Is your business’ customer service strategy up-to-date and compliant?
Your customers are your customers. Even if your customer service plan is or will be outsourced, there are still universal standards that need to be upheld in order to achieve an acceptable satisfaction rate from today’s customers.
Looking for clear, reasonable ways to improve call center workflow? We’ve created the ultimate customer service audit checklist to help you do just that. Each of these 25 suggestions will help you stay compliant and reach new standards of customer service.
1) Write a Clear Mission Statement
A mission statement will drive everything you do in your business. Be thoughtful in your approach and take time to think about your company’s goals.
2) Preach Your Mission Statement Internally
Even the best mission statement won’t do you any good if employees don’t know about it. Display your mission statement in the office and talk about it frequently.
3) Preach Your Mission Statement to Customers
Customers should know what you stand for when it comes to customer service. If they know you strive for great service, they’ll be more likely to trust you when they need help.
4) Advertise Your Guarantee of Quality Service
Bring in new customers and hold yourselves accountable by including your mission for great quality service in your marketing efforts.
5) Make Sure Every Employee Knows Their Role in the Mission Statement
Your employees may know what your mission statement says, but do they know how it applies to them? Teach them how they specifically carry out this mission in their role within the company.
6) Create Actionable Daily Tasks to Achieve Quality Customer Service
Everyone could use a little guidance when it comes to carrying out a goal. Make it easy on employees by giving them actionable daily tasks, like a list of helpful questions to ask the customer, or best practices in how to help an angry customer.
7) Make Sure Every Employee Understands Their Daily Tasks
Employees should know what their responsibilities are and how to best fulfill those responsibilities. Give employees a questionnaire or ask them directly to find out if they truly understand their role.
8) Host Regular Customer Service Trainings
Customer service trainings shouldn’t just happen when you hire a new employee. Continue the learning process by hosting customer service trainings at least every quarter.
9) Survey Customers To Improve Customer Service
No one can give you better feedback about how to improve customer service than your own customers. Send out surveys to find out how you can do better, then implement changes quickly.
10) Follow Up With Customers
If a customer comes to you with a problem, be sure to resolve it as fast as possible. But then go the extra mile by following up in a few weeks to see how they’re doing. Your customers will appreciate the effort.
11) Ask How You Can Better Support Your Team
Companies with low turnover usually earn better customer service scores. Make sure your team is satisfied by asking what you can do to improve your support systems.
12) Discuss Issues as a Team
Employees will feel empowered and valued if you include them in discussing customer service issues. Make sure all perspectives are included when you talk about any overarching problems you’re trying to solve.
13) Set a Good Personal Example
Great customer service can be learned by example. Treat your customers and employees the way you would like to be treated. It’s the “golden rule” for a reason!
14) Spend Time on the Front Lines
You can talk to employees and customers all you want, but there’s no replacement for spending time on the front lines yourself. Regularly schedule time to answer phone calls and help customers firsthand.
15) Set Standards For Response Times
If you want employees to achieve high customer service ratings, you must set a standard to measure their results.
16) Make Sure Employees Know the Standards
Employees should know how quickly they’re expected to respond to customer service complaints, or else the standards will be useless.
17) Ensure Employees Meet or Exceed Standards
Motivate employees to meet or exceed the standards by offering incentives, holding regular employee performance interviews, and appropriately disciplining those who do not uphold the standards.
18) Track the Success of Your Efforts
Measure the success of your customer service strategy by tracking KPIs. Review reports and let the data point to areas that need improvement.
19) Share Progress With Employees
Employees will be more motivated to improve if you share progress with the team as a whole. Consider creating a large poster with goals, charts tracking progress, and awards for top performers.
20) Share Customer Satisfaction Scores With Employees
Customer satisfaction scores are very telling of how you’re doing as a company. Share this information with employees during training sessions and let them take responsibility for improving the scores over time.
21) Spend Time With Customers
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to get on the frontlines with your customers and learn how your company is actually running in the day-to-day operations. You can also spend time with customers by conducting market research interviews or interacting with them at trade shows.
22) Look for Employees Who Go Above and Beyond
Every company has certain employees who do everything they can to succeed. Set them as an example to other employees by rewarding them and talking about what they’re doing right in team meetings.
23) Encourage Employees to Innovate
Employees can come up with incredible ideas on how to improve your customer service strategy if you allow them to step in. Encourage employees to innovate by asking for their input and rewarding them for ideas you implement.
24) Hold Formal Performance Evaluations
Performance evaluations are an important way of helping employees know how they’re doing, and where they can improve. Set a standard evaluation sheet and hold quarterly reviews to track the progress of each employee.
25) Keep Employees in the Loop When Changes Happen
The best companies are always improving their approach to customer service. But employees can be flustered or irritated if the changes are constant or if they aren’t in the loop. Make sure to inform employees of changes well in advance, and explain why you’re making the change.
Let ROI Solutions Help Your Call Center Experience
These 25 tips will ensure you stay compliant, no matter what type of business you run. Take our realistic and actionable checklist items with you and see how quickly they improve customer service standards for your company. If you are outsourcing, be sure to address these points to your partnering call center to ensure your customers receive the highest level of satisfaction possible.
Without customers, there would be no business. Customer service is at the heart of sustained business growth and success. No company can expect to prosper if customers are neglected through poor service.
Regular customer service audits are a valuable tool to help businesses get an accurate look at how their company is doing at customer service and what could be improved. This isn’t just for young companies; even established companies should re-evaluate their strategies every once in a while. Adjustments can be made based on an audit’s findings that can make a huge impact in saving a struggling business, or in elevating a business to the next level.
What Is a Customer Service Audit?
Businesses are used to audits in areas like finances and safety. It seems only logical to also conduct audits in such an important area as customer service. Customer service audits capture a snapshot of the customer experience: what your company and employees are doing well, and where the customer service experience could be improved.
Who Should Conduct a Customer Service Audit?
A business can conduct its own audit, but a third-party, or external customer service audit provides an unbiased experience and assessment that may offer valuable insight an internal audit might miss. A good audit will also identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
While conducting regular internal audits is certainly valuable, an external customer service audit offers the additional benefit of a truly objective overview. A third party can help you see if your service is up to par.
Some Types of External Customer Service Audits
Mystery Shopping Services
Trained staff visit the place of business and report on their experience as a customer, including location, physical facilities, and quality of the products, services, or food.
A telephone audit can be conducted by listening to recorded calls or posing as a customer and placing calls into a business. This can provide an overview of the current level of service provided, as well as gaps in customer service.
Storefront audits answer the question of how a customer sees a business when they walk through the door. Often this involves observing, evaluating, and reporting on a customer’s experience when visiting the store, from parking to purchase to leaving the building.
High-quality customer service is the goal for any eating establishment, whether a casual dining experience or gourmet meal. If patrons have a bad experience with a restaurant, even the best food may not leave a good impression. Mystery diners visit the restaurant and detail their experience, including service, food, and overall impression.
Tips for Conducting an Internal Customer Service Audit
Before bringing in someone to conduct an external customer service audit, a company may find it instructive to do its own internal audit first. Here are some things to look for:
Do employees understand your business?
Customer service will be better with well-trained employees who can answer questions and guide customers to the appropriate product or service.
Is there a well-defined point of contact for customers?
The customer service journey will be off to a better start if customers know where to go for questions, needs, or service.
How responsive is the company to customer inquiries or issues?
This can include determining how long it takes customers to get service, and the ratio of answered calls to unanswered calls.
How many complaints were there in a given period?
Monitor the number of complaints the business receives each week or month, and compare results over time to identify trends of improvement or decline in customer service.
Are there regular staff meetings that address customer service issues?
Consistent meetings to share concerns and complaints allow staff to learn from each other and get any needed additional training on handling customer service problems.
How do staff treat customers?
Employee interactions with customers should be courteous, and always include polite terms like “please” and “thank you.”
Do you follow up with customers?
The best way to know if a customer’s needs have been met is to actually follow up with them after they received service and see how the company did. When a business asks customers what they can improve, the business is better able to meet customer needs.
What are the real costs of providing support to customers?
Looking at how much current processes for customer service actually cost may create the impetus for changes.
If your customer service audit shows that your business could improve customer service, consider outsourcing some of your customer support. ROI Solutions understands the importance of providing excellent customer service. Contact us today to see how we can improve your customers’ experience, and help your business.
What is an External Customer Service Audit?
To audit is essentially to take a look at the inner and outer workings of something and evaluate if everything is efficient and effective. In the business world, auditing can happen on anything from financial statements to employee satisfaction.
An external customer service audit is exactly what it sounds like: an audit conducted by an external source either acting as a customer or legitimately a customer. As a company, you can set up an external customer service audit through a 3rd party or orchestrate it yourself through personal connections.
Either way, the goal is to leave an external customer feeling very satisfied and happy with their interaction with your business or employees from a customer service standpoint.
What are the Pros of Getting an External Customer Service Audit?
There are a lot of benefits that come with conducting an external customer service audit, including the following:
Helps Redirect Goals
If you find that the results of your external customer service audit are less than satisfactory, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your goals. It’s possible your employees involved were having a bad day, but it’s also possible they don’t understand the purpose behind what they’re doing. Goals and objectives should be clear and concise.
Clues You in on Problems
This is likely the most obvious benefit of external customer service audits. You can find under-performing employees, learn about flaws in your customer service process, and more.
Gives Direction on Training
If a customer comes in with questions or problems that your customer service agent can’t answer because they don’t know the necessary information, you’ve got a problem. But knowing this information provides you with the awareness necessary to make the right changes.
What are the Cons of External Customer Service Audits?
Just as with most things, there are both good and not so good things about external customer service audits. On the bright side, the pros do outweigh the following cons:
When you hire a company or individual to perform an external customer service audit, it’s helpful to recognize that their report is going to be one-sided. You won’t know the backstory behind the employee(s) or customer service processes that they are auditing.
Good, open communication will make this easier. Keep your employees informed; tell them customer service audits will be performed at random. And talk with them about their evaluations afterward.
Internal audits are pricey. So are external ones. But ultimately, since the customer is the one that keeps your business going, the cost is worth it because you’re going to end up with valuable information that will help you create a customer service system that will attract and retain more customers.
Increase Customer Satisfaction with Call Centers
A call center is a great way to maintain excellent relationships with customers for a couple of key reasons:
- Your customer service representatives all work closely together, creating connections among one another and helping each other out.
- Any questions that come up are localized rather than spread out over departments so that you can figure out what your customers’ problems are more easily and better address/solve them.