In the last month, customer service has been called to court over deceptive and pushy practices. For instance, consider the guy that tried to leave Comcast and simply was not being allowed. From this viral experience, and many others that go unreported, consumers and businesses alike are rethinking accountability when it pertains to customer service.
[pullquote]”When it comes to your business, do you know if your customers actually trust you? Depending on how your customer service representatives are trained and managed, you may be surprised to learn their answers.”[/pullquote]Due to the foul play of companies that can’t get customer service right, the general feeling that seems to echo around the Internet is this: customer service is not to be trusted. These scenarios also make me think about my personal experiences with different companies and how a few simple changes could drastically change the conversation.
When it comes to your business, do you know if your customers actually trust you? Depending on how your customer service representatives are trained and managed, you may be surprised to learn their answers. Ultimately, a customer that trusts you is a customer that stays with you and encourages others to use your product or service. Here’s a look at four questions to consider when it comes to customer service:
Do You Use a Script?
In this day and age, my number one pet peeve is a customer service agent that uses a script. Customers can tell when agents are reading from a script. The responses sound canned and if they are new or lack training it will sound like they are reading a monologue. The customer service script is bothersome for two reasons: (a) Customers can’t determine if you’re really listening to them, and (b) if employees are not trusted to have a conversation, how can they be trusted with a solution?
Is Someone Going to Answer the Phone?
When a customer is on hold for long periods of time or bounced from department to department, they’ll feel like no one knows how to handle their situation. As a business owner, you should consider either getting rid of department phone lines and decreasing hold times all together or at least make it easier to get to the right contact the first time. When an upset or frustrated customer is bouncing through telephone operator menus, they are more likely to be at their boiling point by the time they finally reach a live person.
Are You Listening?
Employing active listening skills is tantamount to everyone having a good customer service outcome. Most customers just want to be heard and understood, but the representative has to engage the customer in order to accomplish this feat. When dealing with a customer, representatives need to give their undivided attention and pretend the customer is right in front of them. When your customer is done speaking, clarify their need by repeating it back to them in another way – “Let me make sure I understand…” is a great way to start that process.
Do You Deliver Consistent Messages?
If your customer service representatives do not have the same answers for the same questions, then more training needs to be completed. Every consumer has experienced a scenario when they had to contact a company about an issue, multiple times. If the answer is not the same for every call, then you have (at the very least) untrustworthy staff. Consider a business phone system that allows you to record company calls for compliance and monitoring. Then review call logs with your team to help them improve communication skills.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Maranda Gibson the head writer at AccuConference, a conference call service that specializes in event and operator conference calls, dedicated to delivering clear and focused messages to participants. Maranda has been in customer service for over ten years. She also really loves baseball. Connect with @accuconference on Twitter.
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