What’s the most important thing a business needs to do to improve relationships with their customers and keep them coming back for more? The answer is pretty obvious, and yet so often overlooked: providing a delightful customer service.
No matter how good your product may be, or how competent your customer service team is, the only thing that matters is how your customers feel about your company.
And the key to providing an exceptional customer service lies directly in the ability of your team to deliver a positive experience. If you are a customer service manager, you are probably aware that it’s your team that is the face of your company, and your customers’ experiences will be driven by the skill and quality of the support they receive.
As a customer service manager, it’s your ability to drive both customer satisfaction, and employee engagement, that defines your own success. Happy agents are more likely to go above and beyond while servicing your customers. And customers who feel they are cared for, are the ones that will return.
The bottom-line is that you can’t have delighted customers with disengaged, or even disgruntled employees. That’s where you need to start.
So, what can you do to ensure your team is performing at its best? Well, here are three questions you should be asking at least one of your team members everyday:
1. What are your customers telling you?
This question happens to be a very potent diagnostic tool. You cannot succeed in creating happy customers if you do not start by removing all the potentially unhappy and disgruntled customers first.
You need to have your team understand that it’s okay to let your customers vent their anguish and open up to them. They shouldn’t be looking to defend a poor customer service, or a poor product experience. Allowing your customers to vent will lead you to discovering new perspectives on their overall experience with the company, and why they be feeling so frustrated.
Once this mindset has been inculcated in the team, they will start paying a closer attention to the specific language customers use to describe their problems, or frustration. Recording, or capturing their words verbatim, will help you identify the root cause of the issue and will be a great help when the team looks for a solution.
Ideally, it’s your customer who should be talking 90% of the time. Your team, on the other hand, should be busy making a note of their complaints, frustrations and concerns. This will help you:
- Identify the exact problems your customers face
- Get to know the most common struggles from your customer’s perspective
- Know the exact language your customers use
- Understand your customers better
This information is crucial to providing better support and have much more engaged and delighted customers. In the words of Alan Weiss, the author of “Million Dollar Consulting”:
“Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem.”
2. How can I help you?
Despite acknowledging the importance of good customer service, many businesses still subscribe to the opinion that service incurs business cost. However, what’s important here is to realize that good customer service is more like an investment that can help drive business growth. Hiring quality talent, and ensuring they have the right skills, training and tools enables them to empathize with customers and actively listen to them. This is the key to providing a consistently good service experiences.
Without proper tools and resources, your team may not feel empowered enough to effectively resolve customer queries or respond appropriately to their frustrations. As much as you want your teammates to empathize with your customers’ problems, you need to first look at serving your own team members and empathize with them.
Therefore, it’s a good practice to turn the tables on your teammates and ask them, whether in a group discussion or a while having a one-on-one conversation: “How can I help you?”
What’s also important, is to listen to their suggestions and then act on them. Have an in-depth discussion on every view of theirs, no matter how small you insignificant you feel they may be. If they want you to know about it, then it is a big deal to them. And if it’s a big deal to them, it ought to be a big deal to you!
Identify any training needs that your support members may have. There are well designed customer service training programs available out there that focus on improving communication, listening, problem solving and analytical skills. Training all your agents on a predetermined set of competencies equips them with the right mindset and a standard process to deal with customers and builds a sense of team spirit.
3. Do you get credit for the results you generate?
Creating high performers consistently is a crucial activity for every customer service manager.
Every employee strives for professional growth and often this implies more than just money. The desire for challenging situations, bringing in substantial growth and going beyond personal capacities is what drives many employees to want to become high performers.
So, as the manager for customer service, how can you nurture those seeds of ambition to help your team members grow and become high performers or potential leaders themselves?
By giving them appropriate credits when they are due.
As a manager, you can motivate fellow team members by holding them to higher standards, asking for more and lending them the support they need to get there. And as they start to meet these expectations with more efficiency and a renewed sense of purpose, ask them if they have the data, the tools, and support to carry out everything that’s expected out of them. And more importantly, ask them: “Do you get credit for the results you generate”?
Asking these three questions frequently will help you generate a stream of ideas to continually improve your team’s and your customer’s experience. Act on the feedback and suggestions you receive to improve customer engagement and empower your employees to deliver exceptional service that will delight your customers. And finally, ask them if they are happy with what they get out of it.
Author Bio: Jared Cornell is a customer-support ninja and a marketing evangelist working with ProProfs for more than 5 years. After wearing many hats as a sales specialist, a content marketer and a brief stint as project manager; Jared found customer support to be the passion-fueled calling.