When you bring on staff to help you support your customers in your business, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a big business or a small business – the same principles apply. It’s imperative that your customer service team is able to support your customers fully and as quickly as possible, without too many problems or things that get in the way of doing the right thing.
Provide the Best Possible Tools
Your customer support staff needs a good customer relationship management system to help them better serve your customers. It works better than email in that it stores all the conversations and reminds you. Plus if you lose staff members, other members can still service that customer while seeing all old conversations.
Provide Thorough Training
Whether you hire contractors or employees, it’s imperative that you offer them training. They need training on your system, your rules, your values, and your products and services. You can accomplish this via videos, or one-on-one training with an experienced rep training a new rep. Yes, pay your contractors for training.
Pay Them Fairly
If you pay your staff fairly, they’ll be a lot happier and they’ll be more likely to stick around longer. The fair pay is only part of the reason people change jobs, but it’s a big portion of why a lot of contractors in customer service are not satisfied. That dissatisfaction can show through with lousy customer service performance.
Give Them the Power
Based upon your business values, give your customer service reps power over how to deal with customers. Authorize them to give refunds up to a certain dollar amount at their discretion. Give them permission and encouragement to please the customer if it’s possible at all. If needed, give them the power to totally refund the customer and end the relationship.
Keep Communication Open
Periodically check the system to see how the conversations are going. Give your staff the option of talking to you about issues that come up for them that they’re not sure about. You can have an anonymous suggestion box, even online. This can help make your customer service so much better.
Let Your Staff Talk to Each Other
If you have more than one customer service rep, start a private Facebook group for them so that they can burn off steam and discuss how they handle issues. This can really help them not feel alone and feel connected with others if they work from home or don’t work in an office.
Give and Get Regular Feedback
Give feedback to your customer service staff based on the work they’re doing. Don’t punish customer service people for problems with your product or service. Instead, use the feedback they give you to improve your products or services. When you give them feedback, ensure that it’s truly constructive.
Your support staff is an extension of you. Ensure that they really know how to represent you to the best of their ability. Don’t make them have to ask you about everything. Otherwise, you may as well not outsource customer service at all.