CX Expert Roundup: How to Improve Customer Experience

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in improving your customer experience. Surely, every business has faced a lot of changes in recent months. The lockdown and social distancing have impacted the load of support requests and the quality of customer service. How to keep up and go the extra mile in bringing outstanding customer experience?

Well, you can’t figure out all CX secrets by yourself. But there’s a better source of information - the professionals who have started and succeeded with their customer success or helped other businesses.

All this ignited an idea of a CX expert roundup. So we’ve interviewed a group of experts and composed a roundup that covers such topics:

  • What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?
  • What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?
  • Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Every expert had a different experience but still managed to achieve success. Here’s what to know: they tried and failed before they came up with a perfect solution. If you want to improve your customer experience tactics, pay close attention to what the experts have shared.

Luiza Strach

Luiza Strach
Head of Customer Support at Surfer

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Surfer is an SEO-centered SaaS, so the pandemic didn’t hurt the business itself; we didn’t have a surge of people running to cancel their subscriptions. However, customer support started receiving more questions and requests as people really wanted to get their money’s worth. We solved this issue by expanding our support team - it paid for itself because we noticed a growing customer satisfaction.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

As our customers are located all over the globe, and our team works in just a one time zone, live chats saved our lives. We also used the surge in popularity of webinars to our advantage and started hosting Weekly Walkthrough and Daily Q&A webinars. The events have been successful, and they enabled us to help customers live and “in bulk,” which saves time and increases customer satisfaction.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Always try to find the middle ground with your customers, even if it would mean bending the rules slightly. Sometimes, customers ask us to cancel their yearly plans in the middle, extend their trial period because they were too busy to use it, and so on. We usually respond favorably to these requests. We don’t want our customers to feel trapped with our tool, and we’d rather lose some cash now than find a bunch of negative reviews online later.

Ronnie Teja

Ronnie Teja
CEO at SoftwareKeep

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Burnout: In 2020, we got into unprecedented times as the year was marked with fear and anxiety. Fortunately for us, being in the software industry, our products were in demand (often, I refer to this as a blessing in disguise). And with increased demand for customer support, our CS team was stretched out, too many calls/ tickets to attend to. Every month, the team handled close to 20,000 tickets with over 10,000 calls. Due to increased workload, customers being angry and immediate solutions had to be looked into.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

To solve the issue, we hired more CS team members to join the team, plus we made it mandatory for every CS team member to take refresher courses after every month. Besides the increased wait time for the client to respond to emails, we encouraged them to use our LiveChat function for immediate feedback to avoid long wait times.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

As a company, you should specify how long it will take for them to receive a service. For instance, in our case, we sell digital download products, and the moment a client places an order, we notify them through email that the product will be available for download within 15-30 minutes. This helps in calming customers' nerves. Plus, we also indicate how long it takes to receive support through

  • email < 1.5 hrs
  • LiveChat < 2 minutes
  • calls < 1hr

The service delivery time should be explicit to avoid any doubts.

Shivbhadrasinh Gohil

Shivbhadrasinh Gohil
Co-founder of Meetanshi

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The most challenging thing was the collaboration between support team members in a remote work setup. It consumed time for the support staff to communicate when working from home as compared to working from the office from the same room.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

However, certain tools like 24sessions, CallPage, and Helpdesk helped us with our support system when working remotely. The 24sessions tool allowed us to offer a personalized demo of our Magento extensions whenever a potential client scheduled a video chat via the tool. The CallPage tool helped us offer on-call support to the customers for their queries. Lastly, the Helpdesk tool helped with the ticketing system.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

The award of outstanding customer experience only comes when you offer something more. Going out of your way and delivering the support in a better way than promised leads to customer satisfaction.

Reuben Yonatan

Reuben Yonatan
Founder & CEO at GetVoIP

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Customer support truly went international and 24/7 in the last year. We had to prepare to answer questions from consumers across the globe, each facing their own challenges in adapting to digital social distancing. We learned a lot that we've put into action now, but the sheer volume of ideas and comments made us realize just how ever-evolving CX is.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

LiveChat has been useful for basic help desk needs. More and more people expect this kind of instant communication. You also get a live preview of what the customer is typing so you can more quickly deliver a response.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Empathy. Customers know that their experiences are unique, and that not every service agent will perfectly understand what they're dealing with. This is particularly true since you don't have the full context behind their communication. Yet when you take the time to show you are willing to put yourself in their shoes, you get more information and therefore deliver better service.

Mikkel Andreassen

Mikkel Andreassen
Customer Experience Manager at Dixa

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

One of the most difficult situations to deal with in customer service is customers who think they know more than you do. This is because, with some superficial research on the internet, they are already experts on some issues they need to solve. When in reality, you are the one who is qualified to solve the problem. Dealing with this type of problem requires a lot of patience and has been one of the most complicated in the last year.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Some of the tools that have helped me to improve my customer service are to apply these steps:

  • Practice active listening. This helps to better understand the customer's problem and empathize with the customer's condition.
  • Get rid of fear. If you succumb to fear, everything will be much more complicated. Fear does not allow you to think well and this will lead you to make decisions that are not favorable to resolve the problem.
  • Keep calm and move on. It is perfectly normal to get angry if the customer is being disrespectful, but it is important that you maintain your posture and do not stoop to their level. How you handle the conflict will define your future relationship with customers.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

The best tip you can apply is to show immediate action and solutions. Doing this will convey to the customer your interest in helping them, which will lower their guard and their predisposition to get angry. The more you collaborate with the problem, the better the experience will be for you and the customer.

Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore
Director of Customer Success at Dyspatch

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The CS team suffers from a malady known as "very online", and we were already well-positioned to work remotely. The most challenging part of the last year has been working with customers whose businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic. Some verticals were hit really hard, and it's always sad to lose a customer.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Video conferencing has been great! Talking webcam-to-webcam is not only the fastest way to resolve any issues, but it's also a way to have some form of human interaction. Something people were starved for (including our support team) during this pandemic.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Perception is important. Always ask yourself, "How will this email be interpreted?". Your goal is to help people understand your solution. How someone feels after reading your email or message is just as important as the information you convey.

Nate Tsang

Nate Tsang
Founder & CEO at WallStreetZen

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Deciding what problems we could help with and which ones simply didn't have answers was a real struggle. There was so much volatility and confusion that we often found customers asking us questions that really didn't relate to our product. Yet we also felt we could gain consumer trust by helping them as best we could. Deciding what your role is in a world with so much confusion is essential.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Aircall is really useful for consolidating your call center. Thanks to the cloud we get better data on the amount and type of calls we receive, which leads to monthly improvements. Being there for our most vocal customers is really helpful.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Follow up. Even if the customer is completely satisfied with how their issue was resolved, you want to reach out a few days later anyway. Thank them for providing feedback and ask if there's anything else they need help with. Personalization boosts success here if you have the time for it.

Luke Genoyer

Luke Genoyer
Business Development Manager at Global Call Forwarding

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Onboarding new support agents in a remote environment was the most challenging part of maintaining great customer support during the last year. We added new customer service specialists to the business and had to train them on our company, services, and operating procedures. This was difficult as we were not able to have them in an office environment where they could learn from other teammates face-to-face.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

A well-maintained CRM and proper ticketing system is a must for great customer service. We also used Google Hangouts throughout the pandemic for training purposes and to conduct regular meetings. In addition, our own GCF softphone was very helpful for internal & external voice communications while working from home.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

In order to guarantee an outstanding customer experience, you need to care deeply about your customers and lay the right foundation. The number one thing your organization can do to improve CX is to create a culture that celebrates and measures high-quality service.

Brian Turner

Brian Turner
CTO at ConvertBinary

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The most challenging part of running efficient customer support is making sure that we have enough resources to address each user's query. With many individuals reaching out from distant time zones, it's important to address their concerns in a timely manner without leaving them searching for answers. We don't use a chatbot or other forms of AI to communicate with users. This is because typically, their questions are fairly complicated and require detailed answers. That's why we always address user queries personally to help them with their binary-related questions and concerns.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Creating a 'Frequently Asked Questions' subsection on our website has been a really helpful addition, and often addresses many customers' prompts before they even need to reach out. The lesson here is that giving your users the information they need before they know they need it is a great way to reduce strain on your customer service team and keep operations sailing smoothly.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Address customer concerns personally if you have the resources to do so. People don't always like receiving automated responses, and oftentimes, it won't help them find a solution to the problem they're facing. A human representative is almost always necessary, scaling in necessity with the complexity of your product or service.

Jonathan Zacharias

Jonathan Zacharias
Founder of GR0

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Not having the bandwidth to reach and assist our customers was a big struggle for us last year. Effective customer support always comes down to reliability and timeliness. In the early startup stages, you can run out of hands to answer phones and emails fairly quickly so we were not able to adequately serve the needs of our customers which impacted our retention and contract renewal rate.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Chatbots have helped us optimize our customer support system. This chat feature on our website allows us to open a point of contact with ease. Alongside efficient communication, we also have the ability to record interactions with customers which can serve the purpose of training and team development. Choosing the right chatbot software is all about centering the needs of your possible and current clients.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Customers are likely to continue doing business with you if they can easily navigate your chat feature and leave the conversation with all of their questions answered and inquiries resolved because they will trust you to be reliable and receptive to customer engagement. Outstanding customer service will always boil down to efficient and helpful correspondence. Whether you use a chatbot or live customer service help, make sure you have the bandwidth to serve customers efficiently.

Chad Sakonchick

Chad Sakonchick
Founder of BetterLegal

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

One of the biggest challenges for me in running efficient customer support during the last year was that customers now want more choices in contacting a company. Many of them still prefer old-fashioned phone calls. But a lot of busy customers want to use email, live chat, and social media to get their issues resolved. So it’s important to incorporate as many of these options as possible and ensure seamless communication across different channels.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

We use tools for social media monitoring to listen and track what people are saying about our company. That allows us to respond quickly to customer inquiries and comments. Besides, such software helps us gather user feedback and better understand our target audience.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Many people believe that valuing their time is the most important thing in any online customer experience. That’s why you should promptly respond to customer inquiries and resolve their issues as quickly as possible, especially when they have a time-sensitive request. Try to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours and let your customers know how much time you need to assist them.

Andrew Steninmann

Andrew Steninmann
Business Analyst at Inkable Label

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The most challenging part while running efficient customer support is to be dead honest to them regarding our products or service. Sometimes we have to say “Sorry” to our customers to avoid any misconceptions or rumors or something that our customers feel cheated on. There is always something that we lack in our service and don’t have any plan to include it in because of scarce demand. In this case, we tell them that we will inform them as soon as we’ll include that service.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

We are using a cloud solution to back up our system to ensure deliberate and continuous support for our customers. Here we can access any customer's historical data anywhere from the world while they knock us again. In this way, we can use skill-based routing to our agents with proper cloud-based data so that our clients can get better service from us.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

We can highly suggest you use custom quality assurance software to analyze and categorize every customer based on their behavior and need. Back up everything on the cloud-based secured services. Finally, train your employees to serve each of your customers by analyzing real-time dashboards and analytics and that’s all.

Brad Cleveland

Brad Cleveland
Principal of Brad Cleveland Company

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

From a customer support perspective, three major variables changed rapidly. First, the volume of work—much more in some services, with big drop-offs in others. Second, the nature of support—what customers needed—dramatically shifted. Third, the many challenges that employees faced—moving to work at home, sharing space with and caring for children and parents, and others. Any one of these variables would have been difficult enough. Together, they created unprecedented challenges.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

We saw a rapid migration to cloud-based capabilities. For example, customer service systems (CRM, routing, data and telephony, workforce management, and others) had to quickly be adapted for a virtual, distributed workforce. Security protocols and access were quickly redesigned and scaled for the evolving environment. And short, quick-hit surveys were essential to gauging both customer and employee experience.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Create a culture of “customer advocacy” where every employee, every process, every decision is focused on customer experience.

John Ross

John Ross
CEO at Test Prep Insight

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Staffing was by far and away from our biggest obstacle in keeping up with customer support last year. After the COVID pandemic hit, a number of employees opted to leave to help with family obligations like caring for children and older parents. This left us short-handed at a time when it was nearly impossible to find qualified customer service reps and we had to scramble to get by. We ultimately made it through, but I know our customer service team was pretty burned out.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

I would say adding a live chat function to our site has been a massive help in improving customer service. Live chat allows our team to economically respond to customers within a quick time frame, while still providing the customer with a streamlined and helpful channel of communication. Many people prefer live chat to calls these days, as they can work on other matters while waiting for a response from a rep. Live chat has definitely added value to our customer experience.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Nailing CX is all about hiring the right people. At the end of the day, despite all the tech, it's humans that make or break your company's customer service. By hiring people that are friendly, passionate, hardworking, and plain personable, you'll make your customers happy and leave them with a really positive experience.

James Hudson

James Hudson
Customer Success Manager at V7

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The overwhelming volume of customer requests due to the lack of sufficient training materials was definitely the biggest challenge to overcome. With the rapid growth of our customer base, it became crystal clear that answering the same technical questions a few times a day was not scalable.

Luckily, as time went by, we've managed to put out training videos and create a knowledge base where our users could learn more about using the tool. This significantly decreased the number of customer queries and allowed us to focus on more important tasks.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Intercom was one of the tools that proved to be most useful in handling a large volume of customer requests. The ability to automate FAQ and quick replies were truly life-saving.

Intercom allowed us to resolve tickets much faster, and to keep track of the conversations and emails that needed a follow-up.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

My number one tip to deliver an outstanding customer service experience is to be proactive when dealing with customers' requests.

This is especially important for small businesses that have a chance to build strong relationships with their audience. Collecting relevant data to foresee and address the issues that a given customer might face when using your product should become your superpower.

Miranda Yan

Miranda Yan
Co-Founder of VinPit

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, nothing seemed to be working as it did before, and not even my business was spared. I had to lay off some staff members, and the customer support department was no exception. With the limited number of workers, the work became overwhelming within no time. The customer support was jeopardized due to very few people responding to the various customers' queries.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Upon realizing that not responding to my clients and rehiring additional workers were not options, I embarked on finding out a cheaper yet efficient way of offering customer support. Eventually, I settled for a live chat due to its advantages, including delivering real-time customer support with ease. It became easy for the few staff members to tackle a lot of questions simultaneously. On the other hand, my customers were happy every time they received a response, almost instantly.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

When using a live chat, it is advisable to give customers options of areas or sectors to select depending on their questions. For instance, if a customer is experiencing an issue related to your website's functions, the problem can be classified as technical. On the other hand, if it is about a purchase, that's most likely a billing issue. Allowing your customers to highlight a technical or billing problem allows the best agent for that area to respond, thus saving time and ensuring the customer gets the best answers.

Jason Brown

Jason Brown
Founder & CEO at Approved Costs

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The biggest that our business faced during 2020 was having no solutions to some of our clients’ problems. 2020 was a year full of surprises and we were unprepared for some of them. It can be shameful if we can’t solve a certain issue. However, we are not omnipotent. Fortunately, we took the time to research, consult team members, and create strategies to face these problems head-on. We have also protected ourselves by not lying to our clients while promising to work on the details.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Here are the tools and services that helped us improve our customer service:

  • Zendesk Guide As a company that focuses on providing content for our audience, Zendesk Guide has greatly helped us give what our consumers want. It allowed our employees to develop mini-guides that can be uploaded on our service page. Our customers can read them on a browser or through their mobile devices.
  • HappyFox During the pandemic, we have received a large number of queries. Gladly, with HappyFox, we have converted support requests into tickets that can be sent to the department that can work on them. And if there are any queries of the same nature, our representatives can respond to them as well using predefined messages.
  • Sparkcentral To better connect with our clients, we need to get in touch with them as soon as we can. Gladly, with Sparkcentral, we have a speedy in-app messaging software that lets clients talk to our customer service representatives easily.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

In my experience, understanding who our customers are will guarantee an outstanding customer experience. We can only start creating customer experience strategies by putting our clients first. Without them, we’re unable to develop tactics that will ensure our success. Knowing what they want and need to help us create products and services that will sell. We can only become the best in what we do if we are truly customer-centric.

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng
Founder and Marketing Director at WeInvoice

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The biggest challenge I had to deal with last year when working from home for the first time was organizing the restructuring of my workforce to a remote working setup. Many of my workers found themselves without the necessary infrastructure to comfortably and efficiently carry out their duties at home. For instance, they lacked a reliable phone connection and there was an undeniable lack of support that they once enjoyed in the contact center. As a result, in the beginning, a few of them struggled to help customers as efficiently as they could have, with some complaining about call disruptions, poor signal strength, among other technical issues, of which they could not be helped to deal with, due to COVID-19 isolation restrictions.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Fortunately, we began making use of modern collaboration tools like Trello and Slack, which made it easier to create efficient workspaces for my representatives to get advice and perspective from colleagues and the technical team. We also were able to use them to better organize our workflow, assignments, and responsibilities as a team much better, since the traffic on that channel is constant. This allows us to share information and feedback with one another, as there was always someone available to respond in real-time and offer up suggestions.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

If we were to break it down, an outstanding customer experience is one that keeps customers coming back and it is also one that ensures customers are happy and satisfied enough to spread the word about their experience. And one of the best ways to ensure this happens is to provide your employees with the resources they need to deliver on the promise of excellent service. This is even more crucial when a customer has a problem. This way by enabling your employees to do what’s best for the customer, they can help you avoid any negative experiences.

Mike Chappell

Mike Chappell
Founder of FormsPal

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Your client is angry. You will encounter furious consumers if you work in customer service. Some are enraged because they are perplexed. They may be angry as a result of an error done by you or your firm.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Answering service. A basic answering service has proven to be a cost-effective and indispensable addition. I discovered that consumers were unwilling to leave a message about accounting or finance demands, and hence would just hang up if we did not respond. We now have a service that answers all of our calls and either emails us or transfers them to our voicemail, ensuring that we never miss an essential call.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Create an experience. Each business has an own purpose and set of objectives. Create an experience for your customers that is tailored to their needs in order to differentiate your business from the competition.

Patrick Connelly

Patrick Connelly
Co-Founder & CEO at Stellar Villa

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The biggest challenge in terms of customer service during the last year was the supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19. Manufacturers were impacted by material shortages and shipping companies across the board experienced major delays due to COVID restrictions and impacts. As a company that prides itself on delivering customers' orders on time as promised, this was very difficult for us. We didn't have an expected timeframe for deliveries to even give to customers for a span of a couple of months.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

During this time period, one step we took was to implement live chat on our website. We had an increase in communication from customers stemming from delayed deliveries and this provided an instant way for customers to contact us. Many customers prefer live chat over having to call customer service by phone. The live chat provider that we used was Tidio which is available in the Shopify App Store.

Another tool we used was Quick Announcement Bar, another Shopify app. This app allows you to add an informational bar to the top of your website. Here, we could add important announcements and delivery updates. This helped to keep customers informed and so they would know what to expect.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Over my many years of dealing with customer service, the best tip I can offer is to be proactive. You shouldn't think of customer support as just responding to and resolving customers' issues after they happen. You should think of it as proactively conversing with customers to ensure they have an exceptional experience each and every step of the way. By being proactive, you can prevent many issues before they arise and turn what could be a negative experience into a positive one. If you are selling products, one simple way of doing this is to e-mail customers as soon as their order is delivered. Ask them if everything arrived, if it's in good shape and meets/exceeds their expectations.

Sherry Morgan

Sherry Morgan
Founder of Petsolino

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

It's the discount they are requesting which our business can't give. As pandemic sprouted, every buyer is seeking services and products in a lower than usual price range. On the other hand, businesses are also striving to maintain sales and balance compensation with employees.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Cloud-based software services such as Zendesk greatly made our SEO optimization better and improved the live chat experience and talk support. They have a Zendesk Guide that contains helpful customer service articles, Zendesk Chat for live messaging and assisting customers, and Zendesk Talk that enables our team to manage phone calls.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Patience and polite language are the pillars of providing an excellent customer experience, but my top tip is investing in the right platform and tools. This does not only give an efficient customer service but also a great aid for the business and employees.

Brett Downes

Brett Downes
CEO of Haro Helpers

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

We have had a lot of clients that have been financially hit by the pandemic and as such are finding it harder to justify their marketing budgets. Our tough times have been to emphasize and appreciate the situation while still being able to manage our own revenue and keep our own business afloat. We have been more sensitive to their needs and allowed more leeway in our support, even if we are not in the wrong.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

We use Intercom which allows customers and potential customers to get in touch with one of our reps at any time of the day. With the advent of social media and other mediums, people expect immediate responses and swift resolution to their problems. We find that – even with serious issues – an instant response from our reps really helps to diffuse/de-escalate the situation. There have been times in the past, when due to taking half a day even to get back to a customer – a minor problem (initially) has blown up into a major complaint and a loss of a customer. All due to their frustration and irritation at being ignored and neglected for a small amount of time.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

The customer isn’t always right, however, your response to the situation needs to be right. Empathizing with their situation while also explaining your side of the story. Bending over backward for ‘certain’ customers won’t do your company any favors in the long run, and ‘losing’ a customer can be a positive, rather than looking at them as a financial revenue stream lost; peace of mind and a happy working team can be much more beneficial.

Rebecca Hill

Rebecca Hill
Head of Customer Support at Supakit

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Covid-19, without doubt, impacted many online retailers’ ability to offer a speedy, stress-free, shipping service. And the expectation of delivery times seemed to go the other way; many people were stuck at home and were much more aware of the time that had passed, fretting at the idea of possible delays. Big players, such as Amazon, can deliver the next day at a very low cost, and this has changed the online shopping culture and created a ‘want it now’ mentality – I mean, who can blame people? We all needed a pick-me-up when going through the lockdown. As a small eCommerce business, this made it challenging for us to manage customers’ expectations during uncertain times, and the increased workload of additional shipping enquires and investigations impacted the amount of time we had to dedicate to each customer.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Our automation services really helped, we use ‘Gorgias’ and this platform helped us build in responses that give every single customer a great experience regardless of how many of those messages we had to send in a day; the first customer and the hundredth customer got the same gleaming customer experience. Our strong social media presence also allowed us to take a preventative approach and keep everyone informed about the current shipping times – many people assume customer service starts post-purchase, it starts way before purchase even takes place, on the first interaction with your company, which is why our social media channels are so important.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Adapting our escalation policies to suit the difficult times really helped, this tightened up any areas of confusion amongst the customer service team and ensured we were able to be extra clear with customers about how their query would be handled and resolved. Honesty and logic apply here, if customers can see that you’re being truthful and organized, their respect for your company will skyrocket!

Ty Givens

Ty Givens
CEO at The Workforce Pro

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Our clients struggled most with moving from brick & mortar to a Digital Customer Experience. Beauty brands were most popular for use in 2020 and were looking for ways to bring that in-store experience one could get from a shop like Sephora online. They wanted high touch, high value, there for you white-glove service that didn't feel automated, on impersonal. We also had to find beauty experts who were tech-savvy enough to support customers from behind the screen but had a large enough presence to convince them they could shade match and choose the right products from a video conference of the photo.

The biggest challenge we faced in bringing the digital customer experience to life was ensuring fast and personal response times. We also had to focus on better training on controlling customer conversations. Customers became increasingly lonely during the pandemic and just wanted someone to talk to. Striking the balance between being engaging and efficient was key for us during this time.

Another challenge we faced was doing more with less. For many of our clients, their workforce was reduced to lower sales. This means their teams were cut down and tasked with taking on more than ever before. We had to get people trained and equipped to handle more work, which means we had to get creative with customer support. Self-service options and the right automations reduced ticket volumes from 30-50% for our clients.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

The number one tool we implemented was Zendesk. This included migrations from other CRMs, full-scale architecture, implementation, and design. We set up or optimized ticketing systems that worked for the team. We saved the ambiguous work for humans and creatively automated responses to if/then questions so they never had to touch an agent.

Not all brands love automation, specifically those who saw growth during the pandemic. But for those who were losing money, welcomed a chance to do more with less.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

With 20 plus years in this space and having scaled dozens of CX teams, if you want a great customer experience, you have to have a great employee experience. CX people are expected to be subject matter experts. Be sure the people you're trusting to support your customers has as much information as possible about your product on hand. They should also understand your brand and have a company persona to mimic - this way you can have a unified voice and give great experience every time.

Give your customers options. You may not be able to do everything they want you to do, but what they should know is that you have the best interest, you want to help and that the problem ends with you. Reassurance is key.

Christian Bolz

Chris Bolz
CEO of Coara

What was the most challenging in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Omnichannel Support - as many brands are currently adopting an omnichannel approach to marketing we trying to do the same with our customer support! To have customer support on as many channels as we can (where our customers are active). Since what really sucks is if a customer reaches out, but gets no response.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

We hold a high standard for our CS department. Because we believe that there is a direct correlation between customer service and retention rates amongst other things that ultimately have an impact on profit. From experience, I can say that responsiveness is extremely important! It shows the customer that a resolution process has begun. One thing that customers can't stand is when they have to wait a long time before receiving the first response. This is especially true when booking a product tour or demo on our platform.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

Tracking NPS amongst other CX metrics is an important one. IT helps us understand what our customers want. With expectations changing rapidly we try to keep an agile approach to customer support and product development. The metric illustrates if our CS initiatives and efforts are paying off.

When the pandemic had started, early on we understood that in this time period one customer retention will be really more important.

Think about it this way - if you are in a relationship and your partner is not meeting your needs, most likely you will not stay in that partnership. It's the same with the correlation between customer support and retention. If your customer service satisfaction rates are declining your retention rates will likely also fall. At the same time take in mind that while customer satisfaction and retention are seemingly correlated, there still is a possibility that your customer satisfaction KPIs increase while at the same time customers fall off and your profits drop.

Bernadette Reid

Bernadette Reid
Technical Director at Uke Tuner

What was the most challenging for you in running efficient customer support during the last year?

The fact that everyone had to work remotely was the biggest challenge for me. We’ve had several incidents where one or more staff members were late to a remote meeting or didn’t show up. This often happened because they were not sure how the remote meeting apps worked. This made it more difficult to set up the right customer support channels and communicate about methods that will solve common problems.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

Zoom and Trello became two of my favorite apps during the last year. Zoom made it easier to communicate with my team. Even though we had some challenges and obstacles at first, things really improved over time. Trello has also really helped me keep updated on project progress, as well as follow up on customer queries, complaints, and projects.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

I think automation in the customer service department is underrated. Use a chatbot for initial customer communication, and then distribute the support request according to the questions asked or options chosen. This saves time compared to sending customers to departments that are unable to assist.

Thomas Fultz CEO at Coffeeble

Thomas Fultz
CEO & CX manager at Coffeeble

What was the most challenging for you in running efficient customer support during the last year?

Fear & disarray ~ Covid opened a pandora's box that I spent the year trying to pry shut. Our customer experience hinges on customer support staffers' wellbeing. We learned this at the start of the Coffeeble venture & have put their happiness first ever since.

Customer service is a thankless job. The representatives are only human, and their well runs dry like the rest of ours does. Filling them up, keeps them going (it also reduces turnover considerably). The biggest challenge of COvid was keeping their heads in the game & their spirits up in the midst of fear, isolation & confusion.

What tools and services helped to improve your customer service?

This is going to sound like a silly answer, but the best tools I found were the ones that supported the lives of our staffers. For instance, we bought everyone a premium subscription to the Calm app & stopped business for 30 minutes a day to allow for meditation & self-care. We were also big users of food, drink & grocery delivery apps. These were wildly popular, as our digital business boomed during the pandemic. This forced our staff to work long hours from home while being cooped up with zoom-schooling & zoom-working family members. Giving them a break from making dinner, lunch or running an errand was a welcome relief.

Can you share one tip that will guarantee an outstanding customer experience?

One unforeseen outcome of Covid was my hiring a wellness staffer. We just finished onboarding her. She's a health advisor, meditation guru & dietitian who is on hand to serve the needs of our staff.

Wrapping Up

We hope this CX expert roundup brought you some useful information on how to improve the customer experience in 2021. If some tactics appeal to you, the only thing left to do is to put them into practice and amaze your customers!

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