Customer service is a big competitive differentiators for your brand. Make sure your contact center offers the best customer experience it can. Here are 8 tips.
With technological advances, globalization, and fierce competition in almost every industry, customer experience is fast becoming one of the few remaining brand differentiators. Make sure your business is putting its best foot forward in every customer interaction with these customer service tips from contact center experts.
Importance of Quality Customer Service
The importance of quality customer service through the contact center can’t be underestimated. According to Deloitte’s most recent Global Contact Center Survey, 85 percent of organizations surveyed viewed customer experience provided through the contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Additionally, 50 percent of organizations surveyed believed that the contact center plays a primary role in customer retention.
Expanding on the same idea, according to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Yet even beyond differentiation, there are many reasons why businesses invest in customer experience (CX). Per Genesys the top three motivators are:
- Improving customer retention (42%)
- Improving customer satisfaction (33%)
- Increasing cross-selling and up-selling (32%)
Clearly then, it’s important that contact centers make an ongoing effort to offer the best customer service experiences. These tips from contact center experts can help.
Customer Service Tips
#1 Be consistent.
Not that your customers want to be in touch with your contact center representatives daily, but whenever they do reach out they want to experience consistent, quality service. No matter whether they are calling, emailing, or chatting they will expect a certain level of professional etiquette each time across all channels.
#2 Start on a positive note.
A positive customer experience begins immediately. Set the tone of what your customers can expect by responding promptly with a professional, polite greeting that gets to the point quickly.
#3 Emphasize courtesy.
Although the customer can’t see the smile through the phone lines, this conscious choice will make a difference in what the customer hears.
Plus, the smile can help boost morale for your call center employees too. After all, smiling increases serotonin in the brain, which helps us feel happier and less stressed.
Saying “please” and “thank you” is a nice courtesy for customers, but can also prompt them to show your agents the same kindness as well, which again can help them feel better about meeting other people’s needs all day long.
#4 Avoid interrupting.
Experienced contact center agents are going to see some issues repeat. Nevertheless, interrupting a complaining customer is not going to make a positive impression. The customer wants to feel heard, and that your agents care about their concerns, so encourage patience even as you emphasize the importance of efficiently addressing customer needs.
#5 Announce intentions.
If an agent needs to place a customer on hold, review documents, check with a manager or anything else that interrupts the flow of the customer interaction, they should tell the customer they will be doing so. Ask first, and listen to whether or not they are willing to wait. Some may not be and the agent should instead schedule a follow-up call, transfer the communication, or take a message.
#6 Make call transfers competently.
Keep in mind, also, that in telephone conversations customers have limited tolerance of being transferred again and again. They hate having to repeat themselves and dislike feeling as if they’re being shuffled among unhelpful agents. When transferring a call:
- Let the person know.
- Ask if they are OK with being transferred.
- Make sure to get someone on the other end before hanging up.
- Introduce the caller and the reason for the call to expedite the other agent’s offering a solution.
- Don’t accidentally disconnect the caller — little torpedoes customer satisfaction faster.
#7 Know how to handle the angry or upset.
It’s inevitable that contact center agents will have to interact with unpleasant customers who are already angry or upset at the outset of the call. Telling someone to “calm down” is unlikely to help the situation. Instead:
- Try to remain calm
- Aim to be reassuring
- Let the customer feel heard
- Outline actions taken to address their concerns.
#8 Close the call efficiently.
Agents should never be rushing someone off the phone or out of the chat room. Instead, offer a quick summary of what was accomplished and/or action plans, and ask if there are any further questions. This wrap-up should be brief, courteous, and conclusive.
Contact center success rests on a solid foundation of positive customer experiences.