Customer service is one of the most important elements of a healthy business. Unfortunately, it also tends to be the aspect of business that gets neglected for sexier components like marketing, branding, sales, and innovation. But if you extract more value out of your customer service, good things will happen for your business.
4 Ways to Maximize Your Customer Service
Your business is only as good as your customer base. You can have the best products in the world, but unless your customers show an affinity towards those products (and the business that stands behind the products), it doesn’t really matter.
Though customer service has traditionally taken a backseat to things like marketing, sales, innovation, and logistics, the reality is that it’s just as important. It’s one of the defining pillars of a modern brand. And either you give it the focus it deserves, or you miss out on a chance to elevate your business to new heights.
Good customer service starts with a good team of people. Keeping this in mind, here are a few key ways you can maximize your customer service and get more out of your team:
1. Bring Customer Service Employees Up to Speed
One of the big issues with outsourcing customer service – and one of the reasons it’s not highly recommended for small businesses – is that it’s impossible for those outside of your organization to truly understand your products and services. You might be able to impart a surface-level understanding, but it won’t go much deeper than that.
The benefit of having an in-house customer service team is that you can equip them with the knowledge they need to serve customers. The important thing is that you actually do it. Take all customer service reps through rigorous training. They should understand every aspect of the products you sell. This allows them to actually add value and answer questions (rather than being totally reliant on scripts).
2. Teach Your Team Soft Skills
Good customer service starts with a technical understanding of the business and its products. However, it doesn’t stop there. You also need to equip your team with the appropriate soft skills. More specifically, work on:
- Active listening. If you’ve ever been on the other end of a customer service call, then you know how frustrating it is to talk to someone who doesn’t seem like they’re listening. Train your team to actively listen, ask clarifying questions, and show customers they’re engaged.
- Empathy. Train your team to view customers as their friends and loved ones. Put another way, if their mother or best friend called up with the same problem, how would they treat them? Teach your customer service reps to empathize with customers. Not only does this show compassion, but it can also de-escalate conflict and cultivate healthier interactions.
- Positivity. Teach your customer service reps to use positive language. For example, rather than saying, “We aren’t able to refund your money,” say something like, “We’d be happy to exchange the product for something else.”
When you have a technically competent team that’s proficient at active listening, empathy, and positivity, good things will happen for you. That’s not to say customers will never be frustrated, but at least you have a sound recipe for smoothing over the underlying problems.
3. Ask, Listen, and Act
Show your team that you care about them by asking for feedback. An eNPS survey, also known as an employee Net Promoter Score survey, is a good place to start. Ask your team how they feel about your company and then analyze the results. Based on these results, take positive actions to improve your business.
4. Be Willing to Take a Bullet
The customer might always be “right,” but that doesn’t mean you have to subject your team to abuse. Sometimes it’s appropriate to step in and absorb some of the friction for your team members (particularly if they’re having a bad day).
For example, let’s say a customer is absolutely berating one of your employees. They keep putting the customer on hold to ask you for approval on different issues. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do, so the employee must continually go back and take a verbal lashing.
Eventually, the employee becomes so frustrated that they’re on the verge of tears. Rather than telling them to suck it up and do their job, you could hop on the call and “take the bullet” for them. Your employee will go from feeling degraded to appreciated.
Adding it All Up
The quality of your customer service team will determine the quality of your customer service. If you equip them, train them, and support them, they’ll respond by providing exceptional service to your customers. It’s time to prioritize this aspect of your business. In doing so, you’ll reap a long list of benefits. Keep it up!