Customer service is a pivotal aspect of running a successful business. Research shows 83 percent of buyers require some kind of support throughout their customer journey, though this actually rises to 90 percent for those with little experience of online shopping.
Consumers expect, and deserve the best service at all stages of their journey. Building a lasting relationship is key: loyal buyers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend you to others.
Reviewing and improving the quality of your team’s customer interactions is vital to keep your service at its best. How do you do that?
1. Gather feedback from your customers
You need to know what your consumers are thinking and what changes they want to see. You might not be able to read minds, but you can send out surveys after interactions with your agents to gather invaluable feedback.
Customers will appreciate the chance to give their input and feel more valued. The information they provide gives you actionable data you can use to refine your service and implement into training.
Make sure to include questions that address different areas of the interaction — the agent’s attitude, the amount of time they were on hold, the quality of support they received etc. — but give them the space to add their own unguided comments too.
2. Monitor conversations to identify opportunities
Monitoring customer calls is a simple, effective way to identify improvement opportunities. You’ll be able to hear how your agents perform directly, and assess different types of interactions (technical issues, complaints, general queries etc.).
Your quality assurance team should be listening to calls at least once a week, to see if the overall call center / customer service department is hitting goals.
You can listen out for mistakes both big and small, and pinpoint valuable opportunities to upsell or enhance the customer experience.
3. Embrace the power of custom scorecards
Scorecards are a terrific tool for improving your customer service. These address a number of metrics and rate them, offering a brief but effective insight into each interaction’s quality.
Did the agent greet the caller in a friendly, professional way? Was the problem resolved in the first call? Did they empathize with the customer throughout the conversation?
Playvox’s custom scorecards let you tailor yours to suit your priorities and goals. Your QA manager can check scorecards quickly to identify which agents are leading the way and which need further training.
Once you know where problems lie, you can take action to fix them and improve your overall service.
4. Deliver targeted training relevant to each agent
We’ve all had to sit through at least one dull training session that did nothing to make us better workers but everything to bore us.
This is a waste of time for everyone involved, and it could be a waste of money too if the lessons imparted fall on deaf ears. With US companies spent $70bn on training in 2016 alone, businesses are clearly investing in improving their services — but not always using the right techniques.
Training shouldn’t be generic and directed at dozens of workers at the same time. You need to look at each agent’s strengths and weaknesses before deciding which type of training will benefit them most.
Playvox makes it easy to deliver relevant training to employees at their desk through its Learning Management System, allowing them to develop the most important skills at their own pace.
5. Encourage agents to evaluate their own work
Feedback is a critical factor in improving your customer service interactions. QA analysts, team leaders and / or managers should be providing each agent with individual feedback on their performance, to help them recognize where they’re going wrong.
However, this has to be much more than just bombarding them with criticism: the agent should have the chance to respond and share their thoughts. Recorded calls give you evidence of certain mistakes and flaws, and let the employee hear where they’re going wrong.
Agents should be encouraged to consider how their service helps each customer, and what their own satisfaction level would be if they were on the receiving end. The more they evaluate their own work, the more they will learn.
6. Maximize employee engagement
Think your customer service agents are happy at work? Believe they feel their job is important? Sadly, just 33 percent of American workers are actually engaged and 51 percent are looking for another job. Increasing your employee engagement will give you a happier workforce — and these have been shown to be more productive.
Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to care about customers’ experience and the overall call center’s performance. They’re also less likely to respond to training or take an interest in their feedback.
Boost employee engagement by listening to them more often. Send surveys to agents and gather their thoughts on job satisfaction, motivation, salaries and more. You should keep these anonymous to ensure you receive honest responses.
Furthermore, reward schemes offer agents more incentive to care about their work and aim to be at their best. Give them a good choice of rewards to ensure they have a tangible goal to work towards, suited to their personal tastes.
7. Use multi-channel communications
Customers should be able to interact with your support agents via the most convenient channel. For example, if you have any deaf customers, they’ll be unable to reach you by phone and will depend on a text-based alternative instead (such as live chat or email).
Offering customers just one way to interact with your call center or customer service department is simply unacceptable today.
Live chat is one of the most popular options today, enabling consumers to interact with agents using real-time text-based chat on their smartphone or computer. It’s quick, simple and some people may find articulating themselves easier when typing.
Self-service resources are essential too, such as FAQs, how-to videos etc. Give customers the means to resolve their own issues, saving them time and reducing demand on your agents.
Improving your customer service interactions takes time, money and effort, but it’ll all be worth it. The more satisfied your customers are, the more likely they are to keep paying for products / services and spread the word of their positive experiences.
A good quality assurance process and QA software give you all the tools you need to achieve a higher level of customer service. Remember: you should always strive to deliver the kind of experience you expect when dealing with companies.
What tips do you have to improve customer service? Share your ideas below!