November 28th, 2016
Good Customer Service (CS) is absolutely critical to business survival, and with 57% of companies seeing a link between improving their customer service and profit growth, you really can’t afford to bypass it. Better customer service will also result in happier customers and effectively improve retention rates. With a 5% increase in customer retention shown to lead to a 25-95% increase in profits, your bottom line - as well as your customers - will benefit from stellar CS efforts. So, how do you manage a CS team and ensure that they’re working to their full potential?
We spoke to our Head of Customer Service, Daniel Foster, and asked him some questions about his role. Here’s three of his pearls of wisdom for you to digest:
What’s it like heading a team of over 250 people?
It can be challenging, but that makes it even more rewarding when you get it right. Customer experience (CX) is often deemed the most important part of a business’ strategy. Given 60% of organizations believe customer service will be the primary differentiator between competitors over the next three years, there’s a lot of pressure to not only get it right but to excel – and that’s what we do best.
One of the most important things to get correct is the department structure, and this means a clearly communicated chain of command.
One of the most important things to get correct is the department structure, and this means a clearly communicated chain of command. Each team requires a dedicated supervisor that operators can rely on, ask questions of, and talk to. This removes the risk of customers receiving a guessed response that doesn’t answer their query, leaving them far from satisfied with their experience. It also protects the customer’s experience by ensuring the team have access to swift answers to any questions they may have - the customer is never left waiting long.
The crucial thing to ensure is that the supervisors and senior supervisors are kept up to date with any changes to products or procedure. Communicate any upcoming process changes or sales promotions with enough notice for supervisors to thoroughly brief their teams. Knowledge is power and is well-respected amongst peers, instilling confidence that radiates throughout the business.
Which channel is most popular amongst customers?
The popularity of social media channels for customer service requests continues to rise, with the number increasing more than 2.5 times over the last two years. However, customers often expect instant responses and resolutions to their queries via social channels, so it’s vital that you have the workforce behind these channels to make that happen – people aren’t as willing to wait for a response over social media as they are over other channels, such as email. It’s important that operators have the authority to be able to deal with queries swiftly without having to escalate to their supervisor, which lengthens response time.
Webchat is also a very popular channel amongst clients, because one in five shoppers prefer online chat over any other communication method. Operators can talk to multiple customers at once unlike other channels, such as telephony, where an agent can only handle one customer at a time. This makes for a much more cost-effective channel – all the while satisfying the customer. It’s a win-win!
So, what underpins your highly successful team?
78% of surveyed customers say that competent CS operators are most responsible for a happy customer experience.
Daniel said: “I’m a strong believer that the department is only as good as the people in it.” And the numbers agree - 78% of surveyed customers say that competent CS operators are most responsible for a happy customer experience. Therefore, it’s important to recognise the hard work and effort given by the operators and to make sure that they’re happy.
We recognise the importance of family here at FM Outsource – in fact, it’s one of our core values. We host an annual Family Weekend for our colleagues and their family and friends, so that they can spend time together outside of a work environment. Our house system makes sure that everyone feels invested in the business from the first day (and that they get to dress up in silly costumes for house points every now and again). The highlight of our event calendar is our annual awards ceremony, which celebrates the best and brightest stars of every department.
Granted, all these points mentioned work at FM, but they may not be easily transferable to all businesses. But, we find it’s vital to ensure all teams across the business know who their supervisor is. Your most popular communication channel may be different, but if you’ve distributed the right amount of manpower behind it, there will never be long, daunting queues for customers. Find the right balance in your business and apply it successfully.
If you need a few tips on fine-tuning your CX approach, or you’re interested in outsourcing your customer service, get in touch with us today. We have experts waiting to treat your customers with the utmost of professionalism and care.