Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking About Customer Service

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Think about the last great customer service experiences you’ve had and what made them so remarkable: Was it the responsiveness of the staff? Their attention to detail? Their ability to resolve your issue on the first try? 

Now think about your own operation and whether customers – either internal or external – can say the same about their dealings with you. If the answer isn’t a resounding yes!, that’s a sure sign that your customer service needs some more attention.

If you’re wondering whether the investment in upgrading your customer service operation is worth it, consider this: 85 percent of U.S. respondents in a 2010 customer service report said they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. And 82 percent of consumers stopped doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.

The real question, then, may be: Can you afford not to invest in better customer service?  Backed by both research and anecdotes, here are three key reasons why you should spend more time thinking about customer service: 

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Tags: Customer Service

6 Best Mobile Apps for Customer Service

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, December 12, 2016

The best mobile apps for customer service will take you even farther toward putting your entire business or operation in the palm of your hand, allowing you and your team to remotely track, answer and resolve customer service issues in real time. As you’re well aware, exceptional customer service can be that special something that puts you ahead of the competition, so being responsive and available is key.

Luckily, the best cloud and on-premise customer service platforms offer mobile versions for handling on the go. Most offer similar suites of capabilities for responding to customer calls, emails, social media inquiries and other contacts, so it’s worth giving several solutions a test drive for a free trial month to see which of them is the best fit for your team.

Once you get your mobile app up and running, you’ll wonder how you ran your business or operations without it. Here’s a sampling of the six best mobile apps for customer service:

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Tags: Customer Service

Good Customer Service: 7 Studies You Should Read

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There are always new studies emerging to answer the question, what is good customer service? Even if you've got a strong background in customer service, there are likely some findings that will surprise you. To build on your base of knowledge, here are seven key findings from studies about customer service that you should read.

People Will Pay Extra for Personalization

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers tested whether diners would tip their servers more if they were given mints after a meal.

  • For the first group, servers delivered mints along with the check and didn’t mention them at all. They received around three percent more in tips than the control group where no mints were given.
  • In the second group, servers brought two mints by hand separately from the check and mentioned them to diners, saying something along the lines of, “Would anyone like some mints before they leave?” Their tips were 14 percent higher than the control group.
  • In the last group, servers brought a round of mints with the check, then came back with a second set a short time later, letting the diners know that they’d brought more in case they needed them. This perceived personalization – having customers feel that the server was checking back in to fulfill their needs – earned the server 23 percent more in tips.
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Tags: Customer Service

Integrating Social Media, Customer Service Is Key in Serving Gen Y

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For companies looking to build their capacity for social media, customer service may be the best place to start in developing a strategy for social media success.

The answer to the question "what is good customer service?" used to involve very little technology: hiring people with people skills and having the policies to let them make customers happy were the keys to success and could allow a business to outperform the competition. 

But now, customers – in particular, Generation Y customers – are pushing companies to figure out how to win business by keeping people happy in the social media realm, especially given the potential for negative reviews to damage a business's reputation. As many as 60% of customers having a negatively perceived interaction with a company say they're likely to share their displeasure via social media, according to research by Millward Brown Digital. 

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Tags: Customer Service

Customer Service Metrics: How to Measure Success

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Measuring the right customer service metrics isn’t just a win for your customers, it will help you better train your staff, and help make your staff more efficient. As you’re prioritizing your factors for customer service success, keep these top three in mind to measure: how quickly your team is responding to customers, how efficiently they’re handling problems and how close they’re coming to creating the perfect customer experience.

To do that, you need metrics that will deliver the right information, preferably in real time, so you can spot trends and patterns and make staffing and training decisions quickly. Whether your team deals with external customers or colleagues who make use of your department’s services, measuring customer service success is a great way to hone your team’s customer service skills
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Tags: Customer Service

Customer Service Training Ideas for Your Mobile Staff

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, June 2, 2016

If you feel like you’ve tried everything to improve your team’s customer service skills – jokes, threats and rewards – but nothing seems to be getting through to the members of your mobile staff, it may be time for some fresh customer service training ideas to get back on the right track.

Training isn’t a cure-all, but it is a great way to make sure everyone's hearing the same message at the same time. Your mobile staff may resist taking time away from their day jobs, but consider training an unmatched investment in customer satisfaction.

Have your team name all of their customers – internal and external.

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Tags: Customer Service

Making Great Hires Can Ensure Excellent Customer Service

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The foundation of excellent customer service is great employees. You want customers to walk away from interactions with your staff feeling supported and satisfied enough to want to come back for more – and to send their friends and colleagues your way. So one great customer service skill is to hone your hiring process to find genuinely friendly and helpful people.

That all starts with a hiring process that focuses on both skillset and how well a prospective candidate’s personality aligns with your company’s customer-centric focus. To build a winning team, you need people who are both talented and can demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile for your customers.

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Tags: Customer Service

In Customer Service, Technology Training Is Crucial

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Customer service skills are probably the most important asset to front-line staff dealing with the public or clients. But customer service technology – and knowing how to use it – can be just as important as people skills.

The right communication technology can create a win for everyone involved – the business, the staff, and customers. On-site service staff equipped with lightweight, convenient radios can assist customers by having real-time communication with team members handling inventory, accounts, and other functions.

Buying the right devices isn't enough, though. Too often, businesses buy the right devices, hardware or software but don’t take the time for adequate instruction to unlock all of the technology’s benefits. Training is the easiest way to ensure that you’re putting technology to work to meet your customer service goals. While most modern radio solutions are pretty intuitive, it’s still a best practice to make sure staff know how to use them correctly and efficiently. If that’s not the case, it can impede staff confidence and ability to build trust with the customer.

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Tags: MOTOTRBO, Vertex, Customer Service

Excellent Customer Service Starts With Listening

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply," wrote Stephen R. Covey, author of the best-selling Are_You_Listening.jpgguide The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They're words to live by – and work by, if you're working or supervising in a customer service role.

Rather than just telling your customers what you offer and how you think it will help them, being willing and able to ask them what they need, listening to the answer and discussing how you can work together to meet those needs will set you apart from competitors, particularly those who talk more than they listen.

Listening carefully will give you insight into how customers are using your product or service and help you anticipate their needs in the future. And excellent customer service skills are all about not just meeting, but anticipating the customer's needs.

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Tags: Customer Service

One Rule Is Basis for Great Customer Service

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nordstrom, the Seattle-based retailer with legendary customer service, is known for the effectiveness of its Employee Handbook and its “One Rule”: “Use good judgment in all situations.”Excellent-Customer-Service.png

Nordstrom knows that hiring the right employees is the first step. Once that's in place, the company needs to give those employees the autonomy to create exceptional customer experiences in their own way. You can instill that sense of autonomy in employees by letting them know that you’re confident they’ll treat customers the way that they would want to be treated.

And it’s good to keep in mind that even the best customer service practitioners need resources for developing their customer service skills. If you’re looking for good customer service training ideas, have your staff pair off and role-play challenging customer service situations. Assign the one in the staff role to use just one rule in determining how to respond: use good judgment.

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Tags: Customer Service