The first full work week in October is known as “National Customer Service Week” — Which makes it a perfect time to examine your existing customer service tactics and identify ways to take it to the next level. Every company, no matter how skilled at making their customers feel like royalty, can use a few tips to continually improve:
1. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize: One of the simplest (and least expensive ways) to really make your customers feel appreciated is to personalize any responses with them. This may be as simple as tweaking your email platform or e-blasts to add a customer’s name (if available) but can also mean something like adding an element to your phone bank training to encourage service representatives to ask and continually repeat the customer’s name during the interaction and thank them specifically by name at the conclusion.
2. Give your reps flexibility: When resolving a potential complaint or issue, clients hate being put on hold or being told “let me check with my supervisor” when asking for resolution. Empower your representatives with an arsenal of tools they can use on the spot without needing to take resolution to the next level. Can you offer a refund, replacement or upgrade on the fly? Customers appreciate being able to resolve an issue with one call or visit and will remember your willingness to ‘make it right’ the next time something comes up or it is time to renew.
3. Use technology to your advantage: Business technology and automation services are constantly involving and improving. One area where businesses may be lacking however is integrating technology. How often have you been on hold trying to resolve an issue only to be told “I don’t have access to that information” or “I can’t see other parts of your account?” In order to speed response times and make your customer service game even more efficient, examine ways to integrate access to all technology platforms and data across team members to avoid unnecessary delays.
4. Identify new ways for your customers to reach you: Call centers and email accounts were the gold standards for years when it came to customer outreach and communication. Technology, and the ways people use it to communicate, continues to evolve. Talk to your customer service team to determine if clients are requesting different ways to resolve an issue; look at what your competitors are doing. Can you add a new channel such as a chat function on your web site? How about a texting or WhatsApp option? Especially when dealing with clients in diverse locations and time zones, more passive outreach tools like these might be more effective than a phone call.
5. Always seek feedback: Even if you sometimes don’t like the answers, always ask your customers “How are we doing?” — A simple feedback form at the end of an online interaction or an emailed customer service survey can provide valuable insight about what is and isn’t working well in your system. Additionally, customer feedback allows your clients to feel invested in the process and provides a sense that you genuinely care about their experience.
6. Recognize great service: While it is critical to work on external, customer-facing service, it’s equally important to practice internal customer service and recognize those team members that have gone above and beyond. If you don’t already have something in place, use this time to create an internal recognition program for employees singled out for their excellent external service. Simple gestures such as a public thank you, internal email or intranet posting can go a long way, as well as specific recognitions including bonus PTO, gift cards or additional company perks — For those that spend their days trying to help external audiences, a little internal ‘thank you’ from the boss is much appreciated!