There are a lot of tasks that go into running a small business, and the day-to-day operations are enough to keep owners on their toes. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of other tasks get put on the back burner in the midst of sorting out payments, managing employees, and conducting meetings. That said, customer service often takes a hit, even when it's one of the essential parts of doing business.
Customer service was traditionally defined as any form of direct communication with the customer. However, direct communication with customers has now expanded to also include social media, and other not so direct methods like third party review sites (Yelp, Reddit, etc).
Here are five ways to help boost your customer service experience:
Ask For Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is the best way to gauge the performance of your representatives.
The Balance suggests online surveys for quick responses or conversational feedback via phone or social media chats. The key is to make your questions as pointed as possible. You should assume that most customers will only spend a short amount of time on their responses, so asking straightforward questions like “How did you find your experience with us?” ensure that you can glean a lot of information even from short answers.
Ensure Your Employees Are Trained
Customer service requires a lot more than having a bunch of extroverts speaking to your clients, although it certainly helps. Beyond knowing how to engage with customers, representatives need to hone their listening skills, be able to diffuse conflict and record salient conversation points in their logs. This means that your representatives have to be trained not just how to interact with customers, but also on the ins and outs of the company. Keep in mind that certain communication methods come with their own etiquette. For example, you may want your representatives to keep their social media messages brief, while their emails should be a little more thorough.
Automate Where Possible
A lot of representatives get tied up solving issues that only really take a few minutes to fix. To this end, an article by Yoss on ‘AI in HR’ notes that the rise of Artificial Intelligence in customer service has helped streamline business operations. Customers are first put in contact with chatbots or are provided with an automated reply from systems that are built to answer simple queries, and are only directed to a representative if these solutions don’t work. This process not only frees up representatives to help customers with more serious inquiries, it also ensures that those with minor concerns can get immediate assistance.
Create A Set Of Guidelines
The nature of your company’s customer service interactions will inevitably be dictated by your industry. Creating company-wide guidelines can help your representatives structure their conversations, not to mention ensure that your company brand stays intact. Have a specific set of rules that your representatives can follow, covering things such as how to introduce themselves, how to address a problem, and the average time to devote before giving a reply.
Keep Communication Lines Open With Your Employees
You should always remember that your employees are your priority. They’re the ones who keep your operations running, after all. HR technologist established a direct link between customer satisfaction and employee engagement, saying that happier employees are more motivated and thus perform better. Since customer service can be a particularly demanding job, always make sure to check-in with your team and see how they’re handling their workload. You may even want to host frequent meetings to see how people are performing and what kind of issues keep coming up.