Why Is a Timely Response Important?
First, keep in mind that speed of response is not the only important thing when it comes to giving excellent customer service. Speed isn’t a magic bullet — after all, quickly getting to a negative outcome is not good for your business. You need to also work on your policies and coaching your team.
Here, I’m going to focus on two things: speed of response and resolution, and convenience of communication.
Nail these two things — and have employees who genuinely care about your customers — and you’ll be providing outstanding service. Think about your own personal interactions with other businesses; you want it to be easy for you, and you want it to be quick.
In fact, over 80% of adults expect an immediate response to customer service enquiries, with “immediate” meaning less than one minute. People don’t like to wait, especially in the on-demand era that we live in.
Sitting on hold or waiting days for an email reply just won’t cut it anymore. People want service, they want to speak to a human, and they want it now. I emphasize speaking to a human because, in recent years, businesses have moved to achieve speed using computers and bots. Some customers struggle with such tools — especially for more complex issues — and will lose patience if another human being isn’t there to help them when needed, and quickly.
A Customer-Centric, Human-Centric Approach
First, put people at the center of all things service. Relationships, sales, and service are all built on human interaction.
Second, consider what channels are quick and easy for your customers. Forget about what suits your business and look at this from the perspective of your customers, who want a quick customer service response time. What is best for them might not be best for you, but can you afford to not put their preferences ahead of yours?
An Exercise to Elevate Customer Service
Take a piece of paper or a whiteboard and draw two axes on it. Along the bottom write “ease of use” and up the side write “speed of response.”
Now plot on that graph all of your existing customer contact options — phone, email, website, live chat, letter. Whatever you offer, plot it on the graph in the appropriate place.
Your goal should be to have something as close to the top right corner as possible — very easy to use and very quick to get a response.
As CEO of Social WiFi, I did this exercise, and below is what it looked like. Notice what I had in the top right? WhatsApp.
For years, we’d been offering WhatsApp as a sales and support channel for our partners and customers, but it wasn’t the easiest to manage. After all, one WhatsApp number is tied to one phone and can’t be shared around a team.
That’s why we developed an internal tool — called ChatPilot for Sales, Support, and Client Success — to communicate with all partners and customers on a single WhatsApp number. Our clients loved dealing with us via WhatsApp, so we embraced it, putting them first.
It became apparent that our clients also wanted to use ChatPilot because they too wanted to be more easily accessible to their customers and guests (Social WiFi sells to a lot of hotels). And with that, we created a separate product, in partnership with Vonage, to bring WhatsApp to businesses who really want to elevate their customer service channels.
Give yourself a customer service channel in the top right corner of your graph, and make your business “WhatsApp First” when it comes to your service channels.
You’ll make your customers happier that they get quick and convenient responses from your team, and that leads to more customer retention and, importantly, customer referrals.
You can reach out to ChatPilot to explore how to get started with WhatsApp and other IM channels in your business.
Contact Vonage for communications solutions that connect employees and engage customers.