As customer experience management tops the business agenda, the spotlight falls on contact centres and agents take centre stage. Make yours stand out from the crowd with the right strategy. Magnus Geverts at Calabrio shares his essential guide to Good Customer Service.
Customer service is now a key differentiator in the eyes of consumers and companies alike. Ever since the COVID crisis, 60% of consumers report they now have higher customer service standards and the trend is set to continue with 73% of business leaders reporting a direct link between customer service experience and business performance.[i] This is welcome news for contact centres because a strategic focus on CX is the perfect opportunity to provide a stellar performance and help their organisations to shine. Put your contact centre on the right track with a step-by-step guide to improving customer service that blends people, process and technology.
Top 5 principles of good customer service
1. Create a vision of what excellent service looks like – start by involving agents, the people who know your customers best. Use their knowledge, experience and skill set to share successful customer interactions, and a few not so good ones, to create a useful baseline. Go back to basics, business is an interaction between two human beings–one a buyer and the other a seller. The old adage ‘people buy from people’ underpins every good customer service strategy so bear this in mind when creating your own vision of what excellent service looks like.
2. Manners matter – and they start from inside an organisation and from the top. Treat agents with the appreciation and respect they deserve and those qualities will filter downwards and outwards, ultimately affecting how agents treat customers. Displaying manners raises morale but make sure courtesy words such as ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ are meant sincerely and not used as a pause mechanism during difficult customer conversations. After all, service with a chip on the shoulder never ends well for the agent or customer.
3. Build a brand ambassador programme – to help agents put your customer service vision into practice. Truly engage agents by encouraging them to perfect a compelling storyboard that makes your organisation stand out from the crowd. Make this brand story part of the agents’ mindset so it becomes second nature when interacting with customers, whatever the channel. Train new recruits and experienced members of the team then inspire and motivate them through gamification. Offer rewards to those who share their brand story successes and learning, with others. This gives everyone the opportunity to shine and customers will pick up on the positive energy and enthusiasm and pass the good news onto others.
4. Enhance recruitment by making all-round agent care and development the biggest perk – turn your recruitment strategy upside down to hire the best agents for the new world of increased customer expectations. The majority of adverts for agent jobs are underwhelming and do little to improve customer service with bland statements such as “Can you demonstrate empathy?” and “Look, you get free gym membership.” Consider how much more stimulating it is to read: “We will teach you invaluable skills for the world of customer experience and your role within it.” Such messages emphasise the contact centre cares about the futures of its employees. When a contact centre backs this commitment to development by creating progression pathways through the company, it improves recruitment and motivation. In turn, the team delivers better service to customers.
5. Elevate your customer service strategy with Workforce Performance – think differently, introducing processes and solutions that strategically support and maximise overall workforce performance, rather than simply offer a route to workforce optimisation. Do your agents know what customers are feeling at every stage of the customer journey? Can they pre-empt what will make or break a good customer experience? Focus on the human element of customer – and agent – conversations to develop the right training and management techniques. Harness the power of data-driven analytics to give agents the intelligent insights they need to flourish and deliver the best-ever customer service.
About the Author
Magnus Geverts is VP, Product Marketing at Calabrio
Calabrio is the customer experience intelligence company that empowers organisations to enrich human interactions. The scalability of our cloud platform allows for quick deployment of remote work models—and it gives our customers precise control over both operating costs and customer satisfaction levels. Our AI-driven analytics tools make it easy for contact centres to uncover customer sentiment and share compelling insights with other parts of the organisation. Customers choose Calabrio because we understand their needs and provide a best-in-class experience, from implementation to ongoing support. Find more at calabrio.com and follow @Calabrio on Twitter.