Current research shows that B2C customer service differs from B2B customer service, with the latter known to be rather more complex. Find out why, and sharpen your customer service chops with good, B2B-focused customer service skills to help improve customer satisfaction this year and beyond!
Roses are red, violets are blue, and customers won’t stick around if your customer service sucks. While this submission might sound true enough to the average business owner, don’t take our word for it.
Studies have documented substantial links between customer experience and loyalty. Now, you might ask, “why are customer service skills important?” or, to put into context, “what happens when a customer has a great experience with your brand?”
Here’s your answer: Quality customer service skills means your customers stick with you and become your brand ambassadors, constantly spilling oodles of word-of-mouth recommendation (which is a form of marketing your bottom line will definitely thank you for!)
But, you can’t get all that good stuff (loyalty and promotion) without giving something tangible in return—fantastic customer service! Now, how do you retain customers, establish business credibility, and drive twice as much revenue with customer service skills?
Get your peepers at the ready as we set about showing you everything you need to know about good customer service skills, and then some:
What is Customer Service?
Let’s go a bit more in-depth before reaching for the skies. Customer service includes vital steps taken to ensure the satisfaction of your clients before, during, and after a transaction. It’s every form of assistance offered by a company to its customers.
As you guide them on their buyer’s journey right from the awareness stage to the point of decision, you want to make them feel seen, understood, and cared for.
It’s all about them. Simple as that.
While you have taken significant steps in attracting their attention and compelling them to purchase your product or service, that’s only half the job done. Their personal experience with you guarantees customer loyalty and retention. Snagging these two outcomes from customers means you’ve got a high chance of business success.
Customer Service in B2B v. B2C
It’s worth going over the difference between customer service for B2B brands and B2C brands. B2C brands are often faced with simpler complaints that could be resolved in a whim.
It could range from a refund, product-related enquiries, or a call to check in on the return status of a shipment. And it’s usually done through a simple channel like e-mail or text. B2B companies are usually involved in technical products and services being provided to teams of another business organisation. These products and services are usually more technical, and account-based.
And because most of these offerings are a vital cog in the wheel of service delivery to their own customers, the stakes of B2B are often high. Factors like quality, long-term relationships, and overall value weigh more considerably than pricing.
So, B2B customer service demands tend to be more technical, and more drawn out with a lot of back-and-forth since it means that good customer service in this context involves digging deep into the source of concern to resolve their technical issues.
Importance of Good Customer Service Skills
Think of Customer Service Skills as more of a compounding effect than an immediate benefit.
With high-touch customer support shown by the likes Efficy, an increasing pool of customers are teed up to use their products, which ramps up customers’ reliance on their products and retains them as their lifelong customers and brand evangelists.
Like ‘em or hate ‘em, customer service remains your sure ticket to a positive customer experience. Here’s why:
Your customer service skills determine the percentage of customers you can retain. In fact, a survey showed that 96% say that customer service determines their loyalty to a brand.
You spend less on Customer Acquisition through great customer service and build lasting relationships.
Good customer service is a chain reaction that sparks a lot of positive effects along the line— one of which is brand awareness. Giving your customer an overall great experience will make them your number one promoter. They will utilise WOM (Word of Mouth) and Direct Marketing to spread awareness about your brand.
Customer satisfaction is reflected in feedback which can lead to great PR for your brand. The free publicity you’ll get from having good customer service skills will establish your credibility as an industry leader and make room for more B2B collaborations.
When customers are loyal to your brand, they’ll spend more with your company due to that element of trust. In addition, you’ll earn more revenue due to their promotion strategies which drive brand awareness.
What are Key Customer Service Skills?
The stat spells out that nine out of ten people withdraw their patronage due to poor customer service experience. In the same token, 55% of customers (especially in B2B) actually don’t mind coughing up more money to get superior service.
A lack of customer service skills has cost many businesses their reputation. You’ll be surprised to know how many companies have failed because they could not make the extra effort to retain their customers.
We know you don’t want to get caught out in the cold, alone, probably with a grumpy B2B customer at the other end of the computer. So here are a few customer service skills examples that are sure to get that fire in your customers’ belly to become your new army of infinite brand loyalists:
“I don’t like a good listener,” said absolutely no one. A 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report showed that customer service representatives are likely the least engaged team in an organisation probably because they have to deal with hundreds of customers a day.
However, active listening as a skill requires you to be fully present. You need to let the customers express themselves freely. Then pause and comprehend what they’re saying. It’s usually the first step to providing adequate support.
After listening, empathy is a skill customer service agents shouldn’t be without. Being empathetic entails the ability to understand the customer’s feelings. When you understand what they’re feeling, you’re able to relate with them on a personal level and get motivated to solve their problems.
Your customer support team shouldn’t lose sight of the simple things, like getting their names so you can send more personalised e-mails and avoid the unpleasantness of robot-like responses. B2B customer service software also helps you to be more relationship-driven in your approach with insight into the personal details of the customer. That’ll help you build solid rapport and offer more personalised solutions for an even better customer experience.
Unless it’s fast approaching payday, no one likes to wait. It doesn’t bode well for your company to be tardy in providing customer assistance– which is why time management is one of the critical customer service skills. You want to remove unnecessary barriers between them and your customer service delivery. Excessively long waiting hours is a very good example.
An American Express study found that 13 minutes is the amount of time customers are willing to hold on before they call it quits. Another survey reported two-thirds of consumers would be patient to wait if it’s less than two minutes. Further, one-third of callers (34%) would hang up and abandon the technical support process if their call is not answered within a moment’s notice.
Instead of in-person customer service, you can render B2B omnichannel customer service on platforms like email, self-service, and online chats (personal replies and not bots). The key here is to treat their requests personally and with a sense of urgency while chiming in with periodic updates to let them know they’re top on your list.
Excellent communication skills tell your customers that you understand their concerns and are willing to offer assistance. Develop great oral and written communication skills to send clear and straightforward messages. Typographical errors, improper punctuation, mumbling, etc., could lead to misinformation and an overall lousy consumer experience.
You also want to be wary of your tone when communicating with customers. A lower, more relaxed tone means you have firm control over the situation. It keeps your emotions in check while you remain logical, even in the face of looming chaos. With clients, the truth is, you never know what you’ll get. The best way to deal with angry customers is through patience, which comes from large amounts of self-control.
As earlier mentioned, the B2B space involves professionals from other industries who have a decent level of technical expertise. They are data-oriented, technically aware, and impliedly, problems or concerns arising from their use of your product are definitely not rookie-level.
You need the technical skill and customer-centric approach to partner them in their navigation of your product to help them improve their business outcomes.
This presents a need for in-depth knowledge, not just about the product but also about the company and its marketing/sales approach in general. Such knowledge will allow for quick problem-solving.
According to McKinsey, 70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Your customer might have grievances with the company due to a glitch in their journey.
Quickly help them pull themselves together, spot these troubles, and make genuine efforts to provide a lasting solution. A customer service representative can only solve problems when they fully understand the company’s product or service.
Qualities of a Good Customer Service Professional
How does one identify great customer service? There are certain qualities that your brand’s customer service as a whole must possess to provide the best customer assistance.
On balance, good customer service is;
Being professional means acting in a way that lets the customer see you as an expert, competent, and reliable. Providing customer service in a professional manner helps to build the client’s trust in your organisation.
From start to finish, every form of assistance provided to a customer should be about how to make their lives easier through your product/service.
Swift customer service assures the customers that they are essential to the company. With all the digital platforms at your disposal today, it’s safe to say that customers expect round-the-clock support from Customer Service Agents.
Excellent customer service means that you don’t lump the customer into a pool of people with similar issues. Offering personalised help to each client based on their unique concerns means a better customer experience.
Great customer service skills strive for clarity on the end of the agent and the customer. The customer service representative is dedicated to ensuring that they and the customer are on the same page to facilitate smooth problem-solving.
Good customer service entails taking a positive approach because it calms the customer’s fears when there’s a problem and proceeds to assure them that their case can be handled in-house. Win them over with optimism!
You consider an effort successful when it has produced the desired results. Similarly, customer service is successful when it has been helpful to the customer– i.e., allay their fears and solve their problems.
If you think that your current customer service doesn’t need to go up a few levels, then think again. Every upwardly-mobile business is constantly seeking new and improved ways to better their customer experience day by day.
Generally speaking, good customer service hinges on three things: A rich client database, swift and seamless response, and clear communication. These three pillars of customer service are brought to you, courtesy of our all-encompassing CRM platform, Efficy.
With our unique Interaction Log, you can access customers’ information, view previous interactions, and set deadlines for pending customer requests—all from one single source of truth. That way, every customer service agent on deck knows their due course of action once they’re logged in.
These incredible features intricately combine to make your customer service swift, professional and customer-focused.
Ready to snag your fair share of happy customers today? Book a demo, and see exactly how Efficy helps crown your customer service efforts.
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