Communication in Customer Service: How to Make Your Customers Feel Understood
Imagine you want to order a vacuum cleaner from an e-commerce store, but you still have some questions about the product. After endless searching, you finally stumble upon the email address of the customer service, but no telephone number is provided.
So, you send an email asking for a callback. After a few days, a short-tempered employee gets back to you. You describe your request and are forwarded to another department. Music plays while you are on hold and then suddenly, the connection is interrupted.
Will you try to initiate contact again? Unlikely. Most people would just switch to another provider.
The company has lost you as a customer – and probably didn’t even notice.
What Went Wrong?
Almost everyone has had service experiences like this at some point. They are frustrating for customers and a disaster for companies. There are often several reasons behind why communication may become an obstacle course.
In the example above, poor accessibility, too few contact channels and long waiting times created hurdles before actual contact. Customers end up with the wrong contact person, get frustrated by the technology of the telephone system and generally feel they’re being a nuisance. This fatal combination of inadequate infrastructure, suboptimal service processes and insufficient communication skills causes the customer relationship to fail for good.
Do it better! In this blog post, you will learn:
- Why the right communication is especially important in customer service
- What really matters when communicating with customers
- Why the right software can take your communication to a new level
Why Successful Communication Is of Paramount Importance
Having excellent products are crucial. However, what makes your company competitive in the long run is the quality of your communication. Long after your customer stops using a product, they will remember their direct interaction with your organization.
Did they feel understood and valued? Was the customer service able to solve their problems quickly? Was the customer able to steer the conversation themselves or were they at the mercy of the company?
The answers will determine whether your business acquires a loyal customer, falls into oblivion or even gains a bad reputation.
An excellent communication strategy in the service center significantly contributes to the success of your company. After all, you actively shape your relationship with customers and make them loyal to your brand through effective communication.
Consequential Problems of Bad Communication
Poor communication does not always lead to customers breaking off contact. However, every misunderstanding, every redirection and every wasted minute damages the customer relationship and acts like sand in the gears of your company:
- A minor error quickly becomes a major problem that runs through all steps of the customer service process
- Time and resources are unnecessarily consumed, which are then lacking elsewhere (the next ticket)
- Agents and customers alike react with frustration to the unsatisfactory situation, which seriously damages your company’s success
Friction losses will occur if the customer service agents do not have optimal equipment or lack necessary skills. You should not underestimate these negative effects!
How to Achieve Excellent Communication in the Contact Center
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to satisfy customers. Good communication is primarily based on the following three factors.
Service employees need special skills and specialized know-how to communicate effectively with customers:
- Expertise: Agents should be able to handle most concerns from their own knowledge.
- Brand understanding: Your contact center represents the company to the outside world. Staff should communicate in line with the brand identity to ensure a consistent impression.
- Clear speech: How do you ensure that a message really gets across? With simple, active communication. Express yourself clearly and understandably. Clear statements prevent misunderstandings and foster trust.
- Active listening: The fine art of communication is achieved by paraphrasing, following up and putting yourself in the customers’ shoes.
In addition to specific communication skills, social competence and tact are also needed to establish a real connection with customers:
- Patience: Customers do not always express themselves precisely. They make mistakes, are unfair and sometimes unfriendly. This requires a lot of patience on the agent’s part.
- Empathy: Being able to understand the customer’s point of view and empathize are important requirements for a successful conversation or any form of correspondence.
- Friendliness: This essential quality can easily be lost in times of stress and pressure. A smile (even if it is not directly visible) and a focus on sympathizing with others can go a long way.
- Authenticity: However, you will not convince a customer with superficial friendliness alone. Successful communication requires agents to act authentically and be willing to invest in the relationship.
Multi-channel strategy with appropriate infrastructure
According to a study, customers prefer to steer their communication with a company themselves. To this end, it is important to offer different contact channels around the clock. This way, customers can choose between telephone, email or chat and not be bound to fixed service times.
With such an omnichannel solution, you should ensure a seamless transfer between the communication channels. The current status of a ticket must be visible to all agents via the cloud; it’s paramount that information is not lost.
Sophisticated infrastructure with third-party systems and smart software helps to manage the many touchpoints and not to lose the overview.
- Let your customers decide when and through which channel they get in touch with the contact center.
- Remain reachable and remove possible contact barriers such as time restrictions, limited channels or long queues.
- Stay fully informed and give your customers the feeling of being personally noticed and understood.
AI Solutions Prevent Communication Errors
The latter point in particular poses a challenge for many companies. With mounting ticket pressure, it becomes difficult for service staff to keep an eye on all channels.
Intelligent software solutions significantly facilitate customer care. Artificial intelligence takes on a central role in the digital contact center:
- The algorithm manages customer concerns across channels. It recognizes the connections within a ticket and associates them with previous communication. This enables staff to communicate with customers in a consistent manner.
- The AI precisely recognizes the respective contact reason. This enables it to immediately transfer tickets to a suitable employee. Companies save time while customer satisfaction increases.
- The smart software allows you to extend service time cost-efficiently. It automatically answers incoming tickets in the area of telephony, email and chat. As a result, communication with your customers never breaks down.
- Artificial intelligence accesses a central database. It stores its compiled knowledge there and draws meaningful conclusions from its analysis. It recognizes emotions in the wording and develops concrete recommended actions, providing customer service agents with valuable assistance in written or verbal communication.
Do you still see room for improvement in your customer communication? Then reap the benefits of the diverse possibilities offered by artificial intelligence for the success of your company. Integration is easier than you think! Get started now with a free demo.
parlamind is a Berlin-based start-up for Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service. The parlamind AI understands incoming messages from customers on a semantic level and thus determining intents, specific content and the mood of the customer in the message. Equipped with these skills, the AI engages in customer dialogue independently and quickly carries out the associated processes. Latest research results from the fields of computational linguistics and machine learning form the basis for the continuous further development of parlamind AI technology. parlamind has been part of the 4TechnologyGroup since July 2018. The 4TechnologyGroup is an association of technology companies from the communications and AI sector. Today companies worldwide in the industries of e-commerce, information and communication technology, energy management, logistics and financial services use parlamind’s AI solutions. More than 20 employees work continuously on the further development and marketing of this unique technology “Made in Germany”.
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