Nine out of ten Americans consider the quality of customer service when deciding whether to return to the business or not. All companies know this, and in the current competitive business environment, you have to keep improving to maintain and attract customers. Besides this, the business environment is changing rapidly due to the pandemic, and you need to rework your customer care service structures. The following are some things you can do to improve customer service.
- Build and improve the customer service team: Your team should be primed to offer the best possible service to customers. This requires you to be deliberate about developing a corporate culture that values the customer. You also need to improve the skills of your employees to deliver quality customer service. The following are some of the qualities you should consider when hiring staff for the customer service department.
- Knowledge: Ensure your new hires have the requisite training and a demonstrated understanding of customer service. Relevant experience should be an added advantage.
- Patience: Customers come in all shades and colors; some are slow, others are fussy and annoying, and they must all be served to their satisfaction. Patience is one of the qualities an effective customer service professional must-have.
- Communication skills: Effective customer service has more to do with speaking to them than with anything else. Your customer service staff should be articulate and confident. They should have a thorough understanding of the product and customer procedures.
- Evaluate your customer service staff’s performance: Ensure that you have proper reporting and evaluation structures through which you can evaluate your team’s performance. The information you get forms the basis upon deciding which employee to transfer, promote or terminate. The information you gather from the feedback you get also informs you of the training you need to give to your staff.
- Get feedback from customers: Your customers are the best people to inform you whether you are meeting their expectations or not. Unfortunately, customers don’t like to take time to answer questions or feel long forms. Ensure you have multiple avenues through which customers can report and make it easy for them to report. Requesting your customers for feedback shows them that you value them.
- Employ new technology: Business is moving decidedly online. This means that national boundaries and time zones no longer limit the conduct of business. You could have customers from all over the world who want assistance throughout the day. To serve this customer, you will need to use technology such as a 24/7 live chat. Automated returns or deliveries may also enhance the experience of your customers.
- Solve customer problems quickly: All the training and soft skills are only valid if they help you solve the issues your customers may face. Ensure that your customer service representatives handle whatever problems the customer may have as promptly as possible. Nothing tells customers they are valued, like having their problems solved quickly to their satisfaction.
Christopher F. Frazier Lives in Gainesville, Georgia, and has been a pillar at Hardware Specialties, Inc. for over 27 years.