If you keep your customers happy, they are more likely to return and spend more on your business. Nowadays, it’s essential to know your customers individually and meet their needs and expectations at every point of contact. The idea here is to foster a long-term relationship with the customer rather than focussing on a single transaction. An effective customer service department plays a crucial role in a small business for improving customer satisfaction, loyalty and higher levels of repeat business. If you have a successful customer service department, you can even win back the trust of dissatisfied customers by helping them and fixing their problems proactively.
A capable and proficient customer service department will help your company to focus on creating unique customer experiences and valuable relationships that will last longer and continue being more profitable over time. Creating a customer service department from scratch requires a significant investment of time and money. But if executed well, the ROI will be really high in terms of improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and higher revenues.
Below I have mentioned 5 steps of establishing a successful and rewarding customer service department:
Step 1: Interpret and Define “Superior Customer Service” for your Company
First of all, before building a customer service department, define what quality of customer support you will provide. This will enable you to set proper standards against which your support team could be measured. If your company focuses more on speed or integrity, your team must be prepared to deliver on those terms.
Create your set of standards and benchmarks and measure if your team is delivering in accordance with them. You can set expectations by answering the following:
- What is the typical response time in your industry and how quickly will you respond to customers?
- What will be your tone, language and attitude when dealing with customers?
- How will you handle complaints and disagreements?
- How will you repeatedly improve customer expectations and delight them over time?
- What ethical guidelines will you hold to?
- What if you are not able to provide support to something?
- What are the legal requirements and service level regulations of my country and industry?
Answering these critical questions will help you to design and create a successful customer service plan for your organization.
Step 2: Determine the Channels to Support
It is challenging for small businesses to offer support across all channels all the time. This makes things more complex and leads to inconsistent service. It is better to chose few channels and provide quality customer service and keep your customers happy.
But, with so many options available- email, live chat, phone, social media, forums, self-service tools- how do you choose on which channels to offer customer service?
While all these channels have their own advantages and disadvantages, it’s advisable to select those channels which your customers use the most. Do some research on your target audience and see which platforms they use. Do they contact you through phone or email? Which social media channel out of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, are most popular amongst them? Start supporting the top one or two and gradually increase the channels as your business grows.
Also, you can choose the best suitable channel based on your product type. Live chat is more suitable for ecommerce and banking while email can be the best option to provide technical support.
Step 3: Recruit the Right Employees
Finding and recruiting a great customer service team is critical to providing reliable and high-quality customer support. They should be passionate about customer service and must possess the right skills for the job. Or else, they won’t be able to succeed in their job. Let’s have a glance at the skills that you must keep in mind while hiring customer service staff:
- Clear Communication
- Patience and Empathy
- Ability to Adapt
- Time Management Skills
- Persuasion Skills
- Ability to Handle Surprises
- Good Problem Solving Skills
Step 4: Measure Customer Service Performance
In order to drive better performance of your customer service department, you need to set objectives and measure them periodically. Understand which metrics are most significant and ideal for your business and industry. For example, do you compete on customer experience, where satisfaction measures are of primary importance, or do you compete on cost, where efficiency and productivity measures are most important? Once you understand your value proposition, choose the high-level KPIs that support your company’s objectives.
Set a customer feedback and employee feedback system to improve the customer service levels on a frequent basis.
Step 5: Select the Right Tools
You are required to invest in appropriate technology to build a fruitful customer service department. Picking the right tools can make life easier for your support team, enhance your brand’s overall effectiveness at interacting with customers and also guarantee customer satisfaction. Your choice of tools can have a big impact on your productivity.
Have the right contact center software aids in enhancing customer experience. An effective CRM system helps to manage your customer database with ease and offer personalized services. Integration of a powerful social media management tool helps in establishing deeper customer relationships and monitor customer complaints. Call back technology ensures that you no longer miss any important customer call. Hence, getting the right software and technology to do the job is an important part of guaranteeing both speed and quality.