Customer service is hugely important for brand loyalty, and it could even make or break a small business. 40% of people who experience bad customer service say they never go back to the same brand again! Can you imagine losing that much business as a result of hiring the wrong team? Here’s how to pick out a great customer service team right from the start.
Hire Great Characteristics
When hiring, you need to make sure that the people you are looking at have the right characteristics. It might not be about experience or qualifications as much as it is about being the right kind of person. They must be adaptable, which requires a certain amount of intelligence, so that they can learn from mistakes as well as adjusting to the needs of each particular customer.
They must demonstrate empathy as well as patience, and good communication skills are absolutely key. Finally, they must have thick skin, to prevent outbursts or undue stress as a result of dealing with tough customers. Make these requirements clear when you post jobs and be sure to test candidates in these areas.
Insist on Training
Even if someone has 20 years of experience in customer service, their idea of the right thing to do or say may not mesh with yours. Put everyone through training, which involves roleplay scenarios to check that they have the right reactions to potential situations. You should also drill them to check that they are familiar with all areas of the system and business before they begin taking customer calls, to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Test the Competition
Want a crash course in what to do for good service – or what not to do? Have your customer service team spend the day calling up rival companies and making complaints or asking questions. Assess the reaction of the customer service representative on the other end of the line. What did they do well? What could have been better? How can your team take lessons from what they experienced to be sure that they always provide the best service possible?
Create a Chain
The management chain is very important for a successful customer service team. Your representatives should all be very clear on who their manager is, and who they turn to when things aren’t going well. If they have a customer who wants to make a complaint, or they don’t know the answer to a question, then they should immediately know who to escalate the call to. If they don’t, they could waste time as well as making the customer even more dissatisfied. With a command chain in place, everything runs much more smoothly.
You also have to let your customer service team know that their work is very important, and that you appreciate what they do. It can be very tough for them to face being shouted at all day long, and you have to recognise that. Let your team know that they are doing a great job from time to time, and pay special attention to moments when they are praised by a customer or resolve a situation well. Take them seriously when issues arise so that they know you are supporting them. This all helps them to take their jobs seriously too, and put in the effort to deal with customers day in and day out.
Customer service is so important to the way that your company is perceived, so don’t slack in this area. Create your own dream team and nurture them so that they always work well for you.