When strategizing to retain and acquire new customers, you may not consider upgrading your team's customer service skills. Not prioritizing this improvement can be a major mistake.
Regardless of the quality of your product, customers are more likely to recall the interaction they experienced with your business. Every one of these interactions has the potential to either make or break a customer’s loyalty to you.
Happy customers are more likely to refer you to their friends, helping you establish credibility and bring more revenue in. Unsatisfied customers may walk out the door and spread their bad experiences to their network or on the internet. For this reason, you should make every effort to deliver the best customer experience possible with outstanding customer support.
In this article, we will go over six tips designed to improve customer service and customer experiences.
1) Hold Yearly Performance Evaluations
An annual review of your customer support team's efficiency and attitude is essential to ensure they perform according to standards. One of the most evident benefits of these evaluations is the opportunity to improve your workplace's overall performance.
When you analyze how your staff did over the previous year, you can quickly pinpoint problem areas. Finding solutions to these problems as soon as possible can help your team become more productive at work.
Giving feedback to your customer support staff also allows them to grasp how their role contributes to the company’s success. This, in turn, will encourage them to become more involved, ultimately leading to better customer engagement.
However, the focus of such evaluations isn't just on what your employees can do for you. It also informs your management staff on how to help and reward their team. By regularly assessing the performance of your employees, you can determine their strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a better idea of who to recognize for their hard work and who to promote. Recognitions and promotions boost employee morale and retention and help you save time hiring and training new workers.
Another significant advantage of performance reviews is using these evaluations to develop a training program that can improve customer service. If several team members encounter problems in the same area, it may not be due to a lack of effort on their part. There may be an issue with a lack of access to a sufficient training and support system. Reviewing their performance will enable you to provide opportunities for them to improve their customer service skills, which will benefit both the team and the company.
2) Provide Training to Improve Key Customer Service Skills
Customer experiences are strongly influenced by the service your frontline staff provides. That said, your team's lack of training will be evident in their interactions with customers. For this reason, it's necessary to provide training focused on developing key customer service skills.
Customer service skills your team should be trained on may include the following:
- Product and service knowledge
- Listening skills
- Problem-solving skills
Your training programs should also focus on improving your team’s communication skills, time-management skills, positivity, confidence, and resilience.
Apart from deciding on what your staff should be trained on, it’s also essential to know the specific methods and practices to use. The most commonly used method is the New Hire Customer Service Training, where you help newly onboarded members adjust to the position and ensure they’re entirely prepared to work with your customers.
Another method is the Quarterly or Yearly Customer Service Training, which can involve either a skills/competence check-in to ensure everyone is on the same page or team-building activities and training to maintain healthy team relationships.
Emergency or Time-Sensitive Customer Service Training covers situations like product recalls and major company updates to prepare your customer service team to handle calls and resolve any issues. Customer Service Phone Training, on the other hand, is designed to help your staff provide a pleasant customer experience over the phone.
By providing customer service training, your employees can develop new skills and improve old ones, enabling them to serve your customers better.
3) Use Customer Feedback to Know Which Areas to Focus On
Customer feedback is essential to identify areas for improvement in customer service. It also helps you determine how your customer support agents interact with clients. However, the goal isn’t just the identification of potential issues. You should also be able to make good use of the input you get from customers.
There are multiple ways to utilize customer feedback insights to help a business thrive. One is to improve individual touchpoints. By collecting customer feedback at every one of your business’ touchpoints, you can get a clearer sense of which ones are the most effective.
Organize talks with the employees working on those touchpoints as they can shed light on the "why" behind their good figures. This will make it easier for you to devise solutions to improve customer service across all your touchpoints.
Reinforcing positive feedback loops is another efficient approach to utilize feedback. This means ensuring feedback reaches the appropriate teams. Configure your systems to provide real-time notifications directly to the individuals concerned, so they can use them to respond and resolve client problems more quickly.
You can also use feedback for training employees. With location-based feedback, you can identify and reward high-performing stores and locations. Reach out to the teams at these locations to learn the factors driving their success. Using their insights, you can then develop knowledge-sharing and training opportunities for your other branches, particularly the underperforming ones.
Once you’ve identified the sales techniques and skills that positively influence customer satisfaction, the next step is to ensure all your touchpoints implement them consistently. Competition is an effective way to do this. Set up a leaderboard and update it regularly. Pair this with incentives for top-performing staff members, and you’ll get highly driven customer support representatives.
4) Empower Your Customer Service Team through Encouragement
Even if you believe in the advantages of starting training programs, it's not always easy to put them in place. Training and seminars can be viewed as more of a nuisance than a benefit.
This is primarily because no two employees are similar, and it can be challenging to provide each one with the attention they require. On top of that, you have finances to consider and other tasks to do, so you have to devise a system that doesn't demand you to spend all your time training people.
This is where empowering your team will come in handy. Instead of just allocating tasks, encourage your customer support teams to be more self-reliant. Consider the following ideas on how to foster a work environment where employees feel empowered to make decisions for themselves.
1) Provide your employees with the ideal environment to succeed. This might include anything from ensuring they have the necessary equipment to giving them access to internal resources to help them thrive.
2) Set up a safe atmosphere where mistakes are well-received. This will make your staff more willing to use their initiative since they won't face repercussions for minor mistakes. Empower your employees to accept responsibility for their errors, and then work with them to develop a plan for resolving these errors.
3) Reward self-improvement. Employees should be encouraged to create goals and be rewarded for meeting them. While frequent promotions aren't feasible, regular appreciation of employees’ efforts to better themselves is.
4) Employees should have a voice in decision-making. Empower them to take charge of their areas of responsibility while also allowing them to make suggestions for broader, company-wide choices. Workers are more invested in the company if they participate in the decision-making process.
5) Reiterate the Importance of Customer Service
Your business' longevity depends on happy customers. Those customers are more likely to purchase from you again and become your prized brand champions, those who spread the good word about your business without being asked. However, support agents may sometimes overlook the importance of customers in a business’s success, resulting in poor customer service and unhappy clients. Disappointed customers can jeopardize your company’s bottom line and stability.
The moment they leave, dissatisfied customers may immediately smear your name to anybody who will listen. It begins when they complain about the bad service to their networks or they voice their frustrations on the internet. Negative online posts can go viral and live on indefinitely, potentially damaging your company's image with just one Google search.
This is where word-out-of-marketing starts to work against you. People are more willing to believe first-hand accounts from someone they personally know. So even without trying your products first, these customers (who could have made their way to your business) will instead check out what your rivals have to offer.
The results go beyond the loss of customers. After learning that your customer retention is sliding down, other businesses will be unwilling to collaborate or engage you. After all, companies that fail to take care of their consumers can come across as undependable.
This is why a high level of customer satisfaction is so important. In addition to retaining customers, you also provide them with positive reasons to bring in new consumers. So don’t forget to remind agents about their responsibilities as corporate representatives and how their actions might affect the organization.
6) Incorporate New Technologies to Assist Your Team
As digital technologies evolve, so do the demands of customers. Customers nowadays expect higher levels of quality in terms of staff performance, products, and more. For this reason, today's customer service needs to outperform traditional customer care methods.
With the help of advancements in technology, you can quickly improve your team’s customer service skills, thereby boosting the overall customer experience. Some digital tools to help a business deliver a positive customer interaction include the following:
- Video chat
- Comprehensive agent dashboards
- Predictive analytics
These cutting-edge technologies are revolutionizing practically every aspect of the consumer experience in the commercial world. However, before businesses can reap the advantages of their new software, they must first overcome the most challenging aspect of technology integration: staff training. After all, the best technologies on the planet won't do you much good if your team doesn’t know how to use them.
The most effective way for organizations to assist their employees in learning new software is to provide technical support. This should include initial software training and supplemental reference materials for addressing issues that arise during the implementation process.
Remember to start small and be patient. When introducing new programs, train your staff on the fundamentals first before discussing more complex, intricate features. Incorporating interactivity into training is also a must. Having participants demonstrate what they've learned is an excellent way to help them remember it better.
Make vendor resources available to everyone who uses the program. Providing staff with the option of self-paced training is an excellent way for them to grow their confidence in the new software.
Employees are not always willing to adopt new technology, but by providing the team with quality training resources and cultivating a collaborative training atmosphere, you are setting up your customer support staff for success.
The success of many businesses depends on customer service. No matter how good your product is, a poor customer service record will result in complaints and a dwindling customer base.
The good news is that you can turn things around. However, you can't jump from mediocre to exceptional customer service overnight. There needs to be a sincere commitment to positive change, continuous employee training, and concerted effort from all levels of the company.
If you’re looking for better ways to improve your customer service, Helpware is here to serve. With fully integrated business process outsourcing, we'll handle everything from call center and answering service to chat and email support that will help you foster brand loyalty. Our specialized teams collaborate with cutting-edge technology and automation to take care of client conversations and issue resolutions with a human touch.
Ready to build your team of outstanding customer service representatives? Reach out to us today for more information about how we can help you provide seamless and satisfactory service to your customers.