Source: The Statista Research Department: Customer churn rate in the United States in 2020, by industry
What else can you do to fuel their customer relationship with your company and create a real meaning of customer service? One of your primary concerns must be positive language and human-like treatment.
A few decades ago, you could give away a product, take money, and customers will come to you for service again. In case poor customer service and churn rates increased, you could slightly lower your price. And that was enough for your customers.
These days, you need to be savvier in communication skills, ways of defusing and retaining customers. The pandemic has changed the perceptions of customers about the way companies must deliver services. A huge number of competitors are just waiting when your customers will switch your brand.
Only two fields left for companies with similar quality, size, budget, or awareness. These fields are marketing and customer service. The marketing campaign that gives the edge on the market is costly, while customer service could do all the job. The company that managed to obtain all aspects of customer service is qualified to foster every customer relationship and expect large returns.
What is customer service?
Unlike the customer support team that solves technical issues, the customer service team establishes human-like relationships through active listening and communication skills. The main goal of customer service is taking into account customer feedback, understanding issues, and implementation. Thus timely actions with soft skills foster loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Based on statistical data, it’s clear that customer service equally attended in generating revenue as all other departments. And even if the customer service department retains a certain percentage of customers by defusing every bad experience and conflict resolution through negotiations. They calm down people, and this is the revenue velocity for a company.
Many professionals in the industry asked the question regarding positive experience: what specific characteristics make you an effective service professional? The answer is active listening, deep expertise in your area, and experience.
How was it before the pandemic?
Source: Statista Research Department: Online communication habits change during the coronavirus pandemic in the United States as of May 2020
Before the pandemic, customers were less demanding and readily could excuse even the most critical faults to companies. Average listening skills, even tricks, and gimmicks could maintain garbage on the market. At least you had a certain amount of deals before customers quit. Customers were less impulsive, tended to compromise, and were more forgiving.
Nowadays, this is a completely different situation. Customers' demands and emotional behavior towards brand switching are more active than ever before. To successfully satisfy, retain, and follow up you need new and most important customer service skills, and we'll show you the facts.
How is it now?
Source: The Statista Research Department: In what ways has your organization adapted its digital communication strategy in response to COVID-19?
The surveys indicated more emotional behavior of customers worldwide. For instance, if customers are unhappy with a lousy product or service, customer satisfaction, and positive experience drops more than ever before. That means you need an innovative approach to customer service.
The control or complete chaotic behavior of customers now depends on the service team and soft skills deliberately. You may disagree, yet speech and the only active listening and speech itself could defuse thousands of challenging situations, even when big money is involved. Since most companies are qualified to solve a problem they need time.
Never expect that all customers calling you want to hear any excuses from the customer service representative. All they want is to satisfy their emotional or practical needs. The customer service team can win the time for the resolution in the most challenging request. And retain customers until the solution is founded. However, they aren’t magicians but company advocates that use soft skills of the highest degree.
People in a top-notch customer service team with active listening skills are masters in negotiations with customers. They are qualified to defuse the situation and offer the solution to foster a positive experience. Your contact center must develop negotiation skills in your reps to turn them into profit generators.
Customer service rep skills
Source: The Statista Research Department: How did you make calls during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency
First of all, the customer service representative, which uses soft skills to defuse situations, must be present across all channels. For customers, it must be easy to reach you via phone, webchat, social media, email, etc. The more channels you have, the better chances to satisfy all customers in an hour. Then you must have strong communication skills to satisfy customers.
Communication and listening skills are probably the toughest practical expertise in existence. It requires a lot of hard work, patience, education, and motivation. A person with top negotiation skills is extremely valuable for every company qualified for success.
However, if you haven’t yet those kinds of people that are able to solve any kind of problems in a split second, you can train them inside a company.
Here are the must-have list of customer service skills
Take a close view on these skills for customer service representative:
- Rapport building. Success in every negotiation, even with an angry customer, is building rapport with a customer first. Literally, you understand the current behavior of the customer through active listening, voice, words, and tone. Once you fully understand the real reason why customers complain and put yourself on the same page, you are qualified to succeed in the conversation.
- Understanding the purpose of the call. From the first seconds of conversation, you’re capable of digging into the real reasons why customers call. When you catch this idea, you can start to tailor the flow of customers’ thoughts and adjust your conversation to their needs.
- Not very frequent, but it happens when customers want just to talk and tell everything they feel about a situation, product, or company. Use soft skills and never interrupt or raise your tone because that triggers unexpected customer complaints and escalation, even if the cause is very obvious.
The best thing rep can do in a situation is to actively listen and when the time will come, turn the conversation into proactive negotiation.
- Proactive conversations. When you build rapport, reactively listen, now is the time to turn the conversation. You start to ask the relevant questions regarding the topic. These questions must be sincere and reflect the real soft skills of negotiation to help.
- Sincerity. When customers contact you via chat or phone, they are emphatic about your behavior. Based on voice, tone, or text, they start to quickly identify the real state of mind.
The most horrible thing happened when the customer understood that you don’t even give a damn about the situation. The reaction in this case varies. Some customers switch the brand, others escalate conversations to abusing reps. Then they will spend their time leaving unpleasant messages on social media or whenever they can.
The more you are sincere, the more successful outcome you are qualified to expect, even in the most challenging conversations. Yet sincerity must be properly supported with an intellectual force.
Intellectual capital. “The customer is not a moron, she’s your wife.” once said David Ogilvy, the founder of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mathers. In other words, never use tricks and gimmicks in conversations with the customer.
All you need to do is to have communication skills that solve the problem or issues. And the intellectual power to make it happen is the 5-star customer service skill. And the main intellectual force comes with the homework and studying of your profession, requests that you achieve, ways to solve them.
Many thousands of dollars were lost because reps never bothered with a deep understanding of the product or service they’re delivering. And the ways to solve the most frequent and then the most challenging issues. Depending on your experience and proficiency you can solve problems faster and effectively.
Source: The Statista Research Department: Reasons consumers are likely to support brands during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Asia Pacific region in 2020
The speed. Speed is everything in our world, whatever business you work in. The faster you solve the problems of customers, the happier they will be, satisfied, and the more money they’ll want to spend with you again and again.
The speed of answering customer questions and solving issues has nothing to do with luck. The basis is the intellectual knowledge of representative, experience, and homework. The better representatives are familiar with their role and ways to use it, the higher the speed of resolving issues.
Following the proven path and not inventing the wheel. Think about it! How many times do reps seek new ways to resolve the same customer questions?. If there is a proven way to achieve a positive outcome in a particular situation, it must be highlighted and remembered. Especially, if this is the fastest way to reach a goal. Yet, in the majority, reps invent new wheels, and heads of call centers must fix it.
However, if you are capable of fixing this habit and establishing strong standards in solving customers’ problems, you will achieve a tremendous increase in productivity.
- Strong standards. A strong standard in a call center is an internal therm. It means the template of communications and actions with a positive outcome in the end. In most cases, the most experienced reps apply this rule in their behavior. By that time almost all their work is the system of strong standards with the rare exceptions when they need to handle challenging issues.
- Creativity. Proven ways to solve issues are designed as a blueprint for obvious and challenging requests. However, sometimes front-line representatives or managers have great ideas and want to try them out. Let them try this idea a few times and look at how it works. Maybe this is the new strong standard. Too much-blocking creativity is handcuffing. Yet creativity must be controlled and not to occur frustrated customer.
- Challenging tasks. Challenging tasks, which require deep expertise and skills, perhaps the help of a manager or other standards. Very often for solving, reps spend a lot of time and this is the way it should. Remember that the main purpose of any customer service is to solve issues and reps need time for it.
- Time. Representatives' work must reach certain goals and to their need to have enough time for it. There is a tendency for pressing time, to increase the efficiency of reps. Yet, it’s a tactical mistake to make work faster when processes such as defining problems, searching for a solution, implementing solutions require a certain amount of time.
The result of pressing the time could be the mistakes of reps and customers’ churn. The other negative effect is burnout and rep turnover. That’s not the way your reps need to work. They need stability, yet effectiveness in order to deliver the highest level of service. The solution: maximum time on resolving issues and adherence to working shift.
- Adherence to working shift. Reps are capable of generating a bundle of money each day. Yet, to make constant cash flow, interact with customers enough, they must adhere to the working shift. Adherence means that reps work, eat, and leave at a precise time. For some contact centers, it’s hard to achieve, yet this is the must-have feature to achieve the adequate workload of reps and revenue velocity.
If for some reason, it’s impossible to start the work in the precise time, due to the pandemic and causes, the shift must be discussed with the head of the call center deliberately. A contact center is a place where everything must work in the precise time, and that’s the proven way to generate a bundle of money, even in a pandemic or natural outages. The other positive outcome is that reps will be happy and it prevents the turnover rates.
- Adherence to scripts. A script is a powerful tool for reps. They help to achieve a vital idea for solving most of the customer's issues and even the most experienced reps proved this fact. Frankly, good scripts are the work when they are designed by experienced reps in cooperation.
- Cooperation. “Teamwork is neither "good" nor "desirable." It is a fact.” once said Peter Drucker, and this is just that. How do you want to excel if you don't have strong internal cooperation between reps or departments?
It’s just a waste of productivity when every worker in the company just thinks about themselves. As a manager, you must cut this out, once and for all. Deep internal cooperation is the first step for customer service performance.
Any kind of blocking, bureaucracy, the war between reps and departments, just consumes the time and money of your company.
- Anticipation of customers’ actions is even better. Knowledge about various requests transformed into the blueprint for the reps. So, before the customer ends their explanations reps have the solution. Plus, you’ll be fully prepared for the high volumes of incoming requests by drawing positive language in the first place.
What you shouldn’t do in delivering customer experience
Customers want to keep in touch with customer service professionals, 24/7, if possible. The desire to interact with a real rep is one of the most frequent. And you shouldn’t block interaction with IVR’s, emails, chatbots, etc. If customers need to call your office, make it easy.
Initiate a callback, if in your opinion this is the only way to solve the problem to sustain a positive experience. Don’t chat or wait for too long on the same issue.
Handle with 100% requests you achieve, don’t lose even a single and obvious request. The profit will skyrocket enormously if your reps will handle all requests your company achieves. Here’s where anticipation is helpful. The worst thing you can do is to neglect some percentage of requests.
The agentless customer service
It’s a luxury not to use technologies for generating more money while your customer service professionals are asleep. And there’s plenty of agentless features you should use to achieve more information, requests, and orders from customers. Interestingly, customers believe your company is closer to them if they can achieve 24/7. And the more you are close to customers the more credibility and trustworthiness you establish. As a result, you will be rewarded accordingly. Agentless features such as chatbot or SMS are enough for additional and effective communication.
Additionally, giving all the necessary information about products and services means 5-star customer service and reducing inbound calls.
Product knowledge base and FAQ
According to research a huge percent of customers are willing to screen your website to find the relevant information before they call. The easiest way to furnish customers with vital information is to place all the crucial information on your website.
The knowledge bases must be prepared by customer service professionals or qualified staff to answer nearly all questions. Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and using customer feedback could be the real guidance on design.
Lack of these important customer service skills in your call center doesn’t mean that everything is lost. What you need to do is to achieve, develop them through customer service training. The only way to develop them in your customer service professionals is to apply them first. Never expect your staff will do something that you are incapable of doing.
Arrange training sessions to ensure you develop the necessary skills in your team. Check and assign training for each of these skills. The development of skills must go along with the work of reps. Too much and fast pressing towards change intimidates and consumes too much energy. Especially, when you have strict shifts when reps must show their best.
The solution is to practice your time management skill by implementing one hour a week of training, giving the homework, and then increasing the frequency of these lessons. The result will come not overnight, yet by the time. Ensure implementation of your homework for reps by tracking their activity and asking the relevant questions.
During the COVID pandemic, it’s never been so easy to teach your customer service professionals practical skills, techniques, and emotional intelligence through a video conference. The only requirement is that attendance is crucial. There are no excuses for not attending through mobile or laptop to the training.
What should you improve, your product or customer service
If your product is good enough to generate a bundle of money each month, there is no point to invest in the development right now. You can lose too much time and money, while other crucial affairs will be abandoned.
Instead of this, develop your customer service skills and emotional intelligence to satisfy the demands of customers. Numerous data and research prove the necessity to increase customer service first, instead of wasting too much time on the product.
However, if you’re able to invest a certain amount of money for product or service improvement, you will only win and not lose.
The future of excellent customer service
Really and truly, companies over the world deploy loyalty programs to have excellent customer service and lasting business relationships. In the UK, nearly 15% of respondents desire ease of connection with the live company representative and emotional intelligence.
The sensitivity of customers requires following customer feedback and emotional intelligence. The pandemic or other types of disruptions made them as demanding human beings as possible. And their requests, desires will move towards the best customer service possible.
This means they prefer human-like treatment more than the quality of a product. If for some reason customers are able to forgive for lousy products, for lousy customer service, customers will never forgive. And emotional behavior will increase towards a better customer experience in 2022 and beyond. These days, at your fingertips there are numerous tools that don't require a lot of technical knowledge, yet generate a bundle of money in a contact center.
Customer service software and technology
During pandemic and natural outages, the smartest way is to prepare your reps with advanced technologies. On-premises tech work in the offices is time and money-consuming. What you need is something portable, so reps could work from any place in the world, if necessary.
And the first remarkable tool you need to have is the customer service call center software. For instance, Voiptime Cloud software works on the PC, MAC, notebook, and tablet. All you need is the headsets, and a good internet connection, and you are in.
And there is nothing that could restrict this kind of absolutely remote work from any place in the world. It’s a single portable tool for initiating outbound calls, messages, and emails, with remarkable inbound calling functions. Visit the review pages and here about our software from our customers.
If it could work on the businesses that operated in a highly competitive market with high calling volumes, don’t you think it could help you too? Would you like to try this remarkable software? Would you like to make calls as well as you feel?
If so, here’s how you can use this amazing software without any risk at all. Simply go ahead and order Voiptimecloud’s software by filling the “Get the quote” order form. Then, as soon as we contact you and discuss the details, you’ll start your call center within 24 hours.
Moreover, you don't need sophisticated technical knowledge to use it and our team will gladly guide you through the different functions of this software.
Remember! You can’t lose with Voiptime Cloud, and you’ll be armed with advanced outbound calling technologies and knowledge to use it.
Important – Free Gift: During the adaptation period that takes one month, when you start to work with us, the Voiptime Cloud team will provide a 100% money-free guide on how to use our software.