How do we improve the quality of customer service?
How do we get better results around customer service? Is this something that is more about the training or about our hiring? Can good customer service be taught or is a certain personality a prerequisite? What do you think?
You need to hire people with the right attitudes, competencies and personalities for customer service to begin with. And then you need to adequately train them for the specific customer service needs of your business and your customer. The training then needs to be conducted by someone with the right training and customer service mindset, to ensure it properly equips your customer service staff. The training must then be followed up with on-the-job testing and ongoing coaching until you see excellence in results. That excellence needs to be monitored and maintained, to see the development of a culture of excellence in customer service within the company.
Carsten is right, but if want to keep the people you have on board, I would bring a blank composition book and use it as a tool for communication.
Say a customer has a problem that you don't know how to solve, but the person that has that skill or knowledge is not on the floor, then you write that as a note to your employee body, so that people can read it.
I had this when I began my job at a retail store and brought the idea to others, it was very effective and very useful in communication.
Striving to be better implies an improvement in the Quality of your customer service, and by extension comparing your actual with a goal. A goal generates metrics.
Classic metrics are:
1. Reported Customer concerns: break this metric into----
-Categorization of concerns
(eg, time to delivery, product quality, % order fulfillment, etc)
-Turnaround time to resolve them (no guessing; you need hard data)
-Number of outstanding cases (eg, >10, 20, 30+ days)
2. Operations/Engineering Support----
-Technical resources assigned by category
-Effectivity of engineering changes when a product is modified
(eg, number of field issues between before and after)
Establish targets for these metrics and measure/track the actuals against them.
To get started, common tools to employ are kaizens and lean analyses, conducted by a qualified facilitator.
Training is important but the CSRs first need to know the standards by which the whole organization will measure itself-- see metrics. They should participate in the kaizen, for example. This promotes buy-in to the overall team's efforts.
Customer Service is a key component of an organization's Balanced Scorecard.
Hi Armando, great question. Better results around customer services starts with passionate and engaged employees. It about training and hiring equally. Good customer service can definitely be taught and has more to do with company culture and leadership. For more follow these links:
Customer Focused Culture - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzOUV7-yE_uBUHp2MjRNSXFsdFAtXzFDQm84b3hoa2Q2WnV3/view?usp=sharing
Everything DiSC: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzOUV7-yE_uBTWhsMWJBeWNYRWs/view?usp=sharing
1. Everyone in the business is part of customer service so everyone needs to have an opportunity for professional development and input in to what customer service is and how it is reflected in the day to day operations of the business.
2. Keep your eye on the ball so that you're always aiming to fulfill WHY you do what you do. What is the change in the world that your business needs to be.
3. Role play, Role play, Role play
4. Measure results by clarifying how you will know that you are achieving the customer service standards you set out and check that against the reality on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
This may sound a little off-beat, but I would urge you to look online for the CNBC show, "The Profit" and find the episode about Key West Key Lime Pie Store. They transformed that location, the customer experience, customer service, streamlined product offerings, and had some very good business advice. Marcus Lemonis is very effective and got this business humming.
I originally wrote this article in Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine in 2001, and, with minor updates, it still applies. "Customer Service: The Real Solution Selling"
In addition to a good personality and exceptional training - the customer service representative should have the authority to actually fix the problem. You will get higher quality customer service when the employee actually has the autonomy and authority to "do what it takes" to fix the reported problem. Sometimes it takes some ingenuity and creative co-problem solving with the client. Sometimes, fixing the problem is giving the client a full refund and referring them to a different solution that a competitor is offering.
Great question Armando! I get this question a lot. I have been fortunate enough to train over a quarter million people from around the world in Excellent Customer Service. There are 3 things you must do to transform your customer service:
1. Hire well! Hire friendly people that are genuinely nice. A lot of times we look just at someone's resume and qualifications and hire based upon that. Though resume and background are important, make sure they have the personality for customer service. Training is essential as well. Make sure you had regular customer service training. However, someone who does not enjoy serving others will be very difficult to train if trainable at all.
2. Make customer focus your top priority from the top down! "You must obsess over your customers." - Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com Your customers are everything. You need to build customer value into your company culture, values and decisions. It must come from the CEO all the way down to the employees. Treat your employees and communicate with them the SAME way you want them to communicate with your customers. Set an example.
3. Always smile when communicating with your clients. Even over the phone. It comes though. Make sure they know you are eager to help them find solutions, clarify their needs and execute on the solution. Follow up with them to make sure they are taken care of and they THEY think they have been taken care of. Never let an upset customer leave your business or interaction upset.
There are a lot more insights to providing excellent customer service. For a COMPLIMENTARY customer service strategy session, visit me at David Brownlee dot com. You can also check out my YouTube Video Training on the CoachDavidBrownlee Channel, "What is customer service? 7 Essentials To Excellent Customer Service."
Hope this helps Armando. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Good customer service can be taught, but part of that involves defining what your customer means to you and what type of experience you want the customer to have. I recommend a proactive approach to customer service that emphasizes the importance of the customer experience and ideally heads off potential issues and problems instead of waiting to react to them.
Customer Service has the two qualities you list, both proper training and good hiring.
A critical piece is also accountability. Ensuring your employees uphold the high standards which you have for your business is paramount. Identifying exceptional service provided by employees deepens your commitment.
Read Tony Shieh's book from Zappos and study them as best CS in the world
I have always felt that there is a company culture that is passed down from upper management and reinforced by HR. One of my observations was that the staff of a company are often like peas in a pod. I see a company whose staff is all sort of folksy country type of folk, and another company whose staff is all sort of stiff know it alls and another company whose staff is extremely professional and skilled.
If you want to improve customer service it needs to be from the top down. You need to develop a culture that cares about customer satisfaction and providing the best products or service in your field. Problems can be a great asset to a company. It can be a way to learn how to improve your products and processes. It can be a way to create a strong bond with a customer when you show them you care about their needs and problems.
Interesting how all these answers talk about how important customer service is. How hiring the right people and training them is critical to success. What no one even mentioned is how to secure engagement and enrollment from your staff by compensating them appropriately. If your customer support is the key to your businesses success are you paying your customer support people a fair and living wage? Are you providing them with incentives to go above and beyond just answering the phone? Are they rewarded for being problem solvers and relationship builders? Or are you constantly looking for ways to put more money in your pocket at the expense of the people who do the work and actually generate the income? Customer service is often a reflection of the attitudes of company owners and top management. Case in point - Time Warner Cable or Comcast. Top management pays themselves hundreds of times what their labor force makes and their customer service ratings reflect how the workforce see this. Just something to think about.
Hi Armando- the fact that you and your brand have a passionate concern for 'better customer service' is refreshing. Way too many brands are 100% focused on profits and neglect CRM. Remember, it's more costly to gain a new customer than it is to retain (brand loyalty) one.
To answer your question- it all comes down to personalization, sensitivity, compassion, and good will when it comes to responding to a customer. Be honest, 100% transparent and apologize if you've been in error. Make good- extend your apologies by offering to replace (and your cost) or remedy the customer's concern to 100% satisfaction.
Practice this motto: Do whatever it takes to resolve the customer's concern and earn back their loyalty.
Lastly, switch places with the customer and ask yourself, 'how would I like to be treated if this was me?'...I think you'll find these tips useful and wishing you much success. G
Find the one who knows (who performs due to skills and experience) , hire him/ her then, give him the power to convey experience to others.
It's about hiring confident person with charisma and knowledge.
Good customer service can be taught but certain personality is prerequisite as is the certain level of experience;Including problem solving, conflict management and anger management.
Hello Armando! CS is all about 3 things - attitude, knowledge & communication. A helpful attitude and prompt corrective responses/actions always instill faith in the customers about the service. Knowledge about products, processes, services, scope of support etc helps the CS executive address the concerns more effectively. Finally, it all boils down to good communication skills. Polite, firm, crisp, clear and thoughtful communication almost always resolves 50% of the issue. You will very rarely find someone with all these 3 attributes ready-made for you. Hence, ensure that sufficient training is imparted to address each of these. Personality is a direct reflection of one's confidence. Confidence will come when one has knowledge about his/her field and is able to communicate/express effectively. I'll suggest go for focused, CS specific training programs for your existing staff.
I would you write a formula for success customer service.
In the process of writing the formula, you will review your current standard of the customer service and rethink your goals at the same time.
Just like to add this little thought " use policies & procedures to restrict actions & guide mindset ...eventually convert these into behaviours and culture or the organization" - use this to build your customer service.
Customer service is the most important ingredient for success for any company. We live in a customer centric society and relationships are what business is really all about. Inculcating a good customer service ethic is a combination of training and hiring. The concept of CRM is a multifaceted strategy that requires a good customer experience at every point of contact with your customers. Amazon is a good model to emulate in that they make it "easy" to get whatever you want that they offer with the "click" of your mouse. The best customer service employees are friendly, outgoing, and proactive. They leave your customers with a good feeling even if they contacted the company with an angry disposition. The goal should be to "delight" customers at every touch point.
The best customer service reps are both friendly and knowledgeable, but knowledge trumps attitude. If I need support, I care a lot more about whether or not the rep knows how to solve my problem than whether or not he or she is friendly. That may not go for everyone, but I think at the end of the day your customers will remember whether the issue was dealt with properly, more than the attitude of the person dealing with it, (except in extreme cases).
Hiring the right people is important, but there's such a high burnout rate that you can never be confident your candidates will stick around for the long haul so don't invest all your training resources right away. Instead, make sure new hires have a solid base of knowledge and plenty of resources at their disposal when they first start, then offer continual training for the reps that show promise.