Six tips to encouraging excellent customer service – from the inside, out

Here are six ways you can nurture the development of a customer-centric support team.

Six tips to encouraging excellent customer service – from the inside, out

By Kirsty Traill, vice president of customer at Hootsuite

We’re on the brink of the mass transformation of customer service as we know it. Shrinking borders and smart phones mean that we’re more mobile than ever – and we want the immediacy that comes with it. But certainly not at the expense of quality care and assistance. 

Under this digital transformation, consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before, allowing them to quickly and easily find, trial, and review new products and services at the click of a button, or the send of a tweet. The instant vilification or gratification of companies by customers can make or break a company, sometimes in a matter of minutes. 

This means excellent customer service is more important than ever, and our customer service teams need to be adequately prepared. Customers are the lifeblood of any business; without them companies will cease to exist. This is why it’s so important to retain your best customers, and ensure they have a positive experience with your brand.

Here are six ways you can nurture the development of a customer-centric support team.

1.    Hire people who are bright and passionate
When things go off kilter for your customer, it’s essential they have their issue resolved in a timely and effective manner. The obvious requirement is that your customer support team is technically adept – but they also need to hone soft skills like empathy, active listening, problem solving and the motivation to put in a bit of elbow grease. 

Hiring your employees with a discerning eye will pay off by ensuring your team on the front line are a reflection of your brand and committed to doing what’s right for your customers, as quickly as possible.

2.    Provide the optimal on boarding experience
Looking for a high customer satisfaction score? Make sure that you equip your most valuable brand advocates (your employees!) with the tools and training that will satisfy even the most obscure customer needs. Implementing a standardised on boarding program is a great way to start. One effective method I’ve found is a rotating buddy system, which helps employees step up through the required training with support from their team members the entire way.

3.    Focus employee training
If your customer support team has a range of specialties, it can often be helpful to structure your team so that new employees can learn one subject area at a time. This strategy enables them to gain a deep understanding on a topic before moving on to the next skill and progressing their career. 

Giving team members the option to specialise and become subject matter experts can boost career satisfaction and foster a culture of progression.

4.    Offer global learning opportunities to top performers
Imagine the immense benefits your company could receive from an employee with experience of the challenges, operations and strategies you deal with internationally. Global learning is an extremely valuable experience that can expose employees to the perspectives of global colleagues in different locations. Employees can present their learnings to the wider team upon return. This not only promotes knowledge exchange, but also rewards top-performing employees with global learning opportunities.

5.    Recognise and celebrate achievements
We all know working in front-line customer support can be an arduous, often thankless task – that’s why it’s so important to recognise team members who go above and beyond to ensure customers receive the best possible experience. 

How are you encouraging employee recognition and appreciation in your organisation, while fostering a culture of performance? Organising initiatives like team events, personalised gifts and people’s choice awards can up the morale in the office and inspire employees to go the extra mile. 

6.    Add some fun into the equation
Last but not least – it’s so important to make work fun. Concentrate on fostering a culture of celebration and cooperation in each of your customer support teams. Making sure that birthdays and work anniversaries are celebrated, events are organised, and people are able to connect with each other and have some fun should be high on your priority list. If your team aren’t having a good time, how can you expect them to create great experiences  for your customers?

Hiring, training and motivating your customer support team to go above and beyond to ensure excellent customer experience can seem like an insurmountable task – but starting with the above will make strides for your customer service capabilities. Take it from me: these tried and true strategies have been instrumental in helping Hootsuite attain a customer satisfaction score consistently >92%. 
Take them for a test run and reap the rewards in your team’s performance and happiness at work! 

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