When it comes to your customer service agents, you want to make sure you’ve got the best of the best. After all, if your customers are the foundation of your business, your customer service agents have some of the most important jobs within your company. Ensuring your clients feel cared for, heard, and respected is essential to turning onetime buyers into loyal fans.
That being said, there are a few agent traits and qualities you want to be on the lookout for, not so you can affirm them and congratulate them but because they serve as red flags, indicators that something is amiss in your customer service efforts. It’s important to consistently monitor the impact and results of your customer service team so this vital piece of business doesn’t fall to the wayside.
Here are five red flags to watch out for on your customer service team.
They Can’t Attract Loyal Customers
Customer loyalty is essential for a thriving business. Although in some industries, like wedding planning, you may only interact with customers once, for the vast majority of businesses, customer loyalty is key. But what if your customer service agents aren’t turning onetime shoppers into loyal clients? Take a look at how many customers have turned around and purchased again after having contacted customer service. According to Zendesk, 51% of customers need only one bad customer service experience to prevent them from shopping with a business again. Although perfection feels like a high bar, the truth is, your agents need to be on their A-game each and every time they talk to a client.
This can easily be tracked by call logs. Check and see how many customers who call in to speak with an agent return to purchase again. If an agent has a consistently low number of repeat-purchase customers, that may be a sign something is amiss.
They Aren’t Meeting Their Goals
Goals are helpful metrics when it comes to understanding how well your agents understand the task at hand and execute it. Certainly, an agent missing the occasional goal or having one rough corner isn’t a reason to cut ties. But if your customer service team is consistently missing their metrics, it’s a red flag. Customer service goals are intricately related to your revenue goals, so they need to be prioritized. How your agents perform will have a direct impact on your bottom line, so your customer service goals shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Even more problematic than missing goals? A lack of accountability. When people miss their goals but fail to take responsibility for them, instead pointing fingers at others, broken systems, or outside factors, it could be a sign they aren’t people you want working for you. Maybe there are other factors you need to consider, but those need to be brought up in the spirit of humility. After all, if someone isn’t willing to take responsibility for his or her failures, there’s little chance he or she will actually improve.
They Argue with Customers
Obviously, customer service agents are, at times, going to deal with customers who are troublesome. And no, the customer isn’t always right. But customers do always need to be treated with respect. Arguing with customers or giving into anger is a major red flag that needs to be avoided. Agents may be tempted to lose their cool from time to time, but they need to remember that every single conversation could reflect on the company. Especially these days, when a company’s bad movements are apt to go viral, it’s an important thing to keep in mind. Even the act of going back and forth too many times should be avoided. If an agent has a customer who simply won’t accept his or her answer, it may be time to pass the customer higher up the chain.
They Go Through an Extremely High Number of Customers
This may seem counterintuitive. After all, don’t we want our customer service agents to be efficient? While the answer is obviously yes, the exact number gets a little complicated. If customer service agents are going through too high a number of customers—and that number is wildly disproportionate to that of other agents—something fishy may be going on. Is that agent really taking the time to pay attention to each individual customer, or is he or she just trying to keep call times down? Is the agent solving problems or just quickly passing the customer along to someone else? You want your customer service agents to be aware of the time they’re spending on customers, but you also want them to give each customer the focus he or she deserves.
They Complain About Customers
Lastly, you don’t want a customer service agent who frequently complains about customers. Your agents are human, which means they’re sure to get frustrated from time to time. And occasionally, they may feel the need to quickly vent to a colleague. But if you have a customer service agent who’s constantly bad-mouthing customers, be wary.
First of all, someone who can’t look at your customers and see the value they provide to your company, even if they’re frustrating, is not going to be successful in providing service. Second, complaining is simply bad energy. You want agents who can be resilient and bounce back from tough calls, not constantly need to discuss them. Someone who lets a rude customer bring him or her down for a day won’t be able to focus properly on the task at hand. Agents need to be able to shake it off. Third, what if someone were to hear them? Again, we live in a viral world. If someone heard your company was bad-mouthing customers, he or she wouldn’t be afraid to share that information on the Internet. Your employees should remain respectful and understanding, even when a customer is being ridiculous. Otherwise, your business could get a reputation for being unprofessional.