Businesses are like sharks. They always need to be moving. The metaphor applies to more than developing products and making sales, too. It also has to do with how you run your business.
Customer service is an essential area of business that should always be improving. As one of your primary customer-facing communication channels, your customer service team should always be in a state of development.
Here are several of the best ways you can enhance the effectiveness of your customer service team in 2021.
Polish Your IVR Menu
The capability of artificial intelligence to handle human interactions has continued to advance in recent years. This has led to the increased use of interactive voice response menus. The ability for telephone menus to handle incoming customer service calls is a great way to save time and resources.
However, it’s also a potential liability for your customer service team. A dysfunctional or confusing menu can stoke the emotions of incoming customers — and not in a good way. Customers that are already frustrated and looking for answers can become even more vexed as they attempt to navigate a confusing IVR menu.
If you have an IVR call center, take time to consider its effectiveness. Is it helping or hindering customers as they seek answers to their questions? Does it have a streamlined number of options to choose from or is it bloated or convoluted? Is it connecting customers with the right representatives?
Consider if you’re getting positive or negative feedback about your current system. If it’s the latter, take steps to clean up your IVR menu as soon as possible.
Train Your Staff
Training is another area that can improve effectiveness. If your customer service reps are undertrained or even if their training is out of date, it can lead to problems.
In order to improve your team’s effectiveness, take time to remedy the situation by:
- Strengthening their customer service skills: Focus on areas like active listening, empathy, work ethic, and adaptability.
- Helping them develop a thick skin: Along with knowing how to interact with a customer, teach your reps to swallow their pride. Help them learn to respond calmly and develop a thick skin.
- Equipping them with knowledge: A knowledgeable customer service rep will be able to resolve customer concerns efficiently. This includes things like learning about new products, remaining well aware of marketing initiatives, and understanding your brand’s voice and tone.
Keeping your staff trained — with both soft and hard skills — streamlines their effectiveness in any situation.
Perfect the Omnichannel Experience
Gone are the days when customer service consisted of a single phone number on a contact us page. Now customer service has become a cog in a giant mechanism commonly referred to as the “omnichannel experience.”
This consists of being ready to meet customers via multiple channels and at any point in the customer journey. All of your customer-facing communication must be woven together so that a consumer can seamlessly move between them.
If you want to improve your customer service this year, consider how you can perfect your company’s current omnichannel experience. Have you integrated social media into your website yet? Do the chatbots on your website connect customers to the right representatives? Are you using a CCaaS (contact center as a service) software solution to keep all of your communication channels organized?
Take the time to strategize about your customers’ omnichannel experiences. This will both improve customer satisfaction and make your customer service team a more effective part of the process.
It’s impossible to improve if you don’t know where to do so. That’s why feedback is a critical part of the improvement process. You can do this in multiple ways.
Start with your own team. Ask them what areas they’re aware of that could be upgraded. From there, you can begin to garner feedback from your customers, as well. 48% of customers said they would be willing to answer a question or two on a website survey. 72% claimed to have left a review for a service or product purchased in the previous year.
Often all you need to do is ask and the feedback will flow in. From there, you can gather and analyze it. Look for patterns or repeat concerns. Then use that information to decide on which areas of your operation require the most attention.
Always Be Learning
Don’t forget to keep the big picture in perspective, as well. This is true even after you’ve made adjustments and your team is humming along. That’s why the final recommendation is to maintain a growth mindset at all times.
A growth mindset manifests through things like flexibility, adaptability, and continual learning. This isn’t just talking about training, either. It’s referring to the willingness to always be challenging the status quo. Is the way that you’re currently fielding phone calls effective? Are customers looking for more convenient ways to communicate with you than an email form?
By cultivating a growth mindset, you empower your customer service team to look for ways to increase productivity and efficiency at all times. This is one of the best ways to keep your team at peak effectiveness, both in 2021 and far beyond.
There are always countless ways to improve your customer service team’s performance. Some options revolve around skills and training. Others have to do with communication channels, implementing feedback, and maintaining perspective.
Regardless of which one you are currently addressing, it’s wise for every team to look for ways to maintain their edge. This has never been more true than in the post-COVID-19 era. Everywhere you turn, business traditions have been smashed and the future is anything but certain. It’s an environment that requires continual learning and a willingness to adapt to whatever can make you the most effective.
So review the list above. Choose the areas where your team needs the most work. Then start looking for a solution today.