7 customer service strategies to deliver an exceptional experience

The busier your business gets, the harder it becomes to deliver excellent customer experiences, let alone stay on top of all customer inquiries.

Between unexpected sales volume surges, seasonal sales spikes, new product launches, and negative customer attention on social media, customer care teams are under quite a lot of pressure. But these pressures don’t just affect those on the front lines of customer service. To provide an outstanding customer experience, you must make it a focal point throughout an organization.

Customers today have little tolerance for anything less than a great experience. When the playing field is level on products and services, customer experience becomes the last competitive frontier and can be the biggest differentiator for most businesses across every industry.

Forward-thinking companies know that staying competitive means adopting a whole new approach to customer care.

Brand differentiation begins with exceptional customer experience

A customer's experience heavily influences their buying decisions, and as such, it is a major arena for brand competition. Ensuring a positive customer experience at every touchpoint is critical to brand success and starts long before a customer even needs to contact customer care.

In the past, sales associates or toll-free numbers were the only way customers could resolve their questions. Today, people are likely to engage with a brand on social media, private messaging, or within a community before they resort to calling a customer service number if they call at all.

59% of consumers would rather use any channel besides the phone to contact your customer care team.
— Business Insider

Customers want a seamless experience at every touchpoint. To a customer, there is no differentiation between your organization's departments or channels — it's all the same business to them. Thus, it's up to businesses to ensure cohesion across all teams that touch customers.

Ownership of customer experience must sit with every person who impacts the customer: Sales, customer care agents, other customers, influencers, and even vendors. This approach enlists everyone associated with your brand to serve your customers' best interests quickly. The effect is integrated experiences that spur loyalty and improve customer satisfaction.

When everyone owns the customer experience, you set the stage for agents to deliver dynamic, outstanding care. The team can meet customers where they are and head off problems before they become a full-blown crisis.

How can your brand powerfully engage with customers? The key is to begin with social media.

Best practices to empower your social media customer care team members

Whether your company has a dedicated social media care team or a more traditional care team that manages social media care, we have some best practices to help teams meet the demands of increased communication volumes.

A powerful social media customer care solution like Khoros Care offers the technology to help agents improve customer service and operate within service-level agreements (SLAs) during high-demand periods.

Some more important tips:

1. Stay ahead of the curve

Before a busy period, review workflows and critical agent metrics like handle time and utilization. Khoros Care has both the data and an ‘alerts' functionality, so managers and agents get real-time updates to stay ahead of the curve when a spike in actionable posts or topics occurs.

Khoros Care also provides real-time analytics with the ability to compare current data to historical data to better understand past and present variations in volume. Knowing how things have gone in prior seasons can better prepare your team for success.

2. Serve customers on a channel you own

When customers turn to social media to reach you, the message is clear: “You weren’t home, so we looked for you here.”

Social media is an important customer service channel where you should be fully present for customer inquiries. Having your own brand community as a place customers can frequent to find answers is also highly valuable and a proven winner in raising satisfaction and reducing costs associated with required off-channel callbacks for authentication. Because Khoros Care is a unified platform, you can build your community with us and minimize training costs for multiple solutions.

3. Empower agents with the right tools

The more knowledge and access to context an agent has, the more capable they will be of providing a response that satisfies the customer. Khoros Care integrates with CRM tools to provide contextual information like customer location, product purchase, and customer spending. Additionally, Khoros has an editable approval process and an easy-to-understand user interface to get flex and overflow agents quickly trained. Be sure your tool prioritizes data so agents can address the most critical issues first when there are specials, new products, or other situations that cause an increase in volume.

4. Find the right expert at the right time

Even when agents are prepared, sometimes questions come up that need to be resolved by an internal expert. Khoros Care helps you to triage questions internally so designated internal resources can respond quickly. Additionally, our mobile agent feature allows agents, internal experts, and supervisors to address conversations on the go and provide faster customer responses.

5. Be more responsive

Response time is critical to customer sentiment. During busy periods, tracking response time and monitoring agent performance is crucial, but it also helps determine whether you need to pull in additional agents. Khoros Care’s machine learning identifies and tags actionable posts to help agents prioritize. The tool also provides multiple options for routing data for channel and specialization management so that agents can respond to specific customer inquiries and concerns faster and provide more accurate responses.

6. Improve self-service options

The more you can direct customers back to self-service, the more you enable them to find their own solutions and, ultimately, reduce your agent load. Technology like Khoros Care allows you to insert community user-generated content (UGC) into your responses to give customers more information and future reference points.

7. Be visible to the organization

With everyone owning the customer experience, transparency becomes more important than ever. You will want to showcase how social media impacts customers and, ultimately, the success of the whole business.

Khoros Care’s Shared Dashboards and Monitor Wall let you show your team, executives, and the organization what’s happening on social media in real-time. They’ll see real-time Tweets with your handle on them, changes in customer sentiment, agent response times, case volumes, and geographical information.

The results speak for themselves

Your teams are empowered, sailing through a previously dizzying caseload, and you’re seeing customer sentiment and agent response times in complete transparency.

Now, you can rest easy knowing agents are doing a great job, and the customer is happy.

Pause a minute and take it all in.

Developing, managing, and growing a stellar social media customer care function is one of the best ways to compete on customer experience.

Here’s what you can expect to get for your efforts:

Finally: keep them coming back

Frustrated customers who experience a positive, supportive, and fast resolution often become far more loyal than those who don’t contact you. We all respect humble brands, take responsibility for issues and go out of their way to make people feel respected and valued. When you meet customers where they are on social media and provide outstanding customer care, you leave an indelible impression.

Customers respond by trusting you, and customers that trust you return.

What is Khoros Care?

Khoros Care is a solution for brands that put their customers first. Manage social media customer service at scale with our intuitive interface, automatically prioritize conversations with sophisticated workflow options, and track success in real-time with robust analytics. Your customers are waiting to hear from you. Engage with them today with Khoros Care. Learn more.