Some customer service departments have a good, long record of success . . . and some customer service departments have sporadic performance. What makes the difference? How do some companies pull off creating a company culture of customer service that is admired while others struggle even to maintain passing marks in the customer service department?
The answer is structure. If your company has put a strong structure in place which supports an overarching philosophy, this allows a culture of customer service to be built. This culture is what eventually becomes synonymous with your brand and makes all the difference in your company’s ability to reach the heights of customer satisfaction.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses and Align Them With Your Goals
Start by taking a proper and thorough inventory of your company’s weaknesses. Talk to customers but also talk to your own staff. What practices seem to be missing the mark? Ensure each person you talk with feels safe enough to talk openly without fear of repercussion. Next, think through your company’s strengths. Again, talk to others and find out where your business shines.
Finally, make a list of customer service goals and prioritize them according to the risk of customer loss. Your greatest chance for successfully achieving these goals will probably come when you focus on using your strengths to repair your weak points.
All this effort is for naught, however, if you don’t have full and steadfast support from the high-level company players. Be sure they are not only on board but are staunch champions of the customer. Only then are you able to put the proper processes in place for a service culture to flourish.
Hire the Optimal Team of People
Building an incredible team is the next step in creating a culture of customer service because it simply can’t be done without the right people in place to pull it off. Here are three steps that will help you hire excellent customer-oriented staff:
1. Think about your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals and hire specific types of people to augment or fill in the gaps. Also, take into account the types of service your customers need and prefer. For example, let’s say most of your customers pick up the phone to talk directly with your company when they need help solving product issues. Then it would be wise of you to hire representatives who have a pleasant phone voice and matching conversational skills.
2 During job interviews, be open and honest about the challenges that inherently come with the position. Consider asking each candidate how they would solve a particular problem and give them enough time to talk it out. If they express creative ways to address issues and emphasize customer satisfaction, they could be a great fit for the job.
3. Carefully craft your interview questions and note any responses that exhibit passion, empathy, and good listening skills. One-word answers are not a good sign; strategic thinking and an expression of care are what you want.
Use the Right Tools and Technology
Your tools and technology must keep up with the quickly evolving preferences of your customers. This doesn’t mean you should let good, old-fashioned etiquette fall by the wayside. It does mean you should enhance time-honored customer service practices with modern conveniences, including:
- Reaching customers through various channels (phone, live chat, email, social networks, online forums).
- Making it automatic whenever possible so you can receive appropriate notification, preemptively address problems, and resolve issues as quickly as possible.
- Using call monitoring software to gain a more thorough understanding of how your customers are interacting with your brand.
- Evaluating online habits and purchases and collecting real-time feedback by using Predictive analytics.
- Taking advantage of professional call center services such as answering services, technical support, help desk, order taking, and more. This is an especially good route to take if you are short on staff or your customers require an extra level of care. It’s been proven that a call center will not only reduce your costs, but will make your customers happier and better served.
If your goal is a long-term culture of customer service, reaching it isn’t an instant endeavor. It takes time to build from the ground up (or from the top down!). But the rewards are great . . . some of which you will see almost instantly. Staff will be happier, customers will remain loyal, and your brand will thrive.
If you’re ready to foster good, long-term customer service, request a free quote from ROI Solutions!