By Tess Pajaron
June 20, 2016 - Finding the right employees takes a lot of time, money, and resources. It may be worth dabbling with different configurations and employee styles in other areas of your business, but customer service has to be perfect from the get-go. These are the people responsible for helping your business grow and assuring that your customers become repeat customers. The trick is to build the right team the first time around and add to that team as you continue to expand.
Understand the Qualities of a Great Customer Service Employee. Customer service is a tougher job than it appears to be on the surface. Someone may have incredible credentials on paper, but customer service is mostly about the right personality. Unfortunately, Customer service staff are whipping posts at times. The right individual won’t be easily rattled by abusive customers. They’ll have communication skills so great that they’ll be able to turn an abusive customer into a compliant one. They’ll need to be patient and understanding while listening to everyone else’s woes (not to mention possess a high tolerance for whining).
Figure Out How Many People You’ll Need. If you currently have other staff handling customer service, talk with them about how many service situations they handle on an average day. Knowing your typical volume and how much time the process takes will help you determine how many people are necessary to handle the job. It’s better to round your estimate down than it is to round it up. You can always hire more customer service employees if you need them, but hiring too many can create a strain on payroll.
Train Your Staff Well. Customer service staff have to be some of the most knowledgeable staff you employ. These people have to know every detail about every product and every service you offer. They have to be familiar with your preferred troubleshooting methods and be able to explain them to customers with relative ease. They’re not one-trick ponies, and you can’t train them in workplace basics and expect them to figure everything out on their own. Provide very thorough training and supplement it with resources that employees can refer to if they have any relevant questions.
Establish Useful Performance Measuring Metrics. How will you know whether or not your service is working? How will you know whether or not your service employees are helping an adequate amount of customers in a timely manner? In order to set the bar high, you need a way of measuring performance. Create a timeframe for issue resolution and simplified methods for handling common problems. Some businesses choose to offer voluntary exit surveys, encouraging customers to provide feedback about their service experience.
Provide Your Team with Excellent Tools. They can’t do their jobs with sticks and rocks. You need a way for your service agents to effectively handle any support request (no matter how it comes in). This means phone calls, emails, digital support tickets, and in-person customer service. This usually means finding the right dedicated software and creating a data-entry process that simplifies everyone’s lives. If the tools are working the right way, your service agents will be able to spend more time providing customers with useful assistance and less time fiddling around with subpar software.
It’s crucial to remember that the perfect customer service team isn’t one-and-done. It’s a continual process of learning and evolving that engages the needs of your customers. Keep an innovative mind and continue to push forward.
About the Guest Author
With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia's leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing. You can contact Tess here via LinkedIn.