The customer is always right.
This fabled proverb sparks a lot of discussion and dissension in the customer service industry. Some believe it to be true maxim for customer service organizations to live by, while others see it as the biggest myth that the business world has fallen for.
Regardless of your thoughts on the customer always being right, these eight customer service rules below are ones that you simply can’t ignore if you want to achieve a higher quality of great customer service than your competition.
1. Response Time is Key
Few things will be as critical to the success of your customer service organization and the satisfaction of your customers as response time. Remember that when a customer is sending in a service request, they’re not in a good mood. They’re experiencing a problem with your service or product, and while that problem may have varying levels of seriousness, one thing is for sure: your customers want that problem solved as soon as possible.
In order to let them know that your company prioritizes your business, you need your customer service representatives to respond back to requests as quickly as possible. Set a contest or some other kind of incentive scheme to reward your reps who answer new support tickets the fastest, and you’ll certainly see your customer satisfaction with your service increase.
2. Multi-Channel Is Essential
Different types of people are comfortable with different types of communication channels. That’s why it is essential that you offer customer service communication across various different channels.
Don’t just limit yourself to the phone. Many of those in the younger generation are becoming uncomfortable with talking over the phone. Email is a great alternative for those folks.
The gold standard for the customer service industry has become live chat. Live chat is able to combine the instantaneous responses that phone has an email lacks, without the need for actual voice communication, which some people are uncomfortable with.
Another creative way to offer support is through customer service. Many brands have dedicated customer service Twitter accounts — just a simple tweet from your customer should enable them to start the process of sending in a support ticket.
3. Manners are Everything
When it comes to customer service, manners are everything. Simply put, your team must be polite. They cannot lose their cool, they cannot get mad at customers, and above all, they have to be well-mannered in their speech.
If your reps are not well-mannered, then they will make your business seem unprofessional. Remember that any contact point a customer has with your company is a representation of your business. If a customer’s contact point is rude to them, they’ll assume that you’re running a shoddy operation and chances are that they won’t come back. Avoid that by training your team to exhibit only the best manners while talking to customer service.
4. Have a Solid Escalation System
Sometimes, your front line of customer support simply won’t have the level of skill nor the authority to solve an issue that a customer faces. In these situations, it’s likely that the problem that customer is facing with your product or service is more than a little dire. Thus, they’re extra-anxious to have the problem fixed.
This is exactly where you can’t drop the ball. You need to have a solid, tried-and-true escalation system already put in place that minimizes the time to resolution for the customer. Make sure the rep always knows who to talk to if he or she is not able to handle the request by himself or herself.
5. Create Service Guidelines
Create customer service guidelines, then live religiously by them. The guidelines that you create should be very customer-oriented. They should have to do with response time, customer satisfaction levels, appropriate verbiage to use during the solving of a ticket, and the like.
For instance, a few service guidelines could read as follows:
All customer service tickets must be responded to within 15 minutes of the first email during business hours.
All customer service tickets must be resolved or escalated within 24 hours of the first email.
The customer service organization must achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 95%+.
The customer service reps must refer to technical manuals in the solving of the ticket, borrowing language from the manual as necessary.
With guidelines like this in place, you can ensure that your team is solving tickets the right way without having to micromanage each communication thread.
6. Train Your Team
You can’t just give your team some guidelines and let them loose, however. You need to ensure that they actually absorb the knowledge by training them. Take some time out of your busy schedule to run them through exactly how you want them to solve tickets. Bring some roleplaying into it so you can see how they perform.
7. Test Your Team
Once your team is trained and has absorbed the knowledge, ensure knowledge transfer by testing the team. Pretend to be a customer with a problem and phone in, email in, or use your live chat feature.
See how they try to solve your issue. Pose some difficult challenges. Then, you’ll have good feedback on how your team can improve that you can take back to your customer service reps.
8. Consider Outsourcing
Last but not least, consider customer service outsourcing. At the end of the day, remember that customer service is a maintenance task. It does not directly grow your business. As an executive in your business, or as the founder of it, it probably does not benefit your business in the long-term for your time to be taken up by a bunch of maintenance tasks.
Leverage the power of customer service outsourcing in order to put more time back in your day that you can now spend on growing rather than maintaining the business. So long as you provide strict guidelines, conduct extensive training, and test regularly, you won’t even have to worry about a lower quality of customer service.
Customer Service Rules You Need to Follow
There you have it — eight customer service rules you need to follow in order to achieve customer service success. Let us know how you plan to implement these in your business in the comment section below!
For more business advice, be sure to check out the rest of the articles on the website!