There is one unifying thing which all businesses must have in order to succeed. It comes before having a solid marketing plan, beautiful branding, and even an amazing product. All of that is secondary to this one thing – good customer care. It doesn’t matter what industry or field you’re in right now, customer service is bound to be at the top end of the list of things to focus on. The odds are stacked against you more often than not. Bringing customers through the door, both virtually and physically, is vital to getting your business into the success lane. Poor customer service will sink a shop faster than anything else. One bad review spreads like wildfire. Making customer care a priority is the key to making your company competitive. As with anything in the business world there are tools which can make managing your customers a little easier. We asked entrepreneurs their tips on great customer service tools and their answers are below.
#1 – YesWare and RingCenter
I am the owner of a startup tutoring company, Suprex Private Tutoring, and customer service is definitely one of my best priority. Here are two of my top customer service tools: 1. YesWare- This tool is amazing because it allows me to write a formal email to my customers with a template. So, rather than typing the same email over and over again, I just fill in the blanks and send! 2. RingCenter- This is the best way for me to maintain my company's incoming and outgoing calls. RingCentral organizes the calls so that they can be accessed via my phone and several of my employee's phones. In addition, I can send text messages to my clients if I need written confirmation.
Thanks to AJ Saleem, Suprex Private Tutoring
#2 – Matterdness
The greatest customer service tool is not a ‘tool', it is a concept and that concept is ‘matteredness'. All the tools in the world, cannot trump this critical, critical attitude. Keep in mind that matteredness is only relevant as long as your policies and procedures all support excellent client care – that is certainly step 1. A great policy, and therefore customer experience can easily be ruined by an employee that has not adopted that customer care mentality. When great customer service is the mantra, strategic directive, mission, whatever you want to call it, then EVERYONE must be on board and understand how their role impacts the customers. This is matteredness – understanding why what you do matters to your end customers. From the CEO, to the logistics team, to billing, to customer service reps, even behind the scenes employees, like the janitor that sweeps the floor and stocks the bathrooms, everyone, I repeat everyone has an impact on delivering excellent client care. When EVERYONE understands how what they do impacts that customer experience, then you have matteredness and everyone will work towards delivering an outstanding customer experience (and in a lot of cases, the customer is internal).
Thanks to Lou Altman, Next Level
#3 – Intercom
Our favorite customer service tool is Intercom for several reasons. First of all, it offers a live chat tool that can be integrated with your website, eshop, or SaaS, allowing your customers to interact with you in a friendly and fast way. Additionally, Intercom provides analytics that can be further used for marketing. For example, you can create automated messages to be sent to your users when they are trial or paid accounts, when they reach a certain amount of visits or when they haven't used your online product for a while. The possibilities are numerous. It is a great choice for small businesses where few people do pretty much all the marketing and support on their own, as it combines many products in one. It's worth noting that Intercom is flexible and powerful enough to be useful both for businesses which rely heavily on their online presence as well as those where their website is simply there to complement the way they operate.
Thanks to Eirini Kafourou, Megaventory
#4 – Multiple Channels
My suggestion would be to use a tool that covers multiple channels is critical. Zendesk, Gnatta, Oracle service cloud, Salesforce service cloud are all examples of products that cover some or all channels. As an entrepreneur being able to centrally respond to my customers when I am so time poor is a critical requirement. Using these tools I focus on driving down intial response time even if overall response times are slightly earlier. You need to give a customer a great first contact time and then focus on solving the problem allowing the customer to define when this is solved. Don't use a myriad of tools. Use a great single tool!
Thanks to Martin Brown, FMOutsource
#5 – Freshdesk
For our clients and our own business we utilize Freshdesk. We implemented for larger organizations such as the Air Force and DoD office of small business programs and saw a 30% reduction in time waste and un answered inquiries. We suggest Freshdesk because it is more affordable than desk.com and zendesk and has all the necessary features such as streamlining communication from multiple channels into one source. Allowing for automated responses based on keywords, simple routing and good metrics.
Thanks to Adam Motiwala, Fifth Tribe
#6 – Wufoo
Wufoo is an incredible tool that can be used in various ways to improve and monitor customer service. After set client interactions (strategy sessions, implementation trainings, etc.) a follow up email is sent with a link to a short survey asking for feedback. If a bad rating is given, we have a rule set up to immediately send that completed survey in an email to customer care so they can review and contact the client as necessary. All other results are reviewed on a monthly basis through the extensive reporting feature so I can see quickly and easily the specific data I need. Wufoo can also be integrated with other platforms to allow you to do things like, add prospects or clients to a specific email list based on the answers they provide (IE: they are interested in a specific type of product or service). All of this allows you to gain insights into how your team is performing, how clients like your product or service and what else they might be interested in.
Thanks to Jenna Waites, Waites Business Architecture
#7 – Zopim
Customer service is a vital component to the success of my business. One of my favorite customer service tools that we use is called Zopim. It's a live chat service that gives my business the ability to communicate with my customers in a fast and reliable fashion. In the day of the internet everyone is looking for instant gratification. By providing our customers with the ability to live chat our business with their concerns, questions or feedback not only increased our conversions, but it helped with my business reputation and credibility. Zopim is the best customer service tool we use because it also has a real time analystics of all our customer data. Using that data we are able to provide a more refined and personalized customer service.
Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco Kids Apparel
#8 – FB Messenger
We found after reading our client surveys, that many clients were having difficulty contacting us beacuse either the Customer Service Reps were busy on calls or it was out of hours and the emergency line can only handle 1 call at a time (we sometimes have over 300 clients at once in country). Therefore we implemented FB messenger by creating a Facebook Customer Service Page and sharing this with our clients before arrival. Then when they have a problem, they can call or message us and we can now handle multiple messengers at once. So far it's been great as all of our clients use FB, we have a record of our communications if they recontact us, but also we now have a way to communicate with all past clients that liked this page.
Thanks to Richard Bexon, Costa Rican Vacations
#9 – Chatra
There are many communication softwares and apps that are very useful. Most are very affordable or many are free. Software such as Ringcentral (Toll-Free Phone# and Fax), Chatra (online chat tool on our website to handle inquiries when people are on our website and have questions), Whatsapp, WeChat (chat platform that most Chinese factories use), and Infusionsoft CRM/Automation Software (definitely not cheap but it’s very powerful for collecting/segmenting customer data and automating email/text message marketing campaigns, the software is super powerful and best to hire Infusionsoft experts to implement projects. This software is ideal for companies that want to build a emailing list and focus on online marketing).
Thanks to K.B. Lee, Ever Bamboo
#10 – Live Chat
The tool, Live Chat, has been a great for bringing some users out of the woodwork. Some users are interested but do not want to fill out a form, send an email or make a phone call. Having the ability to speak to a live representative immediately is very appealing for some users. We have found that using Live Chat has increased our conversion rates and the overall measured customer satisfaction. Users who use Live Chat are able to get questions answered or problems fixed immediately. If you are interested in including my response in your article, please let me know and send a link to the article. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like additional info via email or phone.
Thanks to Kean Graham, MonetizeMore
#11 – Helprace
I've always believed that customer service was any organization's most important asset that could either see that organization succeed or fail. The modern customer can demand service from all directions, from social media, to email, to your company site. One way we were able to address this is with Helprace, a support software we developed (and use ourselves). There are many customer service tools out there, but what sets Helprace apart is that it offers businesses a single place for all customer service needs. Many other customer service tools offer a simple help desk or a knowledge base system. But we go further and offer a feedback system, company community and a feedback widget on top of that. Of course, our customers are the ones that truly benefit from this as they have a number of ways to reach our support team. This omnichannel approach to support stems from the fact that Bob who sends us an email might be the same Bob who votes on a knowledge base article or suggests an idea in our feedback portal. All of this makes it easier for us to keep Bob happy.
Thanks to Gregory Koldirkaev, Helprace
#12 – Social CRM
Social CRM is becoming the next big thing! To have good customer service, companies must go to where their clients are and use the communication channels they prefer. Social media platforms have opened up new ways for them to contact you and vice versa. Direct messages, tweets, and comments tend to replace de 1-800 number, so it’s important to create a strategic cooperation plan between your customer service area and the people in charge of administrating your businesses’ social media profiles.
Thanks to Daniela Arango, Doitwiser
#13 – Personal Touch
The absolute best customer service tool is something every one of us has in our arsenal….the personal touch. When you send a part of you with an order, you're transforming your product from a commodity to a platform for a relationship. Once people know that they matter to you, customer service simply becomes a matter of maintaining a mutually respectful friendship. For our company, including a handwritten note is the primary way we ensure that they feel valued and appreciated. We've had innumerable recipients email us just to say how much they appreciated that personal message. It truly makes a difference!
Thanks to Carrie Seibert, Soap Commander
#14 – Frontline Employees
You just need to talk with your frontline employees! Sure there are countless savvy CRM tools that enhance omni-channel management of customer interactions and intelligence. But, the best source for keeping track of what matters most to your customers is the brilliance and insight of those who interact with them everyday—from the contact center rep to the field service tech to the receptionist. If leaders continually ask their frontline ambassadors for scouting reports, it telegraphs priority and it encourages frontline employees to see, hear and notice more details that can inform strategies for customer retention and advocacy.
Thanks to Chip Bell, Chip Bell Group
#15 – A Phone Call
It appears incredible that most customers still prefers phone conversations to other parallel mediums. Considering phone servicing platform, there are two principal characteristics – ability to simultaneously handle multiple lines and ability to provide resolution within a given time period. With CRM, you could combine both these aspects to provide final and lasting resolutions.This also cuts-down on time required for each client, allowing to handle more number of calls at any point of time.
Thanks to Jayakrishnan Jayasanker, Adjetter