The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
Quality customer service should be your team’s number one priority, whether you deal with internal customers, external customers, or both. The truth, though, is that many managers have a distorted view of their abilities as customer service representatives. Here are three myths you need to get over in order to succeed:
No, you can’t. You did not wake up one morning with magical mind reading skills. If you aren’t asking your customers if they are satisfied then, trust me, you have no idea whether or not they are happy. You should be emailing them, sending polls or surveys, or conducting review of their files and asking them over the phone or in person. Ask them if they are happy with your products or services. Don’t assume anything.
No, they would not. If this were true you’d spend quite a bit of time fielding complaint calls on a regular basis. The truth of the matter is that your customers will become upset, brood internally, and then simply start looking for a product or service to replace the one you are offering.
This one is a bit laughable. Sure, your staff will tell you a horror story if it turns out to be funny or if they need your help. They’ll definitely tell you stories that make them look good. But regular reports giving you general updates as to the satisfaction (or lack thereof) of your customers? Don’t hold your breath.
It’s your job to keep track of your customer care team, your clients, and their needs. If you are unable to do so I can guarantee that, eventually, your clients will become the clients of your competition.
No matter what type of business you’re in, one fact remains true. You have customers and those customers expect to receive products or services from you in a timely and professional manner. So how do you ensure this happens? You put systems in place that allow you to monitor whether or not your employees or workgroups are properly managing service delivery.
Managing service delivery involves a number of different factors. Good service begins from day one, when your employees begin their training process, and continues daily as they learn to interact with their clients, customers, and even other internal workgroups. Good customer service involves not only making a client happy by promising results, but delivering on those promises as well. If you tell a client you’ll return a phone call in 2 hours, then 2 1/2 or 3 hours is not acceptable. Someone expecting a shipment to be delivered on Thursday may not be thrilled if it doesn’t show up until Saturday.
The process of managing service delivery involves creating workflows in which the products and services you are promising your clients are delivered – on time and as expected. This high level of service should occur both after the initial sale and throughout the remainder of your relationship with the client.
The better your service delivery models, the higher your clients will perceive the value of your products and services to be. Make sure your employees are familiar with proper customer care methods. If you can provide an excellent level of customer service your clients will remain loyal to your organisation for as long as you can provide the services they need!
Managing a customer service team can be an interesting task. Unless you’re recording phone calls or listening in on conversations there is really no way of knowing if your team members are doing the job they’re supposed to be.
Ask yourself this question: How do you know that your clients receiving the best customer care possible?
Not knowing puts you in a bad position. If your clients are unhappy you might not find out until they’ve taken their business elsewhere. So what can you do to change this?
Hire Secret Shoppers
As silly as this may sound the concept is legitimate. You can hire a marketing research company to conduct a survey of your customer service abilities. These people will pose as customers, both average and difficult, and put your customer service team to the test. They’ll then report back and let you know what their experiences were, whether they were over the phone or in person.
Survey Your Customers
This can be done in a number of ways. You can send a postcard, email, or letter asking your clients to respond. As a manager, you might even pick up the phone and make a call to your larger clients, letting them know that you just wanted to check in and make sure their needs are being met. Most clients will open up and speak honestly if they know they are speaking to someone in an authoritative position.
Technological solutions, such as call recording or running computer reports, will give you the ability to tack what your employees are doing regularly. To those who think that amounts to snooping – think again. Your client files are public record and, if your employees jobs are to keep your customers happy you have the right to make sure they’re doing their jobs.
Don’t be afraid to step up to the plate and evaluate your entire customer service team. They’re the forefront of your organisation and need to be acting as such. Taking action now will ensure your customers are always happy, and happy customers are usually very loyal!