February 13th, 2017
It’s a dog-eat-dog world in customer service (CS) and everyone wants to be known for having high quality CS – they want to be at the top. You probably think you’re providing great CS (and you probably are) but there are always ways to improve, so don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent.
You should be checking each operator's interactions. This is one of the most important ways to improve the quality of your CS and your customer experience (CX). If you’re not doing this, you’re not playing a smart game. We’re going to look at ways you can improve your tactics and to make sure your CS advisors are providing a high-quality, winning experience.
1. The Brand
How many of your operators know what your brand is all about? It should be 100% of them. If it’s not, why? They should know facts you may take for granted, such as the CEO’s name, or when the company first started. They should be able to tell you what your brand represents and what your company actually does. For us in outsourcing, it's also important for them to know about the brand of the client they're working for. It's great if they can say what your company believes in, but what about what the client believes in? That's what customers will be talking about, after all. We always make sure that our operators completely understand and associate themselves with the brand they represent. At the end of the day, these people are your frontline; make sure this is an integral part of all team training.
This is as equally, if not more, important as this could lead to a bad CX and angry customers. As a customer, how frustrating would it be to make contact with a business and ask an expert about a service they offer, only for them to not have a clue what they’re talking about? "Very", is the answer, right? Research by Kolsky found that 44% of customers have been given the wrong answer to their question so make sure your advisors are know-it-all's.
Regular quality checks allow you to nip it in the bud if an operator is advising incorrectly. You can give them effective feedback and retraining if needed. Mixed messages aren’t good for anyone, in any situation.
Your advisors are now the founts of all knowledge but, like on the big stage, if their delivery is poor, then the reviews won't be kind.
Spelling and Grammar
Tone of voice (TOV)
This is part of your brand and you need to establish how you want your CS advisors to sound. You could create them a word bank, a specific emoji list that represents your brand, or hashtags they can use so there’s no inconsistency.
If your brand allows your advisors to be informal at times, we’re firm believers that still remaining professional is a must. An advisor should be able to distinguish when the TOV should be changed - no one wants to joke about their bank account just being hacked.
2. The customer
How many times have you heard or seen, “you haven’t answered my question though”? Time and time again, CS advisors listen but don’t really hear - HelpScout found that, 50% of the time, advisors have failed to answer the customer's question. Here are five ways in which you can quality check a CS advisor's response to make sure the customer is being heard:
What do they want?
Believe it or not, when a customer is making contact with your business they usually want something: product information, website help, to complain, etc. Advisors need to be picking up on the main points the customer has, addressing them all and being empathetic (if necessary – probably necessary). The advisor needs to put themselves in the customer's shoes (and they’re going to be wearing a lot of pairs throughout the day).
Finding the right solution
The right solution may not always be the solution the customer wants to hear, but we believe honesty is the best policy. And, if there’s more than one solution to the problem, give the customer the different options so they can decide for themselves – don’t just tell them what to do, give them a choice.
Again, this is all about being honest. If you’re loyal to your customer, then they will be loyal to you. Don’t try and guesstimate and provide them with empty promises, as it will lead to customers becoming frustrated, angry, and possibly taking their business elsewhere.
Educating the customer
Some customers make contact to get an answer to a question that they'll be able to find on your website (probably on your FAQ's page). Give them the answer but give them a little extra - the knowledge of your website, so that they can wander free. It may just be a case of explaining how they can find the answers to their questions or even sending them the link to the pages on your website.
Going the extra mile
All of the above points will make sure your CS advisors reach a high level of quality in their interactions, but going the extra mile will be the cherry on top of the cake for the customer experience. As many as 76% of customers believe customer service is a true test of how a business values them. Make sure you pass the test with flying colours.
If your CS advisors dissect customer interactions following these steps, then there should be no reason why they aren't providing a high quality service. Following all these points will stop a repeat customer asking the same questions over and over again, and it can prevent angry customers escalating.
3. How can you measure quality?
Measuring quality can be quite subjective, so make sure you have guidelines in place so your CS operators know what objectives they have to reach to be able to get a certain mark. Turn qualitative data into quantitative data so the advisor knows if they do, X, Y and Z, it’ll give them a percentage score. Having a scoring system will allow the operator to know what they're doing correctly and which areas they can improve on – they’ll have a goal to work towards.
We spoke to our learning and development manager, Courtenay, and she said:
Quality is an important key factor as this is critical to retaining our customers' loyalty and providing excellent customer satisfaction. Quality management supports the improvement and consistency of overall quality and strives to enforce a positive customer experience in all instances.
Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to customer service. Customers don’t care how many people an advisor has spoken to in a day, but how they’re treated individually. Quality checking interactions means you can always see how the CX can be improved. If you don’t, you’re letting existing customers, and potentially new customers, slip away. If you need help perfecting your CS, why not get in touch? We’re experts.