How to Build a Solid Customer Service Team
The customer experience does not stop when the sale is finalized. Instead, it continues on with the customer through the use of products or the results of the service received. Customers may have a payment plan that they use to continue to interact with your company as well. In many cases, customers will need to reach out to your customer service department for any number of reasons after the sale is finalized for support, assistance and troubleshooting, and this interaction will play a critical role in the overall customer experience. With this in mind, building a solid customer service team is critical. It is not enough to simply have helpful people answering your customers’ phone calls. Instead, the team needs to be responsive, courteous and focused on the overall customer experience just as the sales team is.
Choose the Right Team Members
The selection of your customer service team members is critical. Everything from how pleasant and clear their voices are over the phone to their desire to help others and to follow through until the issue is resolved will play a key role in how the customer perceives the company. Certainly, training will be important so that the team members learn about and incorporate corporate culture and philosophy into their interaction with the customers, but enough cannot be said for selecting team members who are focused on the customer and who have a strong, innate desire to help others.
Develop a Great Training Plan
Customers will not know if someone who they speak with has been working at your company for a week or for several years, and most will not care. They simply have a problem or issue that led them to make the phone call to your company, and they want it resolved in a timely manner and hopefully with friendly service. With this in mind, you should not put someone on the phone who is not well-trained and who is not empowered to make a difference to the customer. A great initial training plan complete with videos, live role playing and even listening to actual recorded conversations as good and bad examples can be helpful to those who are new to the team. Consider getting feedback from your new employees a month or two after they have been on the job to determine how to further improve the initial training plan and areas to focus on for continuing education and training.
Continue to Develop Your Team
Just as you want your sales team, financial professionals, IT specialists and others to continue their education and to stay at the forefront of their field, the same holds true for customer service specialists. There is always room for improvement in all professionals, and continuing education with in-house training sessions is a wonderful idea. You can develop a plan that includes real-life examples from recorded conversations, mock scenarios and more. This is also a great time to train individuals on the use of new equipment, telecommunications and more that you implement periodically and for the team to tell you more about some of their challenges in the workplace. This can impact the customer experience as well.
Use Analytics to Fine Tune Your Team’s Efforts
The best service teams understand that analytics not only helps to reveal a 360-degree view of the customer to the entire organization, it also enables service teams to work faster and smarter. Through analytics of the customer service team’s efforts, you can better determine when and where to make changes to the structure of the department as well as how to improve initial and continued training. There are different analytical methods available, and you are encouraged to explore the options so that you have the proper data necessary to fine tune your team and their efforts.
Compared to underperformers, the best service teams are 3x more likely to be outstanding or very good at using analytics
Developing a great customer service team is not something that happens over time. More than that, it is something that is never completed. Continual improvement and development is necessary so that your customers always have the best overall experience when interacting with your customer service department.