“The customer is always right”. “The customer is king”. “Make the customer feel at home”. “Smile and nod”. “Think happy thoughts”. You’ve heard all of this advice before but are you really heeding it?
With consumers enjoying a much wider range of choice and no longer forced into lengthy contracts, customer service has become the battleground that determines growth or stagnation for ISPs. Thanks to the internet, consumers are more empowered than ever before, with instant access to a wider selection of product offerings, social media reviews and access to a wealth of background information on companies and their service levels. Customers are quick to judge your level of service and will be more inclined to post a negative review on a public forum if your service is not up to scratch than they would be posting a positive review if you’re doing a good job. This negative public criticism could be crippling to your business, especially in the competitive ISP market.
In this blog we’ll take a look at some simple yet effective customer service advice that will help you outsmart your peers and elevate your customers’ experience.
The most important customer service advice is to remain friendly no matter how you are feeling. That’s definitely easier said than done. We’re human after all and often let our emotions get the better of us. When it comes to communicating with customers, it’s important to remain professional, check your personal problems at the door and smile - even though your customer can’t see you on the other end of the phone line.
You’ll be surprised at how they will still pick up on your positive upbeat attitude and respond accordingly. It is quite satisfying when you’re able to turn a disgruntled customer’s negative attitude into a positive sale that leaves them smiling and you with another satisfied customer and money in the bank. [Here are 7 Top Customer Service Tips for Dealing with Unhappy Customers]
I know this is important to my wife, so it definitely works with customers too. There is nothing more irritating than trying to explain a problem and being interrupted by a service agent who is not listening to you. Let the customer finish explaining their situation and repeat the key points to let them know that you’ve been listening the whole time. Even more impressive would be to log their description of the problem as they speak and drill down into your customer relationship management (CRM) software to identify their particular account or service that is experiencing the problem. When you respond with their particular details, they’ll know you’ve been listening to them and will be impressed that you’ve been able to add some value and possibly even get to the bottom of their problem quicker than they expected.
Know your stuff
This is customer service advice every service representative should heed. Make sure that you know what you’re talking about. If your job is to provide support for a particular product, ensure that you know that product inside out. Request a test instance of that product or service so that you can play around with it and get to know it. It’s always good to be in the customer’s shoes and know exactly what they are going through. By testing your own products and services, you’ll know first-hand where the pitfalls or advantages of the product lie and will be able to better relate to your customer.
Stay on top of your game
While you may think you know your stuff, it’s important to continue to stay on top of your game by constantly reviewing your own support calls and looking to improve your processes. Make sure you’re reviewed regularly and welcome constructive criticism. Quality control levels often demand that customer service calls get recorded, so request access to those recordings and listen to your own phone calls so that you can improve your own game. It’s easy to become complacent so it’s important to look for new ways of improving your customer touch points in order to stay relevant in a fast-changing market. Customers expect their providers to lead the way in terms of service and value offerings, or they’ll look to the competition to cater to their changing needs.
Empower your customer
Support desks receive high volumes of calls on a daily basis and many of these can easily be handled by automation tools. Just think about that list of canned responses that you have at your fingertips for all the most commonly asked questions. Telephonic voice prompts and customer self-service portals that easily provide the answers to these questions can make a huge impact on your call volumes, freeing you up to tend to more serious and complex customer requests that require human interaction. Your customers will be impressed by the ease with which they can do things like upgrade their line speeds, change personal information or view usage consumption reports, so make sure that you empower them by informing them of these alternate support channels. You’ll be doing both them and yourself a huge favour.
Reward your customer
Make sure that your CRM software provides you with important information, such as when your customer first signed up with you. Then act on that information by rewarding those loyal customers to ensure that those longstanding relationships receive the attention they deserve. Build loyalty programs that reward customers for their loyal patronage and show them that you value their support. Surprise them with additional free bandwidth and create a sense of exclusivity due to their loyalty to your brand. Make sure that your communications are specific to their needs and that you don’t bombard customers with irrelevant messaging. Loyal customers are great brand ambassadors, and keeping them happy means they’ll tell their friends, family and colleagues about your company.
Technology and the human touch is the perfect combination for customer service excellence
There’s no denying that technology plays a key role in improving customer interactions and that ISPs should leverage it to their advantage to elevate the customer experience. However, with the combination of an adaptive approach to technology and an investment in human capital, you’ll be giving out customer service advice to your peers. SOLIDitech is a business automation company founded to remove the barriers that held ISPs back from shifting into higher gear. Our solutions leverage the latest technology and bring out the best in your workforce.
For more information about how to leverage all the benefits of automation towards your customer service efforts, read this post.