Customer service: What it is, key principles and how to deliver it efficiently

Customer service: What it is, key principles and how to deliver it efficiently

Understanding your audience, responding to their needs, and having an appropriate approach are some of the points that make up customer service. More than that, brands need to offer a complete and pleasant experience in every interaction they carry out. After all, consumers’ demands are higher than ever.

Developing and improving customer service is the right way to create close and stable relationships. By doing so, it is possible to deliver value and fulfill your promise, in addition to demonstrating your ability to solve any problems that arise.

Understanding what customer service actually is should be your first step to improving this process in your company, setting you apart from the competition. Read on for our tips!

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is customer service?
  • How important is customer service?
  • Principles of customer service

According to a Salesforce study, 89% of Brazilian customers consider the experience offered by brands to be as important as the quality of their products and services.

What is customer service?

It is all of the support that a company offers its consumers, whether before, during or after a purchase. Customer service refers to the priority that an organization gives to answering questions, solving problems and listening to feedback.

Throughout this process, it is necessary to stay aligned with the company’s policies and guidelines, which are passed on to consumers. With good service, it is possible to maintain contact with your audience and improve your customer relationship management, plus adds to your brand recognition.

How important is customer service?

Customer service directly influences the way consumers relate to the brand. After all, paying attention, listening and responding are very important parts of solving and anticipating problems.

More and more consumers want special treatment, meaning they are served in an easy, intuitive and, above all, agile way. When a customer looks for someone to help them, it means they trust your company and believe that you will support them in any situation.

When companies fail to do this, customers may switch products and services to another brand, where they find a better relationship through customer service.

In this sense, a company that values ​​excellence in customer service can drastically reduce expenses and relieve the flow of operations, allowing for a greater focus on other business fronts.

Thus, offering good service, whether to set your company apart in the market or as a customer retention strategy, creates a competitive advantage for your business. The company will be recognized for its customer service and attention to its audience, becoming a market leader and reference on the subject.

Often, it is not only the positive result of an action that a customer looks for, but also a relationship of trust and transparency, which values them and gives them the support they need.

Customer service principles

It is essential that customer service is defined according to the personality of the customer. It goes beyond just giving answers, it means providing quality during the whole process. For this to happen, a company has to know their consumer and define a communication approach, in addition to following the basic fundamentals of customer service.

Get to know the principles of customer service and learn why to adopt them in your business strategies.

1. Empathy

More than merely solving a customer’s problem, brands need to put themselves in the consumer’s shoes, understanding their emotions, and demonstrating that customers are the most important part of the business. This personal touch shows empathy and will help with brand awareness and customer experience throughout the interaction.

However, it is important to remember to employ empathy in customer service with balance and care. After all, customers may become suspicious of brands that appear “too friendly”.

So it is essential to understand your customer and their behaviors, to know what they are looking for and what brought them into contact with your brand. Mastering this information will allow you to create personalized actions with much more confidence.

One way to put yourself in your customers’ shoes is to create an empathy map. Here, you should put your personas in hypothetical situations to understand how your customers will fare in a given situation. Next, you need to write down how your company will help overcome the problem. It is not necessary to dive too deep, these will be initial ideals to develop later, when a given situation arises in practice.

2. Genuine interactions

According to information released by Think With Google, 63% of people expect brands to offer a consistent experience across all interactions. These data reveal the importance of observing and taking care of communication with the customer, both online and offline.

Creating and recycling ready-made phrases is not the best path to follow. The most important thing is to have truly genuine interactions so customers feel comfortable explaining their situation. In addition, the tone of voice must be appropriate to the brand and the moment.

That’s where conversational marketing comes in: a set of direct actions implemented for an audience to establish a closer and more human experience. This method is a powerful way to serve your audience, as it helps to identify exactly what each person needs as soon as they contact the brand.

3. Agility

Without a doubt, wait time impacts customer service, as well as your customers’ experience throughout the process. After all, no one likes to wait hours for resolution that doesn’t meet our needs, right?

Therefore, guaranteeing speed when exchanging information with your customer is essential to maintaining the quality and strong image of your business. More than that, improving and streamlining your service to the public raises levels of satisfaction, revenue and market excellence.

In addition to offering a positive customer experience, agile service helps with internal workflows – your team is able to serve more customers in less time, reduce wait lines and the flow of calls, increasing the number of satisfied people.

To ensure that customer service is done at the right time, it is important to follow a few steps:

  • Don’t keep customers waiting,
  • Avoid long texts, conversations and messages,
  • Be concise,
  • Create a good connection,
  • Try to be as clear and objective as possible,
  • Transfer to another attendant only when necessary.

4. Personalization

Along the same lines that make personalized campaigns stand out from the competition, personalized service helps improve the customer experience. With this in mind, why not go all in on personalizing your customer service?

This practice gives value to ​​everything that the customer has already experienced with the brand, adding to their overall experience. This helps to understand their strengths and weaknesses, needs and desires. It is important to make interactions be truly relevant to the specific problem and demand of each customer. Otherwise, it will come off as just a pre-recorded interaction with ready-made phrases.

One of the first steps to personalizing customer service is understanding and defining the target audience. This allows the manager to know who they’re talking to: their profile, habits and interests. Anyone who skips this step runs the risk of offering something that the customer doesn’t care about.

Afterwards, it is necessary to store the information obtained in a CRM or some kind of database. It is important to keep track of additional data that will help to customize the service, such as the customer’s profession, purchase history and product preference.

Finally, it’s time to address the customer properly. In addition to planning communication based on the information gathered, it is important to practice values ​​such as sincerity, honesty and transparency, for the customer to identify with and feel comfortable while being served.

5. Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is an indicator that measures the good relationship of customers with a brand, company or service. Through this pillar, companies can obtain quantitative and representative feedback on what the public thinks. Thus, it is possible to minimize negative impacts and improve insights.

Aligning satisfaction scores with customer service can be very beneficial for a business. This is due to the fact that each consumer generates a huge amount of data and signals of intent that will help define growth strategies for the business.

Launching satisfaction surveys, such as NPS, is a good way to understand the level of satisfaction and expectations of a target audience. By highlighting the positive and negative points of the brand, it is possible to create guidelines for decision making, promote good ideas and avoid harmful actions.

6. Proactivity

Proactivity is a great way to ensure your customers’ well-being, providing efficient and agile communication. To achieve this, it is necessary to strengthen relationships and maintain a constant bond with the consumer. By doing so, it becomes possible to anticipate your customers’ needs and even allow them to carry out some processes on their own.

Implementing proactive customer service takes foresight and preparation, but it pays off when customers become brand advocates. One key way to integrate proactive service into your business strategies is to be welcoming and transparent. So make sure you provide accurate and relevant information to make the customer service practical for both parties.

7. Team

It is essential that the customer service team has full knowledge of the particularities of the company’s product or service, as well as all of the information about customers. Unmotivated employees, lacking knowledge on some subjects or with low engagement can bring problems to customer service interactions.

That’s why it’s so important to develop your service team, through technical training and developing interpersonal skills. This way, employees will be able to propose solutions and increase the business potential by retaining customers.

Here are some tips to prepare your customer service team:

  • Prepare your team technically and in terms of behavior,
  • Align expectations,
  • Provide necessary tools and materials,
  • Set limits and be flexible,
  • Show real scenarios,
  • Share experiences,
  • Conduct audits,
  • Create a knowledge base.

8. Availability

It is hardly news that being available to customers is necessary to strengthen relationships. It is ideal to offer customer service across different channels, such as WhatsApp, social networks, text messaging and other conversational solutions. To facilitate this process, there are multi-channel service platforms, such as ZENVIA’s customer service and sales solutions, which allow you to manage these interactions all from one place.

It’s important to see conversations not just as sales opportunities, but as a way to build relationships. So keep an open mind and listen to everything your audience has to say. Moreover, do not relegate your contact information to the small print in the footer – make it easy to find information and provide multichannel customer service.

9. Innovation

It is impossible to close your eyes to the need for innovation in business strategies. However, it can still be a question in the minds of many managers: where to apply innovation? Are there technologies that bring more results? To invest or not to invest in a digital service?

To give you an idea, companies like Nubank are already improving their way of serving customers. The customer service team, which represents about 50% of its total headcount, answers hundreds of calls daily, replies to chat conversations and exchanges a multitude of emails.

To make this process more dynamic, the company decided that, for one day, software engineers, designers, product managers and other employees would perform the same customer service tasks. This made it possible to integrate areas and familiarize all employees with the main customer concerns.

In addition to internal actions such as those at Nubank, companies can also introduce innovation through online customer service via social networks. After all, the customer wants to solve their problems where they already are, without having to resort to a long wait.

And that’s where SAC 3.0 comes in, customer service focused on consumers who are increasingly demanding, informed and socially connected. In this case, technology serves as support, provides data analysis to identify market opportunities and even automate customer services.

For more information about customer service, follow the ZENVIA blog

Here on the ZENVIA blog, you can find a lot of information about the market and digital interactions. Now that you know more about customer service, be sure to check out other content on communication strategies, digital marketing and consumer relations.

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