Is your call center slowly but surely devolving into a factory assembly line? Does your team show up each day, only to deal with customers in a routine, mechanical motion that is missing a personal touch? Are your employees engaged and motivated to provide exemplary service to each and every customer, or are they simply shouting “Next!” at the end of each call?
If you had to take more than a few seconds to think about your response, it may indeed be time for a refresher course with your team. I have noticed that many seasoned customer service representatives have a tendency to view their jobs as mundane and repetitive. As a result, many get stuck in ruts that are hard to climb out of. Over time they can forget to be empathetic when customers call with a problem because they have heard the same issues over and over again. The solution? Have a refresher course on empathy with your call center team. Doing so is a fabulous way to ensure your customers are being treated as humans during their initial call and throughout their interaction with your business.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that this same “assembly line” analogy can also be applied to the way our call centers collect data from customers, such as names, addresses, problems, etc. Our industry sees the same “Next!” mindset in data collection all too often. If this accurately describes your team, a conversation about what “great customer service” looks like could help to change this. You may consider asking your team to think of a time when they received great customer service. Ask them to describe what made that service experience so wonderful, and then use their responses to improve your own processes. Your team will want to approach each call with the same passion, energy, and excitement as they did when new to the industry, and with the same attention to detail that they expect as consumers.
Has your call center team considered the fact that, although they’ve heard the same concerns or problems repeatedly, it will often be a new problem for the customer at the end of the phone? Your team should show your customers they care through an increased sense of empathy. Calm their anxiety by reassuring them you handle these issues daily. Actively listen to each customer and ask questions to gain a better understanding of their concern. And finally, collect pertinent information to ensure you get the right person to their home to solve their problem.
Just as you should view each customer as a unique individual, don’t forget about your own identity as a one-of-a-kind service. Make sure to build your business’s value by sharing the reasons why your company is the best possible choice for each customer. Set a clear agenda so they will know what to expect moving forward, and then thank them for choosing you as the solution to their problem.
The key to delivering a stellar experience every time is to get back to the basics. Ensure your team is aware of the impact they can have on your company’s success. Share with them “what it really takes” to keep the phones ringing and reiterate that the top number must be correct for the bottom number to have a positive outcome. Let them know that they have the power to single-handedly make a customer’s day through one simple, positive phone interaction.
After considering your employee-customer interactions, assess the work environment of your front-line teams by taking a quick walk through your call center. Are the office and atmosphere motivating, progressive, and reassuring for your team? Is the space inviting and conducive to happy, smiling faces? If not, this can be easily remedied with some much-needed spring cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, a seat reassignment, or a fun activity that reinvigorates the team.
At the end of the day, you need to look for new and innovative ways to motivate your teams, but also remain vigilant when it comes to mastering the basics of customer service. Excellent customer service must be the foundation of your call center team, ensuring that each employee is meeting the needs of your customer base and capturing all the opportunities available to your company.
Publication date: 4:30/2018