Written by

Camille Stokes
October 26, 2015

Top 10 Tenets of Today's Customer Service

Customer service is always evolving, and this makes it difficult for executives and managers to stay up to date on the latest trends. As a result, leaders must sit back every so often and check up on their industry, their competitors and the customer service industry as a whole. If they don't, today's extremely picky consumers are bound to abandon companies and find some that care about their customers.

Here are today's top 10 tenets of customer service and what executives and managers can do to ensure their call centers are up to par and are taking advantage of these techniques, strategies and approaches.

1. Available at all times.
In the always-on nature of the modern digital world, 24/7 customer support is an absolute requirement. However, many brands assume that this means providing at least one avenue for customer support at all times, but nowadays, there must be multiple ways to constantly contact support teams. As long as there are a few options, consumers will be happy, which leads to the next tenet.

"Today, customer support is about giving consumers the power to choose."

2. Give the customer power.
Consumerization has run rampant in all industries. When it comes to support, the consumer has always mattered, but too often do brands force customers down a single channel.

Today, customer support is about giving consumers the power to choose how they want to interact with their favorite companies. After all, a busy mom of three children might prefer phone support, while a tech-savvy college student could find it easier to use Web-based chat systems, which allow those customers to solve problems while completing other tasks. And in this regard ...

3. Omnichannel means everything.
Brands need to go above and beyond when it comes to providing consumers with outlets for customer support. Call centers are a must, email support is certainly handy for those not-so-urgent matters and chat rooms make solving problems easier, but nowadays, customers are spread thin across dozens of channels. Therefore, deploying support teams on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets should be a high priority. This might put some additional stress on support teams, so some businesses might find success in outsourcing call centers and keeping other channels internally managed.

4. Proactive over reactive.
Entrepreneur contributor Ruairi Galavan explained the importance of proactive responses. For example, Galavan wrote, when consumers ask certain questions, there are typically specific follow-ups that they will always retort with: "How can I charge my device?" is usually followed by "How long will it need to charge?"

Therefore, Galavan asserted the importance of including all of those answers in the first response. This not only cuts down on support time, but it makes consumers feel as though support teams are truly interested in solving issues.

5. Personalize
Personalization is now a critical part of dozens of industries, as today's consumers demand experiences that cater to their needs and demands. Harvard Business Review contributors David Edelman and Marc Singer wrote that the first step to personalizing customer support interactions lies in the collection of data from past engagements and other pre-existing resources, such as social media or data brokers. Customer support representatives can then take that information and use it to deliver better services.

6. Context is key
Similar to personalization, context can drive great results in call centers. Edelman and Singer explained that the position of a customer in the sales journey, the reason why they called or even their physical location can all be used to make interactions more valuable. After all, a call support team should treat first time customers as though they are familiar with everything the brand can offer, and likewise, frequent shoppers don't want to hear the same scripts over and over again.

7. Observe
Tech Target Site Editor Tim Ehrens suggested that managers and business leaders observe interactions and "team dynamics," keeping an eye open for any roadblocks in processes or hiccups in performance. By staying aware of the happenings in call centers and on customer support teams, problems can be corrected before they impact consumers' experiences and interactions.

"Don't be afraid to change messaging, hire outsourced services or implement new support features."

8. Always innovate
Edelman and Singer identified innovation as one of the four required customer service capabilities, since strategies built around experimentation and testing often lead to the most value for companies and their clients. This means not being afraid to change messaging, hire outsourced services or implement new support features. Furthermore, innovating should always involve new technology.

9. Leverage available technologies
If customers have access to bigger and better tools, so too should help desk and support teams. By taking advantage of mobile devices, remote takeover software, and other hardware or services, call centers will always have the means to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

10. Accountability
Nowadays, it takes a large team to manage customer support and services, and as a result, there is always a finger to point and someone to blame. However, that might be the wrong approach. Edelman and Singer explained that with groups of workers below them, project or team managers are responsible for the end production, and in that regard, it is a complete package or experience that shouldn't be judged on single aspect. Therefore, leaders must hold managers accountable.


References:

https://hbr.org/2015/11/competing-on-customer-journeys

http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/feature/Ten-leadership-tips-for-contact-center-managers

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251785 

 

Written by

Camille Stokes

Call Center