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Tag Archives: Customer Support
With the rise of the multi-channel approach and new technologies that have evolved rapidly, the competition it the customer support field of expertise has increased exponentially. Not only the entire customer care landscape has changed, new channels demanded a different approach – customer centricity.
Multi-lingual contact centres need to engage and retain every customer to be successful.
We at OpsTalent believe that these four traits are the keystones to establishing a customer centric contact centre:
Measure quality from both perspectives.
Like many of its customer oriented counterparts around the globe, OpsTalent has invested in quality monitoring tools that record and view customer experiences during each query, also post-contact surveying tools that can determine how the customer felt about each individual interaction.
This way the contact centre gathers essential information about its customer base, feedback that later can be used during coaching sessions or incorporated into each contact centre agents monitoring scores.
But that’s not all, data can be used to improve operation processes workflows or even actual products and services.
Continuously enhance service, sales and loyalty.
Thanks to all the monitoring tools, today’s contact centres gather an overwhelming amount of data on a daily basis – this would imply that the contact centre is “The Ear” of the organization, and while true this statement is somewhat wrong.
Customer centric contact centres are not just ear, but the brain of the organization. They gather and process the information, and later on use it to from strategies and plans.
Thus continuously improving and enhancing the customer experience, by the means of CRM tools, dedicated analytics teams, and evaluation of post-contact surveys.
Metrics focused on the customer, not just on efficiency.
The best customer centric contact centres, focus less on Average Handle Time, Calls per Hour and focus more on metrics such as Contact Quality, First Contact Resolution and Customer Satisfaction.
Productivity based metrics have its place, but most of the time contact centre managers over-emphasise the importance of AHT. Which only leads the agents to develop bad habits, such as rushing the customer through the call, which in the end only leads to increased number of call volumes, and a decrease in customer satisfaction.
When it comes to agent productivity, focus on things like schedule adherence, thus ensuring that agents are ready for and on time for any potential challenge.
Embrace social customer care.
Providing customer support though social media is no longer a nice bonus, it’s a necessity. Facebook and Twitter are the go-to channel for the Y-generation, and the general public also tries social customer support if they need a fast response to their request or comment.
This is why all leading contact centres have developed and implemented a comprehensive social customer care strategy, with trained agents and powerful monitoring tools they are more than ready to provide proactive customer service and engage the customers in brand new ways.
Keep in mind, that in order to be a customer centric contact centre you also need to be employee centric as well, happy staff + happy customers = exceptional customer experience!
Turning customers away is fatal for business, customer service skills need to be top notch if you want to provide an unforgettable customer experience. Not many enterprises will admit that their inner process’s or quality of provided services are the cause of a steadily declining customer satisfaction – there is always room for improvement when it comes to customer service.
Real-Time Customer Support is Essential.
Gaining new customers is harder than getting new business from established customer base, but established and loyal customers provide great opportunities in the digitalized age, thanks to customer referrals and word-to-mouth.
The most overlooked part of the customer experience is one-on-one customer support sessions – it often gets substituted with almost rage inducing automated technology.
The rise of the multi-channel era made B2C communications easier, thanks to blogs, web-sites and social media. Thing is, for most of your customer base social media and web sites might be not personal enough. Nothing can substitute the satisfaction that comes from solving a problem though more personal communication channels. Make sure to focus your customer support effort on these three solutions:
- The “old-school” phone call, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon
- Live web-chat, it’s the “go-to” choice for the Y generation
- Follow-up emails or other communication methods, to reassure the customer
It all comes down to embracing and nurturing real-time interaction channels, if you do you’ll quickly notice renewal rates rise up and at the same time you’ll gain a few more loyal customers.
In order to successfully up-sell or cross-sell you need to scout ahead, going in blind, without gathering data regarding customers purchase habits is a recipe for failure.
Understand the needs and desires of the customer base, differentiate customer types (new, loyal, etc.). Customers will notice if you don’t do your homework and that will only result in lost opportunities.
Gathering intelligence and providing the customer with suitable options doesn’t always guarantee a sale, but it will leave a positive impression which in the future can result in a positive referral or a new sale.
Every company has a set of guidelines in place, especially for marketing or servicing customers – what most contact centre managers forget is that these are just guidelines, not set in stone rules.
Make these procedures more flexible for established customers, return business is good business, make it easier for them to give you just that.
Be flexible that when it comes to pitching products or services, that’s it!
The biggest and one of the common mistakes is over-selling your brand, never do that, it just leads to broken promises and lost sales – oh, and bad press.
Learn to under-sell and exceed the customers’ expectations, customer satisfaction does wonders for business’s.
But sometimes, due to poor judgment, communication problems, or “insert random excuse here” promises get broken, and you fail to deliver. This is the time, to atone for the sins, and repair your relationship with the customer.
Common recovery tactics include these steps:
- Admitting your mistake
- Offering a genuine solution to the problem caused by the broken promise
- Offering a refund to the customer
- Offering free or discounted serviced or products, even if the customer took a refund
And there you have it, you possibly lost a sale, but trust “Us” it’s better in the long-term.
Leave Personal Problems at Home.
It’s hard, but personal problems should never interfere with customer interaction. Despite all the hardships you might be facing, contact centre agents need to remain polite, professional and most importantly reliable.
The good thing about unhappy customers is the oportunity to turn the situation around, regain their trust and turn them to your most loyal customers. All thanks to providing the best customer experience possible – bring your “A” game.
Most customers do understand and at tomes expect that there will be mistakes, or that they will encounter problems . They do know that agents are only human, like the rest of us. It’s how your staff or enterprise handles this critical situation.
It will be easier for them to go through with the process if it will bring resolution to their query. So next time a disgruntled customer storms the office or calls you, don’t panic, stay calm and work in their best interest. All you have to do is follow those four easy steps:
The apology is crucial, even if you aren’t at fault. Accept responsibility and apologize if someone in your company or enterprise made the mistake, customer that felt wronged really want to hear a genuine and sincere apology.
Remember, it is possible to apologize to the customer without taking the blame. If it’s not your or your companies fault use different wording, some people just want to vent or simply revolve the situation.
It’s also critical to not put the blame on the customer, ever.
Saying sorry is a good start, but it isn’t enough, this is where empathy comes in – the key part of the customer experience equation. Show the customer that you feel their pain, and you will do the very best to resolve the issue and re-compensate for the lost time.
Throwing in, yet another sincere apology after dealing with the problem is always a good choice.
Remember, the customer is more aggravated by the fact, that he needs to waste free time to contact customer support and not at the issue itself.
Be understanding and calm – quickly identify their goals and desires.
Making the situation better than right is crucial. Simply fixing the problem, just isn’t enough. Make up for the initial problem, but also compensate the customer for the time wasted.
Present him with no more than four solution to their issue, if you feel challenged by the problem ask the customer how would they like it resolved. Trust us, you will be amazed how reasonable the customer will be if you followed through with the first two tips.
Often, their solution will be far lesser than what you were prepared to offer.
Follow Up on the Resolution.
Following up is a vital part of the great customer experience enterprises are striving for. After fixing the customer problem, contact them within a few days and apologize again and ask them if the resolution to their problem alongside the re-compensation satisfactory.
This might be the time when you find out that the resolution is simply not cutting it, offer a new one and follow up again within a day to check up on the situation.
This will ensure the customer that you value their best interest.
How can enterprises simplify customer service interaction so that the customer effort is reduced to the bare minimum?
1. Develop expert advisors
The backbone of all queries are skilled advisors, their knowledge and dedication lies at the heart of driving customer satisfaction through the roof. Developing your advisors into experts should be at the top of your checklist. Coaching, in-house adviser training programs should include:
- Language skills courses
- Customer care
- Personal development planing
- Standard call coaching
- Annual appraisal
- Specialist areas of a project
Everyone is responsible for customer service. Each and every staff member should receive training on customer service delivery. Updating the advisor with real-time customer information data should be the number one priority of every agent team.
2. Offer a choice.
This one is simple, offer different channels to the customer(email, web chat, social media, phone and SMS), that way they can pick the easiest one for their interaction. Agent interaction needs to be quick and effective, easy access to all the needed information and business processes needs to be available on their desktop in an instant. Customize agent desktops into the perfect agent-friendly system that will in turn make the life simpler for the customer.
So what does simpler mean to the customer:
- Easy; the customers is offered a wide selection of communication channels.
- Quick; fast response times.
- Effective; the customer gets what he requested.
3. The IVR.
What could be simpler than picking up the phone and quickly getting through to a friendly customer service agent? Sadly, it is not always possible to connect customers to agents quickly, and IVR can help route customers and prevent unmanageable queues.
The IVR come in handy when it’s not possible to connect customers to agents quickly – it will help to route the customers and manage queues. The most frustrating thing about IVR is facing multiple options, none of which suit the customer’s reason for calling. Having way too many sub-menus will frustrate the customer even further since they might be difficult to comprehend and navigate.
Your top priority when reviewing or designing a IVR should be simplicity combined with customer experience. Consider an option that connects the customer on an agent that is ready to take on general queries and limit the number of possible options to just one specified set. Sometimes it might be a good idea to get rid off the IVR in the first place, weight the pros and cons and take action.
4. Email response time
Response time matters, even more so then it comes to customer service delivered through Email. This important part of the multichannel approach can become a pain for the customer if the process drags for to long. Pick agents with appropriate skill sets, clear written communication is key here. It will help to pinpoint the problem and will allow to resolve it quickly. Remember speed matters, even if the problem was not resolved on the spot, the customer will be satisfied with an instant follow up message.
The old KISS principle could not be more valid, especially when it comes down to online customer service provided through social media channels. Considering how much social media grew as a client service platform it is quite easy to loose sight of the goal – communication.
Don’t just gather feedback, sometimes your agents will need to initiate, collect background information on the problem and all while doing that make sure that the whole process is as similar to a real life conversation as possible.
Make sure you respond to all queries, even the negative ones – your customers will let you “hang out” with them in return, you’ll be treated as one of their peers and that will enable you to engage them in new ways – no longer will it be a typical customer-company relationship, but a new customer-customer communication.
6. Opening hours
Call center and contact center managers often overlook the fact that the majority of their customers work nine to five jobs. You can have the best customer service but if the customer needs to fit problem solving into their tight schedule, he’ll move onto the competition. Give the customers the greater choice, provide your service in the evenings and on the weekends.
7. Social media presence.
It’s been said plenty of times that social media are w wonderful customer engagement tool that allows for near instant feedback and data collection. Simply be easy to find – use social media to raise your brands influence and presence.
In the end it all boils down to simplicity as the core of your customer experience – no one likes jumping through additional hoops.