Customer Service: 10 Tips for Efficient Service Delivery

It might not be a sprint to have excellent customer service, but speed is still necessary.

By QJ Gottschalk

Customers rate the level of customer service based on how quickly their requests are resolved, according to 69% of respondents.

If you are not fast enough to react, you will miss out on sales.

Even if you don’t consider this, serving customers quicker actually yields better sales performance. The more customers you can assist, the better.

When it comes to providing time-sensitive customer service, each industry has its own set of unique tools. However, several common-sense strategies that result in faster service can be applied to any company.

Let’s chat about a few tips for revving up your customer experience.

customer service

1. Begin the service at the point of entry.

According to a report on the perceived importance of waiting time by customers, there are three phases of waiting:

  • Pre-service: A customer is standing in line to place their order.
  • In-service: At the counter, the customer places their order with the staff member and pays.
  • Post-service: A customer waits for their order to be completed.

 

Even though it occurs before the actual service process, pre-service has the highest impact on how customers rate the service received.

According to studies, people consider wait times to be longer than they really are. A five-minute wait in a stuffy waiting room can be exhausting.

As a result, it’s counterproductive to see queues as something other than a necessary part of your operation. The wait is practically over once customers begin to feel involved in the servicing process.

Despite having to wait eight minutes to talk with a manager, Carmine Gallo said he never felt irritated or uncared during his visit to an Apple Store. Because he was engaged by employees at every stage.

By checking in with customers and delivering periodic updates, Apple workers are taught to “reset internal clocks” to give the customer the feeling of never actually waiting.

2. Importance of self-service.

Self-service isn’t just a buzzword we use; it’s one of the most essential competitive areas of focus right now.

Customers are increasingly preferring to fix problems on their own rather than calling a customer service representative. The same goes for customer service.

In 2016, 84% of customers used a self-service channel, with 91% admitting they will use one in the future.

It’s challenging to provide a good customer experience on time and at scale without allowing consumers to solve their own problems. Customers have more agency, trust, and autonomy when they use self-service.

The check-in method is a perfect reflection of that. Rather than wasting valuable resources managing each visitor by hand, you can concentrate on providing enough resources for the customer to function independently.

Self-service check-in via kiosks removes the need to manually fill out sign-in sheets and other forms at the reception desk, saving time and money.

3. Separate your service into smaller categories.

Break down the queues into smaller categories to make them move quicker, instead of having a single line for information, technical support, and payment assistance. You can have three separate lines, which will significantly speed up the process and removes customer service frustration from the staff.

You don’t even need physical lines if you use a cloud-based queue system. They may all be in the same general line. Regardless, each customer will be directed to the appropriate agent as soon as they are called. Sticking to the FIFO (first-in, first-out) concept while increasing the quality of serving individual customers with unique requirements.

4. Assign the customer to the appropriate agent.

According to a 2018 Oracle study, 77% of customers believe inefficient customer service lowers their quality of life. Furthermore, most customers surveyed said that connecting to the appropriate service agent right away would boost their experience.

A customer can request a particular clerk to better assist them, such as one who speaks the customer’s preferred language. Alternatively, you can come across a customer who has obviously made a mistake and entered the incorrect line. Having to send such a customer to the back of the correct queue would be inefficient in both cases and would most likely frustrate them.

Physical lines have an inherent inflexibility, which is their primary flaw. A digital queue management system has the benefit of allowing you to assign customers to the correct queue on the fly without upsetting the customer experience.

With VisitNinja, you can simply forward a customer to another agent on our simple dashboard. The assigned staff member will call that person next automatically.

Connecting a customer with the appropriate associate boosts the effectiveness of your response plan. After all, the right people at the right time provide outstanding customer service.

5. Fair queueing rules.

As we outlined above, the perceived waiting time affects more than the actual waiting time for the customer.

Perceived waiting times play an enormous role in causing such negative consumer behaviour. Three of these customer conducts are defined in the queuing theory:

  1. Customer queue jumping to another line to reduce their waiting time.
  2. Customers who exit a store without entering the queue at all.
  3. Customers will join the queue, but after some time, they decide to leave.

 

These actions only occur when queuing rules are vague or perceived to be unfair. Who doesn’t get frustrated when someone who arrives later than you gets assisted first?

But, precisely, what makes a queue “fair”? It all comes down to their adherence to the first-come, first-served service model (sometimes referred to as first-in-first-out, or FIFO).

People who enter the queue first expect to be served first, and those who join later wish to be served later. When it comes to queue fairness, it is the most consistent model because:

  • It has clear guidelines to meet.
  • All possible wrongdoings are visible.

 

Also, in VIP lines, where a select group of customers is given preferential treatment, queuing can be seen as fair if the rules are clearly stated.

customer service

6. Keep the client updated.

This section is simple: provide customers with precise queuing details so they can estimate their waiting time.

This decreases their anxiety generated by the uncertainty of waiting, which is why it works.

This is supported by the science of waiting, which claims that confirmed wait times are shorter than uncertain wait times.

You can do this by displaying names or numbers on a TV screen or using digital signage. This live list shows customers that are actually waiting. But that’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle, although a significant one.

When there is a pause, the customer should be aware of it and told of the reason for the delay.

Otherwise, a lack of details can make consumers frustrated, upset, or a combination of the two. Worse, they could tell their story to 10 or more other potential customers, costing you a lot of money in missed sales.

If they receive poor customer service, eight out of ten customers claim they will turn to a competitor. The inability of many companies to keep their customers informed has significantly inflated this figure.

7. Overdeliver on promises made.

Concerning the previous argument, you can take some pointers from restaurants that appear to overestimate their planned waiting times.

Wouldn’t you feel amazed if a waiter at a restaurant said your food would be ready in about 20 minutes but then arrives at your table 10 minutes later?

Meeting this expectation would be routine if the waiter was accurate in his estimations and said “10 minutes” right away. Even though the restaurant delivered what it promised, it does not seem to be as remarkable.

Although an optimistic prediction may minimize upfront abandonment rates, the boost isn’t worth the adverse experience consumers will have when they end up waiting longer than anticipated.

The mantra “underpromise and overdeliver” does not imply that you must set unrealistic goals to exceed them. When estimating wait times, however, it pays to be more cautious.

8. Keep the customer's attention.

According to a study on the psychology of waiting, unoccupied time seems longer. Time moves more easily because customers have something to do while waiting.

This is why waiting rooms have magazines on hand, and free WiFi is available. This is why the example of Apple employees engaging customers that we discussed earlier works so well.

You can create distractions by showing content on TV and digital signage, like ads or information about your business. Another choice is to get the customer to walk around while waiting.

Customers could discover distractions on their own if they are allowed to wander freely. The most prominent benefit of virtual queue management is that the customer does not have to wait in line.

What you need is an instant notification system. Sending automated SMS messages to your customers keeps them informed of how much time they have before they are ready to be served.

One potential advantage is that customers with extra time will more likely spend it browsing your shop, resulting in a larger average basket spend

Holding customers unconstrained aids upselling and cross-selling.

9. Appointments should be avoided.

There’s a reason VisitNinja doesn’t have an appointment or booking system.

Although appointments appear to be in order on paper, one appointment running late will cause the entire schedule to fall behind.

Consider a sector where appointments are the standard: healthcare. It perfectly illustrates how messed up the reservation system is.

If a patient arrives late or asks questions after the appointment, it can throw off the whole schedule and eat into other patients time.

Appointments were created to eliminate unpredictability, but they are inefficient compared to walk-ins who can be managed through a queue method by their very nature.

customer service

10. To improve customer experience, keep track of the key performance indicators.

In queue management, as in other activities, planning is half the fight won. You will make potential customer interactions more manageable, more meaningful, and quicker if you learn from previous interactions.

Make sure that the queue management system you choose incorporates analytics. Analytics assists you in identifying patterns and outliers, modifying your customer service approach, and comparing your results over time.

When it comes to providing faster customer service, there are three significant areas for improvement:

  • Optimizing staffing and shifts. This includes figuring out staff expenditures, correctly predicting peak hours and foot traffic to manage capacity and learning which service types are more popular.
  • Identifying staff training needs. Find which employees have slower response and service times, create a plan to help them improve, and reward employees who are overperforming.
  • Finding inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Improve operational process and achieve better throughput by understanding average wait times and service times, peak hours and foot traffic trends.

The increasing investment in digital solutions is based on the customers and employees who expect products and services to be delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. Starting with paperless processing and automation, mastering digitalization is about making your business safer and more streamlined in this modern workspace and making you a VisitNinja!

Our Cloud Queue Management System is an affordable and simple way of bringing order to your waiting area. It replaces sign-in sheets or traditional paper ticket systems with a web-based solution, which queues every visitor by name.

Fast-track the process of assisting your customers by displaying their name and any additional information captured when they joined the queue, like a file or reference number. Detailed reporting and alerts help management stay in control of their visitors’ experience.

If you are keen to learn how we can help you succeed, mail us at sales@visitninja.com