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Great Customer Service: Where to Start?

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Great Customer Service: Where to Start?

February 18, 2016

  By Steve Anderson, Contributing Writer

Virtually no business walks into the field planning to offer terrible customer service. It tends to happen, however, thanks to a variety of different factors working together to render customer service an unpleasant journey through an impenetrable maze. There are ways to stack the deck in a business' favor, however, and Business 2 Community recently offered a look at just how to get that edge.

First, hire the right people. Easier said than done, of course; most regard customer service as the job of last resort, not a career opportunity. Looking for people who understand and enjoy collaboration, work well with new technology, and understand that every customer is a contribution to the bottom line is a great way to start. This kind of people allow for several other key behaviors, including putting better technology to use—starting with big data analytics and moving to customer relationship management (CRM) tools is a good start—and encouraging collaborative efforts within the office itself.

Next, give those people plenty of leeway. If you're using a script, stop. Customers generally can tell the difference between a person speaking to them and an employee reading the Company Line at them. If  sales reps are ever saying something like “I'm not allowed to do that,” there is a problem with the process, and it will likely fail. A Software Advice study found that 69 percent of respondents believe it's a better customer experience when agents don't sound like a script is involved, so remember, if the reps need any kind of guidance, limit it as much as possible. Encourage proactive behavior in both reps and equipment; spotting a problem before it starts is a great way to stop it, and improve customer experience.

Don't forget the self-service options—customers do enjoy the feeling of success that comes with solving a problem on their own—and also the omnichannel experience, using different platforms to allow customers to contact a firm by favored means. Lastly, be ready for growth; don't be a victim of success, but rather, be ready to accommodate all the new callers and new business.

There's a lot to remember when it comes to the best in customer service, and even here, the best won't mean always successful. The days of measuring customer service based on number of calls handled or extended warranties sold or the like are gone; with online options increasingly prevalent, the only real path to success is to offer the best in customer service. That's something online venues can't readily replicate, and something that could put a customer service operation ahead of its competitors, along with immediacy of product receipt.

Customer service is difficult to get right, and even when all the elements for the best in service are in place, it still doesn't always come about the way we'd like. Still, with these points in place, the best chance for the best customer service is established.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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