Sometimes the best inspiration for getting better at providing excellent customer service can come straight from your competitors.
With the average customer engaging with brands via nine different customer service channels these days, across online chat, mobile apps, social media, and more, you can learn a lot about your competitors’ customer service strategy—and what they’re getting right—simply by checking out the company’s presence across these digital and social channels as well as by reading their reviews on third-party review websites.
There’s no time like the present to do a little digging into what your competitors are up to. And when you do, here are the top four lessons you can learn about how to improve your customer service.
4 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Customer Service
#1: How to Be Responsive Across Channels
A great place to start is by taking a look at your competitors’ presence on social channels and their ratings and reviews on third-party review websites.
CHECKLIST: Is your competitor being as responsive as possible?
- How do they interact with customers on social channels, like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook?
- What do their public reviews on third-party review platforms like TrustPilot, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Yelp look like?
- Do they respond publicly to every review, public comment, or brand mention?
- Do they thank loyal customers for leaving positive feedback?
- Do they close the loop when customers share issues, leave complaints, or ask questions? Do they make it clear how customers can get help via other channels, such as over the phone or email, if needed?
- How long do they take to respond to messages?
- Do they humanize their messages by mentioning the name of the customer service team member who is responding?
- Is their approach to customer service consistent across channels?
You’ll know they’re doing a good job (and if you are, too) if the following best practices for providing great customer service are being put into action, including:
- Using personalization: Addressing the customer by name
- Owning the mistake: Taking the responsibility to address whatever went wrong and make it right
- Providing clear next steps: Outline whatever you’ll be doing to address their complaint
Being empathetic: Providing the right level of care, attention, and customer-first approach to each interaction
#2: How to Guide Self-Service and Prevent Customer Issues From Happening
A next great place to spy on your competition’s customer service strategy is to check out their websites and apps.
CHECKLIST: Is your competitor offering self-service resources to reduce customer support calls and outreach?
- How is the user experience of their website(s) and app(s)?
- Can customers quickly find important information, such as the company’s return policy?
- Does the company provide self-service resources, such as video tutorials, FAQs, and knowledge base content?
- Does the company utilize AI-powered customer service tools, like chatbots, to field customer inquiries?
Providing self-guided resources like these can help customers solve their own problems, reducing the burden on your contact center team, while at the same time increasing positive KPIs, like customer satisfaction and engagement, conversions, and revenue.
Pro tip: To ensure resources like these are actually beneficial, leading companies measure self-service utilization using voice of the customer surveys to ask customers about whether they use support content to solve their issues independently.
#3: How to Monitor and Track Customer Satisfaction in Real Time
While you’re checking out the competition online, see what they’re doing to collect real-time customer feedback.
CHECKLIST: Is your competitor asking for feedback about the customer experience in the moment?
- Are customers prompted to share feedback immediately following their interactions via email, phone, live chat, and other channels?
- Do customers have the chance to share specific feedback about individual customer service agents?
Quality assurance programs and audits of customer interactions are most effective when they happen right away and measuring CSAT scores at the customer service agent level and sharing the results with individual agents in real time can help agents improve their performance by encouraging self-correcting behavior.
Plus, by proactively asking for feedback you give customers with negative experiences the chance to be heard, reducing the chances they’ll take to social media with complaints.
#4: How to Reward and Recognize Your Agents
While perusing the competition’s digital and social presence, you may also discover what they’re doing to recognize and reward customer service team members.
CHECKLIST: What is the competition doing to surprise and delight their agents?
- Do they recognize their customer service team members on the company’s career page, social media, or blog?
- Do they list the perks, rewards, or team-building activities they offer customer service agents on their company’s careers page or social media?
- At the end of each customer service interaction, do customers have the chance to suggest a reward the agent can receive?
How Top Brands Are Empowering Their Customer Service Agents to Deliver Exceptional Experiences
From Mercedes-Benz to Williams-Sonoma, the world’s top customer service-focused brands have teamed up with Stella Connect to capture real-time customer feedback to improve customer service coaching, agent performance and engagement, and customer satisfaction and loyalty. Request your demo today to learn more.