What Are Your Customers Saying Behind Your Back?Posted: October 6, 2015
As a business advisor, I know that business owners and senior level managers understand how critical their customers are to the success of their business, which is why ensuring you are providing superior customer service needs to be at the top of the list.
Whether you have a 5-person team or a 100-person team, how you answer the phone, how quickly you respond to their questions, how you address their concerns and whether you give them the ability to escalate their issue can mean the difference between gaining a loyal customer and losing one.
In a world that is dealing with more online purchases, online chats, 1-800 numbers, and less and less face-to-face communication, it is now more important than ever that you have a solid customer service process.
I’ve outlined below a few key steps to help you create a solid customer service process for your business and ensure your customers have a positive customer service experiences, which inspires them to be loyal to your business.
- Empower Your Employees
The more empowered your employees are to handle certain types of issues; the less involvement is required on your part. Empowerment can be accomplished through:
- Training: Provide training for the decision makers and the front line staff. Employees should receive the training necessary for them to resolve issues, such as conflict-resolution skills.
- Clear and expanded roles: It’s important that your employees have a clear understanding of their roles, and what falls within their capacity. They need to know what is okay to approve and what is not. For example, they can offer a free month of services up to $50.
- Have A Clear Process Of Escalation
Think about your processes. Create a process so that a call or complaint can be escalated to a decision-maker. As customers ourselves, we have often asked the question: Can I speak to someone in charge? It’s a question that arises when customers feel unsatisfied with the frontline’s attempt to resolve their issue. As a customer, you feel relevant and appreciated when your call is handled by a decision-maker. That is at the heart of great customer service. The reason this is so important is that often, frontline staff are constrained in making any decisions without approval. The decision-maker is more experienced and can use judgment in resolving the issue.
- Make sure it is timely: The sooner a call or complaint can be escalated, the sooner it can be resolved, and the sooner the customer is satisfied.
- Make sure it is smooth: The customer should be able to be transferred to your decision-maker without having to go through unnecessary steps.
- Measure and Adjust
This is a step that I find even businesses with a strong customer service orientation sometimes overlook. In order to get a firm and tangible understanding of how your customer service is handling your customers, you’ll need to have:
- Follow-up: Create a follow-up process. E.g. After a customer has interacted with your customer service team, an email is sent to them, or a phone call is made to the customer to confirm that they were satisfied.
- Document: Documenting your escalated accounts will help you not only perfect your process, but it will also make for a great source of training in the future. You should be able to look at the number of incidents on a spreadsheet to see how the team is performing.
Do you have a good customer service process? What does good customer service mean for your business?