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Customer Support

4 Small Changes that Can Have A Huge Impact on Your Call Center Service Level

Call Center Service Level

Call Center Service Level
Service level is a metric that you can use to determine how accessible your company is to your customers.

The metric is defined as the percentage of calls that your team can answer within a predetermined time (or your target threshold).

Simply put, if your company has a poor service level, then that means your customers are waiting for a long time on the phone before your agents pick up — this could either be because there are far too many incoming calls, or there are too few agents available to answer the phone calls.

An excellent service level, on the other hand, means your customers can speak to an agent immediately.

In the call center industry, it is one of the most important indicators of productivity.

Because it can impact the overall experience of your customers with your company, failing to meet the desired service level target can cause all sorts of problem to a business.

If you’re struggling with meeting your service levels, then here are some tweaks that you can implement that can have a big impact for us in outsourcing support services in the Philippines.

Reward attendance

Because you will need your agents to report to work and have enough people to man the desk, it is not enough that you simply include the importance of employee attendance in your employee handbook or punish those who are unable to meet their attendance targets.

You can do more by providing various positive reinforcements for agents who come on time.

For instance, you can recognize employees with perfect attendance (and no tardiness) or give a small bonus.

Defined break schedule

The volume of calls that you receive will vary at different times of the day. You might receive fewer calls in the morning, for example, but will have volume build-up in the evening.

That is the reason why another small change that you can establish in your organization is to define different break schedules for all agents.

In this way, you can be sure that they will not go to lunch together at the expense of the service level.

Giving your agents different break schedule will also allow your business to have the manpower in dealing with incoming calls at different time intervals.

Schedule Adherence

Additionally, encourage your call center agents to follow their schedules. It’s no use providing a defined schedule for their breaks when they don’t follow it.

This can be done by putting up a timer once they log off for a break so they know how long they have left and can come back to their workstation on time.

Clear after-call work processes

Another quick tip that works is to establish a routine after-call work process.

An after-call work involves everything that an agent does upon each end of the call, such as writing down notes, updating an account, and getting ready for the next call.

Creating a clear routine of the processes when a call is ended will make your agents more efficient. They can quickly get back to the queue to receive their next caller, improving service level.

Your next step

The service level is going to be an important performance target that your business needs to achieve consistently.

Making the above small changes in the way that your call center organization works can greatly and positively impact your service level.

Call us today to find out how we can help you optimize productivity, deliver a better customer experience and provide outsourced customer service.

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Bringing Out the Best Customer Service from Your Representatives on the Phone

Customer Service

Customer ServiceMultiple studies have proven with little room for doubt that great customer service is the key differentiator in managing a successful business.

One such study was made by Dimensional Research in 2013, showing that 62 percent of B2B customers made more purchases when they receive excellent customer service.

This only goes to show that having a great product doesn’t count for much if customer relationships are not being well-managed.

So it only makes perfect business sense to ensure that your contact center department has on hand dedicated and skilled call center agents.

Here are some great suggestions to bring out the best customer service from your call center agents.

1. Hone your call center agents’ soft skills

“Soft skills” can be difficult to quantify, but they can spell the difference between a happy customer and one who leaves for a competitor.

To put it simply, “soft skills” play a crucial role in ensuring that customer interactions are always positive.

According to SurveyMonkey, the following are essential traits call center agents should have to keep clients satisfied and happy with the service.

  • Empathy, patience, and consistency. Agents should communicate with a sense of urgency and maintain a good temperament at all times even if the client is making it difficult for them.
  • Adaptability. The ability to handle any situation or issue, however unforeseen or unique, is a valuable attribute ensuring that customer satisfaction is met and exceeded.
  • Clear communication. Unclear or incoherent communication makes it difficult for both the agent and the client to work out a timely resolution.
  • Product knowledge. Customers look to customer service professionals for answers. If they’re not getting the information they seek, customer satisfaction drops drastically.
  • Can handle criticism. An agent can’t allow himself to feel slighted if an irate client is blowing steam over the phone. The happiness of the customer is always the goal.

2. All communication channels are operating at peak efficiency

These days customers are more comfortable doing business with companies that offer multiple channels for communication. We are, after all, living in the age of omnichannel retailing.

These channels include email, phone, social media accounts, and the “Contact Us” function on your official website.

By doing periodic checks to ensure that all dedicated channels are working at the optimal level, customers who need help are not left out in the cold and are therefore happier for it.

Moreover, the burden on your call center is vastly reduced, resulting in productive and pleasant customer interactions.

2. Implement a vigorous feedback system

Great companies treat customer service as a continuous learning process.

Every industry is susceptible to change, and companies who don’t update their customer service processes accordingly run the risk of becoming stagnant in the long run.

Before you know it, common issues go unnoticed and bad habits fester.

The solution? Set up a robust feedback system to gather quality feedback from your customers.

Options for gathering customer feedback include:

  • Phone survey (usually at the end of every call)
  • Email survey
  • “Contact Us” page from company website

Gathering feedback from customers creates opportunities in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your call center operations, providing key insights on how to maintain and improve customer service.

4. Improve employee engagement

Many companies are providing their employees with a supportive environment and a positive work culture to become successful.

The reason for this is simple: happy and highly-engaged customer service reps are more likely to give customers a positive experience in every interaction.

So, how exactly can you increase engagement among employees?

For starters, you have to take steps to ensure that working conditions, compensation structure, career advancement opportunities, etc. are meeting or exceeding industry standards.

An Addendum

Your customer service representatives probably know more about your customers than anyone else, so it only makes perfect business sense to invest in them.

A fierce commitment to bringing out the best in them can go a long way into pushing your business and brand forward. Call us today to find out how we can help you optimize productivity, deliver a better customer experience and provide outsourced customer service.

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5 Best Practices in Earning Positive Customer Satisfaction Consistently

Customer Satisfaction

Customer SatisfactionIf there is a key performance indicator in the call center industry that can easily top all others, it would be customer satisfaction.

For one thing, the customer satisfaction metric can very well be the measure of how your customers perceived the overall quality of service that they received from your support team. If they perceived the support that they garnered as air-tight, then you can bet that your customer satisfaction would easily skyrocket.

Usually, the data is gathered through surveys given to customers right after their interaction with your team. The survey can be conducted through phone calls, emails, or online forms (among other things).

Here are five best practices that we use outsourcing support services in the Philippines to get a positive customer satisfaction rating consistently.

Improve service level

One of the best ways to keep a positive customer satisfaction is to have an amazing service level.

From a bird’s-eye view, the service level is the length of time that your customers wait from the time they call until an agent picks up the call.

By striving to cut their waiting time, the faster that they can get their issue resolved and the quicker they can get off the phone.

Under-promise but over-deliver

Another great tip is to under-promise but over-deliver. This is the secret of many successful organizations.

You do this by setting your customers’ expectations, then doing everything you can to deliver better results than what you promised.

For example, when your customers are told that the order is to be shipped in three days, you can surprise them by shipping their purchase in one or two days.

Fulfill unstated needs

There are many things that are important to your customers that they do not verbalize during their interaction with your team. These are often called “unstated needs.”

For example, a customer who is paying a bill over the phone or by sending in a check can benefit from an auto-debit arrangement. That way, their bills get paid automatically saving them time.

You can teach your agents to find ways to identify and fulfill your customers’ unstated needs.

Callback

Another great way to improve your customer satisfaction is by making a callback.

This is appropriate when the call was cut off unexpectedly, when things did not end well, or when issues are left unresolved.

A callback makes your customers’ life easier as it saves them a whole load of time waiting again on the phone and they can to talk to an agent who already knows their issue.

Personalized interaction

The last technique to get positive customer satisfaction is by building a human connection.

Your customers don’t want to hear a canned response from your support team. Instead, they want to be able to speak to someone who is not only capable of resolving their issues, but also someone who understands their situation as well.

That being said, train your agents to polish their communication skills and to develop a personable character to make each interaction they make with their callers a personalized, productive, and a meaningful one.

Conclusion

All the above tips have one thing in common: they are all about walking the extra mile for your customers.

By making sure that they have great service experience with your call center agents, you can raise your likelihood of being able to consistently earn positive customer satisfaction.

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How to Train Your Newly Hired Customer Service Agents to be More Engaging

newly_hired_customer_service_agents

newly_hired_customer_service_agentsWhether you’re running a product or a service-based business, living up to your customers’ expectations is a must if you want to succeed.

What makes this tricky, however, is the fact that your customers aren’t just looking for a solution to their problems, they’re looking for quick solutions.

They want their problems solved the soonest and would often ask to speak with a skilled agent who can do this for them.

Of course, if your company can’t give them just that, then they won’t hesitate going to your competitors.

This tells the business owners that for them to outdo their competitors, they need to provide exceptional customer service.

How are you going to accomplish that, you might want to ask?

Well, you can start by training your newly hired customer service reps to be more engaging and interactive.

The following are several crucial ideas and tips on how you can help your customer representatives become more engaging, more confident and more effective!

1. Start with the basic induction and let them learn the Product.

Induction is the first step that helps a new employee familiarize with the product and services that you are offering. Make sure you give your newly hired customer service reps a thorough insight of the products that you are offering.

They should understand the product or service as their own. The first part of their training should revolve around products, services and solutions that they can offer.

2. Conduct scenario-based training sessions.

While you train the new reps, throw multiple scenarios at them. This will help in two ways. One, your reps will understand the kind of queries they may face. Two, it will help them think of multiple ways to provide a solution to the customer.

This is a good way to build a line of communication and boost their confidence.

3. Recognize their mistakes and acknowledge their effort.

It is essential to tell your employees where they are going wrong. Guide them with patience and be professional when you criticism them.

Another thing that you must do is to acknowledge the efforts that your employees are making. A small dose of encouragement can make your reps move mountains (not literally). It can certainly help them display more confidence while speaking with a customer.

4. Include quests and challenges in your program.

Challenges evoke productivity and creativity. Therefore, make sure you add quests and challenges to your training program.

Take them through online challenges or ask them to take an impromptu call with a customer. Such challenges can help your new hires learn quickly and perform better.

5. Assign mentors to new hires.

You can hit two birds with one arrow if you practice this. Assigning a mentor to a group of new hires will not just help in their training but also encourage your existing employees to perform better so as to grab the position of a mentor.

If your newly hired customer service rep is motivated to perform during the training session, they will be able to absorb the knowledge efficiently and excel while enrolled on-process.

Conclusion.

A well-trained and enthusiastic customer rep can help your business expand in ways you’d never imagine.

Always devote enough time in training them with new materials and they’ll most likely perform better with how to address your customer’s concerns.

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HIPAA Compliant Call Center

hipaa compliant call center

hipaa compliant call center

If your organization handles patient healthcare information, your staff and your back-office support need to know how to keep that information safe and secure. The HIPAA privacy, security and notification rules can seem complex. Ensuring that your back-office support is violation-free by working with a HIPAA Compliant Call Center is one step toward managing the burdens of HIPAA compliance. But do you still feel unsure of how your in-office staff should handle patient information? Let’s make it easier by exploring three main steps for meeting HIPAA regulations.

First, what is HIPAA and what does mishandling data look like? HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act under U.S. federal law, originally passed in 1996 and now including the 2013 Omnibus Provision on data privacy and security. Its goals include:

  • ensuring that patient information is used only according to patient consent,
  • protecting paper and electronic storage of information from wrongful access or dissemination,
  • requiring patients to be notified by organizations handling health care information if data has been wrongfully accessed or otherwise breached, and
  • enforcing these privacy, security and notification rules through audits, fines, and criminal penalties.

Data can be mishandled or breached during a lot of everyday tasks. Has any of this happened at your organization?

  • Information is left openly available on computer screens that can be seen by parties not authorized by the patient.
  • Computers and devices storing patient information do not have encryption, allowing access to private health information if the device is lost or stolen.
  • Uninformed employees mishandle patient information by discussing it with third parties or disseminating it through social media.
  • The organization lacks guidelines on proper handling and safekeeping of patient records.

Each one is a violation of HIPAA.

Every organization, big or small, that handles Protected Health Information (PHI) can suffer the costs of notification, can be fined and individuals within those organizations can be criminally penalized for failures to follow HIPAA rules. So let’s make sure you’re covered, with these three tips:

1. Setup and maintain an internal procedure for handling PHI.

Create a clear set of rules and policies that make it easy for your staff to keep patient information secure. Clearly outline how information should be created, where it should be kept, and to whom it can be disclosed.

Establish and make equally clear the penalties for violating any of these procedures. An organization may expose itself to HIPAA fines and penalties for failure to identify mishandling of data, failure to correct any mishandling, or failure to maintain consistent accountability for data breaches. A system for disciplinary action reinforces the importance of safe data handling, so make sure that you have one in place.

2. Invest in training your workforce on HIPAA compliance.

Make employee training on HIPAA a standard part of new employee orientation, and keep existing employees up-to-date with regular training on HIPAA updates.

The most common violations are likely to come from issues such as employees failing to understand that computers screens need to be protected from view, that files have to be kept in secured areas, or that unsecured emails can lead to breached data. Highlighting these issues promotes a mindset of security among your staff.

Focus on the issues most relevant to your employees, including document handling and information sharing. Also train your staff about HIPAA fines and criminal penalties, and any in-office penalties for failing to make security a priority.

Careless handling is so much easier to avoid when your employees understand what is required and what is at stake.

3. Employ apt security measures on your computers and other devices.

Even a knowledgeable staff can only handle information properly when the equipment they use is also secure. So make sure that your computers and other electronic devices are setup to protect patient privacy.

Use the right technology:

  • Install encryption programs that prevent data from being read if a device is lost or stolen.
  • Set up firewalls to prevent outside access to your secured data.
  • Use a malware-scanning program to detect malicious software that can give outsiders access to secure data.
  • Regularly update your software to ensure that all security features are up-to-date.

In addition to preventing outside access, use your technology to limit internal access to PHI. The fewer employees that handle sensitive information, the less likely a breach due to careless handling will occur.

Take these steps to prevent unnecessary access:

  • Make all secure electronic data accessible only by password.
  • Identify which employees need access to what information.
  • Create a system that allows only authorized users to access specific information, such as by using password protection that limits access to various tiers of secure data.

What’s Next:

Are you struggling with HIPAA compliance? Partnering with a HIPAA Compliant Call Center can help you manage and grow your healthcare business. Let’s talk more about how Executive Boutique can help. Please reach out to us using this contact form.

Additional resources:

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/index.html

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/security/index.html

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19 Industry Experts Share Their Best Tips to Providing Stellar Customer Service

customer service

customer service


Note: While the title says, “19 Industry Experts…” you’ll see that the post features over 25 industry experts (at this time of writing, at least).

We will continue to grow this post since we hope to make it the ultimate hub where people who need help with providing stellar customer support can go to.

That being said, if you’d like to be included in the list and you have an important tip that you can share about providing stellar customer support, then please reach out to us.


The customer is king! That is a creed that most (if not all) successful businesses live and die by.

Take good care of your customers, and your business will grow. Treat your customers poorly and you can say goodbye to your business.

Competition is cutthroat in the realm of business; companies do all sorts of marketing gimmicks to capture the attention of prospective customers.

The good news is, not many of these businesses give as much emphasis on customer loyalty. For some reason, a good number of these businesses are only keen on acquiring new customers, and are neglecting to provide stellar customer support to their existing customers.

If you fall within that bracket, and are looking for ways to start providing stellar customer support, then you’re in the right place.

We’ve asked 19 experts from different industries for tips on how to provide the best customer service. If you’ll pay heed to their tips, you’ll surely get the information that you need to transform your company.

Let’s dig in.

1. Megan Dougherty – Firepolemarketing.com

Customer Service - Megan Dougherty
“I’d say that I live and breathe customer service – except that we don’t do it.

We do not believe in “Customer Service” as it’s generally understood. What we try to practice is partnership.

Partnership, to us, means that we will do absolutely everything in our power to help, support, encourage and serve someone who is as invested in their success as we are. When someone is NOT invested in their own success – and does not approach our content in the spirit of partnership, then we fulfill our terms of service to the best of our abilities – but that is all.

Partnership means that two parties, in this case us and our students are both working towards a mutual outcome – the success of our students, and so calling it customer service would be a misnomer. We are not merely serving – we are actively working towards this outcome, and we expect the same of our community members

This takes a lot of time and energy (we currently have 8 full time people to work with our students in this way!), but it gives our work so much meaning, and allows us to have real relationships with our students.

So I guess that is my biggest customer service tip – if you can avoid framing the relationship as customer-provider, and look at it as partnership, you’ll get the best possible outcomes.”

2. Deborah Sweeney – MyCorporation.com

Customer Service - Deb

“Follow-up after completing an order. This has to be one of the easiest, quickest, and most effective ways to beef up customer service. One of the most common complaints we hear from new customers who used competing services is that, once they paid for their order, they never heard from the company again. Their order was processed, shipped, and closed. That just sends the wrong message – that, once you get paid, you don’t care about your customers anymore. I’ve integrated following-up after an order is completed into the sales process since it helps ensure our customers are happy with their order, and if there are problems, we get to nip them at the bud before anyone feels they have to officially complain.”

3. Michel Fortin – Workaholics4hire.com

Customer Service - Michel Fortin

“Customer support is a disguised sales position as far as we look at things at Workaholics4Hire.com. It’s what happens AFTER the sale is made. Everything on the frontend — the website, the sales copy, the advertising — all of that is happening before the sale is made.

But what happens afterwards is just as important. It’s the part that makes or breaks a business in the long run. And it’s also the part that many business owners ignore.

You can have beautiful product launches. You can advertise your face off. You can do everything it takes to attract customers. But if you don’t follow through on the other side of things, if you don’t make the backend seamless, if you don’t make it possible for people to connect with you on a personal level, then you’re going to end up with the kinds of customers you DON’T want.

Stellar customer support is creating the systems on that backend to retain customers, to reduce refund as much as possible, and to make it possible for customers to love you and not just buy from you. Your philosophy on how you run your customer support has to be customer-focused; not business-focused. Because customer support has nothing to do with you.

This is where a lot of people drop the ball. They think, “Well, if I’m hiring a customer support rep, then they are my employee.” No, they’re NOT. They work for your customer. They are your customer’s advocate. They represent the customer to you, not the other way around. They shouldn’t answer to you.

Customer Advocates, as we like to call them, are your liaison between the world/public and the way that you run your business, because when you are in your business it’s very often easy to ignore big signs that there’s a problem.

Business people don’t know what their customers see. They’re so busy in the back-office wondering why they’re not making money that they’re not seeing what the customer sees. So walk through the purchase process, from the front to the back.

Take some time to go through the entire process, like your own customers. Go through the front door. See what your customers see. Get down on the floor and see the “dirt” your customers are looking at. And you have to be willing to do that with open eyes and an open heart.

And that’s what your customer support team needs to be doing for you. They are the voice of your customers. They are not the voice of your politics. They’re not there to please and appease customers. They are there to make sure the customers are getting what they want out of your business.

That’s critical and oftentimes the sole determinant of how successful your business becomes — and how successful it remains.”

4. Kevin Rocci – Magoosh.com

Customer Service - Kevin Rocci

Be a Teacher

Great customer support is not about speed, and it’s not about handle time. The true measure of greatness for a customer support team, and any customer support agent, is how much you teach your customers. Be a teacher—not a customer support specialist!

Ask anyone—who was your favorite teacher? The responses will be diverse, but there will be a common thread among the teachers mentioned. The teachers cared about them, empathized with them, and helped them to achieve something they didn’t think possible.

Delivering great customer support is no different.

Think of yourself as a teacher when handling issues with customers. Listen to what their issue is. Empathize with how they are feeling and their situation. Find a solution that solves the problem right now. Then do something truly unique. Begin to teach that person. Provide that person with something extra. Teach them so that they can do something they couldn’t do before. Maybe it’s as simple as teaching them about your Knowledge Base or Help Center. Maybe it’s teaching them how to use the feature so they don’t need to ask the question again. The goal should be to empower the person you are helping so that they can help themselves next time.

At Magoosh, we are incredibly lucky because we work with students and part of our goal is to teach them. But I’ve seen how this mindset of teaching is so helpful in every aspect of customer support. Whether a student wants help resetting their password or figuring out how to review questions from their practice test, we are always approach each student and each problem as a teacher, and I think that’s why we are able to maintain such a high customer satisfaction rating (98%).”

5. Alex Hillsberg – FinancesOnline.com

Customer Service - Alex HillsbergAlex Hillsberg is a leader of a team of experts writing software reviews for FinancesOnline.com, a top review platform for companies looking for B2B and SaaS solutions.

Use customer support to get more customers

Many companies don’t realize that customer support is a great sales tool. You can leverage it to get new customers (or upsell to an existing customer). For example, start dishing out customer support to your qualified leads even before they become customers.

Buyers today take the initiative to assess you and won’t wait for your sales rep. This is highlighted in the latest Google/Millward report. They do online research to check your social proofs and read customer feedback about you.

In the SaaS industry (which is my area of expertise), I believe the best way for vendors to showcase exemplary support is to give it to prospects who subscribe to a free trial offer and make an impression on them right away. Give them the attention early on and they’ll carry this positive opinion about you throughout their relationship with you. That means not only replying to their email queries when they have a question, but assisting them through the free trial phase, when they likely need help. Don’t wait for their questions because many won’t bother to ask; they’ll just leave out of frustration.

Of course, you cannot attend to all your leads, so you need to qualify the prospects with the most promise. Run your metrics on how to identify these promising leads. One good technique is to provide proactive customer support like sending prospects the next tutorial stage, one email at a time. Those who accept the offer, you know, are interested, so you move them further down to the next tutorial stage until, at the last email, they’re ready for a paid plan. That’s customer support with a direct ROI.”

6. Sean Ogle – Seanogle.com

Customer Service - Sean Ogle

“The one best customer service I’ve got is pretty simple: reply to email – personally. When people get an email from me, especially one in a timely manner, it says a lot about the business and my commitment to them. Even though it might take a few extra hours each week to give email a bit more personal attention, I’ve found it’s paid off both financially and in the relationships I’ve grown through the business.”

7. Penny Gardner – Careeraddict.com

Customer Service - Penny

Sell to yourself

One of the most significant pieces of advice we would give is putting yourself in your clients’/customers’ shoes. How would you like to be approached when you called or contacted a customer service representative? No one would want to deal with a perpetual cycle of call transfers while slowly going insane because of the same loop of Kenny G soft jazz, you would want to talk to a single, very knowledgeable individual that will help you solve your issue with minimum exposure to aforementioned psychosis inducing soft jazz. You’re calling customer service soft jazz is unavoidable but the less of it you have to hear the better.  You’d also want someone that treats you as a human being and your issue with a certain level of concern, if possible the same level of concern you have even if that’s an overly-optimistic expectation. Finally never forget that the person on the other side of the line needs help and you are the person they turned to, with great power comes great responsibility (I know that’s a Spiderman quote but it seems more than appropriate for the matter at hand).”

8. Kathryn Aragon –  Kathrynaragon.com

Customer Service - Kathryn Aragon

“Treat them (your customers) as people, not just customers. Treating people with respect includes respecting their time, being polite, and giving them choices. Do that, and you’ll not only win their business but their loyalty as well.”

9. Sudipto Basu – Onecentatatime.com

Customer Service - Sudipto Basu

“Stellar customer support comes from the ‘wow’ factor. Do something for the customer when it’s least expected. Offering to return items even after the return by date, is one such example. Other examples could be offering alternate solution when what customer is asking for can’t be met.

A customer is the lifeline for any business, they are also the investment for future growth. One happy customer can bring 5 other customers to the business. On the other hand if you lose one customer then you are in-fact losing unlimited number of future customers.

So invest a portion of your revenue in improving your customer service.

For my blog readers, I always try to provide superior content so that they get more than what they asked for in a Google search bar. I improve so that my regular readers are ever engaged and are always wait for the next article to come out.

In social and online economy not only the good words spread out loud and fast, the bad words also go viral and go on to kill businesses. Never let customers complain.”

10. Prof. Arpan Kumar Kar – Business-fundas.com

Customer Service - Prof Arpan Kumar Kar

“Today depending on the business nature and its dynamics, customers engage with the firm through multiple communications channels like email, facebook, twitter, and other offline channels. It is important to listen to the voice of the customer at all times. Typically every highly satisfied customer brings in 3 times the revenue from his own business and from his network, as compared to if he is less than satisfied. And don’t forget the consequences of customer churn. It takes 5 times more cost to acquire a new customer than it takes to retain one. In view of these facts and statistics, it is of utmost important to develop systems and enable them using technological platforms. Social CRM is one such on the cloud kind of platforms which may enable you to listen and address your customers in a way that benefits their business and yours. You may be able to connect and leverage upon the knowledge residing in your customer networks to actually design or redesign your offerings in line with the needs of the market. Further the analytics may enable you to leverage upon the data and make informed business decisions.”

11. Chance Madsen – Socialbarrel.com

Customer Service - Chance Madsen

“The best I can say is to listen deeply both to the people you are helping and to the data you are looking at. Make sure that everyday your main goal is to be the absolute best that you know you can be and do not be afraid to be different as this is what makes businesses great.”

12. Melissa Bolton – MelissaBolton.com

Customer Service - melissa bolton

“When it comes down to it, as entrepreneurs we’re selling solutions, not products. That’s why making an emotional connection with customers is so important. Anyone can sell a product, but your customer is buying into you. By providing offerings that make our customers’ lives better and by going above and beyond to ensure they’re thrilled, we strive to not only earn mindshare, but true loyalty. Brand evangelists are worth their weight in gold. “

13. Mike Vardy – Productivityist.com

Customer Service - Mike Vardy

“I think the best tip I can offer is to ensure – even when starting out – that you have a separate email account just for customer support. Too many solopreneurs use email filters instead to segment out the types of email they are receiving but if you have a separate account for sales-oriented queries and deliverables (like Productivityist did even when it was just me handling them), it allows you to see them and focus on them almost immediately which keeps them from falling through the cracks. In addition, once you are able to bring on someone on board for customer and sales support, you simply hand over the keys to them with virtually no friction involved.”

14. Marko Saric – Howtomakemyblog.com

Customer Service - Marko Saric

“One best tip for providing stellar customer support is to actually acknowledge the customers writing to you and do your best to help them out. A recent study I’ve done showed that 87% of all customer posts were ignored by brands in social media. So if you can do this part right you will be ahead of the majority of other brands on social. Acknowledge your customer, try and help out, or at least refer the customer to the best place where they can get help. This will work wonders and improve your relationship with your customers.”

15. Jesse Eisenstein – Webpagefx.com

Customer Service - Jesse

“Aside from genuine politeness and positive language, it’s always helpful to ask if a customer fully understands a service or report. Using data points and comparison metrics such as month-over-month and year-over-year help many customers visualize results better and can help them be more excited about growing their business. Going that extra mile to translate data for your customers demonstrates you truly care about and understand their business.”

16. Tresha Moreland – hrcsuite.com

Customer Service - tresha moreland

“The best customer service advice I have comes down to one word – listen.

Companies over time tend to get lost in their own policies, procedures and methods, that listening to the customer has almost become a lost art. Think about it. As a customer ourselves we are told what to like, how to dress, what to eat, and what care products to use. In essence, customers are ushered into pre-made boxes without another thought.

A successful business leader or owner will leverage the lost art of listening. By mastering the skill of listening, a business can become innovative leader in the marketplace.

I do have a featured article on customer service if you wish to include it:

http://www.hrcsuite.com/cultivatingcustomers/

17. Branden Williams – Brandenwilliams.com

Customer Service - Branden Williams

“My biggest tip is: Be sincere. People can read your body language and know if you don’t really mean what you say.

My post on customer service remains one of my most popular.

https://www.brandenwilliams.com/blog/2012/09/11/the-only-customer-service-script-you-will-ever-need/

18. Inan Iftekhar – Pagewiz.com

Customer Service - Iftkhar

“When you are conversing with a customer – think of him/her as your friend, and act/talk the way you do when trying to help a close friend achieve their goal. I’ve found that this approach helps me maintain a positive attitude, and keeps clients happy time and time again.”

19. Charlie Nadler – Simplemachinesmarketing.com

Customer Service - Charlie Nadler

“Client support always goes smoother when you set expectations. Set clear expectations for meetings and for next steps so that there’s no confusion or unpleasant surprises.”

20. Roland Hanekroot, Owner and Founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching

Existing customers are your greatest source of new prospects. Prospects who are referred to you from existing happy customers are far more likely to buy from you than any other prospects. They buy quicker and more and are less likely to want to haggle over price. Best of all, you don’t need to spend money on marketing to have them come to you. I often say to my clients: Consider your annual marketing budget, stop spending half of that money and spend the remaining half on turning your existing customers into Raving Fans, people who go out of their way to refer their friends families and colleagues to you.

Ask yourself, every day: How can I deliver just that little bit more than my customers expect, every day, across all facets of your business: Quality, delivery time, friendliness, access to warranty, service and maintenance, responsiveness, cleanliness, you name it.

They say you never get a second chance at making a first impression and in your quest to turn your customers into Raving Fans, the first thing to consider is how your customer support staff answer the phone. Start there and then work your way through all the other aspects of your relationship with your customers. It will change your business and your life… I promise you.

21. Jon Covey, Multi Award Winning Success Coach at JonCovey.com

I feel many people put lots of energy and focus on providing the greatest customer support, yet fail to realise that they need customers to support before they can offer stellar customer support.

What do I mean? Simply put, get the customers first… Dedicate a significant proportion of your time generating new business, winning new clients and selling more product.

I’m a firm believer that you have to give more than you get and not a huge fan of the term win/win. You see the only win should be for your client, give them so much that they want to not only work with you but want to recruit and hire you! ‘Give more than you get, and eventually, you will get more than you give’.

So to summarize, if you want to provide the greatest customer support, first get the client, then give them everything you have to give, and when you feel you have amazed yourself in the execution and delivery, give a little more. This extra 5% is all it takes to disrupt the entire market because everyone stops short of the 100%, by you going all the way and beyond, the market is wide open for you to take.

Give more than you get! That’s my number 1 tip for giving world rocking stellar customer support.

22. Jennifer Dawn, Owner and Founder of Jennifer Dawn Coaching

Focus on just one big problem to solve for your clients and then do it better than anybody else in the world. In today’s market it’s very easy to solve lots of issues for our clients, but then our offering can get watered down, and we feel stretched thin trying to be an expert in so many different areas. My solution to extraordinary customer service has been to focus on doing one thing really, really well. Not only can I deliver better results for my clients, I enjoy my work more because who does not love being the very best in their field!

23. Tammy Adams, Founder of The Local Small Business Coach Podcast

Over the past 30+ years of working with customers and clients in various fields and businesses, a nugget I learned a long time ago is just as true today as it was 30 years ago, Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.

When you have a team, they are the face of your company. They interact with most, if not all your customers and clients. You personally can be the poster child of customer service, but if your team doesn’t believe in your customer service vision, or feel you are just as passionate about them, why on earth would they provide great customer service?

Your folks need to feel that you care about them just as much as you do your customers or clients. You already know that great customer service comes from listening to your customers, resolving their problems, coaching them along the way and helping them with a smile and genuine concern. Guess what? That is all your employees want from you as well.

So if you want to take your customer service to the next level, then make sure you employee customer service is top notch too!

24. Adrian Miller, President & Founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training

Stellar customer support means doesn’t mean that the customer is always right but they are always the customer and so if you want to retain and grow their business you will attempt to make them feel appreciated, recognized and ultimately satisfied with your product or service.

25. Patricia Fripp, Presentation Expert at FrippVT.com

To improve service every team members says, “Consider it done” to each client request and follow through.

26. Jack Daly, CEO of Professional Sales Coach

Ask questions and listen.

27. Donald C. Kelly, Chief Sales Evangelist at TheSalesEvangelist.com

One thing I alway share with my podcast community and clients is that in order to be successful, you need to treat others the way THEY would like to be treated. This essentially is the idea of empathy. Too often businesses seek first to fulfill their own needs and growth objectives, that they neglect to offer their buyer’s the thing they need the most. Often time this leads to a disconnect and a decline in customer retention. However, when businesses seek first to help their clients find success, the business in a whole will increase in sales. Therefore, help your customers by giving them what they want and they will help you achieve what you need.

28. Peter Gianoli, Sales & Marketing Strategist, Author, and Public Speaker at Petergianoli.com

The best tip I can offer when it comes to providing stellar customer support is to always deliver Awesome Cutomer Service. You should not be satisified with just providing good or great customer service as this will simply result in your customer continuing to do business with you. An Awesome Customer Service advocate does not rest until their customer becomes an ambassador for your business and is so satisfied with your service they will go out of their way to promote your business to their own network.

Believe it or not achieving this is often quite simple, generally all you have to do is honour your marketing messages and pledges.

29. Kim Orlesky, The Leading Sales Coach at KimOrlesky.com

Customer support comes from really listening to the client. Too often we hear a problem and we immediately want to solve it. However the client needs to have acknowledgement that you’ve heard them, feel validated if they are upset, have the problem reiterated back to them to test for understanding, and then offer a solution with the ask, “would that make your experience with us better?”. With this approach you aren’t just solving the problem you are creating a client that is brought back to loving their experience with your company.

30. Vladimir Gendelman — CompanyFolders.com

Customer Service

The key to providing great customer service is to provide unexpected services. For example, we don’t use the automated attendant on our phone system. We always answer the phone right away so customers don’t waste time navigating prompts. This allows us to learn more about the customers, their needs and their businesses by speaking with them directly. We also extend our services past the point of purchase by offering a lifetime warranty on all of our products. We put our money where our mouth is and provide long-lasting quality in a way no other printer does by providing this service.

What next?

If there are customer service tips that you feel we should added in the post, please share it in the comments section below.

We’ll be more than happy to update the post and add your tips in it.

Also, if you’re looking for a team of professional and highly skilled agents that can help you with your phone support, you can contact us using this form.

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How to Benefit from Your FCR (First Call Resolution Metric)

first call resolution

first call resolution

Whether you think it’s realistic or not, your customers expect their problems addressed during the first call that they make to your customer support hotline.

Of course, inasmuch as you’d like to accommodate their expectations, there is only so much that you and your customer support team can do. Sadly, there are times when it takes more than just one call to solve your caller’s problems.

Even having said that, the businesses are still striving to improve the quality of service that they provide to their customers, so they can address their customer’s issues during the first call.

That’s where the First Call Resolution metric comes in.

The more businesses fine tune their processes, the more optimized the quality of their support becomes making it possible for them to solve their caller’s problems on the first call.

Allow me to show you 3 ways that a business can benefit from using first call resolution as a metric.

Survey: turning customers’ scars to business’ stars

When it comes to uncovering areas where your business needs to improve, your customer feedback can be such a goldmine. Since your customers are the recipient of your services, they should be able to give you a clear idea of what’s working for them, and what isn’t. Their feedback serves as a valuable yet free market research that can make or break your business.

Having said that, getting your customer’s feedback through surveys can help you determine whether the first call resolution of the call center company you partnered with is effective or not.

Cost reduction

More often than not, your customers will make a callback because their problems weren’t addressed adequately on their first call.

As you can probably imagine, these callbacks can spell all sorts of problems for your business. Not only will your operation costs increase, but so will your call volume.

It’s because of this that contact center companies like outsourced customer support in the Philippines are keen on improving their team’s performance towards their First Call Resolution metric.

When their teams are doing great in their FCR performance, they’ll inadvertently be able to avoid more callbacks, leading to them having reduced operational costs, and them being able to take on more clients.

Customer loyalty

When FCR as a metric is given priority in a company, their customers end up feeling more valued, appreciated, and treated with more respect. Simply because the customer service team’s action plans and the way they diagnose the caller’s problems are geared towards giving the callers an immediate solution to their problems, and one with longevity at that.

When the customers feel valued, they will never think about transferring to another service provider, since they have no complaints whatsoever to the kind of service and support that they’re getting. This means that the First Call Resolution metric is an effective driving force in improving your customer retention, and helping you capitalize on repeat business.

What’s next?

If you have questions, suggestions, or ideas that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below. Call us today to find out how we can help you optimize productivity, deliver a better customer experience and provide outsourced customer service.

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The Anatomy of a Successful Inbound Call

 

Successful Inbound Call

You’ve managed to answer your callers’ questions, yet the call still ended with them getting even more agitated because of your answers. Would you say that you were successful in handling the call?

How about if you ended the call without being able to answer their questions, but you managed to pacify your caller’s anger? Would you still be able to consider that as a successful inbound call?

I know that we all have varying opinions on what a successful inbound call is. Others are keen on the calls ending within a call handling time threshold, while others don’t care about the numbers (that much), for as long as the callers are happy when the calls end.

If you’re looking to determine what a successful inbound call is for your business, then allow me to share with you some points that you can consider:

1. Call opening and caller verification.

Caller verification is an important phase that you should never overlook. This is especially true if you are handling financial accounts, or any type of accounts where your agents will divulge personal or sensitive information to the callers.

2. Successful probing.

You need to equip your agents with effective questioning techniques so they can probe the callers accordingly.

The thing is, it isn’t uncommon for callers to not have a solid grasp of what their problems really are. They often cannot articulate their problems clearly so it is up to you uncover their problems through asking questions effectively.

The last thing you want to happen is to seemingly address their concerns, only to have them call back with another problem.

Remember that there are times where even your callers aren’t aware that their problems have been totally addressed (the operative word is “totally”). You need to make sure that as the call ends, you’ve given them a complete solution to their problem – at least to the best of your capabilities.

3. Call resolution.

It goes without saying that your customers are calling you because they have a question, or a problem that they want solved.

You need to be able to help them with that.

Thinking that you’re in the clear since you’ve already apologized for whatever inconvenience they’ve experienced is a terrible mindset to have. You need to be always thinking about solutions.

Sure, you also have limits to work with. And there are times when you simply cannot accommodate what your customers are asking for. In cases like these, you can transfer them to the right person who can help them with their needs.

If you know for a fact that what they are asking for just isn’t doable, then you can offer alternatives.

Simply saying, “Sorry. I can’t help you” isn’t good enough. Be sure to offer alternatives.

4. Your callers should feel important.

A successful inbound call isn’t all about solving your caller’s problems – though it’s certainly a huge part of it.

Another element that’s of equal importance is how your caller’s feel.

You need to make them feel like they are valued. You need to make them feel that they are important to you, and that you don’t view them as just another account.

Imagine listening to a phone call like this:

Caller: I need help with my credit card account. I still haven’t received the reversal that the previous agent promised me 2 months ago. This is getting really frustrating! I’m getting all sorts of penalties because of the money not being…

Customer service agent: I have just put another refund request and the refund should take effect in 7 – 10 business days.

Is there anything else I can help you with?

It’s cringe-worthy, isn’t it?

How would you feel if you were the caller?

Sure. The customer service agent may have “solved” the caller’s problem. However, he blatantly ignored the frustration of the caller. He didn’t even empathize.

With that kind of call handling, you’ll surely lose a lot of customers.

What’s next?

Are you looking for an affordable, yet highly skilled customer service outsourcing team to help you with taking your business to the next level? Use this contact form to connect with us now.

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The Crux of the Matter – What Your Callers Need From You

What Your Callers Need

What Your Callers Need

Have you ever had a call where your customer asked you the question, “Did you understand what I said?”.

As your mind starts to backtrack trying to figure-out how the flow of your conversation has been progressing, you suddenly realize that you aren’t quite sure what his problem really is.

“Did I miss anything?” You then asked yourself. How is it that despite my being attentive to every single word that my caller is saying, I still can’t figure out what he really needs?

I have to tell you that you are not the first person to ever ask that question. Other call center agents struggle with the same thing as well.

And the reason why this seems to be happening is we’re only focusing on the words that are coming out of the callers’ mouth, when we should also be perceptive of the other things like the tone of their voice, the pacing of their ideas, and the points that they keep on repeating (among others).

When the situation comes where your caller is still frustrated, and he still feels that his problem hasn’t been resolved (even if it has already been addressed), you need to realize that there are other things that he needs from you.

What are these “other things”, you might ask?

That’s what we’ll talk about right now.

1.) They need you to empathize with them.

They want others to recognize the pain and struggles that they’ve gone through. They especially want the company whom they thought was responsible for their struggles to recognize how they feel.

In situations like these, saying things like, “I understand how frustrating this must be…” or “I sincerely understand where you’re coming from…” or the good ‘ol, “I’m sorry to hear that you are…” can go a long way.

Remember to make it clear to your callers that you empathize with them.

Don’t just go start talking about the solution when just seconds ago, they poured out their hearts telling you their struggles and the hurts that they’ve experienced. Doing so will lead your callers to think that you are insensitive, and that you only view them as an account, and not a real person.

2.) They need you to provide solutions to their unsaid problems.

When your clients are frustrated and angry, they will end up telling you all sorts of things. They will make their minor problems seem huge, making it even more challenging for you to decipher what their main problem really is.

In fact, when your clients are in such state, they might even forget to tell you what their main problems are, since they just want to vent out and start talking about all the problems that they’ve experienced.

You need to be discerning in times like these.

You need to put two and two together and figure out what your callers main problems are instead of just addressing the problems that your callers are addressing on a surface level.

If you can’t quite figure out what their real problems are, be sure to probe. Ask them. Get some more information from them so you can figure out what their real problems really are.

3.) They need you to be their advocate.

The fact is, you can address all of your callers’ questions, all while antagonizing them.

Don’t do that.

That’s never going to work — if you want to win over your caller’s, that is.

Here’s the thing. If you want your callers to feel that they are secure, and are cared for, you need to make them feel that you are on their side — all while giving them the solution to their problems.

What’s next?

Are you looking for a team of call center agents who can help outsource your customer service needs? Be sure to contact us using this form. Take care!

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How to Influence Your Callers to Accept the Solutions that You’re Proposing

Influence your callers

Influence your callers

“I want to talk to your supervisor” — You gave your callers the best solution to their problems, but they asked for your supervisor nonetheless.

What caused the meltdown, you might ask? Since you’ve already given them the solution, why’d they still ask for your supervisor? At this point, instead of simply answering their questions, you are now having to think of ways on how to prevent your callers from getting angry.

After giving the scenario a bit more thought, you came to realize that the problem itself came from the solution that you offered to your caller.

Sure. You may be right in thinking that the solution you offered is the best possible route that they can take, however, if they don’t perceive your solution as such, they’ll deem it unacceptable and would ask to talk to someone else instead.

If you’re looking for tips on how to influence your callers to accept the solutions that you are proposing, then allow me to share with you these 6 tips.

Listen to your caller

This is the perfect situation to put your listening skill in action.

Give your caller the floor. Allow him the chance to tell you about his problems, suggestions, and even his frustrations about your products or services.

This will help you identify the best angle that you can use to pitch your solution.

Plan your move

As you listen to your caller, you’ll be able to formulate the best solution to their problems, AND the best possible way of delivering your suggestion.

That being said, when your callers are talking — or venting out their frustrations — be sure to use the time to plan and figure out how you can win them over. Use the opportunity to identify your parameters as to what you can do on your own to help your caller, and what you can’t do because of your company’s regulations and policies.

Using this strategy will give you a clearer gameplan of how you can influence your callers effectively.

Use the right words.

Be sure to use inviting words, or words that would convey genuine concern, sincerity, and confidence (among others).

Think along the lines of, “I’d be more than happy to help you with…”, or “I would probably feel the same if I were in your situation, allow me to help you by…”, “I am confident that I can help you with this…”.

The point is to make your callers feel that you value them. The moment they feel that you are treating them as a real human with real needs — and not just an account — is the same time where you’ll win their sympathy.

Acknowledge their thoughts

You can establish a level of trust between you and your callers by acknowledging their distress.

Letting them know that you are willing to hear where they are coming from provides them a feeling of security.

When they realize that you are listening to them with the intent of truly understanding their concerns, the chances of them accepting your solution drastically increases because they know that you formulated your solution based on your deep understanding about their problems.

Give your callers some context to the solutions that you offered.

Explain to your caller why you offered that particular solution. If applicable, discuss its alignment to the terms and conditions that they accepted, or if you have alternative options to offer, lay it on the table for consideration.

The deeper your understanding is about your product, and the dynamics of your company, the more context you can give to the solution that you are offering to your callers.

This in turn makes it easier for them to accept your solution.

Explain to your callers the benefits of accepting your solution.

Make them focus on the benefits of accepting the solutions you provided. A clear explanation of what they will gain from it, and possibly what they would lose if they choose not to accept it.

Keep the tone of your conversation positive and resolution-driven.

Conclusion

Influencing your callers to accept the solutions that you are offering, isn’t rocket science.

When you are equipped with ample amount of knowledge, and understanding about the business that you’re representing, you’ve already won, half of the battle.

The only thing remaining is for you to make sure that they end up accepting the solutions that you are proposing. Of course, if you’ll follow the tips that I shared, you’ll be able to do just that.
If you found value in reading this post, please take 3 seconds of your time to share this post. Call us today to find out how we can help you optimize productivity, deliver a better customer experience and provide outsourced customer service. Cheers!

Photo Courtesy – ©Creativa Images / Dollar Photo Club

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