Five top tips for customer service success

Tue Sep 02, 2014

Five top tips for customer service success

At KC Contact Centres we provide outsourced customer service, handling thousands of calls each day on behalf of clients including Network Rail and bathroom retailer Victoria Plumb, as well as much smaller businesses.

With tens of millions of customer service calls under our belt, we’ve learned a lot about making and keeping customers happy. Here’s our guide to getting it right.

1. Understand customer expectations
If you don’t know what customers want when it comes to customer service, how can you deliver it? Getting to know your customers means you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations. There are easy ways to do this – one is to collect and analyse data about customer activity (such as what and when they buy from you, the busiest time for calls and so on).

At KC Contact Centres we forecast the number of calls we’re expecting well in advance so that even during busy times customers aren’t kept waiting. Another way to find out what customers expect is simply to ask them – you’ll gain great insight and they’ll feel valued (provided you make changes based on their feedback!).

2. Train your employees
It’s important that all your employees have customer service skills, not just those who have ‘customer service’ in their job title or who deal with customers day to day.

Some of the most important skills and behaviours employees need in order to give great customer service include communication (especially listening), empathy, conflict resolution, and problem solving – but the degree to which they need this will depend on the nature of your business and the expectations of your customers.
And it should go without saying that people should answer the phone with a smile, speak with a friendly manner, and say sorry when something’s gone wrong.

Training employees doesn’t need to cost a lot in financial outlay, but getting it right will take an investment of time that’s well-spent if it results in happy, loyal customers that recommend you to other people.

3. Empower your employees to deliver the level of service you want
If your employees understand the standard of customer service you want to deliver, and have the skills they need to deliver it, it’s important to let them get on with it.

Think about how refreshing it is when you call a supplier with a problem, or visit a shop to return a faulty item, and the person you deal with resolves it there and then without having to consult a manager or call you back.

In the contact centre industry we call it ‘first time resolution’ and customers love it.

To make it happen, your employees need clear guidance on what decisions they’re empowered to make without consulting anyone else. It means that when handling a customer query they’re able to focus on what they can do, and can take responsibility for solving the customer’s problem.

4. Do what you say you’ll do
The flipside of this tip is ‘only offer to do what you are sure you can do’. Don’t say you’ll call a customer back before 4pm if there’s the smallest chance you won’t be able to. Doing what you say you’ll do sounds simple but is a powerful customer service technique that builds trust.

5. Be available
We’re living in a 24/7 world – and that means customers expect to be able to get in touch with businesses in many industries at any time of the day or night.

24/7 availability 365 days of the year might not be right for your business, but there are easy ways of increasing your availability to provide better service for customers.

For example, if your phone switches to voicemail after hours, why not play a message that says what your hours are and directs the caller to your website for more information about your services?

Your website itself is a great way of making your business more available – including on it all the information potential customers need, including frequently asked questions, is helpful to customers and may also speed up their buying process.

Another way to increase your availability is to outsource your customer service to cover extended hours or busy periods. At KC Contact Centres we offer a call handling service that’s available the hours you need from just £25 a month, and our expertise means we’ll give your customers a great experience at all times.

To find out more about the service click here or call 01482 222479.

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