How "Fit" is Your Customer Service Department?
by Adrian Miller
How does your customer service department measure up?
Have you ever considered the fitness level of your customer service department? No, I’m not talking about an employee exercise program. Rather, I’m asking if your team that provides service to your clients is functioning at peak performance.
If you haven’t given this much thought, you might not be seeing the big picture issues that could be hurting your business. Just like with personal fitness, there are many components to managing the well-being of a customer service department. It’s not about excelling in one particular skill. It’s about defining all of the components necessary for providing quality customer service and establishing the strategies to achieve specific results.
In order to reach an optimal level of customer service fitness, there are certain questions that you need to ask. The answers will give you a clear cut overview of where you are succeeding and where improvements need to be made. Here’s what you should be asking:
How Do They Sound?
This is actually far more important than what you may think. The voices of your customer service representatives are often the first impression that a customer receives from your company. Are they positive, professional, and upbeat, or do they sound bored and disinterested? Make some calls and find out for yourself. If you’re hearing less than ideal voices on the line, guess what? Your customers are, too!
What Do They Say?
Does your team have the necessary training, keywords, or call guide so that they’re prepared and know what to say? If not, you’re making it more difficult for your CSRs and creating an environment where miscommunication is likely to occur. Take the time to provide them with the words to guide them through their phone calls. No, they don’t need to recite a script, but an outline or suggestions of what to say will go a long way to making your customer service consistent and clear.
What is Their Attitude?
Be honest here. Do the CSRs feel appreciated and recognized by the company? Are you providing incentives for good work? If the answers are no, you might want to make some changes quickly. Employee dissatisfaction can dramatically affect a company’s customer service and ultimately its bottom line. If they’re feeling negative and underappreciated, you can rest assured that they will either directly or indirectly communicate this to your customers.
Is Their Workspace Pleasant?
Ask yourself this - Do the CSRs have a pleasant work environment, or is the service department relegated to some dark inside room in the company?
It’s always amazing when companies choose the worst place in the office for the customer service team. These are the individuals who are on the front-line and have the ability to make or break sales. It’s crucial to make them happy! If your CSRs are in bleak cubicles without windows, you might want to rethink their location and configuration before they leave for another company that offers a better place to work.
Are You Hiring the Right People for the Job?
Who you hire can make all of the difference. Consider what skills and experience your CSRs will need to succeed. Beyond that, ask yourself what personal traits you are specifically looking for that will mesh well with the company’s image and philosophy. All of these particulars should be taken into account when interviewing and selecting your team.
Are You Keeping Them Fresh and Updated?
Yes, you need to start CSRs off on a good foot by providing them with comprehensive initial training. But, it shouldn’t end there. Training and skills enhancements should be ongoing processes to ensure that your team is knowledgeable and up-to-date on everything that they need to know to succeed.
Are They Cross-Selling and Up-Selling?
Have you explored ALL of the possible ROI opportunities in the customer service department? If not, you’re missing out on a huge potential source of sales. Considering that the team is directly connecting with customers on a daily basis, give them the ability to cross-sell and up-sell. Provide them with incentives, and you’ll be rewarded with a happier team and increased sales.
Adrian Miller is President and Founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a sales consultancy and training company that she launched in 1989, and is the author of "The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success". Adrian can be reached at 516-767-9288 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website, www.adrianmiller.com, includes podcasts and other informative information to help your sales soar!