In a market as open as today’s, it is important for businesses to remain communicable and available to their customers as much as they can. Given the increasing number of businesses that customers can choose from, better customer responsiveness can create a big differentiator.
Above all, the global pandemic has created a sense of urgency where businesses need to respond and personalize the experience without making more hurdles for the customer in these troubling times.
What is Customer Responsiveness?
It is the ability for business to respond to customer inquiries or service request in a timely manner. In the customer service parlance, it is the time taken to respond and provide a quick resolution. This should lead to better and faster first contact resolution (FCR)
Improving the organisation’s customer responsiveness is key to consistent success since they prefer the company that is more attentive to their needs – and rest assured, the digital world has enabled consumers to provide ratings and reviews easily. So the ones with more positive reviews are approached more by clients.
In short, the speed and quality at which a company offers customer service and communication is the measure of its customer responsiveness. Amongst the many methods that can help in improving the same, we list the best methods which are time tested.
According to HubSpot Research, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less
1. A ‘No Excuses’ attitude
A common trait amongst many successful businesses, and indeed those who run them, is accountability. It is easy to lose track of one’s shortcomings, especially in the workplace if there are less or no people to report to. Accountability to oneself and to the company’s good health is an important step in building and consolidating a business. Problems need to be fixed as and when they arise instead of letting them stockpile. An objective analysis of faults in business proceedings is of prime importance – best if conducted by an independent team – and this will help to isolate and take direct action to fix problems.
This attitude to resolve customer concerns permeates the team and over a period of time builds a very strong culture. Such a culture is not only difficult to mimic but also becomes an entry barrier for competition.
2. Using a proper service CRM
Human memory makes errors too often to rely on it completely to keep track of important tasks like customer responses. To ensure all issues posed by all customers are met adequately, Service CRMs or Incident management systems that tracks such pending and completed tasks must be adopted. Defining the right service level agreement (SLAs) and Turnaround time (TAT) is mandatory so that any breach on such parameters are escalated. With this approach, customer responsiveness becomes the highest priority for customer service team.
3. Being observant on social media
Over the last few years, and especially now, social media has increasingly become an important part of society and individual lives. A huge chunk of people live large parts of their life online and, thus, talk about and discuss on it the products and services they use in everyday life. It would be a major loss for any company not to track customers and their reviews on social media platforms and input the important parts into their plans. However, a presence on all social media platforms is not important and even if being a few of them sounds like something one is unable to dedicate time to, freelancing social media managers are always an option to handle this part of the business.
4. Using technology appropriately
For every bit of increase in workload that a brand or a company has to process, it can also avail the ingenious tech-based solutions that are relatively easy to implement. This lessens the human workload resulting in not only a faster customer responsiveness but also an efficient one. Small businesses are often held back due to a shortage of employees. However, there are many platforms offering automated response systems and chatbots that respond to the initial request by a customer. This helps to provide quick, automated solutions for simpler requests while these systems redirect the complicated complaints to a human operator.
There is an emerging need to offer customer service across all the channels or customer touchpoints. Be it social or phone call, the same agent can work seamless using the omnichannel platform and understand the customer journey. Such technology are a great advantage in significantly boosting the customer responsiveness.
5. Peak Usage Data-based strategy
It is crucial for any business with limited resources to observe data on the hours during which their customer response teams/systems are required most.
Two important questions to address in this aspect would be a) what are the peak times of incoming queries and b) which channels are most actively used and during which hours for the same purpose.
Channeling limited manpower to those particular hours that demand most attention from the company will not only improve customer responsiveness but will do so without having to hire more people.
6. Regular updating of documents
The customer responses that need the least amount of time are the ones that do not need responding to, at all. A large array of information should be readily available and accessible to the customer in some form, be it in material or online. Companies have increasingly shifted their processes online and so have the customers, so in any case it is imperative to have a well organised and articulate Knowledge base made easily available for the customers. These can contain solutions to recurring problems that have been recorded by the company and can otherwise contain a vividly described and well-researched section of guides and tutorials that can help customers address certain issues on their own.
7. Mixing personalisation with templates
Many queries received by a company will be similar in nature. One definite method of improving customer responsiveness is to have polished, pre-made templates that contain solutions addressing various problems. These templates can be readily put to use to address complaints posed by the customer. However, a number of surveys have highlighted that while fast responses are good for a business, empathetic and personalised ones are even better. While it can be extremely time-intensive to construct personalised responses for each query, an appropriate balance can be found between a pre-made template with certain varying degrees of personalisation to help the customer feel more attended to and, eventually, increase customer responsiveness.
Most of the interaction tools like Live chat or CRM offer canned messages that can be further personalized based on the context.
Providing quality customer service at a reasonable but speedy pace, one can make customers happy and thus boost overall health of the business. In the pursuit of speedy response to customers, empathy for customers should not get diluted. It makes a huge difference how one addresses the problem in a quick and precise way and feel for the customer’s concern at the same time.