Customer service and why it should be at the heart of what you do

Charlotte Worth

Customer Success Manager

Customer service is at the heart of Crugo, we put the customer before all else. To state the obvious, your product will only ever be as good as their experience of it (from brand perception to purchase to servicing). Because of this, we take a customer-centric approach from the outset and we believe that it’s important to always provide service and support to the highest standards possible. Indeed, it’s widely accepted that customers today expect excellent customer service as standard and that providing this is a key competitive differentiator. However, it seems that not all businesses share this philosophy.

 

customer service Imperfect automation

When customers call a business’s support line they are all too often met with some kind of interactive computer system that directs their call to a specific department. In some cases, support is conducted entirely through a computer system and it is only possible to talk to a human customer support agent as a last resort (and having run through a whole series of menus). Sky’s customer support system is a prime example of this kind of routing. This may seem like a smart, efficient way of providing support but it significantly reduces the quality of service provided by wasting the customer’s time and testing their patience. Consumers don’t necessarily hate dealing with computer systems (think of banking self service) but if the support process is slow or cumbersome then it will quickly become frustrating – and if it can’t deal with customer issues then it effectively isn’t fit for purpose.

As a point in case, I recently messaged a business on Facebook, before realising that I was communicating with a chatbot. Based on keywords in my message, this returned links to FAQ pages – which were entirely irrelevant to my question. When I sought out a human operator, the chatbot directed me to an email address; and on mailing this address I was told that it didn’t accept messages and that I should file a ticket with the company’s customer support system. I had only messaged the business via Facebook, of course, due to the fact that the company’s support system was in a fortnight-long meltdown.

Customers won’t necessarily be unhappy about using FAQs to solve problems themselves, but if it feels like a business is being deliberately unhelpful then it’s likely to knock the consumer’s trust in the brand. Just think of Apple – their in-store support staff are dubbed “Geniuses” and are happy to help with whatever technical problems you have. In the case above, it seemed as if the process had been launched (and perhaps patched up) without ever being tested. At the very least, this makes the business look unprofessional and, at worst, suggests a (likely incorrect) sense that the company simply doesn’t care about its customers.

 

customer service

The customers of the 21st century

There has been a significant change in customers’ focus in the last 5 years. Consumers expect much more than previous generations did – and, at Crugo, we think this change is fantastic.

Current consumer trends suggest that time is a primary focus for consumers, who are willing to give up cash to get things done quickly and easily. Customers no longer automatically look for the “cheapest” or the “most popular” options – and they won’t necessarily stay with a firm purely out of habit, whether that means changing bank accounts or getting a new model of smartphone.

Indeed, today’s consumers know exactly what your competitors are offering and how much their products cost. Businesses can no longer rely on blind customer loyalty: today’s consumers won’t suffer bad service or insufficient provisions. Moreover, they know their rights and they know that their opinions count. Product reviews are a prime example of this, where dissatisfied customers can have a big impact online, leaving a permanent stamp on the company’s reputation. This is why it pays to have a proactive social media presence and to monitor brand mentions, to ensure that you can promptly respond to negative feedback.

 

customer service
So why is human support so readily overlooked?

It’s often held that the world of business can be split between B2C and B2B companies. However, this idea is fast disappearing. We’ve found that it’s really a case of Human2Human – and commercial decision makers appreciate good design and thoughtful service just as much at work as they do in their personal lives. It shouldn’t be a surprise that every client wants to feel valued rather than being treated as a cog in a corporate wheel.

In the bigger picture, it can’t be denied that automation has and will continue to have a huge impact on business. However, it’s important to look at what automation cannot deliver: human support and the personal touch. And looking ahead, intelligent, emotive automation is unlikely to be available for years to come.

In the meantime, the ability to deal with a real person cannot be overlooked – and this feeds directly into brand trust. We’ve found that as well as offering an extraordinary tool, you need extraordinary people to deliver the level of service that modern consumers expect.

 

customer supportGetting human support right

Training is crucial to ensure that your customer service team has a thorough understanding of the product, how customers are using it and what they want to achieve with it. You want your staff to be able to deal with problems big or small; and it’s also valuable to develop specialists who can dig deep into highly specific use cases and technical aspects of the product.

It’s also important, of course, to ensure that your team has the hardware, software and facilities that they need to provide high-quality support, quickly and flexibly.

All this allows businesses to harness the power of modern technology without losing the personal touch. Consumers today have high expectations and this approach will make all the difference to satisfying and retaining customers – and it will, therefore, have a significant influence on the bottom line.

Providing high-quality support is something that we take very seriously at Crugo. In fact, we’ve made sure that we have a dedicated Customer Success and Customer Engagement team available whenever our clients need help, seven days a week. We’re always willing to go the extra mile – and nothing is too much trouble. It’s an investment, but we’re convinced it’s worth it in order to deliver the service that our clients expect – and it’s something that we’re regularly praised for on review sites like Capterra.

The future

Plenty of people will tell you that the future lies with AI-assisted virtual agents – however, we’re committed to providing a human touch. After all, as those who have had bad experiences with chatbots can tell you, the technology available today just doesn’t seem to be up to the job. And that’s our advice across the industry: while there might be savings to be made from automation, you may well be stepping over pounds to pick up pennies if you go down that route.

Instead, intelligently thought out support ensures that customers can quickly and easily solve any problems that they have – so they love your product and your business. These customers won’t just stick around but will advocate on your behalf – after all, would you rather recommend a service that offered a passable experience or one that went above and beyond to meet your needs?