Everyone is delighted when the time it takes to handle a customer issue is reduced. To get there, you’ll need a clever and laser-like focus on helping customer service agents be more effective, especially if you want to shave minutes off your average service time.
When companies do a 360-degree evaluation of their service operations from both the customer and rep perspectives, they usually see results. That is time and effort well spent: Increased revenue, recurring business, and higher average order values are all tied to excellent customer service. Consider your best service encounter from the previous month. You want to give your staff the tools they need to embody that fantastic experience while simultaneously teaching them how to avoid the issues that have plagued every uncomfortable call you’ve made this month.
This RisePath article lists six recommendations on how to boost the efficiency of your customer service team while also protecting them and expanding their capabilities.
1. Instill politeness
Many excellent customer service etiquette guides are available from company coaches, executives, and software developers. Find a customer with a style you enjoy and copy their thorough tips and techniques, especially if they include scripts for transitioning away from difficult spots.
We’ll look at some of the key points to make sure you address, with a focus on how etiquette may help your rep better understand customer needs, resolve difficulties, and move support along more swiftly.
- Humanize the situation by greeting the person on the other end of the line and understanding how a problem affects them, not simply the company or service.
- Recognize when clients are losing patience and comfort them. One of the most important suggestions is to impart product expertise. This eliminates the usual dissatisfaction of a consumer who is unable to receive the assistance they require.
- Set expectations for the experience from the start. Customers want to know what will be done to assist them, and whether this will happen during the first, second, or third touchpoint. Teach your salespeople what they can do or what needs to be sent up to the techs, and then have them share that information with consumers as needed.
- Take responsibility for problems so the consumer knows you’re on their side when it comes to solving them.
Train your staff on how to ask meaningful questions about your product so that both they and the consumer can comprehend what’s going on.
There’s more to etiquette than being helpful over the phone, but that’s a good start. You can improve the consumer experience by thinking about it holistically.
2. Automate as much as possible
Delivering assistance swiftly is an important part of providing exceptional service. If you want to improve your rep efficiency, speed is an important factor to consider.
Automation can assist you in addressing these issues in a variety of ways. Chatbots and AI on your website may answer frequently asked questions or provide basic information, relieving your customer service staff of a substantial strain.
Other systems can assess your representatives’ talents concerning a variety of difficulties and complexities. These technologies understand your employees’ strengths and then route the appropriate questions and support requests to the people who can best respond. Routing software can help guarantee that inquiries are routed to employees who have the time to respond, rather than disrupting breaks, lunch, or meetings.
Contact centre software allows businesses of all sizes to begin implementing automation. A system that automatically pulls up customer information is one of the features that salespeople like the most. This saves time for both the client and the representative by eliminating some preliminary tasks.
Many of these tools can only save a few seconds per interaction. However, those seconds build up over time, resulting in you handling more calls per hour and resolving customer concerns faster. Furthermore, such time savings might cut phone wait times, which is one of the most aggravating aspects of customer service.
3. Make use of the information base
Your content is your knowledge base, and your reps and customers are your audience. So, rather than a long laundry list or a workflow that demands a click after every sentence, treat your knowledge base like the content. Tutorials created for quick and easy use can help you build your knowledge base. Modern tools make it easier to add visuals, and things like video and photographs that highlight the UI of products as well as the rep’s systems can help you close tickets three times faster.
You can use this content for your clients if you deal with chat or email-based ticketing systems. Make a brief video to show your reps how to perform common activities, and then post it online. When a client emails to ask how to accomplish one of these tasks, have a representative respond with an explanation as well as a link to the video.
Give customers what they want: long-term solutions and the option to receive a reminder without having to submit another ticket. Clarity through graphics and improved communication also lowers the chances of someone reaching out again. Follow-up questions are eliminated because you’ve fully answered the customer’s questions and even demonstrated how to proceed.
If you use the correct technological stack, you can go even further. GIFs, movies, and images of everyday jobs are excellent. However, some clients will require assistance. When this happens, seek tools that allow you to annotate directly on the media.
Consider how valuable a partner you could be if you proactively contacted clients with an updated, annotated video showing the new location as soon as it became available. This content remains in your knowledge base, but it now transforms your customer support efforts into a better experience for customers even before they contact your people.
Also, keep in mind that purchasing software can get you halfway there in terms of increasing efficiency. The other half of the job is to teach everyone how to utilise it properly. If your management can’t (or won’t) use a platform, you can’t expect your reps to, which means no gains and a large, useless sunk expense.
4. Encourage teamwork behind the scenes
How much do you enjoy waiting?
If you’re like most individuals on the planet, you despise it and will hang up after two minutes. When a problem is complex and a representative needs to seek assistance, placing you on hold (after already waiting) can soon become aggravating.
Give your staff collaboration options that don’t put the consumer on hold to combat this and enable them to deliver help faster. Separate tools or customer service solutions with built-in team chat can assist your reps in seeking help as soon as they realise they require it.
It’s no longer necessary to wait for a consumer to finish speaking before requesting them to remain on hold. When your salespeople are confused about what the customer means or what an element of your product is, real-time discussion with product engineers can assist them to locate solutions inside a knowledge base.
Managers and team leaders should also receive tools to listen in on conversations or chats and coach salespeople without the customer seeing or hearing anything. They’ll be able to discuss solutions or best practices in order to expedite a service request.
When a consumer does not have to submit the same information twice, productivity immediately increases. Saying the problem, entering an ID, or putting something in a chat window and then sending an email are all options. Simplify your clients’ lives, and your reps’ lives will be simplified as well – and they’ll thank you for it.
5. Meet customers in their preferred location.
Customer service is exciting since it takes place in different channels every day. We’ve even seen it in TikTok stories.
That’s a special sort of company that can operate there, with a specific, younger customer base. Even so, you should use it as an opportunity to improve your service’s flexibility. Can customers be added to a Slack channel? Is it possible to invite individuals to use Trello boards or Google Docs? Can you work using the tools that you and your partner already use?
Simultaneously, you have established channels that must be serviced. Yes, high-level and difficult queries are still dominated by phone and email. On-site chatbots, on the other hand, are increasingly a regular approach to answering simple enquiries. Live people to talk with if the issues are too complex for a machine are also simple to integrate.
There has been a lot of research into sectors and client characteristics in order to figure out which channels people prefer. You might discover some unexpected ways to provide service—or perhaps attract new consumers.
Find out where your consumers are asking questions about your product – sometimes to you, sometimes to each other — and give your reps the opportunity to meet them there.
Customer service platforms can also help here because they can use your CRM to track customers across all of these different channels and, in many cases, allow your reps to do their outreach from a single solution, reducing time spent switching channels or looking for logins to each different solution.
6. Consider scalability.
The point we’ll discuss is how to maintain productivity improvements. You can take several measures to increase the capabilities of a single customer service representative, but what if you need a solution that works for 20 or 100?
Take proactive actions to construct the infrastructure that your customer support solution or change will require. From desks and phones to Internet connections and software licences, this might be physical or electronic infrastructure. It could also be workforce infrastructure, such as employee training.
A big-picture approach is required for scalability. When we consider training, we can deduce a few things. To begin, train everyone on what’s new straight now and set up new information for your onboarding. Second, reps will require continuing support and training to ensure that the new processes and workflows are followed. Finally, your management team will require training in both new requirements and change management.
If you approach productivity improvements with a holistic mentality, you’ll be in a good position to figure out what works for your team and what it takes to make it happen. Create the ideal environment for everyone to achieve by being accountable and available.