Customer service is a broad and complicated topic. It is constantly over simplified into mantras like ‘the customer is always right’ or ‘no customer, no business’. But when we break down the pieces of a customer service experience, it’s actually much more complex.
It’s helpful to have some broad guidelines to keep in mind while structuring your customer service, and determining whether your procedures are static or dynamic is a great place to start.
What is static customer service?
So what is static customer service? Static customer services mean providing a single solution for the multitude of needs your customers may have. It comes in the form of scripted responses, repetitive menus and forms or excessive standard procedures.
Static customer service is a product of oversimplification or lack of communication and is often incredibly frustrating for both agent and customers trying to use it.
Providing their address, phone number and spelling out their email to five agents in a row will upset even the most patient caller. Filling out forms with irrelevant information, resetting their modem once and again or waiting through an automated menu when all customers need to do is activate their card has a good chance of leaving a bad impression.
These procedures seem to ignore the value of customers’ time in favor of the company’s. Not to mention, scripted solutions are also uncomfortable for your agents. Although there must be uniformity throughout your customer service experience, it’s still important to avoid repetition and superfluous standards.
Shifting from static to dynamic customer service
So how do you go about making the change from a static to a dynamic customer service? A dynamic solution, above all else, is relevant to the customers’ needs. This means adapting procedures so that they are able to evolve and adapt to each call for the most seamless experience possible.
According to Leslie Ament, SVP & Principle Analyst at Hypatia Research Group, there are five key areas to implement dynamic customer service:
- Self-service support
- Automated assisted support
- Preemptive support
- Proactive support
- Prescriptive support
1. Self-service support
Self-service support avoids calls all together. Self-service allow customers to access common information through channels such as forums, videos,and social media. With a wealth of information readily available, customers are able to troubleshoot many issues on their own.
Simple FAQs with easy to use search features will save both customer service representatives and customers time.
2. Automated assisted support
Automated assisted support is simply the ability to access the customer’s screen remotely. Taking the mouse out of their hands and working through the solution for them is an easy way to have a positive interaction. Your caller will also be able to collect information without asking, keeping the experience dynamic instead of static.
3. Preemptive customer support
Part of delivering a dynamic customer service means being able to catch a customer problem before it happens. Preemptive support does just that. It’s the ability to see and solve a problem before customers pick up the phone.
Specifically, using software to predict service degradations or interruptions and then solving it via an agent or automated software. Detecting a problem before the customer realizes they have it is truly great customer service.
Keep in mind, our outreach should be as unobtrusive as possible. It’s wonderful to be ahead of the problem, but make sure to choose the right channel to communicate the preventative measures taken. Nobody wants a phone call when a simple email would do.
4. Proactive customer support
Proactivity comes in the shape of making the first step to reach out and respond the customers.
This means anything from sending personal birthday cards to your customers, emailing and texting events, company updates and promotions and of course, social media monitoring. The ideal way to be proactive is through the use of an efficient CRM system that centralizes all the tools and lets your call center send, receive and listen to your customers wherever on the web they may be.
Proactivity can serve several purposes including building brand awareness, managing brand reputation, and developing customer relationships and loyalty.
5. Prescriptive customer support
We can’t always be superheroes and stop all issues before they happen. When matters do come up, prescriptive customer service provides a direct solution to a customer’s problem. When it comes to providing customer service, it’s important to maintain consistent quality within your call center which can eliminate a lot of frustration on both the agent and customer’s end.
Therefore, communication between representatives is crucial to meet dynamic prescriptive customer service goals. The less time a customer must repeat information or explain their problem, the more likely they are to have a positive experience.
In addition to operating procedure, how are agents speaking to customers? Are their KPIs forced and calls scripted? Customers can smell scripts from a mile off as agents can come off as insincere and lack empathy. Instead, try empowering and training customer service representatives to provide solutions in a dynamic fashion, instead of having them deliver the same script for every call.
If you do need to use a script either over the phone or online, make sure it is a dynamic script that agents can take, personalize and build upon. A dynamic script may only have keywords or phrases highlighted to allow agents to craft the responses to fit the conversation. Others are full scripts but allow for several different responses and greetings. Many even have interchangeable solutions and KPIs, to ensure the agent is hitting all the important points but won’t come off route or apathetic.
According to Hypatia Research Group, only 20% of companies are effectively providing dynamic customer support. With more demanding clients and a dynamic social media landscape, customer service is a challenge to maintain. By investing in smarter and more dynamic solutions, you’ll place yourself ahead of the majority of call centers who are still using a static approach to the customer experience.