21 July 2022
Mindfulness - How to reduce stress for customers
Reducing customer stress by implementing live chat for businesses is critical for enhancing the customer service experience. Find out what you need to do here.
When choosing which brand to go with, customers put their experience above practically everything else, including price. Data suggests that 66 percent of customers expect companies to understand their needs, while customer-centric companies are 60 percent more profitable than those that aren’t.
Part of offering great customer service is finding ways to reduce the stress they experience. But how can you do this? Read on to learn more.
Learn The Signs Of Stress
Before you even begin to deal with customer stress, it is critical to learn the signs. If you don’t know what to look for, you can’t address it.
Some signs of stress are more obvious than others. They can include:
- Crying down the phone
- Constantly calling or emailing you for updates, timetables, schedules or information about how long a problem will take to fix
- Being quieter than usual
- Being short or getting angry
- Showing physical signs of anger when with you in person
- Being anxious or showing a proclivity to fret about things
Treating these behaviours as signposts helps your agents react to potential issues quickly. Flagging customers as stressed early on in the interaction reduces the risk of saying the wrong things later.
See The Signs Of Stress In Yourself
Being uncomfortable with customers’ stress can make the situation worse. Agents may instinctively respond based on their own emotions, instead of following a rational path. Therefore, teaching your reps to remain conscious of their own state of mind can help.
For example, reps may minimise customers’ experience. They might say things like, “this happens all the time,” or “it’s not worth worrying about.”
Train reps not to respond like this. Instead, get them to acknowledge the issue, saying things like “I understand your problem” or “the point you’ve raised is concerning.”
Avoid platitudes, such as “it’ll all be okay in the end” or “I’m sure you’ll see it through”.
Find Out What Emotional Triggers Are Causing Customers To Use Your Services
While customers sometimes use brands for purely practical reasons, most of their purchasing decisions are emotionally driven. When companies fail to meet their expectations, they feel anger and fear, causing them to feel anxious and, possibly, lash out.
The trick here is to identify aspects of your service that are most likely to trigger a negative emotional response. You can do this with simple measures, such as focus groups and interviews, or with more sophisticated experiments, like experience mapping. The idea is to give your customers a voice about how the service is lacking or letting them down. The more triggers you can identify, the safer you will be.
Offer The Easiest Communication Possible
It should be easy for customers to get in touch with you through a variety of channels. Customers may feel stressed if you only offer telephone support or email responses within 24 hours.
Fortunately, omnichannel support is becoming mainstream and easier to implement. Click4Assistance’s Messaging software, for instance, integrates multiple platforms into a single dashboard. Customers can communicate with you using WhatsApp or Messenger, without having to download apps or switch platforms. Agents receive communications to a single dashboard, simplifying customer service operations.
Click4Assistance also makes communication easier in other ways. For example, Live Chat makes it possible for customers to talk to reps via your website and get instructions via extendable windows. Video Chat solutions immediately build trust, let you maintain eye contact with customers, and provide visual instructions.
Remember, the easiest form of communication for your customers isn’t necessarily the smoothest or most technically advanced. Rather, it is the type of communication they feel most comfortable with that matters most.
Speed matters in customer service. Customers regularly report it as being more important than knowledgeable staff, consistent messaging, or even having a real person to speak to.
46 percent of customers expect companies to respond to their queries within four hours, while 12 percent want responses within 15 minutes. Thus, failing to do so could cause stress, leading customers to choose other brands.
If you don’t know how long it currently takes you to respond to customers, calculate your first-response time. You can do this by adding up all the time delays between customers’ initial communications and your responses, and then dividing it by the total number of tickets in a given period. This will give you an average response time figure.
Ideally, you want to respond to customers in less than 15 minutes. In some industries, the figure may need to be lower than this.
Respond Quickly To Intense Emotions
When customers feel like their money is going to waste, they can experience a wave of intense emotions. When this happens, it is critical for staff to manage their experience.
The first step is to quickly recognize and accept the emotion. Customers who feel powerless, frustrated, ignored, or scared are often quick to lash out.
The next step is to outline various small, discrete steps for the customer to take next. Providing a path forward can help relieve anxiety, providing time for you to resolve the problem.
The ghost typing feature on Click4Assistance’s live chat for businesses, for example, lets reps see what customers are typing into chat before they click send. This provides them with an advanced warning about their mood and allows them to craft a suitable response more rapidly.
Give Customers More Control
Lastly, look for ways to give customers more control. When customers feel disempowered, it can heighten stress, particularly among those who are naturally anxious. Never blow customers off or take a break, just because it is the weekend. Instead, put the customer back in the driver’s seat. Provide customers with a direct contact somebody they can return to in your customer service department without having to explain their problem from scratch again. Give them confidence that there is someone who understands their problem and can help them.
In conclusion, reducing customer stress is mainly a matter of common sense. However, modern communication tools can prove invaluable, particularly when operating at scale.