Customer service plays a vital role in any business, with the ability to help get some potential customers over the line or assist them if they are having any difficulties.
Customer service can be the backbone of a business, whether it is in consumer finance, airlines or even your water company – and quality service can be a competitive advantage, making people stay with their supplier and even recommend to their friends.
Below we share 10 top tips for customer service that you can instil in your employees and how to benchmark these too.
1. Have Senior Managers Listen in on Calls and Recordings
Senior managers can help to provide experience and objectivity when giving feedback. Getting pointers from a respected manager can help employees to improve their customer service skills. This can be helpful because only a slim minority of customers actually inform companies of any feedback they may have, preferring to keep it to themselves.
Managers can also highlight things that employees might not have noticed, as well as providing alternative approaches.
2. Ask Customers to Rate Their Customer Service By Email
Survey forms are quick to make and to distribute.They can help you to get an idea of which areas you could stand to improve.
Make sure it is as easy as possible for your customers to fill in the customer survey, focusing on only the key pieces of information that you need. You can make it even easier by using closed questions, and having your customers respond by selecting “agree/disagree”.
Customers can be incentivised to answer surveys with small rewards, such as a 5%-off code, or entry into a giveaway.
3. Have Regular Customer Service Training Days
Training can play a vital role in improving your employees’ skills in customer service. Experts can help them to resolve problems in the most efficient ways possible, and to improve their quality of service.
By providing your employees with valuable skills and investing time and money into their education, you will also have the added benefit of improving employee retention.
You can organise activities such as:
- Complaints roleplay
- Customer experience simulations
- Sensitivity training
- Product breakdown workshops
4. Give Awards and Acknowledgements to Hard Working Staff Members
Awards are a great incentive that will help your employees to manage customers with the maximum tact and efficiency. They can make employees feel like valuable members of the team, which can lead to higher productivity. Giving awards can also reinforce core company values.
Some examples of awards you could offer employees include:
- Top Performer Award
- Employee of the Month
- Most Improved Performer
- Excellent Feedback Award
- Sales Milestone Award
5. Recording the Number of Complaints and Monitor It
Customer complaints can be monitored via feedback forms, questionnaires, complaints logs, comment cards, or simply by asking customers at the end of an interaction what they thought could have gone better. By recording and categorising these complaints, companies can evaluate their weakest areas in order to improve them.
Customer complaint records can not only be used to identify patterns but also to train future employees. These records can be used as a learning experience in the future. Employees can use these complaints as case studies, and come up with strategies to manage them.
Your options for recording these complaints including:
- Bespoke technology
Recording customer complaints can also serve to protect your company against damaging reviews or allegations. By keeping a record of the initial complaint, you can have some security in case that customer’s story ever changes to become more damaging.
The final reason that complaints should be monitored is so that they can more efficiently be responded to. Complaints can be managed with specific software, and your staff can quickly resolve any issues that customers may be having.
6. Ask People to Stay on The Line and Provide Feedback
It can be easier to ask customers to remain on the line for a little bit longer than to try and cold call them when they might be busy. This provides a great window in which information can be gleaned about what went well in the interaction, as well as what could possibly be improved.
By catching customers when their interaction with your company are still fresh, you can get more honest, accurate feedback. It can help you to obtain a more honest opinion, but also to help rectify problems immediately if you receive negative feedback. Your customers will likely appreciate the timely resolution of their problems.
You can train your employees to follow up after every customer interaction, providing them with a script to follow that asks for feedback while still reflecting your company values.
7. Follow a Script, But Listen To Your Customers
Customer service scripts are statements that guide employees in their customer interactions. This helps to reduce errors and aids your employees in guiding customers in a way that follows customer service best practices. By following a script, your company can communicate better and resolve customer issues efficiently while reducing employee training hours.
However, customers can get frustrated if they feel like you are not listening to their specific concerns, so there should always be some flexibility to deviate from this script.
8. Allow Customer Service Agents To Give Their Feedback Too
Allowing your employees to provide their own feedback not only gives them agency and a voice, but helps them to improve their engagement in your company. This can help them to feel more motivated, as well as giving you some valuable insights into customer interactions that you may not have had access to otherwise.
Employee feedback can be encouraged via:
- Questionnaires sent monthly to their inboxes
- Group meetings in which employees are asked for feedback
- Anonymous suggestion boxes
9. Monitor The Rate of Customer Retention and Sales
Customer retention rate is the percentage of your existing customer base who remain customers after a given period. This is a valuable metric to track, as it gives you some insight into what might be working and where you can improve.
Other customer retention metrics include:
- Customer Churn
- Revenue Churn
- Existing Customer Growth Rate
- Repeat Purchase Ration
- Product Return Rate
- Days Sales Outstanding
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Time Between Purchases
Sales are another helpful metric of measuring customer service. If a specific employee is able to ensure a particularly high rate of sales, they could have insight to provide to their colleagues.
10. Integrate Customer Services With Other Departments
Allowing collaboration between departments can provide not only a diverse and engaging environment for your employees, but also opportunities for an exchange of skills and knowledge. This allows space for your employees to improve their proficiency in a wider range of areas.