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The 5 Most Important Steps to Improving Customer Service

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When it comes to great customer service, some organizations get it right and others miss the boat entirely. 89% of consumers would switch to a competitor following a poor customer experience. Don't make that mistake! Here are five of the most important steps to improving customer service that you can put to work today.

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The 5 Most Important Steps to Improving Customer Service

  1. 1. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E
  2. 2. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"should be the mantra for all customer service-oriented organizations that not only want to make that all- important initial sale, but also create repeat selling opportunities and excellent referral pipelines. Any less and these companies can quickly find themselves grappling with negative feedback, lost sales, and an exodus of customers to their nearest competitor. When it comes to great customer service, some organizations get it right and others miss the boat entirely. Business call centers provide the perfect backdrop to offer excellent customer service to a wide range of callers – unfortunately, that is not always the case. All it takes is one rude encounter to directly impact a company’s bottom line. Bad service, lost customers, and associated replacement of those departed clients are three financial costs that can push a company’s profits into negative territory.
  3. 3. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E Consider these statistics: $83 BILLION LOST EACH YEAR as a result of poor customer experiences. Source: Parature Customer Service Blog 89% OF CONSUMERS began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Source: RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011 $289AVERAGE ANNUAL VALUE OF EACH CUSTOMER LOST TO A COMPETITOR Source: Genesys Report – The Cost of Poor Customer Service 50% OF CONSUMERS give a brand just ONE WEEK to respond to an issue before they stop doing business with them. Source: RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011
  4. 4. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E There are a number of tried-and-true tactics that you can use to make sure your business does not fall into the bad customer service trap. Here are five that you can put to work right now! THE GOOD NEWS:
  5. 5. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E ESTABLISH A SOLID “FRONT LINE” FOR YOUR BUSINESS.1 Too many organizations waste time and resources building out internal, front-line customer service support teams and neglect the more important aspects of their business. The end result is an organization that has spread itself too thin and hampers its own productivity and profitability as a result. Customer service suffers in these situations when no one really knows where the front line is. Allowing a call center to handle the front line allows you to focus your efforts and resources on more important activities. Let your call center services provider handle those critical first impressions for you Create a 24-hour presence for your customers with your call center Ensure that calls made during plateaus, peaks, and after hours are answered promptly and professionally TIPS TO AVOID COSTLY FRONT-LINE MISTAKES:
  6. 6. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E LOWER YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE WAIT TIMES TO A BARE MINIMUM. 2 There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to wait to complain, ask a question, or provide feedback. As the seconds or minutes tick by, your client becomes increasingly irate. How can you avoid this? Utilize a call center provider with experience and expertise to answer every call in seconds. Your provider will equip your business with data gathering, including recorded calls, call data and reporting to be more proactive versus reactive with your service. Top contact centers enable businesses access to benefit from best of breed technologies, without the cost burdens of having to bring all the equipment, software and infrastructure inside a business.
  7. 7. Leverage a large team of trained professionals for immediate live answer, thus eliminating the risk of creating a “bad impression” of sitting on hold. You and/or your call center provider should also listen to recorded conversations and identify the key elements that make up those conversations to identify trends and prepare for faster, more effective turn-around time to problem resolution. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E
  8. 8. Peak calling hours can quickly turn into a customer service nightmare. Calls are stacking up, queues are backing up, and there simply aren’t enough hands on deck to handle the onslaught. Hiring additional employees is an expensive option, particularly if these peak periods only come a few times a month, quarter, or year. You want your customers to be able to confidently call you on their schedules and not when they think your company is open and operating. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E UTILIZE CONTACT SERVICES CENTERS TO ASSIST WITH CALL VOLUME DURING PEAK PERIODS. 3
  9. 9. An easy way to achieve this goal is by outsourcing the task to a reputable contact services center that can deftly handle any overload that your firm is experiencing. By putting this overload into the hands of a reputable, experienced firm you’ll be taking the pressure off of your own company and allowing it to focus on what it does best. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E 3 PROVIDE LIVE CHAT SUPPORT.4 This one may seem obvious in today’s connected world, but a surprising number of companies overlook the need for live chat support when setting up their online customer service functions. This is a mistake that you can’t afford to make if you want to provide excellent customer service and reduce the number of customer phone calls and the costs associated with these live contacts.
  10. 10. You can use live chat to improve the customer’s overall experience while also enhancing your customer service offering. This is a win-win situation for the tech-savvy customer who would rather open a live chat window than pick up the phone to get his or her problem solved. Customers submit their inquiries via a web- based interface, thus eliminating the need to dial the call center. This makes your online customer service offering even more cost- effective than the phone, allows clients to submit their inquiries in real-time via a web- based interface, and eliminates the need to dial the call center directly. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E
  11. 11. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E 3 CREATE A COMPANY-WIDE CULTURE AROUND CUSTOMER SERVICE. 5 Good customer service starts at the top. When executives, owners, managers, and other stakeholders buy into the idea that customer service should be job one, the rest of the organization will follow suit. Clarify specific behaviors and actions that employees should be delivering when working on the front lines with customers – as well as with co-workers, vendors, and others. Craft a mission statement that reflects this commitment to excellence and avoid wavering from it. Highlight examples of customer service – both within and outside of the company – through recognition ceremonies, events, celebrations, and simple gestures like mentions of top customer service efforts in a corporate newsletter. Borrow a page from Disney and start training employees on the value of excellent customer service during the orientation period – not once they are already on the job and dealing with your valued customers.
  12. 12. T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E As you determine which of these strategies to fold into your own organization’s mission, remember that good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Whether you are selling products, services, or a mix of both, you simply cannot grow and prosper without the support of your existing customers. Promotions and price-slashing may bring them back in a pinch; however, promoting long-term relationships and ongoing referrals requires a concentrated effort to operate at the highest level of customer service possible. REMEMBER... GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE: Delivers a “WOW” factor with every engagement Improves brand loyalty Recommits customers to your company Engages existing clients more deeply Leaves every customer with a positive experience
  13. 13. To learn more about how AnswerNow can create the WOW! experience for your customers, contact us today! 1-800-226-0491 5665 W BEVERLY LANE GLENDALE, AZ 85306 T H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C ET H E 5 M O S T I M P O R T A N T S T E P S T O I M P R O V I N G C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E WWW.ANSWERNOWINC.COM

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