It’s not always easy to quantify what makes up “good” customer service. The entire idea of providing “good” customer service is subjective. However, with that being said, there’s one thing that every customer appreciates: a high level of responsiveness.
Why Responsiveness Matters
We live in a society where everyone wants everything as soon as possible – that shouldn’t surprise you. It’s why fast food restaurants, online movie streaming services, and YouTube tutorials are so effective. But this communal penchant for immediacy also means that you must revamp your approach to customer service to make responsiveness a priority.
“A Forrester study found that 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a brand can do to provide good customer service,” customer service expert Golriz Golkar notes. “Timeliness is therefore not just a positive quality a brand might offer, but an essential practice every brand should deliver.”
But responsiveness extends far beyond providing a timely response to an issue. It involves providing the right response at the right time. If you can do this, you won’t have any trouble satisfying your customers.
Four Tips for Better Responsiveness
If you really want to prioritize responsiveness in your organization, you need to follow a plan that will set you up for success. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Hire the Right people
Customer service starts and ends with the people you have behind the desk. Hire the right people and your customers will be taken care of. Bring on toxic personalities that aren’t a good fit for your brand, however, and you’ll suffer.
When hiring for customer service openings, target people who can think on their toes and are naturally empathetic. These are the kinds of people who thrive in customer-facing positions.
2. Spot Peak Times
Every company has different times of the day/week/year where customer service volume peaks. And since your responsiveness is only as good as it is at these moments, you need to be prepared to handle high volume.
This is something Anna Maria Vacations, a leader in luxury beachfront homes and condos, recently discovered. Using TRACK Pulse, a cloud-based call center, the company was able to determine that the majority of its calls came in the early morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. By properly staffing its call center during this time, the company was able to add 750 new leads and $118,000 in outbound sales to the bottom line in just two months.
While you may not see an immediate six-figure boost to your sales volume, identifying and accounting for peak times will go a long way towards improving responsiveness.
3. Address the Problem of Email
Let’s go ahead and discuss the elephant in the room: email. From a customer service perspective, few things suck up time as much as responding to email. Most of the questions customers send are repetitive and it takes much more time to type out a response than it does to provide an answer over the phone. Thankfully, there’s a tool designed to solve this pain point. It’s called Text Expander and it’s pretty quick and easy to start using.
“It allows you to plug in a few keyboard shortcuts and have the bulk of the email ready without having to type out every letter or find and copy a pre-written response,” sales and marketing expert Tabitha Naylor says. “From there, you can customize the name, add other necessary bits and pieces, and send it out. This can save you several minutes per email!”
It’s also a good idea to have some conversations with customer service reps about email best practices and specific ways in which they can streamline cumbersome tasks and spend less time performing repetitive actions. Being able to respond to an email within two hours, as opposed to two days, is huge.
4. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
It’s important to offer customer service via as many channels as possible, but don’t get caught up pursuing quantity at the expense of quality. There’s no mandate saying you absolutely have to offer customer service via social media, email, phone, message boards, and online chat. If you attempt to use all of these channels, you may actually end up hurting your overall level of responsiveness.
The moral of the story is to avoid biting off more than you can chew. If you can only handle email and phone support, that’s fine! It’s better to be super responsive in these two areas than to frustrate customers in multiple areas.
Put the Customer First
At the end of the day, it’s all about putting the customer first. You can’t prioritize responsiveness if you aren’t consistently thinking about how different actions impact your ability to delight customers. Stop making excuses and start identifying solutions that will allow you to communicate with speed and accuracy.