6 Powerful Ways to Nurture Your Business’s Customer Support Department
Whichever way you choose to opt, acquiring feedback is a gateway to a great performance by customer service teams. All the above pointers are directed to improve interaction with your audience and build a lasting relationship with the brand and the company. For more please check out the article below.
How to effectively strengthen your relationships with clients? Seemingly a straightforward question, but even some established companies are unable to answer clearly. While the answer is simple yet critical: a better customer service. It doesn’t matter how great a brand and its performance is, the only thing customers will remember is their interaction and engagement with the company.
Simply speaking, a customer support team represents the face and image of the company, and customers’ experience and perception will be formed on the quality of support they had received.
It’s obvious a great and customer-centric company will always invest in its customer support team equally as it would for any other important business aspects. Also do remember not improving the performance of your customer support team will proportionately influence your overall business and its performance. So how do we do it? Here are the ways that will elevate the performance of your customer support team and eventually, your business.
1. Escalate the customer service skills
The foremost thing to consider is that a customer support team should have the right skills to acknowledge the customers’ needs properly. This is vital as no efficiency of a powerful CRM software could become a substitute for such skills. So here are the skills your customer support representative should possess.
- Empathy, consistency and tolerance. No second customer comes with the same personality, tone and approach. Some will be angry, while others will be highly curious, or doubtful, or friendly or even chatting casually. The point is to recognize their behavior and know how to handle each customer and their needs accordingly.
- . Customers’ mood and questions change each day, so you must know how to manage uncertain attitude swings and adapt accordingly. Adaptability involves willingly learning new customers and gaining valuable experiences.
- Clear communication. A great communication means conveying your message to the receiver exactly as it was intended. For instance, offering a customer 50% off or 50% of more of the product are two different things. Clear communication not only involves expressing the right message, but also staying optimistic and never leaving the customer without genuinely getting satisfied.
- Work ethic. Customers always appreciate an agent who acknowledges a problem appropriately and devises the best possible solution. While let’s not forget the significance of excellent time management skills. Remember the customer on call or live chat is important, but so are others waiting in queue. And finding the right balance between the problem-solving communication and time management is the key.
- Knowledge. A customer is depending on you for the solution to his/her problem, which requires ample knowledge of the brand and its details from the agent’s side. Always stay well-informed regarding all the core questions that are most likely to come in front of you, and know where to go in case the discussion is getting too technical or out of your knowledge scope. However, saying “I don’t know” doesn’t inflict a bad impression on the agent. Customers always prefer talking with agents who are honest and reliable in their communication.
- Say ‘no’ to egoism. A very common phrase applied in the corporate world, “A customer is always right” originally coined more than 100 years ago is still running riot. The super skill of positively accepting the blame for a brand’s incompetency or any other customer complaint is not acquired by every other rep in the team. Whether you are an outsource chat support agent, or studying feedback from an online forum, the professional should always strive to make the customer happy.
Are you sure your customer support team has the right skills? If not, conduct a survey or interview your customer base to inquire whether your reps are displaying each of the above six traits. Running such surveys for instance, at point of sale, when sending invoices to the customers, etc. is a great way to gauge the skills of your customer support agents.
2. Examine each touchpoint
It is vital for businesses to study each touchpoint—an interaction with your brand right from the moment the customer gets familiar with the company and its offerings. While a negative experience during any point in the customer-company relationship lifecycle can destroy your relationship. Besides the exact skills needed, it is also equally important for the skills to be demonstrated consistently. To achieve this, the agent needs to keep close tabs on each critical touchpoint individually. While not forgetting to cater the overall customer experience in the process, or rather risk losing potential customers and opportunities due to lapse in concentration.
3. Refine your customer interaction
Having the defined skillset is not enough but simply a starter. The thing is how you relate those skills to your customers. Here is what you need to do to ensure if your customer service is detailed and well-acknowledged.
- Mutual interests with your customers. Ask the reps to inquire customers and see if they can land on the same page in terms of interests and opinions. By successfully doing so the chances of future conflicts with the customer are greatly reduced, problem solving decisions get easier, you empathize with the customer more, and eventually, a long-lasting relationship with the brand and the company begins to form.
- Active listening. We all like to be heard either at home, with friends, or at workplace. Same goes with customers! Always clarify the words of your customer and ensure you have understood properly. Empathic words have a far more powerful impact for capturing the customer’s interest than we can imagine, for instance, “this must have really bothered you” or “undoubtedly the outcome of the product must have disappointed you”.
- Admit your mistakes. Realizing and admitting your mistakes well before the customer informs has a greater positive influence than allowing customer to catch them first. The point is to build trust and improve confidence. It helps the agent in focusing on the problem, directing the customer on the positive aspects of your product, and what could be done better to resolve the matter.
- A close follow-up. Quite similar to post-sales activities, a close follow-up in the form of email or a survey form is relevant and important to make customers realize you are still concerned about their feelings and experiences.
4. Elevate your customer service strategy
Your customer support team may have the knowledge and expertise to interact with the customer base. But what organizational strategies will be called upon to entertain customers? This is how you can proactively please your customers well before they feel the need to arrive at you with their concerns.
- Every customer likes to feel as if they are talking to real people, rather than chatbots or FAQs pages. Know how to send personalized messages besides the automated email responses. Get the best out of different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and send an engaging reply whenever a customer posts something on your page.
- Besides the personalization aspect, being available for the customer also carries equal importance. For instance, if your business largely runs online, then take out some time to meet local customers in-person or offer video conferencing to show your physical availability. Be knowledgeable about working in flexible hours especially if your customers are residing in different time zones. Further, availability also includes office address to make customers trust that the company does exist off the internet as well.
- Acknowledging customers’ needs. It’s all about fully understanding and catering the needs of your customers. Try to assign agents to particular customers aiming to build unique relationships. While throw elite and vigilant treatments for your most loyal customers to make them know you value them. Create focus groups, interview customers, or conduct a survey to brainstorm for ideas regarding the additional offerings your audience would like.
- Create communities. Your audience will feel more appreciated if you take them as important members of the community. You can gather together different customers from a number of ways, for instance, social media platforms, webinars, interactive websites, conventions, trade shows, etc. The best benefit of meeting at such platforms is you get to learn from the customers as much as the customers themselves get to learn from you.
5. The agents should be intensely engaged
Your team may acquire the best customer service skills, but if your agents aren’t motivated, there is no use at all. A healthy employee engagement has a direct influence on a customer’s experience. Only dissatisfied employees show the highest probability to voice their concerns to the management, so an employee engagement survey would be a better option to understand what’s affecting their behavior and motivation.
Ask the employees in the customer service team what they think regarding the workplace environment, compensatory benefits, career roadmap, professional development goals, and other job-related aspects.
6. Facilitate fluent feedback for customers
No matter how vigilant and proactive a customer service agent is, but not every issue is meant to be dealt with that way. If you want to learn the ins and outs of the customers’ experiences in depth, you’ll want to give them a medium for providing the relevant feedback.
Feedback can come in different forms, for example, a survey at the end of a service call, an email survey sent straight from a CRM tool, or a form uploaded in the ‘Contact Us’ page of your company’s website. The point is to encourage people for submitting their constructive feedback that would serve as the basis for future improvement in the company’s offerings, operations, and customer support. It is also beneficial in containing dissatisfied customers from openly expressing their discomforts and bad experiences on highly populated social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Whichever way you choose to opt, acquiring feedback is a gateway to a great performance by customer service teams. All the above pointers are directed to improve interaction with your audience and build a lasting relationship with the brand and the company. Through this not only you will be able to identify the core touchpoints and activities that need improvement, but will also help you realize how to pitch the perfect service to your audience guaranteeing an exceptional satisfaction, and eventually calling for a great performance by your business.