Customer Service 101: Listening and Responding to Your Customers Effectively

listening to your customers

We’ve run case studies on everything from video streaming to banking services, and there’s one topic that frequently impacts customer sentiment: customer service.

Customer support is a vital element of any business. When your customers encounter issues and get in touch with you, the odds are they’re already developing a negative sentiment around your brand. Don’t give up on them.

By reaching out to you, your customers are providing you with an opportunity to regain their trust and loyalty. Failing to provide proper training and resources to your support team is the equivalent of giving up on customers who have invested in your brand.

The result? At best, a drop in customer loyalty, at worst, losing your customers altogether to your main competitor.

Here’s our take on how to step up your customer service, listen to your customers and respond effectively and efficiently.

How To Manage Large Volumes of Customer Enquiries

Prioritise responses in order of urgency

When you’re dealing with a large volume of customer support enquiries, it’s vital to get organised.

Make the most of helpdesk software to streamline the process.

You can go even further by integrating Symanto APIs to detect urgent enquiries based on the language customers use. For example, you can use Symanto AI to monitor and highlight an action-seeking requests with a strongly negative sentiment and flag them for immediate attention.

Use chatbots wisely

Implemented wisely, chatbots can be an excellent way to solve common issues and manage more complex requests.

However, proceed with caution. The majority of consumers still prefer human to human interaction and can be frustrated by chatbots that miss the mark.

To counter this problem, Symanto’s state of the art natural language processing (NLP) technology can enable chatbots to recognise complexities in human language for fewer misunderstandings, and also recognise emotionality in texts. This enables you to formulate appropriate responses so that customers feel they’ve received a personalised, sensitive service.

How to Listen to your Customers

Use their preferred channels

Cater to your customers’ preferences. In general, Millennials and Gen Z dislike phone calls. If their enquiry is urgent or requires back-and-forth communication, a chat service or direct messaging option is a useful alternative for phone-shy customers.

On social media, consider setting up a separate handle or hashtag to separate customer service queries from other communications.

Let them have their say

Don’t plan a response until you’ve thoroughly read the full query, or until the customer has finished speaking. They may provide extra useful information to help you diagnose the issue. If you fail to listen thoroughly, they may have to repeat themselves, adding to their frustration.

Be patient, and wait until they’ve finished before formulating a solution. In the meantime, feel free to make brief interjections to show that you’re listening and you understand their situation e.g. “I see”, “I understand”.

Recognise emotions

Are they responding emotionally to the situation? While some customers communicate using facts, others can express strong negative emotions in their communication. Are they angry? Disgusted? Disappointed?

You’ll need to gauge their emotional state to be able to respond sensitively and appropriately.

Sometimes, emotional responses are subtle, some customer service reps find it hard to decipher emotions through speech, and it may be harder for service reps that are not communicating in their native language.

AI technology such as Symanto’s emotion text analysis API can aid in these situations. Our advanced NLP technology accurately detects emotion in any written text to give your agents a clear and objective understanding of the emotions your customers express in their written communication.

Identify customers’ preferred communication style

Are your customers looking for information, or do they want you to take action? What tone are they using? Make sure you understand what your customers expect from your end before formulating a response so that they feel thoroughly catered to.

Symanto’s communication style API can automate this process to give your support team an objective understanding of what’s expected of them.

How to Respond to your Customers

Show that you’ve listened

To clarify any misunderstanding, and to demonstrate that you’ve actively listened to their issue, paraphrase what they’ve said and repeat key phrases back to them. Reflecting these words back to them will make them feel validated and heard.

Use an appropriate tone and match their preferred communication style

If a customer is information-seeking and doesn’t express emotion in their query, it signals that they’re looking for a pragmatic, factual response. If the customer responds conversationally and shares their experiences, they’ll respond well to a lighter tone. If the customer expresses anger and disgust and is action-seeking, it’s a signal that they need an emotionally sensitive response with active solutions.

Symanto’s emotion detection, communication style and personality trait APIs can all be implemented together to save your customer service agents from the emotional legwork of reading between the lines of customer communication so that they can efficiently formulate an appropriate response.

Act to prevent customer issues

As the adage goes: “prevention is better than cure”, and ultimately the best way to show your customers that you listen to their problems is to work to prevent the same issues from recurring in the future.

Use our Symanto Insights Platform to gather and analyse big data from all major review sites and social media channels. The Symanto Insights Platform detects key topics and measures customer sentiment so that you can quickly and easily diagnose the most common issues that are negatively affecting your customers.

Share this information with relevant departments so that they can prioritise these issues and ultimately improve customer loyalty and reduce customer churn.

Get Started With Symanto

Find out more about how Symanto API’s can help you streamline and improve your customer support operations. Get in touch or book your free demonstration today.