This guest column is by veteran industry expert Abhishek Jain
How to ensure your team’s customer service is engaged, empathetic and skilled?
What is the vital thing to do towards improving your customer relationships? The obvious answer is always overlooked: better customer service. Even with a great product and an equally talented team, the one thing customers will probably remember is their direct interaction with your startup.
The truth is that customer service executives are the representatives of your brand. Customer experiences get defined by the quality of your product and skill backing your team.
A strong enterprise has good customer relationships already. Yet, a smart enterprise will always try to improve through fresh approaches. If you do not keep looking out for opportunities of improving your customer service, you will eventually waste your relationships. Check these tips on customer service to identify the ways of serving customers better.
1. Get customer management skills strengthened
You need to first make sure that your customer service team possesses the right skills to manage customer requirements. Otherwise, even the best CRM software won’t be able to compensate for the shortcomings. Essentially, customer service agents should have these qualities:
• Consistency, patience, empathy: Naturally, all customers are different. Your representative must know the right style of handling a particular call and provide consistent quality of service or satisfaction to all.
• Adaptability: Customers might come with off-the-wall and surprising queries. Customer service has to be sensed with the engagement and expectations and then adapt accordingly.
• Clear communication: No matter what information, conveying clearly to customers is important. When the offer is 50% more deliverable, let your customer not think it is 50% off on the price.
• Work ethics: A representative becomes well accepted after resolving customer issues consistently. However, you should be skilled at time management also to be able to handle all kinds of queries and callers adequately.
• Knowledge: Ultimately, you are the knowledge bank of your product for the customer. Keep yourself informed so that you can handle even the most challenging situations. Your service staff must know where to look in case questions are too technical or complex to respond without a reference.
• Calm headedness: Customers are always right! Learn to swallow your pride and take negative feedback or accept blame. Whether you are providing social media feedback or going directly on call with customers, their happiness comes first.
2. Scrutinize every touch point
A bad experience at any point of a customer’s tenure can damage your relationship. Besides, demonstrate the right skills and ensure their consistency. Remain attentive to key touch points and ensure you are fully aware of your customer’s experience. You might otherwise risk service lapses and hurt your business severely.
3. Improve interactions with customers
Your staff may be equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge but they should connect with your customers without fail. To enable better customer service, which is both well received and thorough, check these tips:
• Representatives should be able to relate to customer interests when they interact.
• Immerse yourself in active listening skills as it helps attending to customers properly.
• Admit errors even when you’ve discovered them before your customers. It helps restore confidence and build trust.
• An after-service call helps ensure the issue is settled and your customer is happy with your service.
4. Show that you care
You may have a highly skilled staff with proper knowledge for interacting with customers. Yet, certain organizational strategies are required to keep appeasing customers. Use a proactive style of service to make your customers happy. You can do it by:
• Get personal: Make customers feel you are a real person and not just someone with automated emails. Offline, you may consider using social media tools.
• Be available: You have to stay reachable to your customers. If you primarily run an online business, try personalizing meeting with customers using Skype and video calls.
• Serve your customer: Ensure that your customer’s needs are met. To build a stable customer relationship, you must assign specific representatives to specific customers.
• Create communities: Make your customers feel valuable and important as community members. Make communities with your customers using interactive websites, webinars, trade shows, conventions and social media tools.
5. Find out how engagement is helpful
Even with the best skills and training in customer service, employee attrition might just jeopardize it all. Employee engagement is a good way to ensure stability. Try anonymous surveys or suggestion boxes to understand the concerns of your unsatisfied employees.
Figure out what your employees feel about compensation, career advancement opportunities, working conditions, and training. There are metrics on employee engagement that help you rate your employees compared to other companies.
6. Consider regular customer feedback
Irrespective of your proactive nature, connecting to every customer concern is not entirely possible. Be it from a customer survey or the “contact us” page, creating a customer feedback folio lets you work on pending improvements.
In whatever steps you take, you need to ensure the customers’ well-being and interest first. This remains the most important episode in your customer service improvement. When in doubt about your weaknesses and strengths, make efforts of getting closer to your customers as well as your representatives.
Image Credit – HelpScout