Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell – Image credit: Dell Inc.
You know how hard it is to run an online business — customers want you online 24/7 and get frustrated if you don’t reply “promptly” to their support tickets.
That’s when you get a front line service to take care of all customers requests. Great move!
- Are your customer service people empathetic enough?
- Or do they sometimes sound like they’re not really into it?
- Do they draw customers closer to the company or do they scare them away?
Customer service is made of people, and people can be mistaken or take their position too lightly or stay too detached. Really, it can be tough for your employees if they don’t come to understand the fundamental value of their position.
Really, a company’s customer service makes the difference
American Express conducted a survey in 2012 to find out about how customers feel about a company’s front line service across the country. The answers were not really encouraging: 32% of the surveyed people said that companies are paying ‘less attention to providing good customer service’ compared to 2011 (26%). Another factor that results from the survey is customers’ perception of companies as definitely efficient, but not doing enough to go the extra mile for their customers.
It’s clear that customer service is and remains the most important factor for your company’s relationship with your customers, because it is in that relationship that customers get a first glimpse of your company’s core values and how your services can make their life better.
Are your employees aware of all that?
Work on boosting motivation
Image credit: Judy Baxter
Yes, motivation. That internal push that makes people want to strive for excellence. Can your employees picture themselves positively in their role? How do they feel about it?
To really motivate your employees, monetary incentives may not be the first feasible option, nor the right one. Chris Edmonds in an article for Smartblogs says a company can reinforce corporate values into their team by making employees feel important and accountable. Do your employees feel they have a place in your company’s continued success?
Motivation also follows from the understanding that your customer service is providing good to the community. Your team is at work to help people in need. That’s why you hired them in the first place. The humanitarian side of front line services is not an excuse – it’s real life. It’s the core of any business. Remind them.
The value of customers outranks anything else
Without customers, there’s no business. Without business, there’s no work. Surveyed consumers in the American Express report stated that they are willing to spend more with companies who provide excellent customer service, so it’s a must that your employees work at the best of their abilities and use their most empathetic side.
You can encourage your employees by making them aware of putting themselves in your customers’ shoes.
- How would you feel if you were the one being sold services to?
- Would you want to get immersed in publicity and offers, or would you rather be showered by kind gestures and availability to solve your problems?
- Would you rather get in touch with a cold company or a friendly, warm business?
Encourage your employees to make customer service the most important factor in their work. Excellent customer care alone can make a difference whether a customer turns into repeat business for the company or not. Satisfied, valued customers come back and purchase again. Dissatisfied customers will drag down the barometer of your company’s wellness. Word of mouth can often cause worse things than negative reviews.
To-do-list to customer love
Encourage your front line service employees to:
Make your company’s values their own That will ensure they are working toward your shared goals and they won’t feel as mere addons to your company’s staff, but important tiles in the mosaic. A way to do this is to gather together through Hangouts or other videoconferencing tools and discuss recent company events and ethics. Make it clear what’s your company’s stance in front of certain customer cases, but at the same time, let your employees express their views freely. It will be easier for them to accept the company’s values if they felt heard first.
Respond kindly to customers’ inquiries This is the best time for your employees to understand your customers’ real needs. Encourage them to ask customers the right questions, to be helpful and to give customers their full attention. Rushing front line calls and online inquiries is a big no-no for your company’s reputation! The customer, either potential or actual, should feel that the company is on their side, not on the side of their pockets.
Use their best judgment when making contact for the first time It doesn’t matter if your employees only see your customers online or on the phone and never face-to-face — needs assessment is still vital to a successful customer relationship. Tell your employees to listen. What does this customer need? How can I help him or her? Is s/he looking for a quick solution or just needs reassurance that the way they are using this product or service is right?
Connect with the group in the effort to provide the best possible service Sharing opinions, experiences and viewpoints with others in the team will strengthen professional bonds and the overall value of your company in your customers’ eyes, because they will come in contact with a front line team that’s homogeneous and knows how to help, regardless of the employee your customer comes in touch with.
Make your employees feel a whole with your company. Help them be proactive and attentive to your customers’ needs. Get enthusiastic customers that will rave about you.
It’s a win-win-win situation!
Is Your Customer Service Aware of Customer Value?