When a company seeks to grow its current client base or increase profits, the first impulse is often to invest in pricey marketing efforts or bulk up the sales team. But, in reality, these may not be the solution.
In many cases, it’s more effective to turn your focus inward and examine the customer service skills of your employees. Here are a few statistics that illustrate this point and put the value of customer service into perspective:
- 84% of customers say their expectations were not exceeded during their last customer service interaction.
- Approximately 44% of consumers take their business elsewhere after having a poor customer service experience.
- It costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one.
Your customer service agents are the face of your company, serving on the front lines of client interaction. If they’re lacking essential customer service skills, it not only negatively impacts your organization’s reputation, but also cuts into your profitability.
So, think about it: Is poor customer service driving away business at your company? Use the following questions to determine whether your customer service team is up to par.
Are they trained?
When evaluating the effectiveness of your customer service department, the first element you should address is your training program. What does it entail? Do you allow for hands-on experience or simply place agents in their positions without fine-tuning their skills?
A valuable training program should be the foundation of your efforts to elevate your customer service. It is an indispensable advantage for your reps. If you want to ensure that they’re communicating with clients effectively and bringing a polished approach, you must invest in their customer service skills.
Find a solid program that prepares them to have successful interactions with your clients – the kind of interactions that retain current business and elicit referrals for your organization. Whether they’re new to your team or seasoned employees in need of a refresher, your reps require continual customer service training.
Are they professional?
Professionalism, or the ability to maintain control of your attitude regardless of the situation, is essential to creating a positive customer service environment. You simply can’t have agents that lose their cool with your clients.
Unfortunately, your customer service agents don’t know ahead of time what attitude a customer is going to bring to the conversation. So, they should be able to maintain professionalism even when customers become frustrated or angry. A calm and positive attitude has the potential to diffuse an irritated customer and cultivate a more positive experience.
Are they communicating well?
It is the responsibility of your customer service agents to communicate your company’s policies, processes and solutions to your clients. Are they doing that well? This should be easy to pinpoint:
- Are customers becoming more angry or frustrated as they speak with an agent?
- Are customers leaving conversations without solutions?
- Are agents failing to explain your company’s side of an issue?
Poor customer service experiences often stem from breakdowns in communication. Customers may not feel like they’re being heard. While it’s important for agents to convey their point, it is just as critical for them to listen. Some beneficial communication tactics include:
- Refraining from interrupting the customer to offer solutions
- Asking questions to gain a better understanding of the issue
- Not rushing the customer through a solution
Ultimately, your reps are the face of your company, and strong communication skills are vital to maintaining positive customer relationships. Through empathetic interaction, two-way communication and professionalism, they’re poised to develop lasting relationships with your customers.
Still not sure whether your team is exuding the proper customer service skills to retain business and keep your company profitable? Try out our free course preview by clicking below.