Your customer service team is one of your business’s most important and most visible departments. Its role in smoothly resolving customer complaints and quickly processing orders can’t be overstated. However, customer service roles can become reactive, only answering queries when they come in and treating the rest of the time as downtime. What steps can companies take to ensure their customer service team is learning, growing, and staying as productive as possible?
Customer service reps are fielding requests and input from multiple directions. They may be covering phones, monitoring social media, and responding to e-mail inquiries. Minimizing distractions by assigning customer service reps to monitor specific channels helps them maximize their focus. Consider rotating reps through different customer service mediums, for example, spending one-half of their day on the phone and one-half of their day on social media. Not only will your team be well rounded and cross trained but they’ll also continue to develop new skills and acquire a more holistic view of how to deliver excellent customer service for your business.
2. Leverage the Power of Systems
The right systems—whether technological or operational—play a critical role in keeping customer service reps optimally productive. For example, it’s possible to use a software platform that creates a knowledge base and helps customer service reps access the latest information quickly and efficiently. During down times, your customer service reps can be writing up notes that help capture interactions to update the knowledge base holistically or more accurately document customer interactions for your customer relationship management (CRM) system. The right systems can help you more efficiently capture information while also speeding up delivery throughout the process.
3. Empower Your Team to Solve Problems
One of the most important steps companies can take is empowering their customer service team to actually solve problems. In that way, issues are resolved as they come in, rather than getting caught in endless feedback loops of needless escalation. Consider a customer who calls with a billing issue. If the frontline customer service reps are allowed to make a refund where needed, the issue can be evaluated and solved. When basic issues need managerial approval that can sometimes take days to secure, it leads to delays and basic customer issues blowing up into full-blown crises. Avoid these issues, and keep real, customer-focused productivity high by enabling your customer service team to address the problems customers raise.
4. Engage in Active Management
While different departments may need different management styles, customer service departments benefit from hands-on management. For example, how often are managers sitting with customer service reps while they are taking calls to offer feedback, coaching, and praise? Are they actively involved in reviewing the kinds of customer service issues that arise and feeding that information back to the business for continuous improvements? Find ways managers can support your customer service team, and make it their mandate to find ways to increase productivity without sacrificing employee happiness or the customer experience.
Customer service departments must stay productive in order to quickly deliver high-quality customer experiences, as well as address the bottom line. By taking a closer look at management styles, systems, and empowerment levels and by building structures to support monotasking, you can help your customer service team do its best work.