Whether you’ve been in customer service for years or are freshly starting out, you’ve likely heard some reference to new customers costing more than retaining an old customer. The specific numbers change per industry, but the sentiment is all the same. In the ISP industry especially, we often incur a lot of upfront costs to get a customer going; this can include the time spent for a sales agent to find the right solution, the installation itself, and the hardware deployed. While installation costs are normalized, the reality is that to remain competitive, they rarely cover the initial deployment costs. So, how do we improve the customer experience and, in turn, the retention rate? Let’s take a look at both representative-level and company-level opportunities.
As a Representative:
The first way to improve an over-the-phone interaction is to smile while you’re talking. Will you feel a little silly smiling at your screen even though no one can see you? Maybe so. But there’s some truth to be had for the phrase “fake it till you make it”. When you smile, the tone of your voice instantly sounds more pleasant because your vocal cords move differently. If a customer is already irritated, speaking to someone who sounds fed up will only exasperate the situation and cease productivity; the simplest way to ease a tense situation is to remain calm, empathetic, and smile it out. Aside from the customer’s experience here, you may also feel the effects too, as some studies have found that smiling prompts your brain to release endorphins.
2. Use Their Name
Customers don’t want to be considered just another account number or another task to check off for the day, they appreciate a personal customer experience over that of a robotic, script-focused one. Using their name is a great way to humanize your interaction with them, whether this be during a call, an email, or even surveys.
Sonar includes a variable feature when configuring email messages that allow you to set which name it should pull from the account upon sending the email, either account name or contact name. This way you can still customize your messaging while maintaining the efficiency of automation. To read on about our Email Variables, click here.
3. Provide Self-Help Tips
A recent study revealed that 53% of customers would prefer to self-resolve any questions or problems they come across rather than having to communicate with a customer service representative; for those between the ages of 18 and 34, this number rose to 60%. While an ISP can launch customer portals and include documentation on their website or social media, it’s equally important that representatives let customers know that these options exist.
The methods to relay this information can take many forms. If a customer is calling in to pay a bill, you could offer to walk them through doing this via the customer portal to get them familiar with the process while still retaining your support for any initial questions. Alternatively, you could also ask the customer if they’re interested in any additional self-help resources and if they are, you could send them a pre-configured email after the call wraps up.
As an ISP:
4. Adopt Omnichannel Servicing
A quick way to worsen a customer’s mood is to make them wait an extended amount of time before they can speak with a representative. Add in repetitive elevator music while they wait, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. While this can be somewhat rectified by extending support hours and hiring additional staff in an effort to lessen the wait times, there are additional solutions to consider as well.
First and foremost, offering customers the ability to email in their questions and concerns allows them to be in near full control of when they spend time interacting with your staff. Responses to customers should be treated with the same priority that calls are answered, as both avenues are still ultimately a customer reaching out.
Secondly, social media has become a vacuum for complaints about everything from customer service to unreliable internet. With 42% of people using social media as a means to research products, it becomes imperative that you have a team monitoring the likes of Facebook and Twitter and offering assistance to customers that way. Additionally, customers may use direct messages as another method to reach out, in these situations, it’s important to ensure that all conversations are copied to your Sonar instance; an easy way to taint a customer’s experience is for them to have to repeat a situation.
5. Offer Experience Surveys
Approximately only 4% of customers report when they’ve had an unsatisfactory experience, which means that you’re likely unaware of where improvements are needed until it’s too late. An easy solution to this predicament is offering customers a way to easily report on the experience they received. Depending on the configuration of the survey, you can also use this as a means of recording CSAT scores per agent, allowing you a clear view of where additional attention is needed.
6. Outline Processes and Procedures
While we’ve briefly touched on the negative impact robotic calls can have on customer experience, it is still important to have clear processes defined for your staff to follow. Without these details, your staff may begin skipping vital steps or answering questions they aren’t properly trained to answer. Going above and beyond may make for a positive experience at the moment, but there’s a risk that any positivity will be diminished upon their next call in when another staff member doesn’t have the knowledge to complete those same tasks, resulting in frustration for both the customer and your staff.
7. Open the Floor to Employees
Though we discussed the importance of processes and procedures, it’s equally important that you address when things aren’t working optimally, and the best way to do this is to take input from the very staff using those processes day in and day out. On that same token, if your staff are reporting similar complaints from customers, it’s worthwhile to dig deeper and see how things can be improved. These complaints could be as simple as a throwaway comment that the IVR disconnected them while they were on hold, indicating a need to troubleshoot the phone system. Letting your employees know that internal communication is a two-way street will only benefit the customer experience.
Sonar offers a range of features that can improve the efficiency and overall impact of your customer service team, such as automated email triggers, customer portals, and a fully integrated ticketing system that is both customizable and configured with our reporting tool to pull live data. For more information on how Sonar can benefit your customer’s experience, contact us to schedule a demo today!