Improving your customer service offerings is a noble goal. In practice, however, you may find it more challenging than expected.
In an increasingly globalized economy, customers have more options than ever before – and higher standards for service, too. While you’ll run across a lot of advice about customer service best practices online, it’s equally as important to understand what to avoid. Here are five things to avoid in your customer service offerings:
Putting People on Hold
Few experiences in life are as universally loathed as being put on hold. From the robotic phone menu to the endless hold music, it’s an experience that few people are willing to put up with these days. In fact, many callers will simply hang up and dial the competition instead. It’s a fast way to annoy the customers you’re trying so hard to prioritize.
Instead of putting callers on hold, consider outsourcing your administrative duties to a virtual receptionist service. In today’s world, we expect things to be fast – and near instantaneous. Callers expect the same when it comes to customer services. Call centers help manage the overflow in calls and give a professional impression. Customers feel like their needs are being met, while employees are relieved of the burden of answering the same questions over and over again.
Data-based customer service is all the rage these days. Customers are bombarded with requests for feedback at every turn. While surveys can indeed be helpful, 53 percent of customers believe their feedback doesn’t go to anyone who can make meaningful change.
With so many believing their voices won’t be heard, most people opt not to bother lodging their complaints at all. Instead, they opt to take their business elsewhere. In some cases, annoyed customers may even urge their friends and family to avoid your organization altogether.
The solution to this dynamic? Stop ignoring feedback. If you’re asking for insight from your customers, show them that their voice truly matters. Take their feedback and let them know if you make changes based on their opinions. The most committed brand enthusiasts are passionate because they feel involved with the company. By validating the feedback our customers give us, we create a sense of community that will inspire return visits for years to come.
In recent years, much has been made about the importance of work/life balance. At the same time, customer service expectations have evolved – most people expect to be able to get in touch with businesses 24 hours a day.
This dynamic may seem paradoxical; how is it possible to value employee time off while maintaining high standards for customer service? For some business owners, it may even feel like you have to choose between the priorities of your staff and the preferences of your customer base.
Adding call centers to your business plan allows you to increase profits while still accepting new customer requests. After all, the more calls you answer, the more customer demands there are to deal with. Call centers are ideal for this, since they follow and maintain scripts created to collect customer intake data.
Quality customer service professionals are diamonds in the rough. But even the shiniest of diamonds need a little help to reach their full potential. Too often, customer service representatives are thrown to the wolves with little to no training for the job. Less knowledge about the products, services, and organizational policies lead to lower levels of performance. This translates to less profit in the long run. In the worst case scenario, a lack of training can even mean alienating customers altogether.
When it comes to customer service, consistency is key. Employees working in customer service burnout fast – dealing with the high and lows of stressful conversations can be truly thankless. That’s where call centers come into play. By screening and handpicking the best qualified receptionists, your organization can uphold consistent quality standards.
Customers are, first and foremost, human beings. Businesses that resort to robotic phone menus set the conversation off on the wrong foot. Menus like these aren’t capable of answering specific questions and can’t provide a human experience. Empathy is a must in the world of customer service, but we often lose sight of its importance when we’re overwhelmed or stressed. Misunderstanding what customers are going through – or failing to express your support – can lead to frustration for everyone involved.
Call centers fix this issue. By always having a present, engaging professional at the end of the line, customers feel heard. Call center professionals are trained to answer questions tailored to the specific needs of your business, ensuring no caller is ever neglected.
While you might try to offer such service in-house, your employees may find themselves overworked and frustrated by the constant ringing of the telephone. Instead, partner with a call center service whose employees relish putting a smile into their voice and a soothing tone for whatever the situation demands.
Take a Common Sense Approach to Customer Service
People have been practicing the art of customer service for centuries. The good news? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. By understanding the core of what motivates and inspires people to shop with your business, you can create customer service policies that give people what they really want.
Empathy, training, and outsourced partners can go a long way in creating the kinds of customer experiences you’ve always dreamed about offering. Happy customers are typically a reflection of a happy organization overall. A little reflection about your current customer service offerings can go a long way!