of technology users have in the palm of their hand – their smartphones.
We’re living in a connected age. Most folks from Generation Z to even a good proportion of Baby Boomers use social media and their smart phones every day. Those in Generation Z and Millennials use it multiple times a day, if not multiple times an hour!
So let’s go through some customer service feedback essentials you can train your team to engage with.
Social Media Feeback
Social media is one of the first places people will go to leave feedback.
In fact, if a user has their location data on and enabled for collection, Facebook may even prompt them to leave a review when they visit your location.
You can even set up Facebook Ads as a funnel – work closely with your marketing team to set this up. You can run a campaign to get visitors to your physical location, and when Facebook detects that they may have visited, they can send a push notification to the user’s phone. This will allow you to not only measure the results of your campaign, but also to gain those valuable reviews!
Another way to gather social media feedback, which is great for service based businesses, is to grab a piece of software that enables you to monitor multiple social messages.
These services often allow you to follow up from queries and messages a few days after, to see how your customer service representatives performed. This process is often automated, and will ask customers for something as simple as a star rating, with the option to leave a comment. This can take as little as a few seconds, so you’re likely to get more responses than if you called customers back after a few days.
All websites should have a live chat function. In this day and age, it’s incredible cheap and easy to install an effective live chat feature. Some businesses may not even need to man the live chat regularly, they can be set up on someone’s computer or phone in the background.
Not only that, but many live chat services have the option for automating chats when you are outside of business hours. Customers will be able to choose from predefined questions with automated answers, or even request a call back at a later date.
You can even take advantage of AI with live chat. Some providers now offer bots who will use a database of your business information to intelligently answer customer queries, meaning you can take the load off your customer service reps. With less mundane issues to deal with, they’ll be able to provide a higher quality service to customers who require a little more attention.
Once you’ve perfected your Live Chat, getting feedback is simple. The chat can automatically follow up with customers as soon as they end the chat, asking for a star rating or comment. If the chat captured the customer’s email, it’s also possible to follow up with them here.
Just remember you may need to incentivise this response – why not enter all respondents into a giveaway to win a £50 voucher?
Much like Facebook, Google can often identify when a user has visited your premises. If the user has left a Google review before and has an account, they will receive a push notification to their phone asking them to leave a review.
This is why it’s imperative that if you have a physical location, you have your Google My Business profile set up. Yes, even if you’re a service based business!
Google will even ping visitors to your site, so if you have prospective clients visit your premises, this is a great way to garner reviews.
Why not also get into the habit of reminding staff to ask for a Google review – but use their best judgement and remind those who have had an excellent experience!
Great Google reviews will help your business rank above your competitors for local search results. You can also use these reviews for marketing purposes.
Utilise Staff and Incentivise
Run a restaurant, retail shop or something similar? Why not print small business cards that ask customers to leave a review in exchange for entry to a competition. You can get staff to give these cards out with the bill or place them in shopping bags.
The review doesn’t even need to go through a third party – why not set up a really simple Google Form to gather feedback? This will allow you to tailor questions that offer insight directly related to your goals.
You can also encourage customer service staff to get on board with reviews by offering a little friendly competition. Why not reward the staff member who gets the most mentions of their name in reviews? This will encourage them to not only go above and beyond for service, but also gamify the process.
Don’t forget to place a GDPR compliant field to gather customer emails – this can help you to remarket to these customers in future, but also gives you an opportunity to get recurring feedback from regular customers through automated email campaigns.
Customer service is changing rapidly, it’s becoming more automated, but staff are still at the heart of the process. If you’re thinking of taking on a customer service apprentice, our course encompasses all the modern customer service skills they’ll need! Call us on 01244 678100 if you’d like to speak to an advisor for an informal chat!