You might be finding the title of this article a bit strange. After all, shouldn’t there always be an efficient support team to increase customer satisfaction? Well, write-ups revolving around this topic are a dime a dozen on the internet.
Therefore, this time around, we decided to focus on how customer’s satisfaction results in a more efficient support team; because ultimately customer support agents are the ones that keep your business afloat by interacting directly with your customers. As it is, customer satisfaction is a high priority for all employers since their unhappiness can result in decreased productivity, lower motivation and plummeting sales.
So, it’s best to think of your support team as your ‘internal customers’. And the satisfaction of external customers is directly proportional to the efficiency of your internal customers. Here is how;
Every message and interaction from a customer is an opportunity for you to improve customer satisfaction. Complaints denote action steps to be taken and new ideas to be adopted for improvement, whereas, compliments indicate things that need to be reinforced.
One way of recording feedback is through customer satisfaction surveys. You can conduct these surveys using social media or after every interaction with a customer. For instance, once can ask their client to rate the driver option on Uber or you could also hand them over the comments’ cards that can be filled out after every meal at a restaurant.
It’s important to always share the output of these surveys with all the members of your staff. This helps remind your support team that their efforts are seen and recognized and it also helps to steer them back in the right direction if they are going off course.
The surveys and processes involving your support team should focus on scoring what is important to your customers. One thing that is crucial to manage is customer wait time. You can keep the wait time for customers to a minimum by analyzing whether customers need to call back or not. If your agents can get it right the first time, even if it requires a few extra minutes, it means that the customer’s issue was resolved in the first attempt. Hence, costs are saved in the long run, customer satisfaction is increased, and your reps score high on a factor that is important for your customers. This increases their satisfaction regarding a job that has been done well by them.
- Social media thumbs up
Dissatisfied customers are inclined to take to social media and rant and vent their concerns to the whole world and this can severely damage your brand, if appropriate actions are not taken immediately.
To mitigate customer complaints, you need to respond quickly and efficiently on social media. In fact, as a starting point, try to reply within 1 hour of the negative comment being posted. This does not mean that you need to resolve the issue right away, rather you just need to let the customer know that their concerns have been heard and are being worked upon for a resolution.
You could also inform your customer about when they should expect a response. This helps reduce negative feedback and manage expectations. Remember, it is important to consistently provide the same level of service and response on social media, regardless of whether it is the weekend or a national holiday.
Acknowledge your mistakes, apologize and take ownership of your actions. This prevents the customer from continuing to blame your company and allows you to focus on the real task at hand, i.e. finding a solution to the problem.
The good service provided by you may not always receive a compliment from your customer. Sometimes though, however, you may get a social media thumbs up in the form of likes or compliments on prompt service. This, undoubtedly, provides a huge boost of motivation to your support team for being able to do a good job to mitigate damage and protect your company’s image effectively.
If your support team has done a good job, for example, if they posted an apology on social media that is genuine and heartfelt and managed to reduce the ire of a customer, then notice it and appreciate it. If you cannot compliment the reps individually on social media then maybe you could do so on the company’s official Facebook page by highlighting a person’s diplomatic customer relations handling skills.
- Stress relief
Your support team has an extremely taxing job. They deal with hundreds of customer inquiries, comments, and complaints on a daily basis. No wonder, it is a highly stressful job that requires balancing fast resolution with customer satisfaction. Sadly though, a lot of times, customers take out their anger and frustration and vent on the reps who actually are not to blame.
“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer,” says Dale Carnegie.
Therefore, it’s essential to teach your team to press reset and move on. Your reps need to be entirely fresh for each new customer interaction. Teach them to visualize an actual reset button that they can press when something really frustrates them, allowing them to shed the stress and anxiety before the next interaction. Once that’s done, tell them to visualize the amazing potential of the new opportunity that they might be able to achieve upon interacting with the next customer.
This way, it will become easier for the support team to carry the satisfaction of a pleased customer to stay energized while shed away the stress of interacting with difficult, impossible to please customers.
Your support team already bears the brunt of your customer’s aggression, for this reason, you need to exercise empathy and compassion to ensure they don’t burn out. As a manager, it does not cost anything to be kind and, not to mention, you can actually reap a lot of benefits from such behavior. A research project by the University of New South Wales that looked at more than 5,000 people across 77 organizations stated that the ability of a leader to be compassionate has a high correlation with profitability and productivity.
So, as a manager and a leader, teach your support team to approach each new customer as they were the first of the day and be encouraging when the issues have been resolved well. Moreover, you should also show some kindness and be a bit understanding when the customer remained not as happy as you would have liked. Your attitude will definitely relieve some of the stress your team faces and increase their motivation.
One of the most important aspects of any job, perhaps the key to overall customer satisfaction, is considering your work meaningful. The need to believe that you are making a difference is so strong that many people become reporters covering dangerous war time fields. The need of being useful is why we have social workers and NGOs that want to help people.
The truth is, everyone can make a difference, but not everyone is taught to look at their work that way. Customer reps are often considered the bottom of the food chain and may lack motivation. Lack of motivation leads to disinterestedness in the workplace and hence decreases efficiency.
So, to motivate your support staff, demonstrate the importance of customer satisfaction. Encourage your support agents to build relationships with your customers by understanding them by being aware of their preferences, wants and needs. Customer satisfaction directly influences customer service employee satisfaction.
Another form of motivation is empowerment of agents. Carefully hired and properly trained agents can be given the authority to handle customer issues and complaints before the need for escalation arises.
No customer really needs to talk to the manager, instead, what they want is to talk to a person who has the authority and know-how to solve their problem. By giving your reps the power to make decisions, you make customers happy through faster resolution of problems and also motivate reps by empowering and hence motivating them.
- Recognition and appreciation
Most customer support platforms keep tracks of criteria such as ticket times, that is time spent on each call, the number of transferred calls or calls put on hold, issues resolved, and overall customer satisfaction. With such data and history available, it can be easy to see which of your reps is working the hardest and is your best performer/s.
Recognizing the number of resolved tickets that have resulted in satisfied customers can increase employee satisfaction as well. And employees that feel recognized and satisfied are inclined to become more efficient. Employee recognition and appreciation, whether it is in the form of employee of the month, a gold star on their badge, or just a mention in the monthly meeting, unarguably, increases incentive to continue the good work on a day-to-day basis.
A subtle form of recognition and appreciation for your support team could be involving your agents in strategic planning for customer support efforts. Your agent engagement increases when they are involved in the big picture for your company’s customer service future and it is also a great way to strengthen their loyalty.
By getting them involved in overarching initiatives, giving them opportunities to provide input and implementing their suggestions, your support team feels more empowered and an integral part of the company. And these rings true especially if their suggestions improve customer satisfaction, which is likely since they have the most face time with customers and hence know most what the customers want and like.
There are many ways to keep customers satisfied and providing them with a well-equipped support team is one of them. There is a relationship between customers and your support team. Your support team is the face of your company, the ones that portray your brand. Their efficiency impacts the image of your company and customer satisfaction affects the effectiveness of your reps, making it a continuous cycle. You need to work at making that cycle strong and building a positive relationship with your support team so that they can continue to contribute effectively to the cycle.