A Google search for “companies with bad customer service” returns 30,500,000 results. Pages upon pages of blog posts appear with the sole purpose of shaming the top 10 companies everyone hates to call. The gripes are numerous and include the incalculable hours spent on hold, not having one’s concerns properly addressed and the ever-painful pleading with a representative to speak to their manager.
Luckily, businesses worldwide are owning up to the fact that consumers can now share their call center experiences with a click of the mouse or a tap on the screen. With their reputations now at the mercy of millions of social media users and search engine searches, companies have been stepping up in a big way.
But how can business call centers do this? Three words. Improve customer engagement.
All our representatives are busy…
In order to properly serve a customer, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from. If a customer picks up the phone to call you, chances are it’s because an issue of some sort (and urgency) exists. Customers with issues are likely coming into the situation pre-disgruntled, so having a robot put them on hold likely only makes matters worse.
If your call center is consistently busy, consider implementing a call-back feature so they can get back to their day. They may just cool off in the interim, setting the stage for a more positive interaction once you are able to connect.
Really, effectively, lend an ear
Helping your employees to develop better listening skills is key. According to research, by listening effectively you will extract more important information, increase others’ trust in you, reduce conflict and inspire a higher level of commitment. Brand loyalty is more easily attained from customers who feel as though they are important to your organization.
If they perceive that you are truly hearing their concerns and are actively working in this very moment to troubleshoot their problem, then you are forging a strong relationship with that customer. One that could be long-lasting and even get passed down to the next generation.
Why do some customer service reps lack the authority to handle a customer’s case? It’s disheartening for a caller to finally get through to a human voice, explain their whole issue from start to finish, then get passed up the ranks where they have to tell their story all over again.
The first agent a customer speaks to will make the first impression. Give them the required training and grant them the power to solve most any problem a customer can throw at them. Again, these small gestures speak volumes when it comes to building meaningful and enduring relationships with customers.
Your end users offer the best insight on how to fine-tune your business. If your call center continually receives multiple requests for the same improvements, there’s probably something there. Compile lists of your customer’s perceptions and use them to your advantage. Not only do you stand to enhance your product or service, but you also gain the opportunity to show your customers that you’re genuinely listening to them.
Acting on customer feedback helps them to feel influential, empowered and appreciated, leading inevitably to their repeat business and a strong chance for future recommendations to family and friends.
Relationships before transactions
Finally, refocus your organization. Try to bear in mind that a transaction is only a single instance of buying or selling something.
A genuine and trusting rapport between businesses and customers is the foundation upon which years of transactions will occur.