In the spirit of Customer Service Week, I’ve been reflecting on what goes into stellar service. Based on my professional experience speaking with companies about their customer service goals and challenges, I’ve developed the following four customer service tips that every contact centre should make a priority.
Tip #1: Be customer-centric. This seems obvious, but it’s surprisingly rare that companies actually do it. It also has less to do with adopting sophisticated technology than it does with a change in perspective and protocols. Imagine you’re a contact centre for a company that just suffered a loss of service, which negatively impacted customers. How about sending your customers an email that takes responsibility for the issue, apologizes for it, and makes it right? And making it right could be a very small reimbursement that, trust me, will be repaid ten-fold in a vastly more loyal customer base.
Tip #2: Personalize it. Customers are fast becoming intolerant of doing repeat business with companies that still seem to have no insight into their buying or service history (think about being sold on a totally irrelevant product or service…ugh). To right this wrong it’s vital that your contact centre routing system is integrated with your CRM and other back-end systems that house critical customer data. This enables reps to have a customer’s personal information at their finger-tips so they can more quickly and effectively address issues.
Tip #3: Respond fast. When something impacts a customer, the response must be immediate. Taking action in near real-time – especially in today’s Millennial-driven economy — shows a proactive approach that tells customers they are a priority (see Tip #1). It also eliminates the need for customers to spend more time finding out what, if anything, a company will do about the issue.
Tip #4: Embrace self-service. Sure, you still want to offer easy access to live assistance, but increasingly customers want the anytime/anywhere convenience of self-service. Just be sure when you design these systems you do so with the customer in mind. Survey them and find out what systems they would use and for what purpose. Before going live, test them with a beta group to ensure these systems contribute to a positive customer experience.
The above tips take some investment in the right technology, and often require a change in service culture and policy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that much can be done from little if a company is intentional about its customer engagement strategy.
Jason Alley is a senior solutions marketing manager for Interactive Intelligence. Since his employment in 2010, Jason has helped Interactive Intelligence develop market requirements and go-to-market strategies for contact centre, customer experience, and cloud solutions. Prior to Interactive, he spent ten years consulting with large enterprise contact centres and suppliers for Vanguard Communications, and a company he later founded, SmartContact Consulting. Jason spent the first seven years of his career in sales, marketing, and product management roles working for Aspect, Hipbone, Nortel, and others. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.
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