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Thought Leadership

5 tips and tools to help your business stand out in customer service

It’s no secret that customers are more loyal to businesses that exceed their expectations and delight them. As a business, we must strive to “Design for Delight” and fall in love with our customer’s problems. This has been Intuit’s® secret weapon and has worked for countless other brands.

But, how do we delight our customers over and over again?

A recent study on Harvard Business Review examined 75,000 people who had interacted with customer service over phone, web, voice prompts, chat, and email. Here were the two biggest discoveries:

  • Great customer service is built by simply reducing your customer’s effort – the work they must do to get their problem solved. This goes hand in hand with Deep Customer Empathy in Intuit’s Design for Delight process.
  • Acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service and reduce customer service costs.

In this article, we’ll review some tools and tips to help your team deliver great customer service behind the scenes, providing the support your support team needs to help customers solve their problems. 

#1: Tools to stay organized – or

There is a term out there called “information siloing,” which is the practice of sequestering information within departments, rather than sharing it across your business. This practice, alone, can kill your customer service efforts faster than a bad review gone viral.

That said, it’s really hard to share the latest information about customers across marketing, sales, and customer service departments.

This is why an investment in organizational tools and platforms, such as Monday.comClickUp, or other project management software, is so crucial to a high-functioning customer service effort.

These platforms offer one place to store and navigate information that can be accessed by members from different departments and teams. And, it’s the “navigate” that makes the difference.

Storing information is easy. An Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc stores information. A manila folder stuffed into the back of a filing cabinet stores information.

A good organizational tool enables your team to find information, cutting down on response times, personalizing communication, and delivering higher-quality service.

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For example,’s task management tool enables you to streamline IT requests, so that your support, product, and development teams can communicate about, and solve, root issues quickly, reducing recurring customer service inquiries once and for all.

#2: Resources to stay organized

Don’t forget about resources your customer service team needs to execute their job efficiently. Building and maintaining an internal database with previously asked questions and comments from other customer service reps is a no brainer for most businesses.

Tools such can help you build these internal databases. Features such as internal search functionality, lists, folders, and organization and allocation of assets in tools like these will help you keep track of everything much easier.

Think about having the following customer service resources:

  • A library of previously asked questions with their corresponding answers.
  • Branding guidelines to ensure that your support team communicates to a brand standard.
  • Branded responses to frequently asked questions, written and agreed upon by your content team.
  • Scripted, IT-related answers that give your team time without frustrating the customer.
  • Social media that’s specific to customer support responses.

#3: Improving external communication with phone systems

When we think about improving customer service communication, email communication typically comes to mind. Improving email communication is a topic that has been exhaustively covered by a few thousand articles already. Instead, let’s dive into an area you may be neglecting: your phone system.

We said at the top of this article that customer service was no longer just about picking up a phone, and it isn’t. That doesn’t mean a good phone call isn’t one of the best ways to stand out in customer service, especially when the issue at hand is a complex one.

But, in 2021, even our business’ phone systems can be better.

If you’re a small- or mid-size business, using a small business phone system should be a no brainer for you, as these phone systems do much more than give your customer service team a dial tone. They have a built-in CRM, chat, email, and chatbots, and also delivers mobility, historical data, automated call routing, call recording, and analytics.

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#4: Make sure to have only one CRM

A number of these cloud-based phone service platforms offer CRM-like features. A few of them offer file storage. If you have another tool (see above and below) that does these things as well, you should only use one.

It’s important to make sure that you just have one CRM for your customer service team to maintain all the interactions and data about the customers.

Information siloing is just as easily done within tools as it is within departments. Try to keep all relevant customer data, brand messaging, scripts, and FAQ responses in a single, cloud-based repository.

#5: Internal communication and collaboration tools

In 2021, internal communication tools are broken up into two main categories: platforms focused on facilitating communication and platforms focused on facilitating work.

There’s a lot of overlap here, of course, but the use cases are there, so let’s explore them.

Internal communication tools

Internal team communication tools are categorized as a type of collaboration tool; however, they are a bit more specific.

Internal communication tools enable your customer service team to communicate quickly and confidently with the IT department, development team, or content team to get the answers they need (the ones that aren’t provided by the organizational tools mentioned above).

All collaboration tools offer file sharing, integrations with project management, and organizational and chat platforms, but internal communication tools focus on simplifying interoffice communication.

Some good examples of these are Microsoft TeamsGoogle Hangouts, and Slack.

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True intranets

True intranets differ from communication-oriented tools in their focus on file sharing. A good intranet is the single source for everything your customer service team needs when performing customer support documents, internal workflows, staff details, and more. It’s also your business’ internal social media platform.

Some good examples of these are SharepointYammer, and Jostle.

Internal communication and collaboration tip

To get the true value from an intranet, you need to use it. Assign a team member to be responsible for posting, sharing, and driving engagement on the platform. Share sales and customer service successes, new hires, blog articles, and PR stories to develop a stronger company culture.

Customer service in 2021 is improved from within

The way you speak to customers matters. Brand messaging, empathy, and quickness of response are all important factors of customer service. Solving customer problems quickly and easily should be the main goal you aspire to fulfill.

A truly excellent customer service team is built on an internal foundation of organization, communication, and collaboration. This means adopting the right tools and using them to their fullest.

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