The biggest demands in customer service – and how to manage them

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Data showed that the UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) score dropped to 76.6 out of 100 in July 2023. With the numbers dropping, it is important that all businesses investigate their own customer service offerings and understand exactly how to make their customers happy.

Owen Campbell, Operations Director at Kura, says: “Customer satisfaction is crucial for the growth and success of any business. Happy and well-looked-after customers tend to become more loyal, whereas a bad customer service experience might turn your customers away for good. Making sure you understand what it is that customers want, and need, is essential for offering the best service possible and keeping your customers.”

Reducing complaint times

According to the UKCSI, businesses are now taking longer and longer to solve customer complaints. This not only causes further customer dissatisfaction but also costs the economy £9.8 billion a year in lost time.

Campbell says: “Making sure your customer service team is working as efficiently as possible is essential for productivity and customer satisfaction. No customer wants to be waiting extended periods of time for a resolution. Finding the root cause, whether it is a lack of training or an influx of calls, is important for improving your customer experience.”

One way to reduce your resolution time is through customer service outsourcing. By working with a trusted and experienced third-party company that understands your business, your customers, and is comprised of a team of highly skilled advisors, you can reduce call waiting times and speed up problem solving. Whether you’re delayed due to a lack of problem-solving training in your team or because your customer service hasn’t been scaled correctly alongside your business, outsourcing can help you achieve better scalability and flexibility.

Another way to guarantee that your customers are getting the quickest service is by ensuring that they’re contacting the right person for their query or complaint. All channels need to be kept up to date with the right, key, information for your customers. An experienced customer service provider can ensure that the complexities of omnichannel contacts are maintained, whether your customers are reaching out through social media platforms or voice call, meaning that your customer service provider has the full context behind all queries.

You should also make sure customer notes are maintained across all communications. Implementing an integrated CRM means that everyone has access to the right context around your customer’s complaints and previous complaint history – meaning that your advisors can find an answer quicker without having to repeat conversations with your customers.

When customers want to contact you through multiple different channels, and have contact with multiple different advisors, the right contact centre software can help with scripts and automatically bringing up a customer’s full history, helping reduce call times and improve complaint resolution.Assisting with financial plans and debt management
It has been found that customers who feel their financial situation is bad or very bad tend to have a worse experience with bad customer service. With 18% of customers experiencing poor financial situations, and with the current cost-of-living crisis affecting many, businesses and their respective customer service teams must focus on offering additional support to their customers.

Having a team of advisors trained in handling sensitive information and difficult situations is important during this time of financial insecurity. Customer service will often have to solve payment complaints, refunds, and more. So, ensuring your team is confident in sorting financial plans and debt management is crucial.

Campbell says: “Finances can be difficult due to their sensitive nature, but being able to offer your customers an empathetic advisor is important for maintaining a good customer experience and finding a solution that works for both the company and the customer.”

Human contact

As AI starts to take over more roles in the workplace, it is important that you maintain a human team of customer service advisors to help your customers. In fact, 79% of customers still want direct human contact during their customer service, so ensuring that you’ve got people in place to answer queries and complaints is essential.

Campbell says: “While AI can be useful in automating processes and taking tasks off the advisor, ensuring you have the human touch is more essential for customer service. An advisor being able to provide empathy and compassion in order to connect with the caller is key to customer satisfaction.  AI and automated software can help us increase call efficiency, but when customers don’t want to be on a call, and want the right resolution first-time round, it’s the human touch that can make the difference.”

“Taking a human-centric approach to your customer service means that you can find better solutions that actually work for your customers, which aren’t always the most logical or straightforward. Everyone has their own needs, and being able to solve complaints and complex problems requires that human addition.”

Keeping your customers satisfied is essential for the success of your business. In fact, 68% of customers say they are willing to buy more products from a company they know to have good customer service. So, ensuring you’re providing customers with what they want to keep them happy is important – whether that is direct human contact or quicker response times.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024