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This is a guest post from Sam Makad.
Customer service forms an integral part of any organization. Especially when it comes to customer engagement and retention, the heavy burden of developing connections and satisfying curious or ruffled customers lies on the shoulders of your customer service team.
The Importance of Good Customer Service for Retaining Customers
By providing top-notch service to your customers, you can boost your retention rate significantly with a direct impact on your company’s bottom line. According to stats, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profits by a minimum of 25%.
Remember, your customer service team deals with all sorts of customers daily. A lot of these customers are unhappy or dissatisfied, which means your service agents are unlikely to enjoy their job much, owing to several unpleasant conversations. Therefore, it is vital to recognize their contribution to your business’ success and focus on proper training and technology to improve not only your service levels but also the happiness of your employees.
Building and Managing a Dream Customer Service Team
But first, how do you define a customer service team?
Your customer service team is the face of your company. It is the point of contact for customers seeking assistance once they have purchased a product. Comprising of highly trained staff, your customer service team is focused on providing optimal customer experience and continuing customer relationships through personalized interactions and helpful suggestions. Customer retention is one of the main objectives of your customer service team that is also adept at solving any issues plaguing your existing customers.
As you can see, the role of your customer service team complements the accomplishments of your marketing and sales teams. While marketing acquires and sends forth qualified leads to the sales team, it is the job of customer service to ensure that customers once converted remain loyal to your brand.
And, as you may already know, loyal customers are the biggest assets for any business.
But how do you build a highly motivated and competent customer service team?
Well, there are several ways to keep your customer service agents motivated, and at the top of their game, but it all begins with recruiting the right people for the job.
Customer service is not just about answering queries. It is about satisfying the customers by understanding what they need. You can judge potential candidates by throwing them various situations and asking how they would deal with it. Good candidates would always put themselves in the customers’ shoes to deliver an empathetic response to make your customers feel better.
Tips to Improve the Performance of Your In-House Customer Service Team
Hiring and retaining great employees is easier said than done. However, once you get the right team on board, it is most important to provide them with an enriching environment to ensure they feel rewarded for their work and continue adding value to your processes. Here are five tips to keep your customer service team motivated:
1. Rotate Jobs to Avoid Monotony
A top-notch customer service team is fundamental to the experience you provide your customers. Thus, it is essential to find and retain talented employees by providing them with nurturing work experience.
Remember, happy employees make successful organizations. And, one way in which you can keep your customer service team happy is by breaking the monotony of their job regularly. You can achieve this by building a team structure that is based on rotation. This means every employee serves in various roles at different intervals of time, leading to a holistic experience and more adventure.
Some of the posts that can be rotated within your team include the assigning of tickets, coordinating phone calls, engaging customers via live chat, and phone support. Your customer service agents can also be given the role of onboarding customers, as they spend most of their time resolving customer issues, and understand your product inside out.
If you have a company blog, your customer service agents can contribute to knowledge management by creating insightful blogs and compiling a FAQ database in their spare time.
2. Use Technology to Streamline Your Team’s Work
Introducing an AI-enabled chatbot in your customer service team can reduce your agents’ workload significantly while also reducing your costs.
AI-enabled chatbots use NLP technology to answer most frequently asked customer queries and provide them with relevant information. As machine learning algorithms power chatbots, they are capable of learning with every use, which means your chatbot gets more intelligent with every customer interaction and can handle an increasing number of queries over time.
Many companies employ chatbots at the frontline of customer contact. By following such a practice, straightforward questions are handled instantly without the need for human involvement. In the case of a complex customer request, a chatbot can transfer the call to human agents, ensuring they only have to spend their time on handling complicated matters.
Chatbots can answer up to 80% of customer queries instantly, and work alongside your existing sales and support teams to interpret inquiries, answer customer questions, and learn from new interactions.
Another way to help your customer service team is by introducing a robust customer relationship management (CRM) solution in your system. With a sound CRM system in place, your team can keep in touch with customers effortlessly through emails, SMS, social media, and even phone, reducing their workload significantly.
3. Introduce Reward Programs to Keep Your Team Motivated
Everybody likes their work to be appreciated and rewarded. That’s why many organizations create reward and recognition programs to motivate their employees and ensure they continue putting in their best. One of the most common methods of rewarding employees is by offering monetary compensation for great or extra work. However, this may not be an ideal system for your customer service team as it could cause them to rush through calls to log in the maximum numbers. Instead, you can adopt a goal-oriented reward program that enables employees to measure their own success. It is also a good idea to seek customer feedback after every interaction and recognize agents with the highest customer satisfaction scores.
4. Invest in Ongoing Training Programs
Employees not only look for good salary and recognition but also wish for their organizations to add to their knowledge and skills. One of the best ways of retaining employees is by investing in continuous learning programs that keep your team abreast of the latest trends in the industry. Besides technical training, you can also organize soft skills training to reinforce the importance of necessary skills, such as patience and empathy, while handling customers.
5. Encourage Employee Feedback to Ensure Employee Satisfaction
Your customer service team is a vital part of your organization. However, are you aware of the challenges faced by them?
Are they having issues in using new software introduced by the company? Or, do they think your business is running on old technology and can suggest some latest technology upgrades?
It is easy to make decisions behind closed doors. But, if you wish to create a team of satisfied and happy employees, it is recommended to ask for regular feedback and act on it, too. Of course, you cannot please everyone while making business decisions, but you can always hold weekly meetings to share the reasoning behind a specific decision and why some suggestions were not accepted.
Remember, if you want your company to succeed, you need to invest both time and money in hiring and training your customer service teams. Hear out their challenges and listen to their suggestions, because they know your customers best.
With businesses no longer competing on price or quality, customer experience as emerged as the new differentiating factor for companies who wish to succeed. Consequently, the focus has shifted from sales and marketing to building top-notch customer service teams who play a critical role in engaging and retaining customers, leading to a loyal user base.
If you wish to gain an edge over the competition, we suggest you start by laying down your customer experience expectations. Next, make these expectations a prt of your hiring policy to recruit customer service employees who believe in the same ethos as your company. In addition, you can follow the tips we have listed above to improve the performance and satisfaction levels of your in-house customer service team.
This is a guest post from Sam Makad.
Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI. Reach out to Sam Makad on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Thanks to Pixabay for the title image.