They are your brand’s best advocates, they are the personification of your brand’s promise, and they are the last line of defense when a client is unhappy with your service – your customer service representatives are at the very core of your success and treating them as such will help you improve your customer retention rates. Even more so, this one segment of your business is essential for growth in many different ways, and you cannot afford to invest in others such as social media, while you neglect your customer service.
Whether there’s a confusion around using your service or a product, or you’re facing a disgruntled customer, this point of human interaction can make all the difference in the world to keep your customers happy, or to lose a valuable supporter of your brand.
If there is a competitor out there offering the same service as you are, rest assured that your customers know about them. Moreover, they will gladly switch their provider if they feel that your service hasn’t lived up to their expectations, or even worse, to your own promise. Your customer service is a great part of that promise, and if you are able and willing to anticipate and solve your customers’ problems, then their trust may remain intact.
A single unsatisfactory customer service experience, whether it’s a rude representative or not a helpful service, to begin with, is more than enough to give them a reason to leave. After all, with so many others in your industry to choose from, why should they put up with any form of rudeness or incompetence? You can start by training your employees internally in order to help them handle disgruntled customers, and by equipping them with the right skills as to the best ways to represent your brand, as well as your promise. An ongoing mentorship program is always a great way to encourage continuous learning and mastering best practices in this sector.
The next time a phone rings and there’s a familiar voice on the other end, remember that you’re dealing with a person who has chosen your brand for a reason. If they feel that they are appreciated by your company, they will be inspired to stay loyal to your brand. Think of the infinite Pepsi versus Coke debate, and you’ll understand the true meaning of loyalty.
With so many points of contact between your brand and your customer that don’t involve a human being, a single conversation can remind them why they are true to your brand. If your customer service representatives treat them with respect, know when to call them to check if they are satisfied, offer a discount, or an upgraded service for free as a token of your appreciation – they’ll notice, and they’ll stay by your side.
Since each customer has their preferences, doing market research on customer behavior and preferences will help your team apply the data to what each and every customer appreciates the most. Just imagine how surprised they would be to get a free batch of your muffins for their birthday, if their Facebook profile shows that information.
Despite your best efforts in terms of perfecting your online presentation, more often than not, your customers will have a question or a concern they would like to discuss with your team. In those situations, talking to a well-informed, friendly customer representative might just be the factor to tip the scales in your favor.
However, in order for your team to be able to effectively address such situations properly, you need to make sure that your business has the correct processes and systems in place to effectively produce, store, track and manage information and documentation involved with day to day operations of your business. Having a seamless document workflow improves productivity and collaboration enabling a clear, informed conversation between your representatives and your customers. They need access to the right information, documents, and up-to-date company info to provide the answers your customers need. Whether it’s written or spoken correspondence, your customer service needs to be alert and knowledgeable in order to prevent any misunderstandings.
This is best achieved by ensuring that there are no disconnected processes between document capture and workflow management involved in your day to day business process and collaboration tools. Meaning that your internal communication practices are bottleneck-free, and that all relevant parties have access to the right documents at all times. Automate as many of those processes as possible, but avoiding human errors with the right level of transparency and access is vital. After all, studies have shown that a single lost document can cost your company as much as $250, so quality workflow technologies and strategies make for a great investment.
Appeal to the right talent
Yet another way in which your team can affect your business is from within. When your customer service crew is happy with their position, when they share your values and take pride in representing your brand, then they will also attract the right people to join their ranks.
For growing companies, finding the right representatives can truly become a burden, so there is no better way to inspire them than through people who are already doing a wonderful job. No one would like to work for a brand that fails to meet the needs of its customers, as they know they’d only join a group of people who are constantly berated. Your reputation, earned with the help of your customer service team, is what ensures that the right people contact you for an opening.
Makes room for innovation
Although we can all strive for some form of perfection, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll only get positive feedback even from your most loyal customers. However, negative feedback doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a negative outcome if you teach your customer service team to handle the issue properly. No matter if the complaint is public, as a comment or a post, or sent directly to your email or shared over a phone call, feedback serves for you to find ways to improve.
Building this attitude in your customer service representatives is pivotal for making the most of those negative situations. If there is a genuine problem or a situation, then think of it as your opportunity to prevent future mistakes and overcome your brand’s current limitations from within your own company.
While it’s perfectly understandable that you are constantly torn among so many aspects of your business that could use improving – whether it’s your marketing strategy or your talent hunt – never underestimate the power your customer service team can have on your business. They are the building blocks of every brand’s success, so make sure that they have room to grow, as well.