Time to Focus on Customer Service
By Richard Parkin
Past a certain scale, you’re not going to have time to pay attention to absolutely everything in your business. Letting go of day-to-day responsibilities is absolutely vital for entrepreneurial success, but often comes with a heavy cost.
One of the first areas that entrepreneurs stop paying attention to is customer service. On some levels, it makes sense. Business-critical decisions take precedence over the individual issues your customers are experiencing.
At the same time, however, ignoring your CS team means that you’re cutting yourself off from valuable insights into what your customers really think about you. Here’s what you may be missing out on – and how to start getting the best from your team.
Understanding Your Real Customers
Your CS team interacts with your customers all day every day. No one else in your business has the same opportunity to see what your users are really like. They’re going to learn from experience what messaging your customers respond to, their pain points, and what they think about your business.
They’re able to see what your average customer is like, and understand any areas where your profiling may be incorrect. By refining the way you understand customers, you’re setting yourself up for better marketing results. Build messaging that better resonates with your real audience, and you’ll see improved conversion rates, lower acquisition costs – and may achieve lower refund rates.
Data can only tell you so much. Getting connected to your customers is crucial, and your CS team provides a vital link in that connection.
Reviewing CS Performance
The way that your CS team handles tickets is every bit as important as the way your marketing team writes adverts. Each and every thing they write needs to be completely compliant, or you could face serious consequences. If an agent tells someone that your supplements are going to cure their illnesses, it’s exactly the same as if your marketing team started running Google ads making the same claim.
We keep stressing that point in the Shockwave blog, because it’s something that far too many entrepreneurs overlook. Point one: your team needs to be fully trained in compliance. Point two: you need to be actively checking that your team is acting compliantly.
There are a few CS-specific issues that you need to be looking for. It’s often tempting for an agent to talk about their personal experience with a product. This can very quickly become indirect or direct medical advice. Your training needs to emphasize the importance of staying on script at all times, stopping agents from inadvertently crossing the line.
Seeing the Problems
Your CS team almost certainly knows about issues you’ve never even thought about. Again, it’s all because of their exposure to your customers. They’ve had to deal with tickets day after day – they’re going to recognize patterns, from common ones to less-obvious points.
While you’re not necessarily going to be able to solve every recurrent issue that your CS team is dealing with, you need to at least be aware of the issues they’re facing. Without that understanding, your offer is never going to get any better – it’s going to remain static, ultimately diminishing your overall conversion rate.
Optimizing Your CS Scripts
When’s the last time you edited the scripts your CS team are using? Your scripts shouldn’t be completely static. They need to evolve based on the messaging that your customers respond to, gradually becoming better suited to your individual audience.
This is particularly important for retention scripts. You need to understand whether your customers are motivated by the options you’re offering or if an alternative option may be a better choice for your buyers. In many cases, offering a partial discount for customers requesting refunds can be the most effective option for retention. That’s not always the case, however. Test different offers, different scripts, and you’ll gradually improve your retention rates, maximizing your overall performance.
How to Utilize Customer Service
So, how can you get the best from your customer service team?
First and foremost, you need to be regularly communicating with them. Take the time to talk with team leads on a regular basis. What kind of tickets are they regularly seeing? Have they seen any significant change in the ticket types they’re receiving recently? Is there anything they think you should know, or something that you can do to streamline their work?
Beyond that direct communication, you need to be reviewing your tickets in-depth regularly. Every week, run through a random selection of calls and email communications – are your team sticking to the scripts you’ve established?
Are your customers having any issues with how those scripts are being used? We’ve seen several cases where perfectly well-written scripts just weren’t being used in the right way: a script designed for physical purchase support was being used for digital-only purchases, some customers were receiving scripts that only vaguely related to their specific tickets, and the like.
Your team also needs to have a path to reach out to you with any critical issues. CS is almost always going to be the first part of your team to notice any outages. You need to take advantage of that – set up a direct communication channel for reporting any emergencies or potential issues, increasing your response time when anything goes wrong.
Finally, your team needs to be actively following up with anyone who places a chargeback. Most people don’t just place chargebacks as a first option – they only do it when something’s gone wrong. Get in touch with them, offer them a full refund on the condition that they withdraw the chargeback, and ask why they’ve placed the chargeback.
Fixing any issues that lead to chargebacks needs to be top priority – the work will typically pay for itself, both by reducing your chargeback ratio, and by allowing you to negotiate for better MID rates.