Today’s business strategies have certainly evolved but the core element of achieving customer satisfaction will never change i.e. delivering great customer service. For making customer service a great success, the formula is: Empower Customer Service.
Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – Damon Richards
In order to empower your customer service success, you need to focus on two Ps – People & Process.
- People – People here refers to the customer support team who talk to customers on behalf of your company.
- Process – Process refers to the understanding of work within the in the company, which is an ongoing mechanism.
Customer service differs industry wise. Depending upon the industry, the approaches change but what remains unchanged it to make the customers satisfied and happy, so that they retain with your business. You can read more about how other brands have delivered excellent customer service.
Why empowering employees is the pillar for customer service?
Empowering employees mean to give them the authority, right technology, systems and freedom to make the customers happy. Empowering customer service teams require employees to be well trained to identify and act on opportunities to enhance customer service.
The major benefits of empowering your employees are:
- The employees have complete freedom and knowledge to handle customer’s queries independently. They have ownership to make customers happy.
- As a team, they can perform together. Thus, delivering superior customer service and business success.
- Employees feedback is directly aligned with the company objective. The company’s mission and employee’s opinion are linked that makes employees valued.
Giving employees ownership for their own work will result in improvements in motivation, customer service, and morale, but also to improvements in quality, productivity, and quick decision-making. The video shows the key to the company’s success ultimately depends on the happiness of your employees.
10 keys to empowering customer support team for better customer service
If you are managing a team, you need to understand the very first thing that your success depends upon your employee’s success. Here are ten specific ways to empower your customer service employees.
1. Define employee engagement plan
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” Doug Conant
Employee engagement shows how well the employees are engaged, involved in the work process not because they are paid to be, but they are emotionally connected with the organization.
An organization that supports and encourages its employee engagement, undoubtedly deliver superior customer service. As per CBI news, 44% of businesses think improved employee engagement would lead retain them better.
Many studies made on employee engagement have concluded that the emotional convergence that develops between customers and employees leads to higher customer experience.
Some ways to encourage employee engagement are mentioned below:
- Develop a pleasant work environment – You can build a work environment in a way that your employees are comfortable and happy. It develops loyalty towards the company and performs more productively, which translate in delivering effective customer service.
- Strengthen employee value – Making your employees an integral part of the team and company gives them a sense of entitlement. Making their presence valuable brings a huge difference and a major contribution to the company’s success.
- Allow work independently – After creating a comfortable aura at work and improving the value of the employees, you need to allow them to work independently so that they can show their outstanding performance.
- Avoid micromanagement – Micromanagement has a negative connotation that restricts freedom and affects work ambience. Do not control your employees and let them enjoy their work.
2. Define internal processes
“Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processes, and procedures.” Tom Peters
Defining process or product, provide customers real value of using your solution. For this, your employees need not only for customer service team but multiple teams such as marketing, sale to have updated and organized information.
For example, let’s say you anticipate that the customer may not understand your product well. So you can collaborate with your team to prepare informative tutorials or videos explaining how to use it and share on your website or email to them.
Having a defined process helps to structure your resources efficiently so that you have accountability about the individual employee or team.
Tips to structure a well-designed process:
- Escalate the issue to the right team– Not necessarily all the time the issues will be support related. It might be shipping issues, billing issues, and escalating it to the right team helps in delivering a quick and effective solution.
- Typical response time – You need to define a response time for fixing an issue or answering a query. For e.g set response time of minimum 15 mins to 2 days maximum, depending upon the problem.
- Resolving complaints – It should be informed across the teams that anyhow a complaint has to be closed within ‘x’ days.
- Collect customer feedback – Ask your customers to provide feedback about their experience after the service is delivered.
Many businesses use internal communication tools to empower customer service.
3. Empower your team with the right customer service tools
You can empower customer service team by using the appropriate tools for delivering better service. When you select and implement the right customer service tools, it encourages and motivates your customers to have greater interaction with your brand.
Some right customer service tools, which can be used for meeting various customer communication objectives are as follows:
- Email helpdesk – Email is one of the oldest and most used tools by all companies to reaching out to their customers. Suggested tool – Zendesk
- Live chat – Live chat software provides instant assistance to your visitors and customers across over website, mobile and messaging apps to deliver superior customer service. Suggested tool – REVE Chat
- Phone support – Phone is the most preferred and quickest way to connect with your customers. Suggested tool – Aircall
- Customer feedback – Collecting customer feedback helps to know your customer’s opinion about your product and services and improve the brand image. Suggested tool – Qualtrics
Implementing these tools not only helps to empower customer support but also improves the productivity of your team.
4. Measure your employee performance
Productive employees are lifelines of every business. But how do you measure your employee performance levels?
Every company should continually monitor and evaluate their employees. Here are some KPIs to gauge your employee’s efficiency and performance.
- First response time: FCR is the time between the chat attempt made by the customer to when it was responded by the support representative.
- Chat surveys: A chat survey can quickly measure employee performance and identify the issues. A positive response indicates your employee performance is meeting or exceeding expectations.
- Average resolution time: It refers to the average time taken to fix the issue or answer a query by the customer support agent after the conversation begins.
- Total resolved conversations: These are the conversations that are resolved successfully by the support executive from what was assigned.
From the above-mentioned metrics, you can get a complete overview of the employee performance and ensures that you have your hand on the pulse.
Evaluating employee performance should be carried out on an on-going basis and encompass all areas of their work ethic and individual achievements.
Some tips you can follow:
- Focus on employee’s effort and praise it
- Earn trust from employees by being there through thick and thin
- Celebrate as a team, not yourself
- Give enough room to your employees to grow
- Listen intently and then give your response
The above tips are not only to empower customer service team but also you foster loyalty tenacity in your employees.
5. Give ownership to your team
One of the best things you can do is give them the power to go the extra mile to make your customers happy with a budget that matches the end result you expect. After all, they will have the rights and authorities that you will give them. You can empower your customer support team to make autonomous decisions.
Best example to empower customer service team – Ritz Carlton Hotels
The Ritz-Carlton Group President, Herve Humler, said in his interview with Forbes, ‘the key of making customer service visionary is team engagement.’
Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to excellent customer service is so focused that all the employees have the authority to spend up to $2,000 per day to make their guests happy with their service.
You can structure and incentivize your team so that your employees can work independently to resolve customer queries keeping themselves in their foot. Empower your customer service reps by measuring the feedbacks collected and total resolved queries that were assigned.
6. Engage with your customers in real time
You can equip your customer support team with live engagement tools that will enable them to delight your customers. Visual engagement tools such as video & voice chat and co-browsing can be used to create an emotional connection between customers and deliver a better experience to customers.
Allow your sales and support team to collaborate with your customers in real time and deliver them an in-person experience with co-browsing software. You can assist your customers with video chat in order to reduce response time and boost customer satisfaction.
Benefits of live engagement tools:
- Educate and assist your customers with video chat and voice chat for product demos or virtual training/support.
- Combine co-browsing with video chat to control your customer’s browser and proactively guide them to the right direction.
- With video chat, guide your customers and offer solutions for quick decision making by personalizing chat conversations.
- Co-browsing solution provides real time assistance for sales, customer service, product demos, customer onboarding. It also helps your customers and visitors on your website to fill up a form successfully.
7. Train your team regularly
Refining of product understanding, training, and emotional intelligence is an important part of customer service. Providing better customer service training tips to your team will certainly help polish ways of customer interaction to deliver excellent customer experience.
You can conduct company-wide training sessions and make it an ongoing process across all departments. The training programs must be compulsory and involve participation from top management to the employees.
There are certain grounds that can be covered. They are as follows:
- Adequate product knowledge
- Time management skills
- Employee communication skills
- Patience and perseverance at the workplace
- Interpersonal skills
- Focus and attentiveness
A well-planned customer service strategy helps in better customer engagement and more sales conversion. Empower your customer service team with thorough training about the work process.
Building certain goals for the team and employees can empower customer service in a positive way. These goals motivate, inspire and encourage employees to work with zeal, empowering customer service. You can declare surprises in order to make your team put their best efforts to reach the goals.
- Special incentives or gift coupons for best-performing employee
- An employee of the month declaration backed with a cash prize and appreciation letter
Such small things bring a big difference and certainly empowers customer service.
8. Let seniors mentor others
Mentoring by seniors at the workplace is a great way for teams to onboard new employees seamlessly. But mentoring should not be restricted only for onboarding new employees.
While strong mentoring programs provide better support for new hires, it also creates an open culture that encourages other teams and employees to contribute their ideas for improving the company growth.
Mentoring by senior people in the workplace also inspires in setting new goals. According to Accountemps report, 93% of the workers surveyed said goal setting is important to their work performance, yet for some professionals, those discussions with managers never happen.
Some benefits of mentoring at the workplace:
- Increased knowledge transfer
- Better job satisfaction
- Smart succession planning
- Development of leadership skills
- The motivation for professional development and accountability
- Achievement of goals and objectives
- Stronger internal networks
- Increase & improve teamwork
- Improved employee retention
Those businesses who welcome mentoring by seniors are benefited with the best training as it comprises experience and loyalty.
9. Focus on soft communication skills
You might not expect but the soft communication skills at the workplace are very important and is a part of company culture. Communicating politely and effectively with superiors, colleagues, and team members help you to develop better grounds for success.
Empower your support team with the soft skills that help to deliver effective and excellent customer service.
- Communication with the customer that at times includes challenging and complex conversations
- Setting and resetting your customer expectations for consistent service
- Delighting the customer with your soft and humble conversations
- Building up customer confidence in your company
- A consistently winning customer experience
- Developing a long lasting relationship with customers
- Follow a team approach to meeting out customer’s needs
Interpersonal communication involves a lot more than just the words we generally use. Effective communication is one category of soft skills.
10. Give your employees enough time
A new workplace certainly brings new things in that an employee needs to adapt. For understanding the new products, services, work culture you generally can give them enough time.
Generally, this time includes:
- For learning all the products or services in details
- Enough time to experiment and get a better idea about the products
- In order to manage to get better their personal affairs
- Some time to understand the work process
Giving time to the employee allows them to perform effectively that nurtures in growth and productivity of the company. Not always you can please your employees with other benefits but giving the benefit of time produces better results for sure.
Final thoughts on how to empower customer service team
When you make superior customer service as a mission of your company it is easier to empower your customer service teams to deliver great service and boost customer experience with every interaction.
Providing the right customer service tools and maintaining transparency with the company goals and critical information gives employees ownership of their projects, as well as a voice. Ultimately, your employees will feel motivated to provide a delightful customer experience!