As discussed in a previous post, effective customer service can boost your company’s value, provided – and this is an important qualification – that your customers’ loyalty comes as a result of satisfaction, and not merely because of low prices.
Let’s explore this in a little more depth and talk about how it works on a day-to-day basis.
First, for effective customer service to boost company value, an organization must break with traditional thinking and treat customer service not simply as a cost, but as an investment.
Once a company makes the satisfaction of each customer a priority, it becomes apparent that a set method, or script, that drives customer service agents to deal with issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, will be counter-productive.
The majority of customer service management systems – both software and Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs), all err on the side of preventing the agent from taking allegedly wrong actions. That is to say, the process usually reaches the point in which the agent must say something like, “I’m sorry. That can’t be done.”
Instead of reading the rule book to the customer, you should allow your customer service agent to take care of the customer’s specific issue the way s/he sees fit. If your recruitment and training was done well, this flexibility can do wonders to your customer satisfaction and thus to your bottom line.
It starts with trust.
Management must say to its customer service agents, in effect, “I trust your judgement and cannot anticipate every single situation that you will encounter, so I will not micro-manage your responses. I trust that you will meet our customers’ needs without giving away the store.”
And when you empower your agents, don’t build (or add-on) systems that take the spontaneity out of their encounters.
The best solution is a system that empowers the agent to go off script in order to solve the customer’s problem; at the same time, it also captures that solution so that it can be discussed afterward. In this way it may even provide a teachable moment that could improve the overall process for all your agents.
Customers can sense when customer service is a priority, and will reward it with their loyalty.