Customer service is one of the most influential aspects of your business. It impacts your customers’ perception of your brand and influences their decision to remain loyal to it.
But improving your customer care can be difficult if you don’t have a clear roadmap for how to do so. In this post, we’ll explain customer effort, why it’s important to your customer care, and show you how to go about reducing it to boost customer satisfaction.
What is Customer Effort?
Put simply, customer effort is the amount of work a customer has to do in a given customer service scenario to achieve the final outcome (be it positive or negative). These scenarios include everything from phone calls and live chat conversations with agents to in-person interactions with employees at brick-and-mortar locations.
Often, customer effort scores are measured using a simple survey at the end of the interaction -- via pop-ups, emails, or a question asked explicitly by agents -- to measure the “difficulty” level of the engagement. When pooled together, these responses can paint a picture for businesses as to how well they’re supporting their customers.
Fortunately, no matter what your current customer effort level is, there is a way to reduce it. Namely, by turning your customer service agents into customer advocates. Here are 3 ways you can use agent advocacy to start reducing your customer effort, today.
Communicate Via Multiple Channels
Each customer has a preference when it comes to communication. Some like the ability to explain their situation over the phone, while others prefer to chat on social media or text back and forth with support agents.
Having multiple options available -- like live chat, social media, text, phone, and email -- makes it possible for your customers to contact your customer care team in their preferred way. And as a result, they can deal with problems how and when it’s most convenient for them.
For instance, if a young professional needs to contact your support team during their lunch break, they can simply text with your team while they eat. And a busy mom can message your agents at any time, without searching for a quiet hiding space to chat on the phone.
Listen & Respond With Empathy
If your customers need to call your customer support team multiple times to get their problem resolved or have to sit around waiting to talk to a manager, they’re exerting a lot of effort. And often, this can lead to poor customer experience, negative brand perception, and low customer loyalty.
However, even if your customer service agents are swamped by inquiries and support tickets, there’s an easy way to resolve this. By simply listening carefully to what customers have to say, asking clarifying questions as needed, and responding with empathy, your agents can drastically reduce friction in the conversation (even when dealing with angry customers). As a result, communication can flow more freely, and problems can be resolved faster and more effectively.
Resolve Issues Quickly
One of the biggest complaints customers have when dealing with support agents is the amount of time it takes to get their problems resolved. In some cases, this might be because they’re put on hold while agents transfer them to a specialist who can resolve their specific issue. Other times, they might need to spend lots of time walking the agent through the problem and explaining the previous answers they received from other agents to get a viable solution.
Regardless, ensuring that your customer care agents have the training, information, and tools to solve customer problems quickly and effectively is critical to keeping your customer effort score high. For instance, having key information about your business (like return policies and general warranty information) committed to memory can make the customer service experience much faster. At the same time, knowing where to find information quickly (like details on a customers’ order or account) drastically reduces the amount of time a customer has to spend before they reach a resolution.
Customer effort plays a major role in the overall satisfaction and loyalty of your customers, which means it’s important to find ways to reduce it. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to do. By adopting multiple communication channels and encouraging your customer support agents to respond empathetically and resolve issues quickly, you can keep customers happier in every customer service engagement.