Customers expect and deserve amazing customer service. Working with a large portfolio of customers on a daily basis means that at any given time, there may be critical issues that affect them. It’s for this reason that it’s not only important, but essential for customer service teams to bring their A game.
With the popularity of social media and other online sharing options, a negative personal experience can quickly escalate into one seen and shared by many. Customer interactions should not be scary, however. If you focus on these three pillars of amazing customer service, your clients will reward you with the best gift of all: positive word of mouth.
We have all had the experience of contacting a large company and instead of answering the question directly, the support representative reads a script. No fault to the customer support rep, as they are just following protocol and doing their job. But, in what way do these companies think they are actually helping customers by not empowering their staff to provide the assistance needed to their customers? In reality, these types of scripted or rehearsed customer experiences leave a hugely negative impression on the customer. By empowering support personnel the freedom to handle customer situations is key to happy customer interactions. Support staff should be encouraged to get to know their customers’ needs and expectations so they can adequately assist with the issue at hand.
Social and viral media have decreased the expected response time a customer expects to wait on a response. According to a 2012 Social Habit Study, 32 percent of customers expect a response from support within 30 minutes. This can be especially challenging for companies working with international customers. Is it always important to use a follow-the-sun model? This isn’t doable or affordable for every company. In these situations it’s more important to make the interactions meaningful and helpful. When speed is possible, it’s important to not just respond, but to let the customer know that you understand the problem and what the solution will be. And if you don’t know, letting them know that you are working on it and will get back to them as soon as you are able is enough to calm an agitated customer while you work on a resolution.
The more your support staff understands your customers’ needs as well as your product, the more effective the outcome will be. It is crucial that your support staff have access to tools where they can learn everything they need to know about the product on-the-fly, as well as a way to ask questions and get them answered quickly. You’ll want to provide information in a variety of formats to appeal to your reps different learning styles and needs. This may include spreadsheets, presentations, videos, FAQs, web links, and pdfs. It’s important that you can share all the information your reps may need in one place.
By providing the information and procedures your support team needs to handle a variety of situations, keeping response time to minimum and personalizing the interactions will go a long way to make your customers feel that they are truly important.
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