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For Better Customer Service, Businesses Can Hit the Books

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September 30, 2014

For Better Customer Service, Businesses Can Hit the Books

By Casey Houser, Contributing Writer

This time of smartphones, tablets, instant accessibility, video chat, texting, email, and other mobile devices and methods of communications has left consumers with a wealth of choices about how they can interact with their chosen brands and on which devices they choose to reach them. It has also given them more impetus for switching brands when they do not get what they want, and more often than not, consumers want multichannel experiences.

They want to be able to contact businesses in ways that are simple and that speak to their individual tastes. And if they do not get what they are after? Well, a recent Business2Community blog post cites the U.S. Chamber of Commerce figure that 68 percent of consumers have switched to a competitor because they were unhappy with their customer service. Furthermore, within the millennial generation, those between age 20 to 34, a recent Bond Brand Loyalty study showed that 60 percent of that population would consider switching to a competitor to get more loyalty rewards, and 67 percent of respondents within that study also showed that they would not become loyal to a company that did not have a loyalty program in the first place.

So where does this place companies? According to Business2Community, it may be time for them to go "back to school" if they are experiencing customer loss or are not faring well concerning their customer service. Just as kids have headed back to school this fall, companies may want to brush up on their employee training for a number of reasons.

First, Business2Community says employees must be trained to properly use their multichannel methods of communication. It is not enough to have video, phone, email, and texting; employees must be able to use those portals and use them well. Just as they want to choose whether or not they want to talk or text, customers also expect to interact with trained professionals who know how to use their own products. Similarly, managers and employees must be well-versed in the technology that supplements their business operations. If they use call recording or customer management software, for instance, they should know them inside and out because eventually their customers' experiences will hinge on those technologies operating properly.

There is also a lot to be said for employees who can speak to customers about what they know. Managers should not expect employees to know absolutely everything, but they should push them to speak to customers in a respectful tone about what they do know so both agents and customers can work together to solve problems effectively and as quickly as possible. That said, customer interactions should not be rushed just to complete more calls; employees who listen well and have a positive attitude can often keep their customers happy, and that will keep customers loyal.

Lastly, it is important to mention that managers and higher level employees should take the lead within their offices. Those people are in a position to lead, and if they falter, lower-level employees may not be motivated to do their own jobs well. Just as customers want to be listened to and treated with respect, so too do customer service agents. When managers teach their employees how to speak to customers, how to handle technology, and how to interact with the various technological systems that provide their companies with strong backbones, they should also be positive and try to empower their staff. Everything starts from the top, and with strong support from the top should come better customer service in the end.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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