When time is of the essence, how can you deliver a speedy customer service that’s efficient but not rushed?

Freshworks recently analysed 107 million support interactions which indicated that speed is the most important factor when it comes to improving CSAT scores. Their customers were more likely to respond positively to a customer satisfaction survey if they were helped quickly. Based on the findings, Freshworks has built a 5 steps approach to improve customer service speed. They’ll be discussing this further in a free-to-attend CX panel discussion on the 25th of May. 

The study results don’t come as surprise considering how we all like to feel a positive brand experience. No one likes being placed on hold for half an hour or hearing the dreaded sound of an automated voice telling you that you’re currently 11th on the queue. With that in mind, what can we do as organisations? How can we harness the data from the study conducted by Freshworks?

It might be tempting to target your teams to simply work faster, handle calls quicker or cut out questions that could lead to lengthy answers. However, that’s not going to get you the desired impact on your customer experience. Instead, pause, take stock and work tactically on speeding up interactions without damaging customer confidence in your brand.

Rushing the elements already in place could actually bring more mistakes, numerous complaints, and slower service in the long run. Instead – slow down, take a breath, and look at the areas where you can save precious time with deliberate and calculated strategic improvements.

You can’t speed everything up

Customers want to be helped quickly. Nevertheless, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush through essential steps in order to deliver faster customer service. Consider how you expect to be treated as a consumer. You probably don’t want to queue for a long time only to be taken for granted when you finally reach the front of the line. Instead, you want to leave your interaction feeling valued by the business and with your problem solved upon the first request.

It’ll be difficult to tick all these boxes if you rush the elements of the service you provide. Cutting corners to save time and not giving your customers enough space to communicate their problems won’t help either.   

For example, I would suggest focusing on innovative ways to drive down call times that enhance your service. If you empower your employees with values-based training, you enable them to react from the place of empathy. When engaged, your employees will cut the waiting time and increase first-time problem resolution.

Freshworks also advocate that you provide your agents with a 360-degree customer view. This would mean including past interactions across channels, order history, subscription status, or website activity. The action is truly insightful in today’s customer landscape, where customers often don’t speak to the same agent twice but want to avoid explaining their situation more than once.

Simplifying your customer journey

Were you ever frustrated with the inaccessibility of an organisation’s website when trying to seek help or make a complaint? The inability to reach or speak to someone about the issue can be quite unnerving.

Although we have to admit this happens incredibly often, it doesn’t have to. If you use website analytics to understand the routes of your customers while accessing support, you can simplify the user journey. The easiest way to do so is by reducing the time and number of steps your customers need to take at the beginning. I would also suggest removing the entry barriers such as lengthy forms or re-capture photos of lampposts and traffic lights.

You can even go one step further. Freshworks suggest analysing time spent on payment or support pages and using webchat or chatbots to proactively offer help to anyone who’s stuck on any particular page for too long.

By making the journey as easy as possible and reaching out to customers proactively, you save them precious time. They’ll be far more receptive to the support you offer as they’ve had less time to reach peak frustration.

Automating the right touchpoints

Making processes and service touches scalable, repeatable, and consistent is the key to making faster customer service and achieving long-term business growth. As you enlarge your customer base, you won’t necessarily have to increase your staff headcount at the same rate to keep up with demand (providing that you use automation in a creative fashion).

Remember, before you choose to automate your services, set trust and customer loyalty as your key vision to follow. Automation should add to the customer experience with seamless support, such as automatic call routing to get your customer the help they need faster.

Investing in omnichannel systems

Have you considered investing in your internal systems and software to bring all your communications into one? This would allow you to make an easy-to-interpret Omnichannel software and streamline call logging and the recording of email and social media communication into your CRM. This strategy would reduce the time your agents need to spend updating customer information and enable smoother handovers between support agents when required.

If you find your customers repeatedly asking the same questions and taking the same steps towards finding information, you might want to roll out an intuitive chatbot. However, with the many changes you already plan to implement, this needs to be performed with caution. Once again, I argue you shouldn’t look for a quick fix for making a genuine difference to your customers in the long term.

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