No sector of your business is going to be working your clientele as closely or as frequently as your customer service team is. Your customer service workers are often some of the first people your patrons have the opportunity to meet and your first line of defense in moments of crisis. If you want a healthy relationship with your customers, you need to set your customer service team up for success first.
Customer service workers do far more than just deal with problems: they’re often the face of your company. According to research from Glance, 70% of customers will return to a brand following a bad experience so long as their interaction with customer service is positive. Getting your customer service team to properly represent your brand can lead to significant increases in your brand’s reputation — as well as your revenue.
If you’re hoping to boost your brand, start with your customer service team. Here are 5 ways you can start doing that today:
1. Get them the resources they need.
Customer service teams are often the ones most isolated from the rest of the business, and your company is likely suffering because of it. If your customer service agents aren’t fully integrated into your business’s culture, they won’t be able to fully represent your business.
One potential way to alleviate this issue is by implementing a knowledge management system. Knowledge management systems ensure that your business’s content is carefully organized and readily available to every employee who needs it. By integrating all of your company’s knowledge into one spot and bringing all employees into your company’s various cultural streams, you can bring your customer service team into the mix in a way few businesses do.
2. Prepare for emergencies.
Today, businesses are being defined by how they handle emergencies — research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that the jobs of customer service representatives have gotten significantly more difficult since the COVID-19 crisis began. Customers are currently forming some of the most consequential relationships they’ll ever have with brands, and your business needs to be prepared to handle that kind of pressure.
Letting your customer service team fly in the dark during times of crisis means preventing your customers from getting a proper view of your business. Establish clear frameworks for how your customer service agents can promote the wellbeing of your brand while still solving the problems of your clients. Authorize your team to offer discounts, benefits, and other perks that could leave your customers with a positive view of your company going forward — times like these demand it.
3. Develop a mentor program.
Mentorship has long been a feature of business — 71% of Fortune 500 companies have some kind of mentorship program in place — but its importance to quality customer service has long been undervalued. Simply put, more experienced customer service agents have dealt with more problems than their younger counterparts, and letting them teach some of your greener employees can help get everyone on the same page more quickly.
While the old often have much to teach the young, mentorship doesn’t need to be a one-way street. Your newer employees can often have a passion for your company’s mission that can inspire your team leaders. If your business has an onboarding program that emphasizes ways in which your brand can be best represented, your new customer experience agents will take those methods and disseminate them throughout the rest of the team — starting with their mentor.
4. Focus on teamwork.
Because so much of customer service is built around dealing with individual cases, seeing the big picture is often easier said than done. Whether your customer service team is remote or separated by cubicles, their performance is almost certain to improve once a culture of teamwork is implemented. In a customer service context, teamwork isn’t necessarily about distributing work evenly when tackling big projects or tag-teaming a certain client — it’s about ensuring no one employee is isolated in their work.
Get your team to share particularly positive client experiences in order to create an overall feeling of success, but don’t shy away from talking about difficult interactions. By having team-wide postmortems of difficult customer moments, every team member can learn from the experiences of a single employee. Bringing everyone together from time to time makes sure that your whole team is fully equipped with the tools they need to send out positive messages about your brand.
Businesses need strong brands now more than ever. If you’re hoping to stand out from the crowd, you need to be displaying a positive image on all fronts — so make sure that your customer service is one of them.