According to a report, more than 65% of consumers today have higher customer service expectations than five years ago. Almost 50% of customers don’t hesitate to change a brand due to a single bad service experience, and 80% of these consumers shift to a competitor after more than one bad experience.
Regardless of your brand’s reputation today, a poor customer service episode can change customers’ expectations and loyalty toward your products and services. So, what should you do?
Here is a solution.
Create a high-performing customer service team while improving your products or building a strong online presence. It is an investment with an excellent return.
Read this guide to find tips and tricks to build a solid and effective team and enhance the performance of your customer service department manifolds.
What Is a Customer Service Team?
“It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.”
When you build a business, you need to ensure that it benefits you well for a long time. While an excellent product may help it flourish for an extended period, reliable customer service attracts and retains customers. This is where a customer service team comes in.
A customer service team helps connect the customers and the company. It contains a group of well-learned and expert individuals that provide any relevant assistance and support to customers with problems and concerns related to the company’s products and services.
Additionally, the team addresses complaints, provides technical support, and processes refunds and returns. An excellent customer service team promotes customer satisfaction, builds customer loyalty, and works toward maintaining a brand's reputation.
The main role of a customer support department is to support customers from the moment they contact your company to the many days, months, and years that follow.
A good customer service has four key principles, personalized, proactive, competent and convenient. These factors have a direct influence on customer expectations, and should be widely practiced throughout the department.
The Anatomy of a Small Customer Service Team
A small customer service team is a blessing, especially if your customers regularly experience complex issues with your company’s products. However, who are the team participants?
A customer service team’s structure may vary depending on the needs and size of your company. But generally, a small customer service team contains:
Customer Service Manager
This individual oversees and supervises the team. They ensure that the team meets all goals related to customer satisfaction and an intense experience. They are also responsible for handling all complex and minor customer issues effectively.
A manager is responsible for conducting day-to-day tasks such as managing basic operations, setting goals for the rest of the team, coaching and training new staff, and hiring new members for the support team.
The manager is also responsible for evaluating the performance of the staff and giving feedback for improvement. They also curate procedures and policies for smooth service and excellent quality of service.
Customer Service Specialist
This person is a specialized individual who assists and supports different customers. They are responsible for ensuring that all customers receive excellent service before, during, and after a transaction.
A customer service specialist answers customer queries, investigates and resolves all customer issues, provides product information to clients, processes any orders and their returns, builds strong customer relationships, and maintains records where necessary.
In addition, a service specialist is responsible for cross-selling and upselling services or products to potential customers and benefits the company with increased revenue.
Technical Support Specialist
As the name suggests, this expert provides excellent technical support to your company's consumers. They assist with all technical issues, such as troubleshooting problems, product installation, and configuration issues. The specialist is also available to provide educational and training resources to customers and helps them understand a product or service in a better way.
The Characteristics of a High-performing Customer Service Team
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Have you ever wondered why some businesses are more successful than the rest? There could be many reasons, including that they may have a high-performing customer service team than their competitors.
Customers today can do anything for exceptional service. According to a PWC survey, 82% of clients are ready to share their personal data in exchange for a satisfying service.
So, what does it mean? It means that as long as you have good products or services, and a high-performing customer support department, the chances of your success can increase manifold.
But what factors differentiate a high-performing customer service team from a non-performing team?
Here are some prominent characteristics to look for.
Authenticity or Human Touch
Imagine contacting a support team and only hearing a robotic response in exchange. How would you feel? Some cases are so complex and urgent that you only require an authentic voice and reaction expert to solve your issues.
A customer service team should have an authentic approach to solving queries, concerns, and other relevant problems. Authenticity involves being honest, transparent, and genuine while interacting with customers.
Another significant characteristic of a high-performing team is its human touch. A successful customer representative can build a solid emotional connection with customers. This quality can be built through understanding and listening to the customer’s point of view, then showing lots of compassion and empathy.
Many businesses believe in losing authenticity during digital interactions. However, that’s a misconception.
Human touch and authenticity can be maintained via personalized tone and messaging, practicing transparency about automated procedures, and preventing canned responses in a conversation.
All customer service representatives should handle situations personally and stay professional by offering expert-level solutions.
Personalized and Immediate Answers
Taking the above point forward, immediate and personalized responses are two significant attributes of a high-performing and successful customer support department. This is because such responses demonstrate their value and time for your business to customers. Besides, an immediate reply to any query increases customer loyalty, satisfaction, and retention rate.
Teams with these qualities, follow the practices below.
They use their real names instead of addressing their customers with Sir/Madam. This strategy helps enhance the connection between the representative and the customer and excludes shyness. Besides, this small act makes the customer feel important.
Best personalized answers can only be created with active listening. Successful customer support teams understand the consumers' requirements, problems, and needs before presenting them with a solution.
Most successful ecommerce businesses use chatbots to connect with their customers. 34% of online customers find chatbots helpful as they automate responses while maintaining a personalized touch to the conversation.
Empathy is a vital characteristic of building long-term relationships. It drives customer loyalty and increases satisfaction. Just one episode of rude behavior can lead to poor customer reviews online.
93% of people believe that online reviews directly impact their buying decision. So, keeping the customer service team's tone and behavior as empathetic as possible makes sense.
This characteristic involves relating to a customer's thinking and feelings and finding an appropriate solution that can be helpful.
Simply put, an empathetic customer service team looks for solutions to pull clients out of a difficult situation without hiring their sentiments.
How to Increase the Performance of Your Customer Service Team?
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Do you want your customer service team to have all the above characteristics and excel at every task? Do you want it to increase your customer satisfaction rate and revenue for your company? If yes, here are some top tips to improve their performance.
Respect From Within the Organization
Building respect from within a company for your customer service department is crucial. As long as they are accepted and appreciated by the rest of the departments, the team will feel motivated to achieve all service goals.
Here is how you can build respect:
Communicate the role and essential contribution of a customer service team. Let them know and understand how a positive performance of a customer service team can lead to increased sales, customer retention rates, and an overall positive brand image.
Train the team and recognize their good work in front of other departments. This is an excellent strategy to motivate the team to do better and feel special in front of the company.
Work towards providing a safe work environment for all departments. Please give them the to mingle with each other and foster a place that offers a work-life balance.
Give your service team as many benefits as you present to the other departments. This practice encourages excellent performance and doesn’t make any employee feel inferior.
Encourage customers to share their feedback with individual customer representatives. Positive feedback is an excellent driver of motivation and confidence. Negative feedback helps in strengthening weak areas.
Training and Development
Continuous training and development are vital exercises to help the customer support team overcome complex issues and find solutions without hurting the sentiments of their clients. To train a team, here are some essential tips that should be followed:
Start with identifying the training needs by conducting an analysis. This will help you find areas requiring urgent developments or improvements. So, if your team lacks active learning or problem-solving skills, prepare a training program and start working.
Ensure that new hires are given onboarding training regarding the company’s policies, culture, and essential technical aspects of the service.
Instead of training your department once every year, opt for ongoing training to keep them updated regarding new technology and industry practices. You can teach them using forms or online courses or opt for in-person meetings for a one-to-one session.
Role-play scenarios prove immensely helpful in various training programs. They can develop your team’s response for various real-work scenarios and help them practice excellent communication for different challenges during customer-company interactions.
Constructive feedback helps customer support teams increase their performance and skills and feel confident while working.
Finally, training and development can happen within a company when employees share their knowledge. Practice this act and build a supportive environment where no one is considered less important than others.
Develop a Culture of Open Communication and Feedback
A strong communication and feedback culture fosters a productive and collaborative work environment. If you run a company and want its customer support department to excel, here are a few tips and tricks to follow:
Instead of forcing your employees to follow a specific practice or norm, lead by example. Model the required behavior and encourage active listening.
Establish some clear guidelines when it comes to building smooth communication between leaders and employees. You can include communication channels, response times expected, and other rules in the policy to help employees of all backgrounds understand it correctly.
Build a culture of two-way communication. Create opportunities for employees to share their ideas, thoughts, and feedback. You can conduct one-to-one meetings, town hall meetings, and open-door policies to encourage smooth conversations.
When employees get a safe workplace, they don’t hesitate to share their opinions. Create anonymous channels for feedback, or design a suggestion box to allow your teams to share their ideas without being recognized.
Reward employees that have open communication skills. Attractive rewards and recognition encourage customer service team members to be active during meetings and work.
If an employee shares their feedback, be constructive and take action as required. This helps build trust between employees and your company.
The above strategies can help you build a culture where the employees feel heard, valued, and respected. They also feel empowered with the proper training and guidance. As a result, your customer service team doesn’t shy away from sharing their concerns and working hard to improve their performance.
Now that you know what a significant contribution a customer service team can make to your success, don’t take this department lightly. While your products or service may help you attract new or old customers, a solid customer support department is necessary to encourage them to buy from you.
Therefore, build a strong team by conducting regular training and development programs. Besides, encourage a culture of open communication and feedback and give importance to the team, so they feel as valued as the rest of the employees.
Finally, offer rewards where necessary, and motivate the team members to do their best work.
Cover Photo by Gerson Repreza on Unsplash