Actionable goals will make all the difference in providing stellar customer service.
As any business owner will tell you, good customer service is at the heart of your customer’s success. A good experience with customer service, no matter how fleeting or seemingly inconsequential, can make a permanent difference in how a customer thinks of your company — for good or ill.
But implementing and maintaining good customer service isn’t as easy as it may seem on the surface. A friendly voice over the phone isn’t enough — and it can be frustrating when even the best efforts of your help desk staff aren’t enough and a customer walks away unhappy.
The good news is, there are tried and true ways of improving your customer service across the board! It just requires training, choosing metrics, and tracking your progress. Let’s take a look at a few ways your company can take customer service to the next level.
Set Goals for Your Help Desk Team
It’s almost impossible to become better at a thing unless you know going in exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s one thing to say “provide better customer service,” but what does that really mean? Are you aiming for shorter wait times? Quicker escalation times? First-contact resolution of issues? Without first identifying what your goals are, any metrics tracking you do is going to be next to meaningless. It’s important to set clear, detailed, actionable goals going in — not just a blanket directive of “be better.”
Recruit Staff with Exceptional Customer Service Skills
Much as we might wish it were otherwise, not all customer support staff are created equal. A good customer service team needs friendly, enthusiastic, helpful people — and that means honing your recruitment process ahead of time.
When hiring customer service staff, consider some of these techniques for finding the best people:
- Before you even start interviewing candidates, look for those with experience in the particular niche of customer service you’re looking for and/or in your particular line of business. It can make a big difference out of the gate. Make a point not to rule out older candidates, as they can have valuable experience younger interviewees might not.
- Conduct role-playing and scenarios during interviews, to see how candidates respond to tough, stressful situations.
- Favor candidates with strong problem-solving skills and empathy skills. While these are distinctly separate areas of skill, having both in a candidate is ideal.
Train Your Help Desk Team
Cultivating both empathy and problem-solving skills shouldn’t end when you finish the hiring process. Not only should your customer service personnel be thoroughly trained on all aspects of your business, but they should be trained to develop better listening skills, organizational skills for approaching customer issues, and being able to relate to a customer’s needs and experience.
Install the Best Help Desk Software
While hand-picked, well-trained personnel are the most important tool in your customer service arsenal, you also need software that will help put those skills to use. A dedicated help desk software suite will help agents handle customer questions, ensure smooth tracking of customer tickets, offer multi-channel support (phone, text, email), and provide the metrics tracking and analytics you need to make sure you’re moving toward your stated goals.
Ask for Feedback
One of the most surefire ways you can find out if you’re meeting your customer’s needs: ask them! At the end of every customer interaction, give your customers a chance to rate their customer experience with a short survey, whether it’s in the form of a few questions, or just asking them to provide a star rating. Giving customers the opportunity to provide direct feedback in their own words can even improve customer relations on its own!
One important strategy to bear in mind: keep your surveys simple! A customer who sees a survey will take ten minutes to complete is very likely to just skip it. Offer the opportunity to provide more detailed feedback, but keep the core of your survey to a few quick questions at most.
Analyze Your Metrics to Improve Customer Service
Finally, one of the key components of your customer service strategy: metrics and reporting. This is where help desk software can be invaluable: by providing hard numbers on how your support staff is doing. Some of the most effective and common metrics used by businesses include:
- How many tickets the help desk is closing over time
- Time-to-resolution (how long it takes to close a ticket)
- Tracking which kinds of issues tend to come up the most often, and which issues slow down help desk productivity the most
- Customer satisfaction
Once you have this all-important reporting data in hand, it’s critical you follow up on that data — not just by responding to customer feedback, but by identifying which issues are causing the most impact and putting more resources into solving those issues faster and more efficiently. Actionable goals will make all the difference in providing stellar customer service.
This content is sponsored by Ryan Kh.