Americans sure love their “days.” We have National Ice Cream Day, National Pancake Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Often, these days celebrate people in key professions. Administrative professionals have their day. Healthcare professionals have their day. And IT professionals have their day.
During National Customer Service Week (October 1-5), we celebrate all of the customer service and technical support professionals who answer the call, resolve an issue, manage a team, or direct an organization committed to making someone’s day a little easier, with an answer to a question, a solution to a problem, or just a friendly ear to listen.
Excellent customer service provides numerous benefits to companies, including increased customer loyalty and enhanced brand image. It also builds customer relationship and improves customer satisfaction. In short, excellent customer service boosts profitability.
So, if customer service isn’t a priority at your company, you need to make it so.
Getting your employees to provide epic customer service, however, is easier said than done. Many executives and managers find it among their toughest business challenges. A key to doing so is getting closer to him or her. Below are eight proven tips—gleaned from last year’s Customer Service Week—that can help you get closer to your customers:
Customers often have unique behaviors. Helping team members to understand customers thoroughly is critical to not only providing epic service but also increasing customer loyalty.
Start by developing personas on your customers to get to know them better.
Also, try revisiting customer segmentation. Segmenting your customer base in a new way can help you see them in a new way. Another tactic is to look across all customer segments and try to identify unique ways to reach them with offers and educational materials.
Engaged employees deliver engaged customer experiences. How do your team members respond to customers? Were they excited to talk with your customers? Or, were they apathetic. With customers, if employees don’t feel it, customers won’t feel it, either.
To boost employee engagement, offer meaningful incentives encouraging specific behaviors. Gamification and coaching programs are great ways to do it. Also, map out the customer’s journey and then outline the steps employees need to help them get there.
Customers expect your team to be up to date with their account and needs. The more data you give your team, the better they can help customers. If you’re giving it to them in real time, that’s even better.
So, build systems that capture critical information on customers and provide it on-demand when your team needs it. Also, share information between departments, especially marketing, sales, and product development.
Some companies lose track of their customer service goals and get caught in a constant cycle of change. Instead, focus on evolving strategically. Also, commit to learning about your customers, and leveraging the feedback from the complaints customers make to enhance your services.
Also, evaluate your services from time to time. Make sure you’re not relying on impersonal methods, like Likert scales alone to generate feedback. Instead ask customers directly how the experience made them feel. Then, use that feedback to improve customer service.
Emphasize continual learning and improvement by employees. Invite speakers to come in periodically to talk about customer service topics or have senior managers discuss how customer service fits in with the company’s overall goals. Also, try revisiting the department and personal goals and what the need to do to meet them. Then create an action plan to achieve them.
How do your employees sign off with customers during phone calls? Do they just say “Bye,” and that’s it? Instead, have them acknowledge the customers. Ask employees to make sure customers have everything they want and keep the door open for a return visit. Let them know they’re welcome to return. The end of a customer’s call is just as critical as the beginning. So, make it memorable.
Phone etiquette is one area of focus when improving customer communication. But you should be looking at all channels of communication including social, chat, and in-person. How you communicate is one of the key strategies for customer service improvement. Your strategy should outline which channels you will utilize and protocols for how to deliver customer service.
Use these customer service tips, gleaned from last year’s Customer Service Week, to help your team members get closer to customers. Getting closer can help employees exceed expectations when engaging with customers. Doing so can enhance relationships with your customers, boost loyalty, and increase profitability.