Customer Service: you might think of these words as the name of your team or department when you hear them. Customers might think of the hours they wasted waiting on hold, repeating themselves to customer service reps, and not getting their problems solved.
How customer service is going right now is important because, as it turns out, helping your customers succeed also helps your business. And happy customers will always bring in more business than sales and marketing by telling their friends and family about your business and sending them there.
What is service to customers?
Helping customers solve problems, showing them how to use products, and answering their questions are all examples of customer service. CS is about meeting the needs of customers. This is clear from the name of the idea. And there are many ways to provide customer service, like fixing problems with installing a product, downloading software, or handling a return.
In most customer service interactions, a customer contacts a company to make a request, ask a question, or make a complaint. A CS representative (or their team) works quickly to provide support, expertise, and help.
The success of a company can depend a lot on how good or bad its customer service is. 90% of Americans decide whether or not to do business with a company based on how good their CS is.
And unhappy customers with bad experiences can cost you valuable business, as 50% of customers say they would switch to a different brand after just one bad experience.
If you think that customer service (or customer support) is at odds with helping customers succeed, you should think again. Building a relationship with customers by giving them great service is a key part of helping them succeed.
The most important difference? Customer service is usually reactive, but customer success is proactive. Customer success managers reach out to customers to work with them on strategy and goal-setting, while CS reps deal with individual problems and fix them. But I’ll talk about that later.
Different ways to serve customers
Companies can provide CS in a few different ways. Let’s look at each one:
A lot of businesses do most of their customer service over the phone. Customers call a hotline, wait in line, and then a CS worker answers the phone. Forrester found, though, that phone-based CS is becoming less popular, and that phone service is seen as a step up from email or web-based service.
Conversocial asked people about their messaging habits and found that 71% of them expect brands to offer customer service through messaging channels, but only 48% of businesses have the tools to reach customers through messaging.
Customers want to connect with businesses on this channel (for order confirmations, reminders, status updates, surveys, coupons, etc.) because they already use these platforms every day, so it’s easy for them to get help.
GrubHub uses SMS messages to ask customers about recent orders and their experiences with its mobile app.
A lot of CSis still asked for and given via email, where it’s still possible to give a human touch even over a computer. In fact, Twilio found that email was the second most popular way for people of all ages to get in touch with CS. This may be because you can send requests on your own time and don’t have to wait on hold. Soon, we’ll give you templates for CS emails that you can send to solve a wide range of problems.
Zappos is known for having great customer service, but this email might be the best example yet. It can’t be used for every possible customer question, but it shows that the rep is dedicated to giving service and making the customer happy.
Many customers now use do-it-yourself customer service methods to get the answers they need quickly and without having to call or wait for an email response. In fact, more than 69% of customers try to fix problems on their own.
In response, businesses are building knowledge bases, which are the type of self-service that customers like best. In these bases, they post articles and videos that explain how to use products and services so that customers can get help without having to talk to anyone.
The HubSpot Academy Knowledge Base is full of articles and videos that show how to use HubSpot software step by step. HubSpot Academy also offers free certifications and training to learn about the inbound method and specific verticals in the software, as well as a bigger picture of learning and training.
Messaging as a way to get help with service has grown a lot over time, and it’s now one of the most common ways that customers ask for help. With more than 3 billion users around the world, businesses are starting to use them to distribute content and help customers in a quick and easy way.
These conversations can happen in many ways, such as through text messages, messaging apps, and direct messages on social media sites (more on that below).
HubSpot uses Facebook Messenger to share blog posts like this one. Other businesses use these apps to make it easier for customers to buy things and get help, right in the apps they already use to talk to their friends and family.
Social media customer service is another new way that businesses are getting in touch with customers more often.
Customers can get quick and easy answers to their questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and businesses can be a little more fun because of it. Some companies even make accounts just for customer service.
Yelp Eat24 uses Twitter to give great customer service and make people laugh at the same time.
Customers say that the most frustrating part of customer service is having to wait on hold for a long time. Live chat is one way to help customers quickly without making them wait for answers. It’s a plus that it can be run by people, bots, or a mix of the two.
Live chat widgets can be put on a company’s website to offer immediate customer service and support. This is another easy way to help your customers that might be more convenient for them. Successfully running them takes a full-time commitment, so some businesses use chatbots to run them for less money. CenturyLink did this when it hired Conversica’s Angie to start talking to new leads and save time for sales and customer service staff.
In-person service is the last type of customer service. This is for physical stores, like those in the food and retail industries. When someone goes shopping, a customer service rep usually comes up to them and asks if they need help. If they don’t, the rep rings them up.
Even though it might seem like customer service in person is a thing of the past, nothing makes a better impression than a great experience in person.
Now that you know more about the different kinds of customer service, let’s look at some examples to give you more information and ideas for your business.
Please your customers with great service
Today, the customer has the upper hand when it comes to customer service. So it’s up to people who work in customer service to help them do well. Remember that if you help your customers succeed, you’ll be able to grow your business and make customers happy, which will be good for your bottom line as well.
So, start using the different types of customer service we talked about, and use the examples we gave as guides.