In a competitive business landscape, you need to make sure that your brand can stand out over its competitors. One way to do this is to keep enhancing the caliber of the customer experience you deliver. Here, you will need to collaborate with your customer service provider. That way, both of you can explore ways to keep your customers delighted.
Here are 10 tips to improve your customer support interactions.
1. Listen intently to customers.
Listening is a highly critical component of the overall customer care process. It is not enough for call center agents to hear what customers have to say, they need to give their undivided attention to understand the issues at hand. Within the duration of the call, they must be able to pick up crucial details that will help them to identify the main source of the problem and provide an effective solution.
2. Instead of scripts, provide guidelines.
These days, customers want personalized services from brands, so the last thing they would want is to talk to agents who sound robotic and monotonous.
When you require your call center agents to use scripts, they may end up sounding too stiff and uncaring over the phone. It’s generally better to provide customer support guidelines instead. This way, they’ll gain a good idea on how best to handle certain situations. The advantage here is that they will still be able to exercise their resourcefulness and creativity as they solve customer issues.
3. Offer self-service options.
With the widespread availability of Internet-enabled devices, more and more consumers prefer to independently seek solutions to the issues they experience. They look up their issues online to learn how to fix their problems on their own. Doing so lets them avoid the hassle of trying to reach a human agent via the phone.
You should thus make it easy for customers to find the right answers to their complaints or queries. FAQs pages, how-to videos, and downloadable product manuals can be a big help to your customers.
4. Deliver customer service in multiple channels.
Modern consumers use several channels to seek customer support. Through their smartphones, they may contact you via social media, email, or live chat. At times, when facing urgent issues, they may also call you via the phone.
Your call center must thus be present in all these channels. This makes everything more convenient for customers, as they’ll be able to reach you anytime using any means available to them. This is also a good way to give them more control over their own customer experience.
5. Adopt a friendly yet professional tone.
Although agents are free to be themselves when interacting with customers, they must still act in a professional manner. A lighthearted but firm tone of voice is recommended because it will help them sound both accommodating and authoritative. This can encourage the customer to open up about their concerns and trust that they are taken care of. As such, avoid adopting an aggressive tone and try not to sound less assertive.
6. Provide your call center agents with the right tools.
Don’t expect your employees to perform well if they’re not equipped with the right customer support tools. For instance, a customer relationship management (CRM) software can help them understand customers better. This tool collects consumer information, giving agents a full view of each customer’s data, including product/service preferences, past purchases, and transactions. With this capability, agents can personalize each interaction according to the customer’s preferences.
7. Call your own hotline.
Sure, you have a team of quality assurance analysts to ensure the quality of your customer interactions. But in addition to this, you may also want to call your own hotline and pretend to be a customer to help you spot the aspects of your services that need improvement. For instance, you’ll be able to evaluate your interactive voice response (IVR) system, customers’ typical waiting time, and agents’ performance. Afterwards, you can create an actionable plan on how to improve your services.
8. Hire experts who can train your agents.
To sharpen your agents’ skills and make sure they can meet your standards, it’s best to hire customer relations experts who can train them. Make sure to hire trainers with a significant background on customer support. That way, they can train your agents in several areas at once—communication skills, building rapport with customers, product knowledge, and others.
9. Anticipate and prevent future problems.
There are plenty of ways to anticipate customers’ issues. You may keep tabs on recurring problems, ask customers about the most common issues they experience, and analyze patterns or trends among the complaints you’re getting. Once you’ve identified the top issues that customers encounter, you’re one step closer to putting a permanent stop to them.
10. Keep your promises.
When your call center agents make promises—no matter how big or small—they should be able to fulfill them. For instance, don’t keep a customer waiting if they’ve been told to expect a response within a certain time frame. This way, you don’t get a customer’s hopes up unnecessarily. Failing to keep your word can be bad not just for the customer experience but for your brand’s reputation as well.