Here’s a statistic that may surprise you: According to a recent Salesforce Desk.com Report, 34 percent of millennials say they would rather get their teeth cleaned at the dentist than call a customer service number. The probable impetus for this confession: traditional support mechanisms that result in lost time, unanswered and unresolved issues—and the inevitable questioning of one’s sanity. While this survey question might just be a snapshot indicative of the want-answers-now generation, its truth rings true for all customers—we want to be heard and helped as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Yet, with so many requests and concerns pulling at their attention, how can reps these days possibly keep up? The answer lies in strategically leveraging the incredible technological advancements that are making customer engagement easier, faster, and more efficient than ever before. Here are some tips to help your teams get started:
Equip, Equip, Equip
Even your best agents can be rendered clueless when a customer calls (or e-mails, tweets, posts, etc.) if they don’t have access to top-of-the-line tools that keep them in the loop on specific client and project status updates. When the opposite is true, they become rock stars. In fact, Salesforce recently reported that 65 percent of high-performing service teams say their agents are completely empowered to make their customers happy, a rate 3.4x higher than underperformers. To this end, investing in a CRM system with advanced analytics capabilities that can store and organize all omnichannel data into one centralized location is a must—with just one click, agents can pull up entire customer accounts, including purchase histories, then review specific patterns in that data to discern customer preference and behavior—which means the next time one calls inquiring about a scheduled maintenance update, or needing help with a specific part number, they’ll be ready to answer.
Make the Move to Mobile
Phone inquiries are a long-standing mainstay of the customer service profession; however, today’s customers aren’t just limited to landlines. Rather, a growing number of them are utilizing their smart devices to connect to companies, whether through mobile apps designed specifically for support purposes, or through mobile chat capabilities (and sometimes both). Chances are, your agents are sitting near a phone for a majority of the day. Making sure their mobile devices are equipped with the latest mobile support tools is a smart way to keep them relevant, engaged, and ready at any time—an initiative already started by many top performing teams. In fact, Salesforce also reported that service teams recently cited mobile app development and mobile chat as their top two areas for growth in the next 12-18 months.
Help them Help Themselves
Judging by the abovementioned dentist statistic, even when teams are ready and waiting with access to the latest technology, there will still be many customers (many of them millennials), who prefer to try and figure out the answers they need themselves, searching online for answers rather than contact a service agent directly. Salesforce cites that top service teams are 4x more likely than underperformers to maintain a self-service portal and nearly 11x more likely to create and manage online communities that help users find and share issue support. Tools like the Salesforce Service Cloud help companies set up this type of environment, featuring tools such as screen sharing and in-app support that help users find what they need as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
A key initiative in customer service is always to keep customers delighted—and now, it’s becoming easier than ever to meet them right where they are. Ensuring your teams have access to the CRM tools they need to support any issue, anywhere, at any time helps encourage repeat business, reduces project lag, and boosts satisfaction rates—for both customers and the employees who support them.
Siegel, Alexandra, “How To Make 2016 The Year of Outstanding Customer Service: 5 Steps,” January 18, 2016.