What Skills to Look For in your Next Customer Service Reps

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What Skills to Look For in your Next Customer Service Reps

May 26, 2017 Blog by admin

Assembling a great team of customer service reps takes time, patience, and a solid knowledge of what great customer service really means. Of course, anyone can provide customer service, but your customers deserve to be served by reps who truly care about the customer experience. Here are the skills you need to look out for in your next customer service reps.

Confidence

Confidence is a great skill to have in any job, but it takes a very special type of confidence in customer service roles. Your service reps need to be confident enough to take charge of any problem or situation that your customers have, yet they need to avoid coming across as bossy or overbearing. Most importantly, it’s the attitude that goes along with the confidence that counts the most. If they are cocky and inflexible in their confidence, keep looking. That type of inflexibility will be a turnoff for your customers.

Empathy

Alongside confidence, empathy is one of the best skills any customer service employee can have. The ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes is critical in diffusing angry situations and it’s vitally important in helping employees relate to customers. Empathy requires a lot of patience, which is another great skill for customer service employees to embrace.

Flexibility

Customers can have a wide variety of problems every day of the week, so you need employees who are flexible enough to be able to work through these challenges to provide individualized service to every employee. Flexibility is also important when your business experiences a particularly high volume of customer calls. You need employees who are happy to help above and beyond their normal duties in times like that.

Sense of responsibility

Customer service reps who can own up to their mistakes are more likely to be better problem solvers in the long run. If they assume responsibility of their customer’s problems, they’ll be more likely to give better customer service, too. Encourage responsible customer service reps to provide followups to your customers once the problem is resolved to help strengthen customer relationships.

Follow the Answer 365 blog for more great tips and advice on providing excellent customer service to your customers.

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Fix Your Broken Customer Service With These Ideas

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Fix Your Broken Customer Service With These Ideas

May 19, 2017 Blog by admin

If you suspect that your customer service is lagging, or worse, broken altogether, there is hope. Small changes can make a big difference to both your business and your customer experience, so don’t be afraid to make those changes now, before the problem gets worse. Here are some things you can try to fix your broken customer service today.

Offer your customers the tools they need to help themselves (if they want to)

Some customers are happier doing most of their interaction with your company alone, that is, they prefer self-service most of the time. Don’t think of things like customer account dashboards and online ordering as an alternative to great customer service, but rather as tools to enhance your customer experience. Anything that makes your customer experience easier or more pleasant for your customers is a great investment in customer service.

Give customer service employees the tools they want and need

What do your employees say is the biggest challenge they face in providing better customer service? Is it a lack of training, a lack of technology, or maybe even a lack of the ability to own each customer’s problem fully? Give your employees the space to provide excellent service, and give them the tools, and they’ll be more likely to embrace their roles more fully. Just make sure that you’re not making changes for the sake of change--in other words, don’t fix areas that aren’t broke. Listen to your employees, work with them to determine what they need, and work together to fix your broken customer service.

Have a clear philosophy for your customer service

You can’t give the best customer service if you don’t know what exactly ‘good’ service is. Create a company philosophy about what type of service you want to provide, then draw up a statement that shows your intent. Build your customer service around this creed and then build your company culture around that great service. Make your statement short, sweet, and to the point, then drive it home by living up to it every day.

Visit Answer 365 often for more great tips and advice on creating a great customer-centered corporate culture.

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5 Steps to Building a Customer Focused Culture

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5 Steps to Building a Customer Focused Culture

May 12, 2017 Blog by admin

One of the most important things you can have in your business is a customer focused company culture. If you don’t put your customers first, you’re risking long-term success for your business. Here are five steps to take to build a strong, customer focused culture within your business.

Train employees to cultivate customer focused culture

Your employees play an important role in creating the kind of culture that values customer service. Start them early by offering training in how to provide the kind of customer service that your customers crave. It helps if you only hire people who show a clear aptitude for great customer service, so take a little extra time to fill your customer service jobs with the right people.

Make rewards service-based

Employee rewards should be linked directly to their performance in company culture. In other words, the better they cultivate a customer service focused culture, the more rewards they’ll receive.

Don’t let poor service bring down morale

If you have employees who don’t fit with your customer service culture, don’t be afraid to fire them quickly. Some people won’t be a good fit, no matter how hard you try to mold them to your company culture. Negative employees can quickly bring down the morale of all of your employees, and this can lead to poor customer experience.

Personalize your customer experience

No matter how big your company is, there are tons of ways you can make each customer feel appreciated. Act like a small, personal company whenever you can. Whether that means calling customers to thank them for their orders, or sending them a thank you card, customers will appreciate the attention as long as you avoid trying to turn these situations into ‘selling’ encounters.

Set a good example

Lead your company culture creation by making a commitment to your customers in everything you do. Don’t pass off customer problems to your staff--make a commitment to resolving them personally whenever possible. Once your employees see that customer service is everyone’s job, your customer focused culture will begin to thrive.

For more great tips on customer service, visit Answer 365 today.

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3 Strategies to Get More Customer Feedback

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3 Strategies to Get More Customer Feedback

May 05, 2017 Blog by admin

Customer feedback is very important for any business. If you don’t know whether or not you’re doing a good job, you have no idea whether or not your customers are likely to stick around. There are lots of different ways to gauge customer feedback. Here are three strategies to get more customer feedback for your business.

Surveys

Surveys are the tried and true, most common way to get customer feedback (apart from maybe the good, old-fashioned suggestion box). You can send surveys out at the point of sale, randomly throughout the year via email, or by telephone (think text message surveys these days). Mobile surveys are quickly becoming the norm for many companies, since many customers do so much on their smartphones. However you send them, surveys can provide valuable insight into your customer experience.

Monitor what your customers do on your website

There are various services and tools that allow you to see every move your customer makes when they visit your website. If you sell online, this can be very useful for creating an online customer experience that’s conducive to great customer service. If you can see what actions your customers take at every point on your site, you can plan future sales campaigns to better meet their needs and boost your sales. It’s a win for everyone when your site is customer-friendly!

Social media

There’s no denying that social media plays a huge role in doing business today, but did you know it’s also a great tool to help you get more customer feedback? Keeping an active conversation flowing between your business and your customers on social media not only helps you glean what they like and dislike, it also helps to build a strong customer focused culture. You can also use tools to monitor social media for keywords that relate to your business and address problems before they ‘go viral.’ Plus, social media doesn’t cost you a dime, so take advantage of it to really find out about what your customers want.

For more tips on engaging with your customers, visit the Answer 365 blog regularly.

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3 Ways to Invest In Your Customers

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3 Ways to Invest In Your Customers

April 21, 2017 Blog by admin

While gaining new customers is always important, you really shouldn’t overlook the importance of keeping your existing customers happy. You can invest in the customers you have right now and build a lifelong business relationship, or you can work twice as hard to find new ones. Here are three simple ways you can invest in your customers so they’ll be with you for the long term.

Know their names

It sounds so simple, but just knowing and using your customer’s name can be the difference between just another business transaction and actually doing business with someone you like and respect. Customers want to be remembered. They don’t want to be nameless faces in a sea of people--they want you to appreciate them for who they are. Make a point to address each customer by their names and try to identify something unique about each person so you can reference it in the future.

Build a personal relationship

Whether you make a point to learn about their pets, their children, or even their hobbies, using these personal details will really make your customers smile. Ask them about their day, listen to their replies, and make an effort to develop more than just a business relationship with each one--make a point to grow a business friendship, too.

Don’t forget that your social media platforms are a great place to help grow these personal relationships. Encourage your customers to share their lives on your business Facebook page or tweet about how they use your business. This promotes a sense of social community that can help your brand grow.

Offer a brand your customer can depend on

Your brand is as much about your company’s values as it is about your logo. There’s no point in being a widely recognizable brand if your business isn’t providing a great experience for your customers. Your customers should know what you stand for and never have to guess about the type of service that you’ll provide them. It’s no good if your customers can’t rely on you to provide excellent customer service every time--they’ll just go elsewhere for their needs.

For more great ideas about providing excellent customer service to your customers, visit Answer 365 today.

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Healthier Customer Service

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Healthier Customer Service

April 17, 2017 Blog by admin

Want to ensure you’re providing the best customer service possible? Well, then you’d better make sure that you’re taking care of yourself first. Customer service jobs can be stressful - long hours spent sitting at a desk, rushed lunch breaks, and high stress levels can all take a toll on your health. Here’s how you can stay healthier while working in customer service.

Get out of your chair

According to some health experts, sitting is as bad for you as smoking, so customer service staff should try to incorporate some movement in their days whenever possible. This can be done by taking quick walks throughout the day (which also help boost your energy and help you focus better).

You may even want to consider using standing desks or even desks with a treadmill if there is adequate space. Of course, you can’t really talk and run at the same time, but if your customer service is mostly online (typing responses to customer queries), it might be ideal.

Watch your posture

Back problems are rampant in customer service. This is another negative to sitting at a desk for hours on end, especially if you aren’t using good posture. Try using ergonomic chairs to keep your back and neck in alignment while you’re sitting. Also, set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and stretch every half hour to hour. This will help you become more aware of your posture so you can stop yourself from slouching too much.

Mind your diet

It can be tempting to grab fast food lunches or skip meals when you’re working at your desk all day, but don’t do that. Instead, try to keep healthy food choices on hand for snacks and meals. Not only will choosing healthy foods make you feel better, they could make you better at your job, too. If you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, and generally unwell from a poor diet, your mood is likely to suffer. But if you’re fueling your body with smart choices, you’ll be mentally better equipped to handle the stresses of the job.

Get enough rest

Fatigue makes it harder to provide great customer service. Do yourself a service and get enough quality sleep so you can feel your best for your customers.

For more tips and advice on providing excellent customer service, follow the Answer 365 blog.

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How to Improve Customer Service With a Conversational Approach

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How to Improve Customer Service With a Conversational Approach

April 10, 2017 Blog by admin

When it comes to customer service, there’s no such thing as ‘too much availability.’ Your customers want to communicate with you, and they expect you to keep the lines of communication open when they need you. Here’s how you can improve your customer service with a conversational approach to your customers.

Go where they are

Customers today are online more than ever before. Social media has become the go-to place for news, entertainment, and even customer service, so if you don’t have a customer service presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter, you could be alienating your customers.

Go where your customers spend the most time and make your customer service team available when your customers need them. Answer customer service queries on social media, even if it’s through a private message. This will show your customers that you really do care about meeting their needs in their space and time.

As an added bonus, being available in this way helps to grow your company’s brand community. Brands with a strong brand community tend to have customers that are more loyal and more involved than those brands who take a more hands-off approach to customer service. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your brand community--it will also help foster a great relationship between you and your customers.

Use technology to boost customer service

Social media isn’t the only technology that can help you with your customer conversations. Online chat boxes that connect customer service team members with curious customers are a great way to keep the conversation going. These sometimes utilize ‘bots’ to gather the customer’s basic details so your customer service team members can focus on really solving the problem. It’s another way to ‘go where your customers are,’ and it shows you really are serious about providing great customer service.

Be available all the time

You don’t have to limit your customer service availability to your customers, not even when your physical business is closed. Online chat boxes are two newer ways to keep the customer conversation going, but don’t overlook the power of the call centre. Nothing beats being able to pick up a phone and hear a reassuring voice at any time, day or night.

For more great customer service tips and tricks, visit Answer 365 today.

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Writing a Customer Service Resume How To

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Writing a Customer Service Resume How To

April 04, 2017 Blog by admin

If you want a job in the customer service industry, a great resume will go a long way towards helping you get your foot in the door. For customer service jobs, your resume needs to highlight your abilities as a service provider. Here’s how you can write an effective customer service resume to boost your chances of snagging that ideal customer service job.

Make it easy to read

HR departments don’t have time to wade through a novel. Make sure all of your pertinent details are on page one of your resume so that your experience can shine. It also goes without saying that the resume should be typed with appropriate spacing to make reading it easy on the eyes. Bullet points and bold category headings help, too, but you need to know what to put in those bullet points first.

Highlight ways you meet the job requirements

Be honest about your experience, but don’t be too modest. Look for the things the job posting states that are wanted--the ability to work independently, good communication skills, good time management skills--and highlight specific examples of ways in which you have demonstrated these skills in your previous jobs.

Proofread (and proofread again)

Small mistakes in your resume look like you don’t pay attention to details, and that’s a big turnoff in the customer service industry. Have someone else read over your resume before you send it off. You’ll only ever get one chance at a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one with no spelling errors!

Put in the relevant details

The hiring department doesn’t need to hear about all of your extracurricular activities from high school or your summer babysitting jobs around the neighbourhood. They only want to see relevant job history that shows them that you know how to do the job for which you are applying. For this reason, it pays to update your resume for each job you apply for in order to highlight the specific experience that makes you the most likely candidate for the job.

For more tips on preparing your customer service resume, or for great tips on customer service in general, visit the Answer 365 blog often.

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Spring Cleaning Customer Service Productivity

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Spring Cleaning Customer Service Productivity

March 24, 2017 Blog by admin

Spring is a great time to ‘clean house’ with your customer service and focus on improving your customer service productivity. It’s a great time to take stock of how your staff is performing and make some simple changes that will benefit everyone. Here are some great tips for boosting your customer service productivity this spring.

Eliminate distractions

This can be easier said than done, especially if your office is in a busy place or even a public place. If you’re working in a place with constant, distracting levels of noise, try relocating to a quieter location. Keep foot traffic to a minimum, if possible, and keep your break areas separate from work areas to keep employees focused for longer.

Of course, it’s not just environmental distractions that you have to watch out for. Your computer can be the biggest productivity killer of all, so consider using site blockers to stop yourself from wandering off task to constantly check your email, social media, or other time wasting sites. This will help you become more disciplined and help your productivity soar.

Forget about multitasking

There’s a big misconception that doing two things at once will help you get more done, faster. The truth is, multitasking makes you more likely to make mistakes, get distracted, and even give up on challenging tasks more quickly than if you were only focusing on one thing at a time. It takes time to get back on track after switching tasks, so you could be wasting more time than you’re saving throughout the day.

Take a break

Not only is multitasking bad for productivity, taking breaks is actually good for it. After a certain period of time without a break, you will begin to get distracted more easily. You’ll find it more difficult to focus, and you’ll become much less productive. Try to take a break after a few hours of working hard. If you can, take an hour, preferably outdoors in a nature setting. Studies have shown that being in nature can help refresh you and boost productivity phenomenally. Can’t get away from the office for an hour? Spend a quiet ten minutes viewing nature scenes. You can trick your brain into becoming more relaxed, more alert, and more productive.

Check out the Answer 365 blog regularly for more great tips on providing excellent customer service for your business.

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How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers

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How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers

March 21, 2017 Blog by admin

Angry customers may seem frustrating to your customer service team, but remember that customers who are angry are also frustrated by something about your business. It can be tempting to view every angry customer as a ‘problem’, but that would be the wrong approach to take. If you take the time to find out why your customers are angry, you can use their feedback not only to solve their problems, but to offer better customer service to your clients in the future. Here's how you can talk to your angriest customers in order to diffuse the situation and offer better service all around.

First of all, just listen

Before you ever try to communicate with an angry customer, listen to what it is that they have to say. Don't assume that you know why they're angry and don't act like they're at fault for for being upset. It may be hard to control emotions but your customer service representatives need to understand that they can--and should--control their reactions.

Your customer may not be aware of what exactly is causing their anger, so you need to ask careful questions. Are they unhappy with the quality of a product or service you provided to them, or are they angry about something else? They may be frustrated because of something completely unrelated to your business, but they feel the need to ‘vent’ because a minor issue with your business pushed them to the tipping point.

Whatever your customer tells you, listen closely, document their issue, and find a way to resolve the problem. Then, you’ll be on the way to turning an angry customer into a happy one.

Practice empathy

Customer service reps really need to put themselves in their customer’s shoes in order to understand their anger. Is Mr. Smith upset because he’s had to call several times about an as-yet unresolved problem? Maybe Mrs. Jones is angry because she’s spent money that she really couldn’t spare on a product that’s faulty and she’s been unable to get a replacement. Customer service agents need to be able to put themselves in the angry customer’s shoes so they can approach the problem with empathy and understanding instead of judgment and aggression.

Keep it positive

Always try to lead with a positive question, like ‘how can I help?’ or ‘is there anything I can help you with?’ Don’t be tempted to ask ‘what’s wrong?’ This is not only a loaded question, it’s also a negative one. Try to keep your tone positive and reassuring so your customer knows you’re doing your best to meet their needs.

Visit Answer 365 for more great tips on dealing with angry customers and other customer service issues.

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