If you listen to the conversations around you, you’ll likely hear someone complaining about a bad experience interacting with a company. It’s not nearly as common to overhear rave-reviews about good customer service.
Your company can be the one that people are raving about when you take a few minutes to understand the differences between customer service and customer experience and use the connection between them to your advantage. When you pull out all the stops to create a good customer experience, it virtually guarantees good customer service. This puts your call center team in a position to achieve targets and promote company growth.
How to Create a Good Customer Experience
In your quest to create a good customer experience, it’s essential to differentiate between the terms customer service and customer experience. The two terms are fundamentally connected, but by definition, there are some distinct and important differences that you should know about.
Customer service is one part of the customer journey, albeit a crucial one. To define it, customer service refers to helping customers directly by answering questions or providing a service for them. One way to separate the term customer service from customer experience is to view customer service as a reactive response when a customer reaches out to your company.
Customer service encompasses a range of issues from inquiring about products or services, to asking follow-up questions after a purchase and lodging complaints.
Customer experience, on the other hand, is proactive in nature. Rather than focusing on the act of providing service, the customer experience focuses on the entire relationship between your business and its customers. It encompasses every chance to have a touchpoint with your customers even when they’re not buying something.
When a customer sees one of your ads or reads a review, it’s a touchpoint. When they visit your website, read your blog, or check out your online store, your brand is already making an impression on them. Of course, customer service falls under the umbrella of the customer experience. With every interaction between you and your customers, you have a chance to build trust and enhance the relationship.
Why Customer Service
Dave Dyson, Senior Customer Service Evangelist for Zendesk sums up the definition of customer experience in this way,
“Customer experience involves every way a customer interacts with a company, at all stages of the customer journey including the marketing materials they see before they become a customer, the sales experience, the quality of the product or service itself, and the customer service they receive post-purchase.”
One term isn’t more important than the other. They make great complements. The focus on a good customer experience will ensure great customer service at the end of the day.
Ways to Give Customers Good Experiences
Collectively, a lot of variables go into the customer experience. What issues matter the most to your customers?
According to PwC, almost 80% of customers in the U.S. want it all—speed, convenience, knowledge, and friendly service. PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, which represents 15,000 people from 12 countries, showed that 40% of those surveyed said they’d be willing to pay extra for same-day delivery.
To define it specifically, getting the whole customer experience package includes:
Fast or free shipping
First call resolution
Do you think your call agents know your customers well? If you answered no, VoIP integrations are the answer to getting your call agents up to speed when customers call. By joining your VoIP phone system with your CRM, call agents get a popup bubble that gives them access to a profile of customer data to help them personalize the call.
Personalizing the Customer Experience
For example, “Hello Carol, I can see that you received a shipment from us today. Are you calling because of issues with the shipment or the product?”
Before Carol has ever said a word, she knows that the call agent has her order handy and is willing and able to help. Anticipating a customer’s needs before they ask is a proactive approach, and it’s a pleasant surprise for customers that may stereotype customer service departments negatively.
If a customer gets disconnected for any reason, the call agent can call or text them back right away, preventing the customer from having to call back and becoming annoyed over having to repeat the issue again for another call agent.
Software integration tools will tell your call agents if a customer has signed up for your rewards club. Handy access to information gives call agents a chance to thank them for being a loyal customer.
Being proactive in the customer experience means contacting loyal customers to tell them when there’s a sale on the products they’ve expressed interest in buying.
Customers often call customer service when they have a problem. The customer’s record will show if they’ve called before with the same or a different problem. When it’s appropriate, the call agent can extend a bit of goodwill by offering free upgrades, discounts, or coupons.
When customers have a good experience, they’re happy to tell you about it. Train your call agents to ask customers if they’d be willing to do a survey of a few short questions after the call so you get immediate feedback. Software integrations allow them to send off an automated survey in one click which yields timely, honest feedback.
How a Good Customer Experience Impacts Customer Service
Your call center agents drive the type of customer experiences that develop strong customer relationships and generate revenue.
As you reach for your goal of providing a good customer experience, it rewards your company in many impactful ways.
These are the rewards you can expect to gain from providing a good customer experience:
Increased customer satisfaction
Greater engagement on social media
Referrals and endorsements
Increased call agent satisfaction
Such positive metrics provide the inspiration to motivate your call agents to work even harder as they provide customer support directly. It’s personally and professionally rewarding for call agents to know that the work they do every day makes a customer’s day.
On a larger scale, the effect of good customer experiences encourages your call agents to work smarter and better to meet your goals and objectives. The impact of your efforts to enhance the customer experience will ultimately have a noticeable positive impact on your bottom line.
Of course, it’s too much to expect that customers will be happy 100% of the time. That’s a worthy goal, but good intentions aside, things can, and do go wrong. When your customers get a good customer experience on a consistent basis, they’re likely to forgive small mishaps when they occur.
How to Deliver Good Customer Service
SuperOffice did a survey of 1,920 business professionals and found that their top business priority for the next five years is improving the customer experience. If you don’t have a plan to work on improving customer satisfaction through the whole customer journey, now is the time to realign your priorities.
To deliver good customer service, you’ll need to invest some time in improving your workflows and training your call agents. A cloud-based phone system with a robust set of features is essential. It works in tandem with software integrations to give your call agents the tools to enhance the customer journey. The right software tools will enable you to be proactive in answering customer questions and problems, seamlessly.
Your customers love automation when it saves them time and money, and that’s something you can easily use to your advantage. To that end, they want your website and mobile apps to be intuitive, attractive, and user-friendly. They want the right answers and they want them to be delivered at their convenience.
Heightened levels of empathy, when combined with the right technology, gives you multiple opportunities to enhance the customer experience with every call. Call agent training brings the combination of people and software together in direct ways to adjust and adapt to your customer’s needs in real-time.
Aircall Phone Features
Here’s a sampling of how Aircall’s modern phone system features assist your call agents as they answer calls and solve problems fast:
Call routing – Get calls to the right person immediately.
Interactive voice response (IVR) – Lets customers choose the right department.
Call queue – Holds customers on the line in order or calls them back in order.
Call notifications – Have alerts sent to desktops so call agents can click to answer.
CRM and helpdesk – Combines your phone system with these tools for a single source of information.
Call recording – Monitor calls and enhance training.
Live feed – Gives managers a real-time glance of call center activity.
Call whispering, monitoring, barging – Allows managers or peers to listen in on calls and coach agents or intervene on problem calls.
Insight cards – Pulls data from other apps into view for greater context.
Software integrations from Aircall’s App Marketplace magnify the impact of Aircall’s phone system features. Imagine the possibilities:
CRM – Use Hubspot or whatever CRM you’re currently using.
AI & transcription – Use Gong to gather and review transcripts and insights.
Data and reporting – Use Plecto or an app like it to gain insights on call center teams or sales teams.
eCommerce – Shopify and apps like it give access to sales data to call agents.
Live chat – Intercom shows call activity and creates tickets for missed calls and voicemails.
Quality assurance – With EvaluAgent or a similar integration you get objective feedback for call agents.
Sales – Streamline sales workflows with SalesLoft or your existing sales software program.
The Importance of Building Good Customer Relationships
Strong relationships are crucial for customer success and it’s everyone’s responsibility to build them. As with personal relationships, it takes time to build customer relationships. To make relationships strong and incite trust, you have to cultivate them and nurture them.
What happens if you neglect to produce a good customer experience? According to PwC, 59% of U.S. consumers would stop buying from a company after having a few bad experiences. More interesting is that 17% of them would leave after having only one bad experience with a favorite brand. On a global scale, 32% of all customers would leave a brand after a single experience. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk of losing any percentage of your business by not providing the type of customer experience they expect.
Keeping customers happy is just as important later on in the relationship. Just like the relationships in your personal life, business relationships can deteriorate and fall apart. If you allow that to happen, it will certainly affect your business.
You have much to gain from building good customer relationships—brand loyalty, product endorsements, increased sales, and more. A well incorporated plan that includes your workflows, people, and tools, will help you reach your goal of an amazing customer experience. This puts you in a strong position to keep reaping the rewards, year after year.
Published on January 2, 2024.