Improving responsiveness to customer needs is a key factor in building long-term relationships. Tools like online knowledge base software allow you to deliver competency, efficiency, and consistency when responding to customer inquiries. By removing obstacles to service, you engage customers on their terms, when and where they demand.
For instance, a robust self-service knowledge base application is impervious to your hours of operation, staffing shortages, and turnover rate. With around-the-clock access, most tech-savvy customers prefer to learn about your business or resolve support issues unassisted by live agents. Research from Harvard Business Review confirms that across industries, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.
Online knowledge base software is one side of exceptional customer service
Providing accessible, proactive knowledge base tools is great, but it’s only half of the equation for fostering positive customer sentiment. Cultivating strong emotional intelligence amongst employees who care for your customers is the other half of a successful service strategy. Acquiring customers for life is the ultimate end game. And by honing customer-centric tools and emotionally intelligent employees, you strengthen your efforts in achieving this goal.
So what does it take to win a customer for life? Sure, innovation, competitive pricing, and smart marketing will generate interest, and possibly some sales. But the accurate answer is much more visceral and personal: How you make a customer feel when transacting business is the determining factor for a lasting bond.
Whether you provide a well-constructed customer service knowledge base or live agent interaction, delighting your customers solidifies your commitment to serving their needs. It demonstrates your appreciation for their time, patronage, and loyalty. Reciprocally, customers will sing your praises to whoever will listen. Powerful knowledge base tools aligned with exceptional employee service is an effective formula for cultivating happy customers.
Interestingly, happy customers will pay more, drive further, and volunteer to be your brand ambassador when they feel a positive emotional connection to your business. And given that emotions are a means of communication, loyalists are in essence saying, “your business understands and values me as a customer.”
Customers have low tolerance for bad service
As stated earlier, customer support knowledge base platforms drive productive interactions between your business and customers. But what if the other half of the customer service equation falters? Poor employee-customer interactions can negatively impact service, thus turning your hard-won customers in the direction of your competition.
Providing stellar customer service doesn’t happen by default. Not even the most fully developed knowledge base application can guarantee positive customer service outcomes. Mishaps occur—-sometimes leaving customers far less than impressed.
Emotional intelligence is the other side of a winning service strategy
Turning a prospective or even dissatisfied customer into an enthusiast requires minimizing opportunities for negative encounters. When customers associate conflicting emotions with your brand, they’ll likely forego transacting business. Cultivating emotional intelligence within your organization means establishing an empathetic culture where employees perceive, understand, and integrate customer emotions to ensure an optimum buying experience.
Although taking customers’ feelings into account is important, smart businesses consider their employees’ emotions as well. On workers, emotionally intelligent interactions hinge. Employees who understand and manage their own emotions set the tone for facilitating successful customer engagement, even under emotionally taxing conditions. As articulated by Celeste Patterson of outpost.co, “These two sides of emotional intelligence are separate but deeply connected. After all, it’s nearly impossible to respond well to others if we do not have a solid handle on our own emotions.”
Employees who practice self-awareness, self-control, empathy and sensitivity to others’ feelings exert emotional influence that fosters positive relationship management. Without the benefit of emotional intelligence, employees can quickly kill your efforts for growing a loyal customer base.
Good service is bankable
Few things vex your customers more quickly than rude, inattentive, and incompetent service. And because good service pays big dividends, businesses lose when customers walk. According to a survey by Parature, 65% of customers will cut ties with a company based on a single bad customer service experience. And according to a 2016 Gartner survey, “89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” By juxtaposing these compelling statistics, businesses gain a healthy appreciation for the indisputable and inextricable connection between customer service and customer satisfaction.
From a retention perspective, customer churn due to poor service results in lost-opportunity revenue. According to groovehq.com, “Businesses that grow their customer retention rates by as little as 5% typically see profit increases ranging from 25% to 95%.” Additionally, groovehq.com reports that businesses with exceptional customer service can charge a premium for it; “86% will pay more for better customer experience.” This revenue potential is lost the moment dissatisfied customers make a beeline away from your business.
With these sobering stats, businesses can see the need for developing an emotionally intelligent workforce. By investing in your employees’ soft skills, you add to your bottom line. And although most customers prefer self service knowledge base platforms, it is inevitable that employees will be tasked to handle escalated support issues. Often, by the time complex problems are escalated to support teams, customers are experiencing intensified frustration. This intersection of emotions is where the emotional intelligence of your employees can make or break your relationship with customers.
Train employees to be emotionally intelligent
Not only can online knowledge base software be used to engage customers, but it can also be used by businesses internally. Self-service knowledge base applications are useful for training employees on emotional intelligence. Teaching employees how to recognize, understand and influence their own emotions, as well as the emotions of those around them, is vital to delivering quality customer care.
One case that highlights how emotional intelligence drives profitability involves the cosmetics giant, L’Oreal. When L’Oreal hired salespeople based on emotional competencies, rather than through traditional selection processes, the emotionally intelligent employees sold over $90K more and had 63% less turnover than their counterparts during their first year of employment. Suffice it to say, helping employees overcome emotional roadblocks is a worthwhile investment toward new customer acquisition, customer retention, and bottom line returns.
Serve more to sell more
In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, you have to serve customers more to sell them more. Successful customer service—which often bridges online knowledge base software with self-serve access to emotionally intelligent employees with customer-centric focus—is paramount.
Empowering visitors to serve themselves on your website is not a fleeting trend. Their preference for do-it-yourself features to resolve low-complexity issues is growing. This shift away from live-service dependence is sweeping, making technology like customer support knowledge base a welcomed visitor-expected improvement. And that’s good news for businesses that are willing to wager.
By implementing online knowledge base software, businesses cut costs, cater to customers and equip employees to do a better job. Emotional intelligence is another asset that allows employees to step up their game, particularly in giving exceptional customer service. By investing in developing an emotionally intelligent workforce, your business can boost customer satisfaction by supercharging your employees’ service delivery performance.
Author Bio:– Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledgebase tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys cycling and skydiving.