How would you organize good customer service?
I need to improve my customer service. The main reason is because of the growth of the number of my company's clients; there is a necessity to receive hundreds of calls every day. I've been advised to try this call center http://dialogmarket.com/ for calls, but still want to hear others ideas on how to organize good customer service. Thanks in advance, I will be grateful of your suggestions.
First you should integrate customer calls with a CRM system. You can find lots of different kind of CRM vTiger, sugarCRM or cloud based (salesforce) etc..
then categorize your calls in time by checking every call. It is a process so you should improve categorizing calls in every specific period of time.
Customer Service on a large scale is about balancing the key fundamentals;
Customer Experience, Satisfaction & Effort (including tracking and feedback measures)
FCR (First Contact Resolution)
Workforce (Capability, Training, Empowerment, Enabled & Optimisation)
Quality Assurance/Operational Excellence
Performance & Balanced Scorecard
DO NOT buy in to old school call center management practices that drive and/or manage AHT (Avg Handling Time), CPH/CPD (Calls Per Hour/Day) or Stats Only.
I managed call centers across 3 countries for major telecommunications company for 11 years - 1200 staff, 5 departments (primarily customer service), 50,000 calls per day, FCR of 98.6%, CE Score of 43+ NPS (Net Promoter Score) and staff attrition below 2%per annum.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to have a casual chat and I am happy to offer some advice - understand your/clients needs, current performance, intended growth strategy and best practice solutions available.
I can answer from an IT customer care point.
Set up a multi layer customer service team. The first set of customer service agents will handle basic queries which are more generic and repetitive issues. The second layer of customer service agents will handle little trivial queries which are specific to customer's current environoment and integration level issues.
The third layer of agents will handle core product realted queries which are very unique and requires indepth product knowledge.
Based on severity the agents should handle issues as per their expertise areas. This will improve customer experience.
Have you been able to do any analysis of the nature of all the calls? That is break the calls down by the reason for the call? This might be the first step in determining the best way to deal with all the calls that you get. Often some of these calls can be redirected to your website as opposed to having to try to deal with them all in real time on the phone. The internet has become the more favored tool than the phone for many companies, and also with their customers who do not want to go through the hassle of telephone tag and/or hanging on for an extended period due to the high volume of calls. I can tell you for myself, I would prefer to leave an online message and check back periodically for a response rather than experience the pain of a call center or holding indefinitely.
OY, good customer service is a philosophy that permeates a business and not something that you "set-up". We need to talk. I teach my theory of the hierarchy of customer loyalty needs. The heart of the pyramid is internal customer loyalty and that is what you are seeking.
I will gladly share my philosophy with you over a phone conversation if you are interested. I can be reached at 602-686-0641. My website is theexcelconsultinggroup and it is a dot com. Thank you and best of luck.
"You really have to be more specific about what your business does, otherwise the likelihood of you getting any meaningful answer will be very low."
Haim is absolutely correct. This is really a difficult forum to get actionable advice based on the unique needs of your business (perfect though for getting feedback on call centers!).
The rapid growth of a company is great, but can also lead to some challenges if you're not prepared. Customer service and the customer Experience are critical to maintaining that momentum.
I would suggest you hire an outside consultant to help guide you in the process. You'll want someone to consider your company as a whole, your branding, messaging, interactions with service reps, current customer opinions, etc. and then once you have all of that data make a plan for improving the customer experience.
Anytime you can a human voice respond in some form it helps create a positive and more trusting atmosphere for customer service. The ability to qualify and quantify over the phone or communication center is a big help to both parties. It will help separate out the tire kickers from those who might become real and repeat customers...Answering machines are OK if a human voice is able to follow them up...Think high tech, high touch...And the sooner a knowledgeable person attends to those potential customers, then the better...The call center should know the basics of your company so qualifying and quantifying can go on at the start of the call
Hello John, good question! My answer is through a branding filter, of course, as that is where my expertise lies. So 'good' customer service can be looked at from your brand's lens, meaning however you've decided your brand perception/positioning/distinction to be, should be reflected, supported, and behaviorally followed through via your customer service experience. Customer service is a great place to create distinction that re-affirms what the business brand is trying to convey. Have you developed core values? Or identified your brand 'style' attributes? (These elements are just a part of a bigger process I use called Brand DNA). All these elements create the construct for you and your employees to 'out-behave' your competition through the lens/filter of what you want your brand to be known for. Your Brand DNA creates the construct for guiding decisions, behavior, leadership, and processes to affirm and re-affirm (enable) your brand to 'show up' consistently, distinctively, and with lots of engagement. Otherwise, customer service 101 gets applied and ends up being considered a 'commodity', non-distinctive, run-of-the-mill boring. ;0) Am happy to chat with you more on this.
Customer Service starts with detail to training. You want those who will be representing your organization via the phone to be as knowledgeable as possible. No one should be answering your phones with the response "I don't know!" That reflects poorly on the organization. And with the growth your experiencing, poor reviews are not what you need.
Spend quality time to ensure that each person who will be affective in their responses. Even you as the leader should be the prime example of how to represent your organization. I challenge you as the leader to sit and answer calls so you are very aware of the questions that are being asked and with that knowledge you can design your training to look at your challenges.
Best of luck but remember poor customer service will destroy a business!!
Organizing good customer services is a multipronged approach. It has to involve the technology, knowledge management, processes, customers and the customer service representatives. There are both immediate changes that can be made, as well as longer term fixes. Which comes first depends on your current operations and immediate needs. In general, reviewing and making the appropriate changes to the policies and procedures are quickest to make if they are under your direct control.
Here are just a few areas to review:
• Get feedback from your representatives about what policies or procedures customers are calling about the most and why.
o Can they be changed to eliminate the call?
• Are there answers to customer inquiries that can be handled via an IVR?
• Why are your customers calling – is the product/service too complicated or not as promised?
• Do you have systems agents can quickly go to get the appropriate and consistent answers to customer’s inquiries?
• What problems can be fixed now?
• If you add technology, make sure the processes are the right ones otherwise ineffective processes will become even more troublesome.
Of course, there are many other things to consider. They will also continue to change as the company grows and the customer demand changes, so continuous improvement will go a long way.
Use technology. For example, you can add a knowledge base or implement a self-service system on your website. Many of your clients, especially young people, will be happy to find answers to their questions themselves without bothering support. This can decrease the number of inbound phone calls you get.
Requests which can't be managed through a self-service system, can be answered by your representatives through live chat. This should reduce the amount of time you spend on each request, because your agents will be able to chat with several people at the same time, use canned answers, send links to knowledge base articles, transfer documents, price lists and other materials during the conversation. At the same time, live chat will provide your customers with the same level of personal and instant support they get through phone.
Of course, much depends on the demographic profile of your customers. Older and more conservative people may ignore all your innovations and still prefer good old phone. So, this needs careful assessment.
This era is the era of outsource work, so after some research please outsource your present tension...
Good morning, John yes customer service is a big problem in some institutions. I would suggest that you do a metrics so that you can determine some sort of stats, how many calls do you receive per day even try and break it down as to how many you receive per hour. I have previously worked in a call centre in the banking environment and stats played a big role, if you have an idea as to how busy the call centre is you will know how many employees to have to attend to customers needs. Hope this helps a bit, if you need a bit of more elaboration kindly contact me directly for more discussion.
Have them sign up to a WhatsApp group or Facebook page. Many people prefer to text in their issues and to share their experiences / reviews / tips - on forums etc. Apple runs a very good user-supported technical forum. It may only take one or two people to manage part time.
You really have to be more specific about what your business does, otherwise the likelihood of you getting any meaningful answer will be very low.
The way you organize, any metrics you use and whether or not you outsource like you have been advised depends on your understanding and documenting what you want your "good customer service" to be. Presumably you'll have to gather customer input as well as learn what the competition is doing and decide how you will respond to it. From this you can develop your strategy, services content, decide what level people you hire, the process and technology you use and develop the metrics.
John, You can organize good customer service by determining what people, processes and technology you need to put in place to handle the contacts you receive from your customers. You only mentioned calls, so I'll focus on that channel.
If you are already receiving "hundreds of calls everyday," the first thing you need to do is to figure out how to get them handled (how are they being handled currently?) -- You'll lose customers if you keep them on hold or don't answer. I'm not familiar with the call center you mention, but the sooner you get your calls handled the better. By mentioning an outsourced call center, I'm assuming you don't want to or can't handle the calls-in house, so by all means, engage a call center who can help you before the customer experience is compromised.
Next, you're going to need some expert strategic advice on capturing customer data, developing policy, processes and procedures, and in choosing the right technology to gather and analyze your incoming customer data-- all based on your business model. A good outsourcer may have some referrals for you, or you can contact me or another expert who knows how to organize good customer service that drives satisfaction and repeat business.
Whatever you do, do it fast, so your customers don't go elsewhere because they can't get a hold of you.
Best of luck to you!
John, before taking any decision you need to analyze the metrics. I will not advise you to just increase the staffing or trying any other call center without first examining your data.
In most cases the increased workload hitting the customer service is repetitive contacts from the same customer caused by ineffective internal processes and in some cases your agents are not appropriately empowered to take the decision and resolve the issue. There are a few other reasons affecting the performance of customer support services.
Now the question as to how to improve the performance of your customer support services. I would recommend analyzing the metrics to ascertain what is the main reason your customers are contacting you. Maintain a database of all similar questions and regularly update your knowledge base with comprehensive answers to those questions. To make it simple to search the database for the answers, categorize those questions. Intelligently designed knowledge base is important to improve the services. Only with this change, I would say that at least 25% workload will be reduced.
The second most important issue causing performance issue is the internal processes. The processes demanding improvement may include:
- How long will it take to solve an issue? – First Contact Resolution (FCR) is important.
- How fast the refunds are processed? – Nobody likes to wait long to collect their refunds.
- How many times a customer has to call the customer services for the same issue? – Again FCR is important.
- How empowered the customer support agents are? – Empowerment of agents to take the decision and resolve the issue at initial contact.
- How knowledgeable your customer support agents are about the industry? – Training of agents is important.
The above is only a general overview. There are other industry specific ways of improvement and without knowing the products and industry, a comprehensive solution cannot be provided.
Depending on the kind of business you have, will determine the depth of my response and advice. But ultimately, you have to see and realize how your customers desire to be served by your business. If your clients have chosen your business based on the relationship you have with them, it may be best to bring along someone who is like minded and carries similar values so that your clients can still have the opportunity to build a meaningful business relationship. But if your clients are more interested in the service or product you offer, having a third party handle your customer service may work best and be the most affordable at this time. Again, I would need more information about your business to provide a more specific response. For more information, please feel free to contact me to further discuss.
I agree with all of the great information. Utilizing the metrics is essential is exactly where I would began, along with identifying complaints etc. from customers. Because a more customers do not advise when they are displeased, you may have to utilize a team to personally contact customers to address concerns as well as compliments for good service performed by customer service. Customers love to be engaged and heard about you can provide better service.
I propose assessing your customer service in phases in order to better manage information received from customers, as well as your employees.
The most important thing to remember is once information is retrieved and analyzed, implement a plan by your team and gauge it success. Be sure to follow through to on the entire plan. It will be well worth it to see improved customer service, as well as employees.