Customer Service Tips For Call Centers: Ensuring Your Customers Are Receiving The Best Care
Providing an exceptional customer experience is what many of the top business leaders focus on. Deliver great products and services to keep your customers happy, and they will return to buy again. Sounds easy, right?
Consumers today have higher expectations when receiving service than they previously did. To meet this demand, companies need to up their service to satisfy customers’ needs.
If a call center handles your customer service, be sure they use the best practices to ensure your customers receive the best care.
Here we’ll go over tips for call centers to provide the exceptional personalized care that today’s consumers expect.
The Importance of Customer Service
Before we get into how to provide excellent customer service, you must understand why to provide it. Companies like Amazon and Apple have adopted the customer-centric mindset, and it has paid off big time.
Customers are the bloodline of a business. When you provide customers with an exceptional experience and great service, you can be sure they’re locked in to buy from you again.
The truth is, consumers will pay more to receive excellent service, so it’s a win-win for all.
A happy customer is likely to become loyal to the brand. They might even become a brand advocate, doing quite a bit of (free) marketing for you because they’re excited to share the amazing experience they had.
Satisfied customers will typically tell friends and family about their positive experiences with a company. Some will even go out of their way to write favorable reviews online for thousands to see.
In a nutshell, providing exceptional customer service is an excellent way to increase revenue – organically. Look at it this way — if you didn’t spend any money on marketing but solely focused on awesome customer service, you could afford to keep the lights on and thrive.
On the flip side, if a customer receives poor customer service and has a negative experience with your brand, you might as well say your goodbyes as they probably won’t ever buy from you again.
On average, they will also tell nine to 15 people about their negative experiences, so they don’t come to buy from you, either.
A lot of people go straight to writing bad reviews online about the service they received. Just one negative review is seen by thousands and really taints a brand's image. With so much riding on customer experience, you can’t afford to not make it a top priority.
Here are some best practices for providing totally kick-butt customer service to wow your customers and turn them into loyal brand advocates.
Customer Service Tips For Call Centers: For Agents
There are a number of things that should be standard practices when providing customer service. Sometimes, an agent has to go off script to provide exceptional care – and that’s OK. Of course, no company can make every customer happy.
But as long as the customer service agent sticks with these best practices, they’ll have a good shot at total customer satisfaction.
Personalize the Conversation
Boring, monotone, one-liner customer service agents will not satisfy the needs of savvy consumers today. Millennials expect personalized service, and companies better are ready to deliver if they want to make a meaningful impression.
Personalizing the service includes calling your customers by their first name and getting to know them better. Understand your top customers' demographics, likes, and dislikes to understand your target audience.
When you know your customers better, you can customize ads and offers to bring in additional revenue and increase their value. Personalizing ads and services has been proven time and time again to be effective.
Of course, anyone dealing with customers should be friendly, but this is especially true with customer service agents. While the agent may be in a call center and the customer cannot see them, a smile can be heard over the phone.
The customer service agent should be friendly, personable, and approachable. Business doesn’t have to be 100% serious, 100% of the time anymore.
Your agents can be real and friendly while still being professional and helpful; it’s what they expect nowadays.
What upsets a customer the most is when they don’t feel heard. If there’s an issue, the best thing a customer service agent can do is actively listen to make the customer feel you hear their problems or concerns and you understand their issues.
Just simply saying “I understand” or “I get it,” then apologizing for the trouble can go a long way in the eyes of a consumer. They just want to be heard and their problems acknowledged.
Empathy is a trait not everyone seems to have. But, every customer service agent should empathize with a customer when needed. Just a small amount of empathy can turn an upset customer into an understanding, satisfied one, even if they don’t get the outcome they called for.
Some customers may be chatty and will tell you about things that don’t necessarily matter to you. But a great customer service agent always shows interest and empathy to leave the client feeling happy and satisfied.
Admit To Your Mistakes
Listen, we’re human. We all make mistakes. And that’s okay, as long as we learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes.
Most customers will understand if you make a mistake and admit to it. Apologizing and making it go right is the solution. In the end, the customer will appreciate your honesty and effort.
People, in general, want to feel appreciated and valued. Consumers want to buy from a company that respects them and values their business.
A call center customer service agent can say things like “We really appreciate your business” or “Thank you for your business” to make the customer feel appreciated. These small tokens of appreciation are one step closer to gaining a brand advocate.
If a customer is giving feedback, the service agent could say something along the lines of: “Thanks so much for your feedback. We appreciate it and will definitely take it into consideration.”
Avoid Technical Terms
Not all consumers understand the terminology used within industries. It’s best to use simple, everyday terms that are commonly understood. Once a service agent starts speaking in technical terms, they often confuse the customer and cause frustration.
Simpler is always better.
Be Clear and Direct
Customers don’t always understand a company's internal ways of doing things. A customer service agent should be clear on policies and procedures and always explain why they are doing what they do so a customer is less likely to feel like they’re just getting the runaround.
When speaking to customers, call center agents should always use positive language. Miscommunication or saying something in a negative way has the potential to cause frustration.
Rather than saying “I can’t do that,” say “I can do this for you instead.” You may not be able to fulfill all the customer needs, but how you deliver the message is key.
A positive delivery keeps the customers focused on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
Take Detailed Notes About the Call
A call center customer service agent should take super detailed notes about every customer interaction, including any questions, problems, or resolutions. Note how the interaction ended, such as if the customer was satisfied or not. There is no such thing as too detailed notes.
Exchange Experiences With Your Team
Agents that have come across a challenging customer or situation should share what happened (in detail) with other agents. They should provide the other agents with effective solutions for solving the problem and how they handled the customer to ensure they were satisfied. This will help agents handle problems quickly and efficiently in the future.
Always Review the Plan of Action With the Customer
Before ending communication with a customer, a customer service agent should repeat what was discussed. While the agent might think they were clear the first time, it’s best to repeat what was said so the customer totally understands and there are no surprises in the end.
End the Call With a Question
A great way to end a customer service interaction is with a question. Asking the customer a question gives them another chance to state anything they need to be completely satisfied with the service.
Common questions are:
- “Is there anything else I could help you with today?”
- “Does this solve your issue?”
- “Could I help answer any other questions for you?”
If the customer is all set, the service agent should end positively and by showing appreciation such as, “Okay, thank you for your business, and I hope you have a great day!”
Customer Service Tips For Call Centers: For Managers
While a lot of the work depends on your agents, the way you manage your agents and the tools you provide them with will play a huge role in their success.
Monitor Your KPIs
Establishing your key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor agents’ performance will help give you an idea of how each agent performs and even how your total program performs. KPIs are set based on certain factors that are most important to indicate the level of success of each agent.
Common metrics to measure a call center’s customer service include:
- Number of tickets resolved positively based on customer feedback
- Total number of customers served
- Customer satisfaction rating
Give Your Agents Some Freedom
Customer service agents should be friendlier and more outgoing while talking to clients in order to build a closer relationship. Allow your call center agents to go off-script and chat with your customers to develop a sense of closeness and familiarity with your company. This is an excellent way to increase brand loyalty.
Have Your Agents Follow-Up
It should be standard practice to follow up after an issue is solved to ensure the customer is satisfied. Many customers will not say anything if they’re not satisfied; they just won’t return.
Following up after a problem is fixed shows a customer you honestly care, which means a lot to them. It also gives you a chance to fix any other issues to reach complete customer satisfaction.
Allow Your Agents To Be Proactive
Customer service agents should be proactive in fixing issues before they arise. Being proactive means seeing something incorrect on a customer's account or order and fixing it before the customer knows it's even a problem.
Make sure they can sweep for errors and be proactive about reaching out and correcting those errors when needed.
Base Performance Qualitatively, Not Quantitatively
Customer service is not a race. The winner doesn’t finish first. The best call center customer service agents are patient and take whatever time is needed to satisfy the customers’ needs.
If it takes one minute or five, the customer should leave feeling taken care of and satisfied.
Base your agents’ performance on the quality of their performance, not on how many tickets they can complete per shift, and give them the time they need to handle each case with care and attention without feeling rushed or short on time.
Keep Your Standards High and Well-Known
Be sure your call center customer service agents know your standards for providing first-class service. Help them understand the importance of it, including what your business means to you and how much you value your customers.
Make it known that anything less than great service is unacceptable — keep that message light while clear and to the point.
Stay on the Up and Up
Staying in the know will keep you on the ball and not fall behind. Be sure you know the latest trends, technology, and best practices to be sure you’re delivering what’s wanted and needed at all times.
Have a Knowledge Base
A call center should have a centralized knowledge base for internal and external use, with all the common questions and answers that an agent can refer to respond to an inquiry they’re unfamiliar with.
The knowledgebase helps avoid a delay in service or providing incorrect information that may cause upset later.
Maintain Low Response Times
Nobody likes to wait. Not even in line for really, really good coffee. Consumers today are less impatient than ever before. They want accurate service fast.
The time it takes to respond to a customer directly affects the customer's overall experience. Call center customer service agents should maintain a low response time to ensure a positive experience, and if they can’t do that because of internal system hiccups or being short-staffed, it’s your job to address that.
Keep an Open Door Policy
Be sure your call center customer service team knows you want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let them know they can go to you for anything they need to provide five-star service to your customers.
Get Feedback From Your Customers
How can you really know how well your call center satisfies your customer needs? That’s easy. Just ask your customers!
Sending customer surveys will give you valuable feedback to know how well your call center customer service team is performing and if they’re helping to create happy customers.
Provide Proper Training
Every customer service agent should receive proper training. The training should include all the processes and procedures as well as how to handle certain situations that come up.
Call center agents should receive training on how to handle problems and upset customers. An upset customer isn’t a total loss; there are ways to win them back with the right tools and training.
Empower Your Agents
Management should empower call center agents, so they feel confident in their problem-solving skills and will create solutions to any issues thrown their way.
Put praise or positive feedback system in place, so your agents know they are appreciated and valued — this kind of positive company culture will reflect in their work.
Put Systems in Place Internally for Success
A customer support agent must be super organized in order to provide important data to the employer. The call center should have strict policies and procedures on handling customer inquiries, including protocol for handling upset customers, when it’s appropriate to escalate, and more.
Reward Your Agents
Let’s face it; people work harder when there are rewards on the table for doing so. Providing a rewards system for great service will motivate them to continue to deliver exceptional care.
Incentives could be in the form of food, gifts, gift cards, paid time off, or cash, which motivates everyone.
Remember, investing in your staff is investing in your business. Your staff is the backbone of your company, and they are the ones doing the heavy lifting to make it successful.
Schedule Check-Ins With Your Employees
Your call center may run on auto-pilot in your eyes, but that’s not really the case behind the scenes. Check in with your call center managers and service agents to ensure they have all the tools and knowledge to complete the job.
Check to see if any questions have come up, issues arise, or if they predict problems in the future. See if additional training is needed to provide the excellent care your customers want.
Customer service is one of the most important roles within an organization, as they work directly with the customers to satisfy their needs. Call centers should follow the best practices to provide exceptional care to every customer to gain their loyalty to the brand.
Call centers should provide the proper training to ensure agents can deliver customers’ friendly personalized service. Surveying customers is an excellent way to gain the valuable feedback you need to understand how your customer service team performs.
Are you ready to hire a call center to deliver white-glove service to your customers? If so, contact Awesome CX today.