This week we feature an article by Eugene Aronsky who talks about good customer service versus bad customer service and how proper training and proper knowledge are key to answering any question that a customer may have. – Shep Hyken
“Good customer service is essential for a successful business.” This is a statement that is rarely disputed by most business owners. It is also widely accepted that the cost of retaining an existing customer is much lower than that of getting a new customer (in many cases almost 10x lower). Given this most businesses place good customer service as one of their top priorities.
What is Good Customer Service?
When you try to define good customer service it may be best to stick to the old mantra, “you know it when you see it.” Each business will have their own standards as to what makes good customer service; these standards will depend on many factors such as the type of business, the overall goal of the business, the industry that the business is in… For example, a gym that specializes in extreme exercise will need to have trainers who are unforgiving and who will be able to push clients beyond their limits; whereas a business that provides doggy daycare services would need to be able to cater its customer service to both their 4 legged and 2 legged customers. If a business provides a product their customer service team must be well trained in the ins and outs of the product and must be able to provide support for the product. If the business is in an industry that is known for especially poor customer service they should do their best to go beyond customer expectations. Businesses that fail to invest in their customer service team, no matter the industry that it is in will eventually receive a backlash from its customers and will either need to change its customer service practices or go out of business.
What is Bad Customer Service?
When it comes to defining bad customer service it is often easier done with examples, a rude salesperson at a department store, or a company that will not honor its warranty b/c of fine print, or even a doggy daycare that is nice to the two-legged customers but that does not treat its four-legged customers with respect. Defining bad customer service becomes more difficult when looking at a broader range of businesses, for example, a cable company that is happy to provide its customers with an almost infinite # of channels but that will periodically make changes to the bill, often without notice, or a customer service call center where the agents do not have the proper training to answer all of the types of questions that customers might ask about the product/service their company offers and will give incorrect or inaccurate information to callers or will put callers on hold for long periods of time. When dealing with subpar customer service there are many other examples that may come to mind but for now, I would like to take a moment to discuss some ways to improve customer service.
How to Improve Customer Service
When it comes to improving your customer service the first step is to stick to the basics, hire the right customer service team, train them well, and reward them for their success. For businesses that have front-line employees such as department store sales clerks or cashiers it is important that they be knowledgeable in all of the products/services that the business offers as well as having a basic knowledge of the competition, this way they can offer suggestions as to why their products/services are superior to those of their competitors. When it comes to the customer service team that handles issues off-site, such as a customer service call center it is vital that these individuals have the proper training and the proper knowledge in order to answer any question that a customer may have for them. The best way to ensure that customer service agents at a call center provide optimal customer service is to give them access to all of the knowledge about the products/services that the call center serves and to allow the agents to be able to update, delete and expand this knowledge as needed. Giving customer service call center agents access to a knowledge base would ensure that they have the ability to accurately answer any question they might be asked. This would also serve to greatly decrease the knowledge gap between new agents and those that have worked with the call center for many years. A well designed, professional knowledge base can do wonders to improve the productivity and efficiency of a call center and will greatly improve customer service, and the satisfaction of your customers as well as agents.
Eugene Aronsky is a marketing specialist with Unymira. He is an expert on customer experience and knowledge management.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Articles: The Gig Economy Opens The Door For Employment Opportunities