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These days, offering a great product or service, even if it’s at the best price, may not be enough to win and retain customers. The modern customer has come to expect excellence in customer service and it seriously impacts their purchasing decisions. For instance, research shows 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. And companies are on the hook for providing that good experience, given that it’s six to seven times more expensive for companies to win new customers than keeping existing ones. Good customer service pays.

How technology can help

The right customer service software will help customer service teams meet these high customer expectations. Whether this is accomplished through workflow and automation, knowledge management, or self-service – customer service software can help to improve efficiency, service delivery, and the customer experience.

And customers expect this type of technology, especially in the area of self-service: 90% of consumers expect companies to offer self-service capabilities in their customer service software. Sadly, though, nearly 80% of customer contact centers think that their current software won’t meet their future needs. Or, to be more precise, they believe that existing technologies won’t meet the needs of their customers.

What to look for in customer service software

With the wealth of customer service best practices and software out there, let’s take a deeper dive with four technology-enabled best practices to help up your company’s customer service game:

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1. Strive for simplicity

Make it easy for customers to contact your company and get help for what they need. We’ve all been frustrated by long customer service calls or complicated online forms. What also helps is giving your customer service agents the information they’ll need to help customers in a way that’s simple for agents to access, too. In all cases, using the right customer service software will make a big difference in making things simpler for everyone involved.

2. Help customers help themselves

Self-service technology, knowledge bases, and automation help customers get answers faster. Self-service benefits both the customer and the brand by providing customer service where 24/7 human-to-human support isn’t feasible. Plus, self-service might be the quickest way to connect a customer to the information or solution they need (and in the most cost-effective way for the contact center). But be warned – not all self-service capabilities are born equal, things like usability will very much depend on the customer service software you invest in.

3. Offer communication choices

While offering self-service capabilities is great for customers and agents alike, it should be just one in a number of communication and access channels offered to customers. Customer preferences will depend on what the issue or requirement is, as well as other factors such as their location or the time of day. So ensure that your customer service software allows you to offer phone, email, chat, self-service, and social support – and don’t forget mobile access to self-service capabilities. As to which channels are right for your company, it’s the ones that customers are using. Of course, some companies will want to limit the channels they offer from a cost-efficiency perspective – the important thing here is to make the offered channels so good that customers don’t miss the alternatives.

4. Use data to make better decisions

Look beyond the Big Data buzz to understand how you can make the most of the data you already have within your customer service software. Don’t focus only on trends, but look at individual customers, products, services, and your customer support operations. Creating a customized experience based on data is a great way to drive loyalty and repeat business.

So there you have my four technology-enabled customer service best practices, things that you should definitely look to adopt with the help of your chosen customer service software solution. If you would like to share your own best practices, I’d love to read them in the comments section.

Make your customers fall in love with your company all over again.

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