Customer service representatives are the unsung heroes of today’s commercial culture. That’s not an exaggeration. Run the receipts, and it’s hard to argue with that conclusion.
Good customer service helps create loyal customers, and we all know how valuable a loyal customer is. In fact, Americans spend 17% more on organizations that treat them well. That means good business may just rest on the friendly agents working in contact centers.
What Are Consumers Looking For?
For starters, consumers want the person on the other end of the phone or the other side of the computer monitor to be knowledgeable enough to resolve their questions. Good communication skills are a must. So are qualities like empathy and patience —- and they want this experience every time. A single bad experience can undermine the trust built by good conversations in the past.
That means ensuring consistent quality is key not only to providing good service, but also to business success. Methods vary a little by industry and corporate culture, but organizations with a reputation for putting their customers first tend to do three things well. Follow their example, and you’ll find consumers will be coming back and paying more.
1. Make sure your customer service representatives are talking with each other.
In today’s omnichannel world, where agents may be geographically and culturally distant from each other, customer service training points to alignment as a key for achieving consistency. If they’re not in touch with each other (and their managers), it’ll be hard to ensure high-quality interactions with customers across the board.
Adopting project management software can help customer service reps in different places or on different channels get rid of communication silos and can provide transparency when it comes to customer interactions.
With so much at stake in making service predictably great, getting your staff communicating with each other is imperative. Finding a way to do this effectively is a must, as successful companies have long recognized.
2. Focus on the entire customer journey, not individual touchpoints.
It’s possible to excel in individual business touchpoints — and still fail the customer. Consider a caller needing more information about his internet service, which is too expensive and not fast enough for his tastes. A customer service rep might answer his questions clearly and courteously. The service tech might perform a thorough service call. The touchpoints surveys look great for both. But the customer decides to switch brands. Why?
Well, if his deep needs of speed and pricing weren’t really addressed, his experience with this pair of service professionals still wasn’t ideal.
It’s a good reminder: Customers want representatives to guide them on a journey, not just provide them with help in the moment that doesn’t meet their real needs. To regularly provide great quality, customer service needs to orient itself around what matters most to clients and dig deep to find the root of the problem each time.
3. Measure what matters, and build your approach based on that data.
If the trend of focusing on customer experience has taught us anything, it’s that paying attention to the wrong things leads inescapably to failure with the illusion of success. The same could be said about what metrics companies use to gauge success in the customer service realm. High transactional ratings don’t always translate to return purchases and renewal contracts.
Consistent, data-driven customer service starts with what the customer thinks is important, not necessarily what the company uses to quantify success. Identifying those metrics takes an integrated approach that starts with the customer journey. Researching and measuring these factors is nonnegotiable for companies that want to know they’re delivering the best experience to clients every time. Companies that don’t do this are flying blind as far as the numbers are concerned.
Not all heroes wear capes. Customer service representatives occupy a strategic place in businesses as the face of customer experience. Their superpowers include product knowledge, empathy, good communication — and consistency. Achieving the latter takes a careful alignment of approach with what customers really need.
Companies with superheroes in contact centers will prosper. Those without them? Let’s just say they’ll have to work a lot harder to keep up without those superpowers reliably at their disposal.