Customer service ratings are often the benchmark that companies use to gauge how well their staff is trained, how happy and loyal their customers are, and how well the staff is meeting the needs of customers. Whether your company relies on a customer service survey, or a measurement tool such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS), taking benchmark measurements and keeping tabs on your customer satisfaction scores is a reliable way to evaluate and improve your customer service skills.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your customer service satisfaction ratings, start thinking holistically; customer service is a comprehensive approach and philosophy that needs to start at the management level of a company and be applied across your training programs and the work environment.
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To change how your company thinks about customer service, and ultimately, to improve your customer service satisfaction scores, here a few key customer service tips:
Tip #1: Focus on your customers, not just issues
Often–especially when companies are really busy–the customer is lost and is replaced by the issue. The customer, in other words, becomes anonymous, and your customer service reps focus on the problem. Unfortunately, when this occurs, your customers are not given the customer care they deserve; instead, they are shuffled through the queue, with the issue checked off as “resolved” or “follow-up.”
To shift your customer service approach from being an issue-centered approach to a human-centered approach, train your team to think about each customer individually. Here is a quick checklist to have your staff run through:
- What is the customer’s story?
- What is the customer’s history with your company?
- Has the customer had previous issues that are leading to the customer’s current frustration?
- What is the customer hoping to resolve by contacting your company?
When you start to personalize service for each customer and think of the customer as a friend whom you’re trying to help, your whole approach changes, and the customer will notice. Instead of just being an issue, the customer will feel like a person with a problem that your company can help resolve.
Tip #2: Customer service needs to happen consistently across every touchpoint
In our hyper-connected digital lives, rarely do customers rely solely on a company’s call center to help resolve an issue. Instead, they’re likely to go to your website, visit your social media pages, or use their digital devices to search for advice on how to solve the problem.
Your customer service approach, therefore, needs to be consistent across all of your customer touchpoints. Your website layout, FAQ section, online agents (if you have them), and your social media pages should be set up to respond to customer issues. The trick is to make each touchpoint a seamless experience for your customers, so whether they go to your website, pick up the phone, or send your company a tweet, their issues are addressed with the same approach–they shouldn’t feel like they are interacting with a different company across the various touchpoints.
If you have staff who is trained to respond to emails, reply to issues through social media, or respond to forum questions, ensure that they receive the same high-quality customer service training that your in-store/in-person reps and phone staff receives. Regardless of how your customers contact you, your teams should develop the skills to make sure they come away with the same, positive experience.
Tip #3: Your dissatisfied customers are just as important as your satisfied customers
Your dissatisfied customers can–and will–teach you just as much about your customer service as your satisfied customers. Make sure you listen to your disgruntled customers–and provide a way for your customers to easily reach you if they have complaints. No matter how good your customer service skills, you can’t make a difference unless customers can find you. Have an accessible place on your website for customers to contact you with issues, and use customer satisfaction and follow-up surveys frequently. If unhappy customers have a way to contact you and get their problem solved quickly, chances are, they won’t be as dissatisfied.
And remember… Ask, survey, listen, respond!
Improving your customer service satisfaction scores is an ongoing process. Create a position to oversee customer satisfaction, or assign one of your current employees to this role. Task them with asking, surveying, listening, and responding to customers at every stage in the customer journey.
Your customers want to have an easy experience when they deal with your company, and they’re probably willing to tell you how you can improve your process. Just make sure you’re willing to ask–and listen.