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5 Steps to Award-Winning Customer Service

positive customer serviceAfter becoming a paying customer, your customer service team may be the only contact a client has with your company. Face time between clients and companies is limited, which is why it’s important to really stress the value of a positive customer service experience within your organization. When your customer service reps are both positive and competent, your clients are happier. And when your clients are happier, your customer service reps are happier, too! Talk about a win-win.

Last month, Pardot was awarded a Silver Medal for Customer Service by the Stevie Awards, the world’s top sales and customer service awards presenter — and we really learned a lot from the other nominees, finalists, and award winners. While each company approached their customer service experience differently, there were a lot of similarities that we saw across the board when it came to ensuring a positive experience for customers and clients.

Having happy customers helps companies improve customer retention rates, develop a loyal following of brand evangelists, and raise employee morale. Want to reap the benefits of having a positive customer service experience? Find out what we learned from other Stevie Award-winning companies when it comes to making your customer support the best in the business.

1. Set Specific Goals

It’s hard for customer support teams to gauge their performance if they don’t have any standards to compare themselves to. Many of the most successful customer support teams have specific goals that they are required to meet, such as responding to a client email within 15 minutes, or solving a support issue within a 24-hour time period. Setting standards like these makes it easy for employees to measure their performance and pinpoint areas that need improvement. It also makes the customer support experience more enjoyable for clients, because they always know what to expect.

2. Be Proactive

Many companies rely on their clients and customers to come to them when they have an issue. Many of the most successful companies reach out to clients before issues even arise. Consider scheduling quarterly or monthly calls to your clients to see if they need any help, have any feature requests, or need more in-depth strategy consultations. Being proactive with your clients can prevent a lot of problems before they even have a chance to develop.

3. Be Available

It’s important to be available for clients across a variety of mediums, and not just email. While email is the standard for many customer support issues, there’s a lot of value in providing options for clients to immediately reach support team members when they have more pressing issues. By also including phone or chat support (whichever is the most feasible for your company and resources), clients can reach out to support members across the medium that is most appropriate for their issue.

4. Provide Specialized Help

Some clients need more attention than others. There are two ways to approach this problem without exhausting your existing resources: you can either create a specialized team to interface with clients who have above-and-beyond needs, or you can provide a “platinum” support package for clients who know that they’ll need additional support (for example, a support package that includes phone support in addition to email and chat). Clients will always appreciate companies that go beyond the call of duty to support their needs.

5. Be a Resource

Many client issues arise from a lack of preparation. Having a library of ample resources can circumvent this issue by giving clients the information they need to tackle problems on their own. Offering free trainings or office hours can also help ensure that your clients are as prepared as possible when it comes to using your product.

Do you have any other ideas for ways to create a positive customer support experience? Let us know in the comments!