The most important relationship you will have in your business is between yourself and your customer. Customer support is integral to growing components of any business practice, but customer service can be overly complicated, and, when not done right, it can easily drive customers away. It’s important to streamline customer services practices, how do we do this?
Bring Your Support Closer to the Customer
If a customer has to travel more to get the support they need, whether literally or figuratively, the harder it will be for you. It’s important to remember that when you move your service closer to the customer, this will have a positive effect on the company. Whether you are looking to decrease missed appointments or improve customer engagement, you will need to make more of an effort to get closer to the customer. The customer is always right, but they are the ones that pay your wages. In any customer service environment, whether it is medical or retail, there are things that you can do to help them take care of their own needs. This has been evidenced in self-service platforms and other pieces of support that can help them become more self-sufficient, such as FAQs or How-To guides.
Find Your “Super Users”
A “super user” is a customer who can understand your systems and services and are integral to how you develop solid customer service. There are many customers who need a lot of help and will not be able to achieve anything without their hands being held throughout the process. A super user is someone that is great to have on your side but you need to recognize who they are and empower them to participate in a number of practices. Customers like these are invaluable, and you need to keep them, no matter what. But also, they like to be recognized for what they have brought to your company.
Increase Your Team’s Knowledge
You can create a number of self-serve and centralized tools for your customers, but it’s also important to have these in place within your business. A customer service agent can find themselves out at sea without any life support without the right knowledge. Having a solid information center will allow them to find the solutions they need or find steps to simplify the process. Part of the downfall of many customer service agents is that they are expected to deal with the problem and “own it,” which is important for business growth and problem-solving, but expecting a customer service agent to own a problem without having 100% knowledge over the subject matter is downright cruel. Customer service agents need a solid bible that is easy to use and will deliver a number of solutions in any given situation. This doesn’t just relate to customer issues within the business, but also allows employees to deal with tense situations, and de-escalate issues allowing for more effective problem-solving.
Offer Contemporary Equipment
A very simple thing, but if your support desk software is outdated, it’s time to upgrade. Many businesses feel that they need to cut corners from the bottom of the pecking order, and this means that the people on the front line are made to look idiotic. And when customers only see the customer service agents, this is only going to give a bad impression. When you incorporate more upgraded and user-friendly software that will make the process simpler for everybody. There are many service management platforms that can make customer service more efficient, but also incorporate a number of automation tools, workflow practices, and management features that can allow your team to provide the relevant support.
Adopting a Variety of Communication Methods
It is a big underestimation to think that customers purely use telephones. Communication has evolved. Emails, instant messengers, and web forms are as prevalent as the telephone and this means that there’s a number of different habits your team has to adopt. Some people benefit better from verbal communication, whereas others are able to get a more effective outcome through instant chats. You have to keep up with the older methods, while also making sure the newer communication habits are fully implemented. Live chat is one of those areas that can get a solution quickly and has been a very important component of remote support. It’s more accessible for many customers, and it allows them to word their thoughts more concisely, but it also allows the customer service agents breathing space, resulting in less workplace anxiety.
Giving Your Customer Service Agents Skills Training
Customer service agents feel like they have to go to war in order to survive the day. Customer service agents speaking over the telephone can find themselves on the receiving end of a lot of verbal abuse. And it can only serve to wear people down because, as human beings, there’s only so much we can take. Of course, there are rare breeds that can deal with conflict on a regular basis but most of us are only human! And if you really want to make sure that your customers are being dealt with properly, you’ve got to deal with your customer service agents! It’s not easy for any introverts to work on the telephone, but because telephone jobs are traditionally low-skilled and low-paid, many people starting out have no choice but to do this work. The best thing that you can do is to give your employees skills to deal with conflict in a forum setting. But also, be aware that your employees can find themselves stressed. Stress reduction techniques will work wonders in this environment, however well-being tends to be overlooked in a customer service setting.
If you really want to engage your customers, structuring your customer service practices is not just about the right platforms or people, but it’s about a comprehensive method that takes into account the subtleties of dealing with customers on a regular basis. Customer service is one of those areas that are notoriously underpaid and undervalued. Perhaps we need to have a reappreciation of this art?