Customer experience has become a critical differentiator, and every touch point should be seen as an opportunity to uplift a relationship.

Source: Retail Customer Experience

In society’s current climate, trust is more important than ever for brands looking to deepen existing customer relationships, let alone build new ones. Customer experience has become a critical differentiator, and every touch point should be seen as an opportunity to uplift a relationship. Whether it’s wittily responding to consumers’ branded conversations or helping them with product queries, every interaction is a reflection of your brand.

Many overlook the value of customer service when it comes to building a brand because it’s not as flashy as advertising or as profit-driven as sales. However, when eight-in-ten customers cite good customer service as the number one factor in deciding what to buy, there’s clearly value to be seen in this space.

Customer service agents can uniquely bolster this process, but many struggle to meet consumers’ desire for instant, accurate, and helpful service, given the large volumes of requests they face and new channels constantly emerging. Only by investing in customer service can brands truly win over their customers’ trust and loyalty.

Here are three simple ways your customer service team can turn your customers into long-lasting brand advocates.

1.Respond quickly and accurately to brand reviews

As a result of the digital ecosystem modern consumers live and breathe, brands need to be snappy to keep hold of their customers’ divided attention.

Research supports this sentiment, as nearly 80% of customers want fast responses from brand interactions. From a brand’s perspective, time-to-value is crucial, especially if complaints are in public, hyper-visible channels like Facebook, Twitter or TrustPilot. Ensuring customers receive a fast, personable, and empathetic response is a strong way to control the narrative surrounding your brand. It also shows your audience that their problems matter to you.

With a plethora of social channels and company branded channels, customer service agents must alternate between multiple applications to oversee all customer queries. These internal back and forth movements can slow down responses and time-to-value. Customers often become frustrated and turn to costly customer service line calls to accelerate issue resolution.

To prevent expensive customer calls, many of the largest enterprise brands turn to a single platform where agents can respond to queries across varying channels, including voice. This can save companies 40% of time spent managing campaigns and increase average customer lifetime value by 2%. Agent efficiency also directly correlates to customer satisfaction. In other words, by supporting your agents with better tools, you help your customers.

2. Read between the lines to resolve issues

Every customer query or comment comes with an intention, mostly for a problem to be solved. But reading between the lines allows brands to better understand the sentiment behind their customers’ reviews, and to respond accordingly. This goes a long way in converting a frustrated customer to a loving brand advocate.

Reviews left on platforms such as TrustPilot, Google Business, and Apple Business Manager can make or break a consumer’s perception of your brand. By delving into sentiment, brands can understand the level of urgency, tone of voice, and amount of attention needed to satisfy a troubled customer.

In the long term, such feedback can also be extremely helpful in improving the customer experience. When companies collate reviews across all different platforms, patterns emerge. But there is a high chance that agents miss a trending issue from all the reviews when analyzing and responding to individual customer queries.

Software that integrates all the top reviewing platforms empowers brands to quickly identify trends across thousands of service reviews. Social teams managing brand reputation and social care use such software to monitor, review, and respond to customer feedback from platforms like Trustpilot, the instant it’s published. This enables businesses to settle queries or adapt their offerings before a trend impacts revenue and brand reputation.

3. Equip customer service agents to avoid attrition

Leading brands make it a priority to empower their frontline employees with the support and tools needed to do their jobs well. These companies recognize that everyday, customer contact agents act as brand ambassadors.

But when 96% of agents show signs of stress, one can imagine the impact on their ability to create lasting customer relationships. This is a pervasive problem in the industry, as proven by average contact center worker attrition rates being two times higher than other occupations.

By leveraging software that consolidates contact center applications in one place, businesses equip their agents with the information they need in a single interface – saving time, money, and aggravation. The inclusion of AI in such interfaces also better prepares agents to quickly solve issues through predicted answers or suggestions from knowledge bases.

This allows agents to set up and handle a large volume of tasks, and frees their time to focus on more time-sensitive or critical issues. Ultimately, these tools help reduce attrition levels by removing mundane tasks, assisting agents in their day-to-day activities, and helping them perform at their best. Leading brands also offer agents mental health support to ensure they remain healthy and committed to uplifting your brand.

Customers are more digitally-savvy than ever. They demand 24/7, instant responses from agents, in channels they choose. To create and maintain a modern-day brand, companies must go far beyond advertising and sales. Brand reputation relies on the agents who engage with your customers each and every day. By providing agents with the necessary tools to quickly, seamlessly, and consistently interact with customers across public and brand-owned channels, businesses can protect their brand equity as consumer behavior continues to evolve.