When you have to interact with a business, whether it’s to buy something, return something, or simply ask for some information, which are the qualities you are most likely to appreciate? Their marketing strategy, the layout of their store, or their customer support? While the first two aspects are very important, many people will judge a business based on how it handles customer support.
Your customer service department is equally as essential as your development team, so if you don’t currently have one, now is the time to start developing one. While each firm has its unique approach to customer service, certain fundamental guidelines apply to all types of businesses.
If you’re starting from scratch with a customer care staff, use the advice below to make the process go more smoothly.
Define what good customer service represents
Every business should strive to give their clients the greatest customer service possible, but what constitutes good customer service differs by industry. You must first establish what good customer service means to you before you begin developing a support department. This will provide you with a benchmark against which you may evaluate your team’s performance.
The three most important things you need to consider when it comes to providing good customer service are:
- Aligning with company values
The manner you deal with customers should reflect the company’s values. Define your company’s fundamental principles and ensure that your employees are educated to respect and never violate them. This is how your customers will get to know and respect the things you stand for.
- Surpassing customer expectations
If you want to surpass your competitors, the best thing you can do is strive to exceed customer expectations. This involves plenty of market research to understand how your competitors are managing customer service and to determine what you can do better. In most cases, this will mean shorter response times, knowing how to deal with customer disagreements, and training your team on how to shape their attitude, tone, and language based on each particular customer situation.
- Following legal requirements
When it comes to customer service, each nation has its own set of legal obligations. You must check that you are meeting all of the standards, from response times to the size of your customer care personnel to how you handle complaints. Otherwise, you risk running into legal issues that can impact your company’s finances and reputation.
Choose how you want customers to contact you
Because you want to be there for your customers all the time, you probably want your staff to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on every inbound our outbound channel, but this isn’t always practical.
You won’t be able to give continuous, high-quality assistance on every conceivable channel, especially if you have a tiny support crew, so focus on 2-3 initially. To select the most relevant channels, you must first determine which ones your consumers gravitate towards. Is it more often for them to contact you through phone, email, or chat? Each channel has its own set of advantages, so select wisely.
While there are many ways you can make yourself available for customers, the followings are the main ones you should be focusing on:
This enables real-time communication and is still one of the most popular customer service channels. One disadvantage might be that phone assistance takes a long time, especially with a small team.
Email support has grown quite popular since it allows giving your customers a lot of information at once. You can provide instructions, guides or just respond to their inquiries. On the other hand, full email discussions may be difficult to handle, especially when there is a lot of back and forth.
- Live chat
Live chats are simple, but efficient – a blend of phone and email assistance that may help your staff avoid lengthy conversations while still providing your clients with the information they need. Customers anticipate a speedier reaction time on chats than they do with email, so make sure you provide just that.
Invest in good-quality tools
Nothing aids your staff more than having effective tools to utilize while assisting clients. To enhance time efficiency and service quality, invest in a fast internet connection as well as some trustworthy hardware – in this case, computers, screens, and headphones.
When selecting customer service software, keep in mind that it will be your team’s primary tool. It should be simple to use, have all of the features your team needs, and be compatible with other tools you may introduce in the future if required.
Don’t forget that it’s the details that count, so make small adjustments that will improve your client’s overall experience. Customers may have to wait in line to talk to a customer service representative, so consider putting some nice on hold music to keep them entertained. No one enjoys listening to nothing but pre-recorded messages telling them they are “the next in line”.
Keep an eye on performance metrics
You must measure the quality of your services from the beginning if you want to understand what you do good and what needs improvement. Customer service software may generate comprehensive data that can assist your team in understanding how their efforts pay off and what they should strive to improve.
You will be able to assess if you have enough employees to meet client demands or if you need to grow your team, as well as the quality of services your team is delivering, by collecting all of this data. If a significant number of consumers are contacting you about the same problems, for example, you may need to come up with more effective strategies to solve those issues so that they don’t take up your team’s time again.
Build a strong, dedicated team
Providing dependable and high-quality customer service is heavily reliant on employing the right team to do it. When interviewing potential applicants, pay attention and don’t let anything other than their qualifications influence your selection. You might be tempted to employ anyone simply to get your support lines up and running quickly, but it’s better to start with a small, capable staff than to have to train someone who lacks customer service skills.
Emotional intelligence, empathy, effective communication, technical capabilities, and any other particular traits that match with your corporate values should all be qualities of a customer support representative.