A company’s brand is a promise. Behind that promise are the people who are working to deliver on it every day through personal relationships with customers.
When customer service agents assist customers beyond the call of duty to create a positive and memorable experience, they create true brand love. And that earns them the grand prize: loyal customers.
Online engagement solutions such as knowledge bases, chat, and cobrowsing, allow customers to connect with companies in new and exciting ways. At the same time, you can’t lose sight of the “human factor” backing up the technology. In fact, according to ITSMA, 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact.
I can’t agree more with this sentiment. Moreover, I know that I am not alone. A recent American Express customer service study found that 66% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that provide superior customer service.
Not only do I appreciate the human factor as a customer, but I also have experienced it first-hand in the role I previously held as a customer service agent in a call center. What I learned in that job led me to become not only successful in that role, but also later in sales, and continues to serve me well today when interacting with people in general.
Here are the top six tips I learned from my past experience. Follow them to achieve outstanding customer service and success in the contact center or whatever job you take on.
1. Listen to customers
When you listen to customers, you are practicing respect. The rest of the call will certainly improve if you let your customers share their story or problem, and, if they’re upset, give them space to vent their frustration.
Do not interrupt. Let customers finish what they have to say. We all want to feel heard. Think of the process as a lesson in patience.
2. Show empathy
Accept blame and negative feedback, even when you know you didn’t cause them the original pain. (Yes, this can be difficult sometimes.) Once customers have had their say, make sure they know that you sympathize with the issue and you care about their feedback, positive or negative.
Take negative feedback as an opportunity to learn how to do things better. Of course, you want to fix any ongoing issues if you can. If issues originated outside of your department, you should also let the relevant departments know what is going on. Customer service is an “all hands on deck” endeavor.
3. Be authentic
Admit your mistakes. This builds trust and restores confidence. If you don’t know the answer to a question, that is okay too. Just tell the customer that you don’t have the answer at the moment, but you will do your best to find it out!
Everyone appreciates honesty, and most of the time we can sense when people aren’t being straight with us. Being honest keeps customers’ faith in the company. That’s why it’s so important that contact center managers support employees who admit to making a mistake – as long as they are trying to fix the issue.
4. Get personal
Hopefully your contact manager is supportive when you don’t “follow the script” or if you venture beyond the looming average handle time limit. People are calling in to speak with a person, not a machine. Spending a little personal time may just make their day! Possible benefits can include customers feeling increased loyalty, buying more, and even recommending your company to their friends.
My personal pet-peeve is when contact center employees say they will follow up but don’t in a timely manner. Yes, we are all busy in this day and age and tend to let items “slip” from our to-do list once in a while. But if you do one thing right, make it customer follow-up. It needs to become your solemn vow, your pinkie swear, and your Girl Scout promise!
I am astonished how often customer service agents don’t reconnect with their customers when they say they will. Even if you, as a customer service rep, haven’t figured out the answer to customers’ questions in the time frame you originally thought you would, follow up and let them know you haven’t forgotten about them.
6. Go beyond the call of duty
Going above and beyond the basic requirements is especially important when something has gone extremely wrong. If you can bring customers back to their “happy place” and help them, they won’t forget your good deed or your company. They may even give you a great online review or share their experience, improving your company’s reputation.
Technology vs human beings
Now don’t get me wrong—I greatly appreciate the seemingly limitless options of technical innovation available today for customer service agents. At the same time, technology should not trump the people skills that are still very much needed today.
If your contact center agents take these tips to heart, your organization will be on its way to realigning its brand and growing the customer loyalty base for years to come. Furthermore, if these suggestions truly become your new “MO” (modus operandi), you will achieve success when interacting with people whatever your role may be.
Want to learn more tips about customer care and why it matters? Download your free eBook today: Counting the Customer: The Complete Guide to Dynamite Customer Care.
Are you ready to discover how Glance can improve customer engagement and increase sales for your own business?
About Glance Networks
Glance helps enterprise organizations create the ultimate customer experience with smart, omni-channel visual engagement solutions based around integrated cobrowse, screen share, and one-way agent video. We are one of the world’s simplest, most reliable and secure platforms that enable companies to see, show and share anything online, creating a frictionless path to great experiences in sales, support and customer service. The result is improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased revenue growth and operational savings. From financial services and healthcare to retail and travel and leisure, even the most advanced technology and SaaS organizations – we transform the customer experience for today’s business. Learn More »