How to improve customer service
Customer service is key to business – it's at the heart of the relationships we establish with customers and it's these that lead on to establishing loyalty and driving sales. There's a proven correlation between customer service levels and business improvement.
However, great customer service doesn't just happen and for many businesses it's difficult to know what to do to improve, particularly if you're aware there's an issue with customer service but you're just not sure how to deal with it. Improving customer service is an ongoing challenge, whether you're a multi-national enterprise or an SME startup - so here are a few tips on how to do it.
Identify the key customer service skills for your team
This is important from the point of view of recruitment and training. The right customer service team will make all the difference so focus on what each person representing your business needs to demonstrate to customers. You're essentially looking for empathy, regardless of what the customer says, patience, consistency, the ability to communicate clearly, someone who will follow through on a customer query or complaint and a thick skin – because, ultimately, the customer is always right.
What are your customer contact points?
This is key to working out where any drops in service might be taking place. Where do customers come into contact with your team - at what point does it start and what scenarios might it end with?
How accessible is your business?
You may have the best customer service team in the world, but if they're only available to help customers between 10am and 3pm every day then your customer service appeal will drop. Being available – at the very least during normal business hours – is key to customer service so make sure you have someone at the end of an email or the phones at key times. If you're going to use social media for customer service then make sure the account is manned by a human – there is nothing more frustrating for customers than an organisation that appears to offer 24 hour responsiveness but never replies.
Look at how you interact with customers
There are some key things to look out for here - are your team members getting frustrated when customers make complaints, do they fail to listen and simply trot out a pre-prepared statement for a particular situation, have you instructed them never to admit to any mistakes or are they failing to follow up to see whether a problem has been solved? All of these will leave a negative impression with a customer after interacting with your business.
Improve engagment in your customer service team
This is probably one of the most important elements for improving customer service because you can have all the right policies in place but if your representatives are demotivated then that will impact on their interactions with your customers.
Introduce programmes which recognise and reward good customer service. Set clear targets and run incentives which reward team members when they hit these targets. Ensure those who deliver good customer service get public recognition for it. All this will improve engagement and motivation within your team and have a significant effect on customer service levels across the business.
Active are experts in delivering employee reward and recognition programmes. Our online recognition platform provides a comprehensive range of modules to help you build a successful reward and recognition strategy for your organisation, including modules which monitor and reward against customer service targets. For more information please contact us
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