Customer Service Management – Best Practices
Customer is king and never has it been more true than the present. According to recent studies, Customer Service Management analysts found that over 20% of customers lose faith after one bad experience. The same studies show that a 25% or more will simply switch to the next brand. As always, the importance of a good first impression cannot be underestimated.
We have seen the damage one mistreated or disgruntled customer can do to a business and the effect exponentially magnifies by the proliferation of our social media platforms.
It is therefore true that all customers should be treated with respect and should walk away feeling satisfied. However, this cannot always be the case. All customer service departments have a limit on how many people they can accommodate at a given time. In cases like this it is imperative that you retain customers with the highest lifetime value (LTV).
This post aims to provide you with 5 best practices a call center should adhere to, in order to properly represent your organization.
Let’s look at a real world use case. For the sake of this use case, assume the following are true:
- We are running an online store.
- We have the capacity to track the lifetime value (LTV) of any customer that has created an account.
- The call center operators have access to the customer accounts.
- Two customers phone in simultaneously. Mary, a loyal, return customer with a high LTV and Donald, who has created an account, but has a low LTV. Analytics also show Mary’s different fields of interest. Both want refunds on items of the same value.
- In a situation where the call center employees are not empowered and don’t have client data the following may occur:
- Donald, along with lower LTV customers get through first. Their issues are resolved, but Mary feels betrayed by the lack of service and you lose a high LTV client.
- With no information on the clients, or by employees not acting proactively the disgruntled customers are left unsatisfied and some vent their anger online, turning away potential new customers.
- The call centers attempts to resolve the client’s issues, but the severity and type of issues weren’t tracked. Many casual clients feel annoyed at the unwanted calls.
- In contrast an empowered and informed call center staff will most likely lead to the following:
- As a loyal customer that expects a high level of service, Mary is taken care of by prioritizing her phone call. The agent does everything he/she can do to satisfy her. Follow up calls are made and Mary feels rewarded for her loyalty.
- Donald and the other low-LTV customers are also taken care of, based on their purchase they are offered some gift/deal. Even if they do not accept, they recognize the gesture of goodwill.
- Know your customers – As demonstrated by the above use case. It’s crucial to not only have information on your clients, but to have that information available to customer service staff in a usable manner. Move mountains to retain customers with a high LTV, these are people that buy into your brand and will be there for you.
- Turn problems into opportunities. Be proactive – Good customer service management by your agents will allow them to spin a negative situation in your favor. Use the customers’ gripe to provide them with an opportunity to reconcile. This can be in the form of a niche-targeted freebie or promotion. Who knows, you might turn a Donald into a Mary.
- Empower employees to help customers – The days of customers waiting an hour for a “new department” or manager are gone. The immediacy of the internet has made us lazy, and aware that their are other options at their fingertips. Provide call center staff with the information and resources necessary to solve a customer’s problem on the spot.
- Define an in-house service standard – This gives your employees a measurable and concrete framework to evaluate and model their own customer relations and performance. This will also ensure that once they get through, all customers are treated equally and have a consistent experience. Return customers will be more comfortable and patient repeating a familiar process.
- Follow up and check in – This is also where knowing your customer comes in. Loyal, frequent return customers will feel looked after and cared for a follow-up after a resolved issue. One-off customers might be annoyed at the disturbance. This also goes a long way to make customers feel like individuals and not profit margins.
Businesses have to keep up with a customer base that’s demanding and savvy. A customer support call center is a vital point of contact between the business and its consumers. Call center agents are seen as the “voice” of the business. Great customer service management is not only about the customer, but also empowering employees to take the initiative.