Four ways to improve customer service

by Ashvini on February 11, 2014 · 6 comments

in General,Management,Managing Customers

Have you ever been in a customer service situation where the customer service person is unavailable or is unresponsive to your needs?

Often a customer needs to punch in many numbers through his/her phone before reaching an agent. There is more irritation to the customer if the phone disconnects after that.

ID-100142538Customer service is perceived as hard and difficult job. However , it is not very different from selling products. The presence of human touch is absolutely essential. The most important thing is to develop a connect with the customer. One needs the right attitude to do it. Also the policies of company, processes and regular measurements like customer satisfaction survey brings in transparency to customer service.

Four ways to develop a better service program

#1: Attitude of employees – Right hiring

Hiring employee who love to interact with humans and can make it their job the whole day is essential. The best fit for this kind of job is the one who commands or has potential to develop skills that involve human interaction, keeping a cool head and also being capable of empathising with troubles of customer.

#2: Policies of management – Transparency, productivity

Once employees with right skills are hired, what needs to be done? Of course, they need to be taken care of. Without appropriate policies for their appraisal and motivation, you are bound to lose them fast.

  • Designing training program that helps them to increase their confidence while handling customers
  • Putting them into role playing situations
  • Mentoring by seniors
  • Good appraisal policies

#3: Processes – designed for humans

As said above, if you make customer run through loops even though you have the best people to serve them, it is just not enough. They will not only get irritated but also would be more than willing to go with your competitors

  • If possible make them reach customer agent as soon as possible
  • Get a customer call back system ( where you call the customer in case he/she waits for a longer time
  • Make it easy for agent to answer calls by providing better tools for productivity

#4: Measurements – Continuous improvements

Every interaction matters, not only to determine customer service level but also effectiveness of the processes that you have put in. Good measurement tools like surveys helps one to determine if the customer service program is indeed working good

  • Create customer surveys
  • Ask customer to provide feedback proactively
  • Create loyalty among customers by using loyalty programs

It is important to understand that one is dealing with humans while serving them. Making process easy saves time for both agents and customers. Good training helps agents provide better service to customers.

What other methods you recommend?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 6 comments }

Adrienne February 19, 2014 at 2:57 am

Hey Ashvini,

Well you know how I feel about this with a particular company. There is NO customer service response. Okay, no phone support and 12 hour delays in responding. Totally unacceptable.

But I do hate the automated answering service that you have to push this or that to finally get to a human being only to be connected to the wrong department. It’s really hard on my Mom because she can’t hear what they’re saying so she can never get through.

They definitely need to hire people who want to work for a living and do the best they can because when you have a poor attitude it’s going to reflect on the company and that just makes for a very unhappy customer.

~Adrienne

Amiti February 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Hi Ashvini,

Thanks for the ideas, and I think that you are correct in your assumptions. I think that the most important tip is the relationship between management and employees. Employees are the ones dealing with most of the customers so there is a direct relationship between the two, but at the same time if management does not practice the same skills with its employees, the workers will not act to clients properly.

Jeevan Jacob John February 12, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Great points, Ashvini :)

I think the best way to go is ask people how we can improve their experience (of course, we should also keep in mind that there are bad customers out there, we can’t please everyone).

Like Lori mentioned, getting rid of automated machines is perhaps the best step in the process (automated messages often refreshes our bad customer service experiences, if we had any).

Anyways, thank you for sharing these tips :) Appreciate it!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena February 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Hi Jeevan,

Thanks for your input. Yes your way is the best way and to achieve is to measure satisfaction level as mentioned in point no 4. I agree with bad customer part too :).

Hope you are having a great day.

Lori Gosselin February 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Hi Ashvini,
I like #3 especially. I think the best thing a business can do is get rid of the automated answering systems and have a human being answer the phone and re-direct the call. Is there anything that makes you feel less warm and fuzzy about a company than having to listen for prompts while some machine talks to you?
Lori

Ashvini Kumar Saxena February 11, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hi Lori,

I hate automated systems too. It makes life easy for business ( because they want to analyze your calls) but for a customer it is nightmare. An agent can fill the option after the calls if they want to conduct analysis. It can really make a lot of difference.

Thanks for your comment :)

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