John’s customer service team is experiencing some growing pains. They’re quickly scaling and serving more customers than ever before. Customer service leaders, like John, have to make sure their teams adapt to what customers are looking for and understand their demands to ensure they’re meeting—and exceeding—these preferences.
Our recent webinar shed light on this important topic and more. Industry experts Jeanne Bliss, Ben Collet, and Troy Mills joined Lessonly’s COO, Conner Burt to discuss how customer service teams power change at scale—serving customers faster, driving more consistent support, and adapting to customer preferences. Here’s a glimpse of just some of their insights:
Glean customer service insights from industry leaders. Listen to the entire webinar here.
Data drives productivity, predictability, and proactivity
Customer service was once a very reactive industry. But today, the most productive customer service teams use technology and data to anticipate and address customer issues before they become a problem. Leveraging AI and bots in a reactive space allows support teams to efficiently and proactively engage with customers at key friction points—resulting in a more personable and helpful interaction.
“Being able to leverage data and give people answers that are significantly meaningful and unique to them is extremely important.” — Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise and Strategic Accounts, Zendesk
“As we get better in using data it allows us to be more predictive. That predictive level will reduce a lot of noise and challenges that customers have to go through.” — Troy Mills, CEO, Customer Care Advisory
Reducing customer effort is a top priority
In a recent report by CCW, reducing customer effort is this year’s top objective for customer service leaders. Many customer service organizations believe that digital engagement— including self-service options—are key to achieving this objective. As customers increasingly prefer mobile, search, and web channels over traditional ones, it’s important to offer—and optimize—digital channels to reduce customer effort. The problem is: sometimes these tools don’t work. They operate poorly once implemented and actually complicate the customer experience.
“Research has told us that by 2020 the demand for a one-company omnichannel experience will be amplified to people requiring near perfection.” — Jeanne Mills, President, Customer Bliss
“If you’re forcing a customer to not only talk to a bot and then they have to opt-out to talk to a real agent, you’ve actually just increased their effort.” — Troy Mills, CEO, Customer Care Advisory
Customers should always be the top priority
The customer service industry is experiencing a broad misalignment between perceived performance and customer expectations. In fact, 80% of CEOs believe their company delivers superior customer service, while only 8% of their customers agreed. As an organization scales and looks to make technological investments or changes to their processes, it’s important to look at how that decision impacts the customer. Customer service teams who make meaningful changes prioritize the customer experience over business metrics and short-term revenue.
“It’s important for companies to prioritize a Voice of Customer program. You have to do customer validation so you can get an in-line picture of what customers actually think.”— Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise and Strategic Accounts, Zendesk
“It’s easy to focus on policies and procedures from the organization’s standpoint, but make sure that you’re doing it correctly so you’re focusing on improving processes that really impact your customers the most.” — Troy Mills, CEO, Customer Care Advisory
Human customer service still matters
While there are many benefits to encouraging self-service and other automation options, the majority of customers aren’t quite ready to make a complete shift to new technologies. When customers interact with automated systems, it’s easy for the interaction to become impersonal or complex. Sometimes customers just need—and want—to talk to a real person. So, when they do reach a customer service agent, it’s important that the rep has the soft skills and traits that make for a friendly and memorable experience.
“As people are self-serving and opting out of self-service to take the time to talk to a real person, that human better be darn human.” — Jeanne Bliss, President, Customer Bliss
“Reps have to be empathy-forward. I think that’s always been there, but I think you have to be a great storyteller as well because how you communicate is how to get that empathy across and effectively turn negative experiences into positive experiences.”—Ben, Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise and Strategic Accounts, Zendesk
Training directly impacts performance
While some soft skills are innate qualities, customer service representatives also need the training to learn and develop other important skills. As businesses scale and quickly shift products and services, it’s important to invest in reps so they can keep pace. If teams want to truly provide exceptional customer service, they need dedicated and continuous training that develops and empowers reps to deliver that great experience.
“A lot of time people think of training as a one-and-done. I’m going to train and roll it out, and it will all be good. But the reality is the way we learn requires a way to refresh that all of the time.”—Troy Mills, CEO, Customer Care Advisory
“It’s very important to have an internal training team. Give them entry-level interactions at first. Give them some practice scenarios where they can really get important foundational skills and real-world experience.” — Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise and Strategic Accounts, Zendesk
Today’s customer service teams are constantly changing and growing. Market changes, technological innovations, or new channels and more all impact the customer experience. By using data, prioritizing the customer, and thoughtfully training reps, teams will be well on the way to long-term success.
Get more insights for scaling the customer experience here.
Customer service leaders drive high-performance with Lessonly
Great customer service fuels great companies. As the industry evolves and teams continue to change, leaders need a tool they can count on to enable their team to do better work. That’s why world-class customer service teams use Lessonly to learn, practice, and perform at the highest level. Take a tour of Lessonly today.