6 Ways to improve customer service skills

Posted by ICCS BPO on Friday 24th of January 2020

The most memorable thing a customer remembers is the direct interaction between customer and customer service executive.Customer service team is the real face of the company and customer’s experiences depend on the skill and quality of the support they receive.

A strong company will always have great customer relationships. But a smart company will always be defining & modifying concept of good customer service. Good customer service depends on carefully listening and attending to customer’s needs and expectations. We need to be on constant lookout for opportunities to improve customer service, else the relationship between customer & company will hit a plateau & eventually flat line.

Below are few customer service methods to identify ways to provide excellent customer service:

1. Strengthening customer service skills (soft skills)

It is very important to make sure that customer service team has the right skills for managing customer’s needs. No amount of CRM software can compensate for shortcomings in this area.

  • Empathy, patience and consistency: Some customers will be irate. Others will be full of questions. And others will just be chatty. You must know how to handle all of them and provide the same level of service efficiently every time.
  • Adaptability: Every customer is different, and some may even seem to change week-to-week. One should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood and adapt accordingly. It is a continuous learning process.
  • Clear communication: Ensure you convey to customers exactly what you mean. Use positive language, stay cheerful and never end a conversation without confirming that the customer is satisfied with resolution.
  • Work ethic: Customers appreciate a rep who will see their problem through to its resolution. At the same time, you must have good time management skills and not spend too much time handling one customer while others are waiting. Right balance is required for same.
  • Knowledge: Customers rely on executive’s knowledge of product. They should be skilled enough to respond to queries and know where to turn if the questions become too detailed or technical to answer. But they shouldn’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” either. Customer will appreciate the honesty and efforts to find the right answer.
  • Thick skin: The customer’s always right… right? The ability to accept blame or negative feedback is crucial. Whether team works directly with customers or looking for feedback on social media, they’ve got to keep the customer’s happiness in mind.
  • Run customer feedback survey through CRM program, at the point of sale, or at time of sending invoice is a great way to gauze team’s skills and identify opportunities of learning areas.

2. Measure every touch point

In addition to making sure the right soft skills are used, one needs to ensure to have full view of customer’s experience, else it might result in lapses in customer service that can really hurt business deeply.

3. Improve customer interaction

  • It’s a wonderful thing if staff is equipped with necessary skill set, but they still need to relate to customers.
  • Identifying common grounds–like shared interests. Having this understanding results in overcoming conflict situation and it endears customers to your representative (in turn to the company).
  • Practice active listening. Clarify and paraphrase what the customers say to eliminate any scope of misunderstanding. Empathize by using statements like, “That must have upset you” or “I can see why you feel slighted.”
  • Admit mistakes. This builds trust and restores confidence and allows to control the situation, re-focus the customer’s attention and resolve the issue.
  • Follow-up after resolution. Send an email or feedback survey to let the customer know that you care & ends up delighting customer.

4. Enhance customer service strategy

  • Practice proactive customer service by using good soft skills. Few of them are listed below:
  • Rapport building. Customers want to feel that they have access to real people, not chat bots and FAQs. Offer more than just automated email responses by taking full advantage of social media (such as Facebook, Twitter etc.) and write responses when your customers post on company’s page. Post photos and bios on website. This shows that there are real people working on their behalf.
  • Be available. Part of the personal touch is making sure your customers can reach you. For example if your business is primarily online, meet in person occasionally with local customers and offer video calls (such as Skype) for those farther away. Work early and late as per requirement, especially if customers are based in different time zones. Even providing customers with physical address helps build their trust and reminds them that company exists off the internet as well.
  • Meeting customer expectations. Consider assigning representatives to specific customers so they can build a relationship. Offer VIP treatment for best customers to let them know they are appreciated and valued.
  • Organise meet & greet. Customers feel more valued if they are treated as important members of a community. Bring customers together in webinars, interactive websites, social media, trade shows and conventions. And while customer’s come to these forums to learn from you, you can learn more from them.

5. Satisfied Employees

Satisfied employees result in great customer experience as they are more engaged & considerate to the pain of the person on other end of communications line. Use anonymous suggestion box or an employee engagement survey to see what makes your employees happy.

Find out how customer service team feels about work environment and compensation, career growth opportunities, training and their peers and help their stay in company more conducive & comfortable.

6. Customer service feedback

No matter how proactive you are, you’ll never be able to get in front of every customer issue. To make sure you learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly experience your customers have, create an easily accessible way for customers to give feedback via phone or email survey sent directly from your CRM tool, or a form on the “Contact Us” page of your website. It also helps keep unhappy customers from voicing their displeasure on highly visible places like your social media pages. Feedback is very important to provide customer satisfaction.

Make effort to get closer both to customers and employees. Not only will you discover touchpoints and skills that need improvement, but your customers will see that are dedicated to providing top-notch, proactive customer service.

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