Business Practices | | Published May 05, 2016

How to Use Customer Support to Attract Competitor Customers

Do you know what your customers truly look for in terms of customer support? What draws them away from a competitor and to your business? Post-service surveys and direct communications will only detail so much, so businesses should head online to see what people are saying about the competition. This leads to deeper answers and points to what customers expect from their support, identifying what your agents should focus on and how they can attract customers from competitors. Here are five things your competitors can teach you about customer support:

1. Resolve the issue
According to Gallup, 60 percent of B2B customers who contacted customer support do not feel their issue was solved. When a person is dissatisfied with a service, he or she will often take to independent review sites, forums or social media. Here, businesses can find out exactly what went wrong, such as whether the competition failed to find a solution, could not accommodate a customer's unique needs or didn't even respond in the first place.

"42 percent of customers describe bad customer service as an encounter with rude or unhelpful staff."

2. Be supportive
According to customer service specialist Amy Clark 53 percent of customers define bad service as feeling unappreciated when seeking help. Forty-two percent describe it as an encounter with rude or unhelpful staff. When looking at customer comments online, you'll likely run into similar statements often. Customers clearly value respect, so your agents should be trained to be patient and provide personalized attention.

3. Evaluate why prospects are leaving your competitors
Clark cited research from Accenture that found poor customer service makes a customer 66 percent more likely to switch to a competing business.

Businesses should see what prospective customers have to say about the competition.

Figuring out what triggered them to leave provides key insight into what customers expect from their support. If prospective customers say they're looking for a new provider, don't be afraid to ask why. The resulting answer will help your business improve both its support desk and its product.

4. Be where your customers want you to be
Do you see reports of customers complaining about the difficulty of contacting your competitor's support desks? Several businesses operate by phone only, failing to take advantage of omnichannel support options. Don't be afraid of customers who use other channels, like social media, to contact support. Businesses might fear negative feedback on public channels, but this only results from mishandling situations. To make things easier, customer service software that creates tickets from various channels keeps everything organized and makes sure no customer correspondence is forgotten. Similarly, the Internet is perfect for giving customers self-service support options like FAQ pages and community forums. These days, many individuals prefer to find answers themselves rather than contact their providers.

5. Constantly evaluate and innovate your support
When observing what people say online, you may come across instances where people mention your competition is trying something new.

Constantly seek to evolve and innovate.

Maybe they've restructured their support teams or are using a new way of handling incoming tickets. Your business should brainstorm why competitors are making these changes and consider if doing the same will help your business. Will adopting their methods reduce call times or the number of incoming tickets? You may even be able to take their idea and expand on it, creating an even better product for your customers.

What prospective customers say about your competition is a great indication of how your business should approach customer support. Online comments are the best source of honest frustrations and praise, and your business should regularly monitor these channels for clues to improving their customer support.