3 ways of successfully making customer service everyone’s job
In today’s ultra-competitive markets, successful businesses understand that customer service is everyone’s job. Whether you are the CEO, staff the contact center, are a delivery driver or work in a store, you contribute to how consumers view your company. Brand reputation can be destroyed by factors as diverse as a security breach, poor public relations or even an ill-judged tweet by a senior manager.
Staff can’t be expected to provide this enterprise-wide customer service unaided. After all, contact centers have developed processes over many years, trained staff extensively and provided them with the knowledge and tools to do their jobs. How can this be spread to the whole company, without it impacting on the rest of their roles? A recent article in Forbes from Blake Morgan gives some good tips, including being positive, friendly and tracking everything you do. I’d like to add three more to her excellent list:
1. Give staff the information they need to deliver good service
One of the unforeseen consequences of extending customer service across the organization is a lack of consistency. Different people, in different departments can provide wildly varying answers to the same question, particularly when asked across multiple channels. While this might benefit the customer, it ultimately causes confusion and forces them to re-contact a company to check that they have the right answer. Ensure that everyone speaking to customers knows basic processes (such as about returns or refunds) and that they have access to centralized knowledge that can be used to provide consistent answers to questions, wherever they are asked.
2. Monitor and reward good customer service
Contact centers focus on monitoring service levels and, in particular, ensuring that incoming queries are dealt with satisfactorily. Most operate using a combination of powerful workflow that registers incoming queries, across every channel, and then passes them to the best available agent to provide an answer. Agents are then monitored based on the service they deliver and normally rewarded for going above and beyond the call of duty when dealing with customers. However other parts of the business lack this monitoring framework, meaning that enquiries can disappear into a black hole without an audit trail. The result? Disgruntled customers that feel ignored and unloved. Instead, companies need to ensure that they have the ability to track customer service interactions if they go outside the contact center. This allows full monitoring and ensures that answers meet internal service level agreements, such as on response times and quality.
3. Think like a customer
The phrase “the customer is always right” has never been more true. So that they are delivering what consumers actually want, companies need to ensure that their staff think like the customer at all times. This means understanding their problems, empathizing with them and making them feel right, even if they are in the wrong. Be sympathetic and focus on the customer, and take an interest in their issue to build common ground. This way, even if you have to deliver bad news you hopefully won’t damage the relationship. Thinking like a customer also means acting like one – make sure staff have been through the process of contacting your company themselves, across different channels so they can use their experience when talking to customers.
Customer service is now everyone’s job, but the slogan must be backed up by actions, training and tools if you want your employees to deliver the necessary service to meet the demanding needs of today’s consumers.