How to make your customer service & support departments better

Without any doubt, the  key to good customer service is building good relationships with your customers. Promoting both a highly positive and reactive, and a helpful and friendly environment will ensure they leave with a great impression. A happy customer will return often and is likely to spend more when he feels that you are working in his best interest.

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How to offer the best customer service experience?

In order to really consider that you have an efficient and high quality support department you need to make sure that you provide the best customer service:

  • get to know your clients better, including what your customers consider to be good customer service
  • take the time to find out customers' expectations
  • follow up on both positive and negative feedback you receive
  • continuously look for ways to improve the level of customer service you deliver.

Basically, there are two major factors that play a vital role in whether you’re offering the best support services or not.

First off, you need to make sure that you offer quick support. Every case needs to be handled as fast as possible. The longer a problem persists, the more annoying it’s going to be for the customer.

So even if you can’t solve a particular problem in one touch, a fast response to the initial question with a promise of a solution later down the line is much better than not saying anything whatsoever.

Secondly, you want to make the experience as enjoyable and professional as possible. This translates into being equipped with the tools and methods that will allow you to diffuse the situation and find a solution as quickly as possible. This implies that the agents working in your customer support department are mastering the social interactions extremely well.

But before we get into the requirements that you need to comply with in order to have e beaming support department, let’s have a talk about the tool that’s going to make all the difference in your customer relationship.

But first, you’ll need to...

Measure how your support team is doing

In the following article we’re going to paint a picture of the ideal helpdesk department, but before you do that, you need a tool that can help you analyze the way things are going performance wise.

It’s obvious that every company should periodically measure key elements of its customer service / helpdesk department, such as timeliness, accuracy and problem-solving effectiveness. Customer service satisfaction surveys, which can be conducted by telephone or even online, are a way to accomplish this. Companies can then use the feedback to correct aspects of customer service that have shortcomings.

But the tool that can give you the best of the analytical world is a CRM (customer relationship management) software, which is going to allow you to have a clear overview on how the support team is doing, by generating several detailed reports.

Perfect ways to make sure that your service and support team are doing a great job

1. Find people with the right customer service skills

The first step on the road to good customer service happens way before any chats or calls with customers and it’s about hiring the right people for this type of job, because it’s not just for anybody.

To provide good customer service, an agent needs the right combination of customer service skills and traits and knowledge of customer service best practices.

You have two ways of making sure that happens: hiring and training. For example, if you have someone with a very deep understanding of a certain technical aspect, e.g. a programming language, but they also lack the ability to listen and empathize, it would probably be easier in the long run to hire someone with a lot of empathy and teach them the programming language.

In other words, a good character fit is probably more important than having all the skills when hiring.

2. Putting into practice the “customer comes first” attitude

That doesn’t necessarily imply that you won’t take under consideration your profits, but profit shouldn’t be the principal motivator, the customer should.

We’re all customers of some sort of products or services and none of us enjoy being put in a place where we’re being denied a refund, for example.

Successful businesses are build on placing value on customer satisfaction, even while sacrificing some of your company profits.

This shows how much you value your customer. There’s never a good enough reason to deny your client his rights and benefits. This will ensure that your customer has a happy (and hopefully) long lifetime value. You’ll be able to upsell and cross-sell to him and, given that word of mouth is all to important nowadays, you’ll most definitely benefit from some recommendations.

In the long run, staying on the customers’ good side and helping them no matter the costs will be much more profitable.

3. Offer help through multiple channels

The Nexus customers usually fall under two categories: the ones that give us a call on our company number and the ones that write to us on social media. So, although we don’t have the most intense activity on our social platforms, we thought that it wouldn’t hurt to use them as a mean of communication with our customers. Also, we’ve installed a live chat feature on our website, just in case anybody feels like contacting us on the spot… these come as an addition to our already existing email and phone contacts, of course.

So, we’re basically trying to give all of our customers an easy way to get in touch with us.

It’s also essential that you don’t forget what channels you put up and not forget about the requests that you get through them.

If you’re not sure about the whole concept of multi-channel customer service, try walking in your customers’ shoes for a while. Assume that they don’t know that they can get help on your website by calling you. They don’t know the address or the phone number.

What they do know is that they can type in your company name on Facebook and post a quick question there. You can’t simply tell them to call you or email you.

There’s also the additional effect of bad reputation. The longer such question stays up unanswered, the worse it will look. The only solution is: when you decide to go for social media, be ready to answer all kinds of questions there, especially those concerning support.

4. Providing responses and solutions quickly

The speed at which your customer service operates plays a very important part in the customer having a good experience with your brand. You can really do a lot in terms of customer delight and keep falling short if you don’t add speedy responses and resolution to the mix.

Besides how Facebook, for example, labels your company page due to your message response speed, you probably can agree with us when we say that the faster your responses are, the higher customer satisfaction you can get.

How to find the best customer support/service employee?

Just as I mentioned earlier, it’s important to find the right people for your customer support and service department. Let’s talk a bit about how these employees should be.

My advice here is to pay extra attention to traits during the interview/trial period and facilitate customer service training opportunities for the necessary skills later down the line.

As far as traits and skills go, there’s a few that you could be on the look for:

1. Have good communication skills

The candidate needs to know how to communicate ideas in a simple, easy to understand way. They also need to be aware of the type of customer they are dealing with and adjust their approach accordingly. For example, an enthusiastic and informal answer simply won’t work for a formal and annoyed customer, even if it’s correct.

2. Be responsible and honest

Your agents, and actually your whole team of employees, should feel responsible for the success of their customers. We, at Nexus try to instil the idea that we all should act as advisors, consultants for our clients, not just sales people and raw technical support staff.

Your staff needs to be honest about the things they can and can’t do and be able to admit when they’ve made a mistake. Customers appreciate honesty, especially when something doesn’t go as planned.

3. Be a good listener & have consideration

Excellent customer service requires effective listening and communication skills. A company's customer service representatives should listen carefully to what the customer needs. The answer or solution to the problem or question should accurately address the nature of the call. Moreover, excellent communication skills are crucial. A customer should be able to easily understand what the customer service representative is saying. The representative must speak distinctly, and use common terminology that everyone understands, not highly technical language.

4. Be a team player

The bigger a customer service department is, the more important this will become. This covers both the ability to work well with others as well as knowing who can solve specific problems.

This is one of the crucial moments where a Customer Relationship System comes in really handy. The support tickets are going to allow you to both assign the right person for a specific task, and keep track of every interaction that you have with a certain customer.

5. Have a good dose of imagination

As experience has probably already taught you, it’s pretty rare that a service department has to deal only with cases in conformity to some templates, so it’s important that they are able to figure out some out of the box solutions.

So as you can see, offering good customer service doesn’t come so easily. Gathering the right people and making sure that they have all the necessary tools to do their jobs is going to guarantee that everyone is happy and your company will flourish.