Whether it’s as a result of business growth or seasonal peaks, here’s our top five tips of important considerations for your customer contact expansion and customer service.
- Every interaction counts
72 per cent of customers are more likely to do business with a company because of their reputation for strong customer service… when it’s that important to the future of your business it’s vital to invest in training and development of your customer service team.
They are representing your brand and the values you stand by, so they need to deeply understand the company DNA and communicate that in every interaction, just as you do.
- An empowered team makes happy customers
As the size of your team increases, it’s worthwhile putting in place a framework to empower your team to make their own decisions (within the limits you set). In a larger team this can save valuable time and the cost of management approving their every decision. It also ensures the team has the confidence and framework to deliver a great customer experience. One of the top three customer services challenges today is when customers expend moderate to high effort to resolve an issue. By empowering your team you can eliminate this effort for your customers and ensure their journey is seamless and positive.
- Blend human and digital resources for the best customer journey
When you handle multiple customer interactions it can often lead to repeating tasks, so there is a potential to waste time and as your team grows the amount of time wasted could soar. Consider how your business can automate parts of the customer journey or the customer advisor’s tasks with tools such as self-serve, standard responses, support emails, sharing best practice, adding channels, apps etc. It’s easy to get carried away with the benefits of automation. Remember you want to save time AND deliver a great customer experience so the automation should always compliment that experience by making it easier and quicker for customers to get the answer to questions they have, to get in touch, to give feedback and to have any issues resolved.
- Humans over robots: addressing UK’s customer service skills gap
- How to make your customer service soar
- Use performance measures for their best effect
As your team expands it’s important to put measures in place to help you understand how your team is performing and how this is contributing to your business success. Take time to evaluate what performance indicators are important to your business and how knowing these can make a positive contribution to the team, its performance and your customers’ experience. For example, it may be better to focus on ‘first call resolution’ rather than ‘resolution time’ as first call resolution focuses on the advisor successfully resolving the call rather than on the speed at which the interaction is completed. Digging deeper can help you link your performance measures to your brand DNA to appreciate how your team are communicating those. Fundamentally, performance measures are only worthwhile when used to their best effect so use the numbers to report on performance, celebrate achievement, train and support under-performers, adjust and improve your customer service experience.
- Invest in health and wellbeing
As our teams expand, we tend to concentrate on physically accommodating a larger workforce and the practicalities that entails, everything from office space and technology to HR systems and safety.
We need to consider that today’s consumer can present demanding challenges to our customer service advisors, they expect superior service, a plethora of channels and 24/7 service. As a result, our advisors are highly trained customer service professionals who carry out an important, demanding and sometimes stressful role. If you can introduce some of the following elements into your expansion plans it ensures the team can make friends, enjoy coming to work and feel motivated to make a positive contribution for you and your customers:
- Break-out areas where teams can relax and talk to colleagues
- Quiet spaces to reflect/pray
- Recreational spaces for the team to have fun
- On-site catering/lunch break facilities
- Internal communications
- Health and exercise advice
- Social events calendar
- Internal branding to inspire and motivate
Mandy Holford is the director of customer services at customer service outsourcing company Echo-U.