There’s nothing worse than horrible customer service, right? Whether you’re dealing with your cable company’s customer service department over the phone or a waitress who continues to forget what you ordered, customer service at any business can make or break the reputation of a company or franchise.
Even though customer service is a pretty common element of every business, there are some specifics on best practices when it comes to the employees you’re hiring. Whether your business is more retail-based or service-based, it’s critical you learn customer service techniques to further the long term success of your business by keeping customers happy.
Unfortunately, many businesses focus too much on what they’re selling or providing and forget to implement proper customer service strategies and protocols. Your business could sell the biggest and best product in the world, but with poor customer service, you could be missing out on some major revenue.
Follow along as we dive into some of the best practices to implement within your organization for exceptional customer service. Excellent customer service makes great customers. It’s pretty simple!
Customer Service Strategies For Growth
Every business is different and performs its best in specific ways they’ve established through its employees over the years. But practicing a few great strategies encourages exceptional customer support, coupled with the great work you’ve already put into your organization.
1. The Right People
It sounds simple, but hiring the right person for the job is sometimes the hardest job to do. Your business is one of a kind, and there’s a team of people out there that can serve your employees in ways other companies can’t. But that means you’ve got to do your research and take some time to prospect employees who fit best in your environment.
Many companies have hiring processes they reference when interviewing, while others might wing the process based on the person conducting the interview. A general rule of thumb is always to have an interview process in place, even if it’s small, and implement this process for each person interested in working for your company.
With an interview process comes a training process, which is just as important when talking about onboarding strategies for new hires. Every one of your employees should go through the same, mandated training.
A standard process for training allows new employees to properly acclimate and understand current operations, encouraging open communication and familiarity within the department.
Forbes recently published an article that discusses training strategies for new employees you might find interesting, Customer Service For Beginners: 10 Best Practices Employees Need Training On When New.
Also, don’t be afraid to rely on your current employees to apply for any open positions within the company. One of the best ways to support your business internally is to grow within.
2. Empower Your Staff
Ever heard the saying, “Confidence is killer”? Well, this couldn’t be truer when talking about best practices for great customer service. As a manager of a department, it’s up to you to ensure your employees feel confident in the solutions, services, or products they’re offering.
Remember, one main goal of your employees is to satisfy the needs of your customers. Employees always perform their best when they’re confident, and when they know you’ve got their back.
Whenever you or your employees run into an issue with a customer, use it as leverage to teach your employees a better way to handle the situation. Not only does this support continued education within your team, but it gives your employees the confidence they need if a similar problem resurfaces.
3. Provide an Open Work Environment
Many managers advertise they practice an “open-door policy,” but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. As a manager, if you say your door is always open, make sure you’re sticking to that narrative.
The more comfortable your employees are with talking to you, the fewer issues and miscommunications you’ll experience. Let your employees know that you’re human just like them, you’re not just their manager.
It’s critical that when an employee comes to you for guidance, assistance, or suggestions of improvement, that you take the time to listen to their needs and acknowledge their feelings or frustrations.
It means a lot to your employees if they feel “heard.” Implementing any suggestions they present you with on customer service, is a huge effort on your part your employees will directly see.
A simple “thank you” always goes a long way, so tell your employees you’re glad they came to you with their ideas or future plans of the department, company, or customers.
4. Quarterly Meetings Are Always A Good Idea
Sometimes, meetings feel like a waste of time, and you spend more time talking then you do working to resolve an issue. However, quarterly meetings with employees keep you both on the same page.
Here are a few suggested topics you can cover in your quarterly meetings with your department:
- Ask for feedback on what the company or department is doing right (such as customer service operations) and what can be improved
- Implement suggestions to problems wherever possible
- Have higher up staff members step out of the last part of the meeting to provide a more trusting atmosphere for feedback that isn’t always the most comfortable to talk about
5. Equip Employees With Tools For Success
With most things in life, the more tools you have to do your job, the better results you’ll see. Plain and simple. Giving your employees the tools they need to perform at their best is such a great way to encourage impactful customer service.
Programs that monitor your customers requests and history allows your employees to service their needs in the best ways possible. The more you know about your customers and their small business, the better you’ll be at helping them achieve their goals.
It’s also essential to stay up-to-date on all new technology that pertains to your company and customers. It’s all about going the extra mile.
The technology world is growing and changing at a pace that’s hard to keep up with, and you’ll find yourself beaten by your competition if you fail to learn the newest technology trends and devices on the market.
6. Your Customers Need Tools, Too
Not only is it a good idea to equip your employees with tools and customer service skills, but your customers need tools as well. It’s critical your customers have tools to rate your services and company’s products so that you know how well (or not so well) your staff and equipment is performing.
Have you ever thought about sending surveys after your customer support team responds to a customer call? Surveys are a really great way to measure the satisfaction of your customers, and what you might need to improve upon. This way, your customers know you care about their needs and are eager to address any negative experiences they might have encountered.
It’s also important to monitor your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Every business has an NPS which measures customer experience as well as predicting business growth. Using this tool is a key factor in measuring your customers’ overall perception of your company, brand, and employees. Your employees will have a lot of peace of mind if your score is closet to 100% as you can get.
Speaking of tools, if you’re in the business technology industry, check out our article on how outsourcing tools encourage business growth, Top 5 Benefits of Managed IT Services.
7. Territory Integrity For Field Technicians
If your business is in a customer service sector where you have specialists out in the field, such as a technology company like us visiting businesses, or a medical device company visiting hospitals, it’s vital to establish territories and areas for each field representative.
Assigning territories for your reps encourages stronger relationships between them and the customers they’re serving. The customer knows they can count on their one representative who knows and understands their business and ordering needs, and they don’t have to re-explain their office operations over and over again with a new rep.
Establishing rapport and compatibility between the customer and their technician builds confidence that many companies value the most.
Territory integrity also allows a rep or a technician to remain focused only on the accounts in their region or area, preventing that, “burnt-out” or “over-worked” feeling.
Territory customer service reps can focus solely on their area, rather than running around frantically throughout their day questioning which business to visit next. When a rep or technician is focused on their territory, they are ultimately providing their customers the individualized attention they need.
Exceptional Customer Satisfaction Is Worth Fighting For
As you can tell, there’s a lot that goes into creating an outstanding and leading-edge customer service team of any kind. It really doesn’t matter what industry your business is in, it has to do with how you reach and communicate with your customers.
Whether your customer service employees are speaking with customers over the phone, or visiting them in-person, following these best practices is a great way to build a customer service reputation that no consumer would ever want to pass up.
To learn more about customer service best practices, read our article, Three Ways To Provide Better Customer Service.
At AIS, we’re not just a copier company. We’re a business technology company dedicated to not only serving you but your customers as well. We know how important your brand is to you, and we want to play a role in the success and continued growth of your company. If you’d like to learn more about our customer service techniques or are interested in any of the products and services we offer, reach out to us, here. Also, check out our video channel on YouTube, The Copier Channel. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.