Most of the time, people are now relying on phones and are accustomed to constant access to information. The instant communication provided by mobile technology has resulted to impatient consumers who expect 24//7 customer attention. This poses a challenge for small businesses with a vast customer base but limited customer service resources.

It’s possible for smaller companies to provide service that satisfies even the smartphone generation. Intentional adjustments like empowering customer service representatives, establishing availability, and keeping your team on the same page will help your team create happy and satisfied customers.

Empower the Front Line

Customers make judgments about a company based on its CSRs (Customer Service Representatives). Why? Because after customers have purchased your product or service, the CSR’s are most likely the only people your customers will come in contact with.

In order for customers to experience a positive interaction, customer service teams need to be well-informed, confident, and empowered to help. The most important technique for boosting customer satisfaction is to make sure your CSRs have every tool necessary to handle whatever situation comes their way. Training plays a vital role in making sure CSRs can see the big picture and understands how to resolve issues presented to them. Customer service is becoming complicated these days, and CSRs typically need to access multiple systems to field customer questions. For example, a company’s shipping database, order logs, and credit card processing systems are all separate. It’s necessary to train your CSRs to access your company’s systems properly and find the answers that they need in the quickest way possible.

Another way you can empower CSRs is by giving them the liberty to resolve issues immediately. Do not force them to put the customers on hold while they come to you for answers or authorization. Try to anticipate the questions customers may ask, and provide agents with the authority to make quick yet effective decisions.

Set Expectations

Most of the time, small businesses cannot afford to implement a round-the-clock customer service to cater to their customers. Customers who find it difficult to look for your hotline number or connect to a customer service rep may become frustrated when they reach your voicemail. If they don’t receive a quick response to their email, they might think that their message failed to reach you.

Establishing a clear visibility as to what customers can expect from you goes a long way in improving customer satisfaction. It is necessary to state on your website that customers can “expect a response in one business day” next to the email address listed on your contact page. You should also list the hours your team stands by on the phone. You may also want to include the same information on your voicemail, and set up an automatic response after hours. Since the customers don’t expect a response for 24 hours, they would be pleasantly surprise to receive or hear a response from you sooner.

Create a Collaborative Team

Companies that are unable to provide 24 x 7 customer service have a higher risk of miscommunication. However, there are several ways you can prevent inquiries from falling through the cracks.

    • Tools: You can help your team stay on the same page with collaboration tools like Desk.com, Google Drive, or Dropbox, which allows the team to share documents and manage tickets.
    • Documentation: It is vital that CSRs thoroughly document interactions with customers to avoid miscommunication down the road. Notes serve not only as personal reminders, but they also help future team members reference past issues.
    • Handoffs: Seamless handoffs are also important. Establish a system so that customers won’t have to explain their issue to more than one agent, which can be frustrating and time consuming for both parties.

It helps to check in with employees on a weekly basis. Go through a checklist at the end of each week to make sure you didn’t overlook any complaint notifications or emails. This ensures that no one drops the ball and everyone feels accomplished after a long week.

Establish Your Communication Goals

Each type of communication channel involves its own unique strategies. Establish goals with your CSRs. Below is a list of goals that can help your team evaluate each call individually and identify problems more easily.

    • Listen to identify the problem: It’s frustrating for everyone when CSRs make assumptions because they’re trying to keep the call short. CSRs need to use good listening skills and avoid jumping to conclusions.
    • Keep the call focused: At the same time, some customers just like to talk. It’s up to the CSR to keep the call focused and productive.
    • Be personable: No customer wants to talk to a CSR who talks like a robot with canned responses. It’s necessary for you to teach your CSRs to be sincere and let their personalities shine through. Customers feel valued after a positive interaction with a helpful at the same time friendly CSR.
    • Solve the problem: When CSRs focus on what they’re unable to do, they set a phone interaction off on the wrong foot. Instead, they should assure the customer that they’ll help and tell him or her what they can do.

If you are starting to feel inundated or overwhelmed by the needs of your customer base, then now might be a time for a reset. Sometimes, it’s not about how large your team is, but how effective it is at creating the most important thing to your business — that is strong customer relationships.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 6:29:32 AM and is filed under Small-Medium Business.

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