September 11, 2015
What is the one thing you need to do to drastically improve relationships with your customers? Improve your customer training.
No matter how good your product or service is, the only thing a customer remembers post purchase is the experience of interacting with the business – your customer service team. They are the face of your business and they are the ones on whom customer satisfaction banks heavily.
A good product or a service is determined by the post-purchase experience of a customer. Customer Service plays an important role as they are the ones interfacing with the customer. They are the face of your business and they are the ones on whom customer satisfaction banks heavily.
Good Companies tend to have good customer service, but the greater ones are always asking as to, “What is good customer service?” Because if you’re not always improvising, you might miss out on opportunities to bond with your customers, especially when they need you the most.
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
– White House Office of Consumer Affairs
6 keys to improving customer service training:
Here are 6 keys to constantly improve your team’s customer service skills:
1. Strengthen Your Core Customer Service Skills
The first and foremost thing is to ensure is that your customer service team has the right skills to manage your customers’ needs. There is absolutely no CRM out there that can compensate for their shortcomings. Ensure each of your team member displays the following traits:
- Empathy and patience: Some customers might not be as pleasing to deal with or might have far too many queries around a product. It is a must to handle them all with empathy and patience every time.
- Consistency: There are chances that a query doesn’t get resolved in one go. The team needs to consistently provide as much support as required – even if that means explaining the same thing repeatedly.
- Adaptability: No two customers are the same. It is necessary for the customer service team to be able to adapt themselves to different situations and sense the customer’s needs before resolving them.
- Communicative: Most customers misunderstand features and offers of the product. Ensure your team is able to convey their messages using positive yet clear language that resolves their doubts. Always make sure the customer is satisfied before ending the call.
- Work ethics: Customers appreciate reps who can solve their concerns without taking too long. The team needs to be able to manage time efficiently, and not keep other customers waiting for too long. Staying focused on the need of the hour is the only way to achieve this.
- Knowledge: Customers reach out to customer service reps because they weren’t able to find a solution by themselves – they rely heavily their knowledge. The team must have sufficient knowledge about the products and services to be able to resolve issues. And if the queries get too technical to answer, it is always a wise idea to say you don’t know about it and route the call to someone who does. Beating about the bush would do no good.
- Open to feedback: The team members should be able to take all the negative feedback a customer gives in a constructive way. It is also advised to keep a tab on social media as it is the most common place for customers to drop comments on a business’s products and services.
2. Consider All Customer Touch Points
In order to ensure good customer service, it is important to take a complete look at customer experience – what kind of customers frequently have queries, what platforms do they prefer to reach out to the reps, the most common questions around products and services and what they are saying about the customer service experience. Paying close attention to their conversations can help decrease the risk of lapses in service that would eventually hit the business.
The most common touch points include social media, ratings and reviews, testimonials, customer call centers, and communities.
3. Revamp Your Customer Interactions
While your team might have the right skill set for offering good customer service, they still need to be able to relate to customers. Here are some tips to improve your customer interactions:
- Find a common ground: Ask your team to identify common interests of the people they help on a regular basis. Having a point of understanding makes it a lot easier to humanize the relationship and resolve issues better.
- Listen to your customers: Actively listen to what your customers have to say. Empathize with their issues and concerns by acknowledging each one of them with a personal touch. Saying things like, “I understand how you felt” can make them feel heard.
- Admit your mistakes: Openly and honestly admitting your mistakes is the best way to build trust. Even if you realize your mistake before the customer does, notify them and apologize for the same.
- Follow up: It is always a good idea to ensure that the issue your team resolved last week remains that way. Follow up with the customers to find out if they’re satisfied with the product or service, and check whether they want any kind of help.
4. Rework your customer service strategy
Just like the frequently changed marketing strategies, your customer service strategy needs overhauling too! Employ strategies that keep the customers happy – even before they come to you with a concern. How? By giving your team the latest customer service training ideas and guiding them through each.
- Humanize: No customer wants to talk to bots. They want to be able to reach out to real people, who can actually ‘understand’ their problems and find solutions. Make use of the social platforms to respond to customer queries. Creating a team page on your website is a great way to let them know who’s addressing their issues.
- Availability: Ensure that your customers are able to reach you at any given time and in any way they are comfortable. Be it over Skype, social media, call centers or mails – provide them with all the contact info they might require, and make sure the turn around time for addressing them isn’t more than 24 hours.
- Community: Create communities where customers can put up their issues and concerns, or look around for answers from similar queries. Even though customers come here seeking for knowledge, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for their feedback on certain issues. Cater to the smallest of their concerns to build a good rapport with them.
5. Simplify the feedback process for your customers
No matter how active you are at resolving customer issues, there will always be that one person you couldn’t reach out to. Create a simplified platform for customers to give feedback on your products and services – the good, the bad and the worst experiences of them all. It helps you identify loopholes and improve.
For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
– White House Office of Consumer Affairs
A simple ‘contact us’ form on the website or monthly surveys are a good way to keep the number of unhappy customers at bay.
And the most important of them all,
6. Keep your team motivated
It is important for your team to stay motivated enough to address regular issues and concerns of customers. Conducting small contests within the organization and acknowledging the hard work every now and then, definitely goes a long way.
If you have a new hire in the customer service team, ensure he goes through a well thought of employee onboarding program before starting work. Structured customer service training programs help new hires understand their job better and join the team in a more effective manner.
Whatever you do, there are two things that you will always need to keep in mind – customer satisfaction and employee happiness.
Any business with customers is in the “people” business.
– Help Scout
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