Building A Proactive Customer Service Team
Anyone who’s ever held a position in customer service or support knows how tough it can be. Sometimes you’re interacting with people when they’re upset, frustrated, or even angry. Which makes the job all the more rewarding when you make a genuine positive impact on someone. This could be righting a mistake in a timely manner, providing guidance, or simply listening to someone’s grievance. In the long run, this kind of interaction can make all the difference for the person on the other end.
The main way companies can deliver excellent customer service is to be continuously proactive. This means engaging before there’s an issue. Such a practice is key to building relationships with your customers and/or clients, boosting retention, and improving the overall experience of interacting with your organization.
Here are five tips for building an excellent customer service team—no matter what industry you serve:
Strong Internal Communication
When it comes to proactive customer service and support, strong communication within the department is critical. Have a defined way of communicating with your team, whether that’s daily standups, weekly email status updates, or posting to a Slack channel. This helps to keep your team on the same page so everyone can provide the best value to customers.
Anticipate Customer Needs
In other words, be proactive. This can be achieved in a variety of ways when it comes to customer service. Self-service tools can simplify customer issues, and creating buyer personas for your audience may generate insightful data, and equip employees with the necessary info to predict and respond to problems that arise.
Additionally, companies should set up a system for logging and tracking customer issues. That way, your team can better anticipate these potential problems in the future. Overall, these strategies will help your organization go above and beyond the short-term sale.
This is also hugely important when it comes to recruiting and client services more broadly. Show them you have what it takes by listening to their requirements, meeting deadlines, and supporting their needs as best you can. Your partners will notice, and the trust then starts to flow both ways.
Effective Onboarding Practices
Your team can’t succeed if they don’t know how to operate or what’s expected of them. When they join, clearly outline the steps they need to take to get up to speed. Show them how to use certain tools, let them shadow calls, and do dry runs with customers and friendly clients.
We like to ensure that our team knows that any candidate they submit to a client needs to be of a certain quality and must check all the boxes. Publishing standard operating procedures (SOPs) can be a good way to get everybody on the same page.
Hire for Soft Skills
The success of any team, in large part, comes down to the efforts of its individual members. When it comes to customer service, organizations should prioritize soft skills and recruit candidates that display traits like empathy, active listening, and enthusiasm. People will notice, and this will go a long way in boosting customer retention.
We have direct experience with this at Planet Professional. We recently filled 37 customer support positions in just 6 weeks, rounding out a client’s talent acquisition goals. In this engagement, soft skills like communication were imperative.
Forming an effective customer service department takes time. Learning from your audience along the way is paramount. Ask for feedback as often as possible. Consider implementing a follow-up system for when a customer purchases a product or service. This will help you know when you aren’t hitting the mark and can give you insight into how to get back on track. More often than not, customers will be happy to share their thoughts on your products and services. Companies can streamline this effort by offering incentives too.
There will always be the occasional disgruntled customer no matter what you do, but establishing rapport with your audience, requesting feedback, and conducting extensive new hire onboarding can go a long way into minimizing setbacks. Maintaining open lines of communication internally and checking in with your peers can help keep your team in tip-top shape.