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10 ways to show your customers some loveby
13th Feb 2015
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Looking to build long-lasting relationships with your customers? Take a queue from the happy, long-time couples in your life. Turns out Cupid and customer service have a lot in common. Healthy relationships – be they between couples or with customers - require ongoing nurturing, understanding and, yes, love. And not just on Valentine’s Day or other special occasions, but year-round.
So, show your customers some love with the help of modern communications technologies. Follow the 10 guidelines below to establish healthy customer service relationships that will stand the test of time:
- Be considerate. Little things mean a lot, like promptly answering their calls. Respondents to a recent consumer survey found that 49% felt that lowering hold times would vastly improve customer service. In addition, get them to the right person, right away. If your hold times and transfer rates are high, it’s time to re-evaluate your IVR menus and call routing practices.
- Give them your undivided attention. Once you finally have them on the line, make sure your reps are really listening and engaged in the conversation versus preoccupied with getting to the right script or screen. Workflow automation software can address this issue. Via screen prompts, agents are equipped with the next best action to take, troubleshooting questions to ask, or sales suggestions to make based on the path the conversation is taking. The result – a much more natural interaction that’s focused on the individual customer’s needs.
- Have productive conversations that nurture well-being. Make sure your reps are informed and helpful by providing upfront training and ongoing coaching. Over one-third (37%) of respondents to the aforementioned survey ranked knowledgeable agents as the primary reason they would continue to do business with a company. Supervisor oversight tools such as silent monitoring, whisper and barge-in allow managers to assist in satisfactory resolutions.
- Be sensitive to their needs. Know when your customers prefer to communicate with you. Analyze your data to know the days, times or times of the year when call volumes spike. Also analyze website and social traffic. Be ready to scale up operations accordingly so you can avoid those long hold times and resulting frustrations.
- Ensure two-way communication. In addition to knowing when your customers want to talk, make sure you also accommodate how they want to communicate. Are you able to respond no matter what device they use? Do you have staff ready and available to handle incoming calls, web chats, emails and texts? Are these sites responsive to their needs, or just frustrating to use?
- Anticipate their needs. Look at your data and reporting to understand customer pain points. Consider reaching out to selected customers on ‘quiet’ days to make sure a problem was resolved to their satisfaction or simply to thank them for their business. And if you’re experiencing a service issue, contact them proactively and let them know you’re working to resolve it.
- Keep your promises. If an agent says they will send an email to follow up, make sure he or she does it. If a customer is promised a credit, make sure it happens. Call recording can help in making sure your agents are following through, and to review the quality of the interaction.
- Keep private matters between the two of you. In the name of protecting customer information, insist that your reps follow best practices when it comes to security and confidentiality. Security breaches are often the result of human error. Enforcing simple policies such as NEVER writing down customer information on a slip of paper can go a long way to maintaining their privacy and your company’s integrity.
- Little things mean a lot. Make sure your agents speak (or write) with a smile in their voice, and encourage politeness and consideration. Make sure the connection and sound quality on your phone system are good. Avoid little irritants such as making the customer repeat information. An integrated service solution will help keep smiles on everyone’s faces – both those of your customers and your agents.
- Avoid complacency. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a customer’s silence implies satisfaction, or that a long-time customer will be with you forever. With all the choices available to customers today, it’s more difficult than ever to keep their loyalty. Use the previous nine guidelines to keep winning their business over and over. Just like those long-time couples that you admire, a long-term customer relationship is something to strive for. It doesn’t always come easy, but you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.
Brandon Knight is VP solutions engineering at Corvisa.
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