How do you keep your company’s audience loyal and engaged over time? This is an extremely important question to answer because no matter your industry, the key to financial security is holding onto your consumer base for the long haul.
Today, the crux of long-term customer loyalty comes down to the experience of dealing with your business. Whether customers are reaching out on social media, calling on the phone, navigating your website or dealing with any other touchpoint, they are building their overall impressions of your brand.
To keep customer opinion strong and engagement high, you should make sure your employee education programs include a healthy dose of customer service training. Everyone who has a customer-facing role is eligible for this type of training, and today that encompasses a relatively wide selection of employees. From customer care representatives in call centers to social media managers, salespeople and many other team members, there are plenty of people who can benefit from stronger service skills.
2 Critical Customer Service Areas
Providing responsive and helpful service today means offering to keep multiple channels open to communicate with your audience. The more options people have to contact your business, the more likely it is they will be able to use their method of choice, getting the interaction off to a good start.
There is a catch: You must make sure each of your channels is fully featured and truly helpful, to prevent frustration. This is where training comes in. Your team members should be familiar with the best practices of the platform they are using, as well as the most common types of issues customers encounter and the best ways to proactively anticipate and solve issues.
The following are two of the channels you should focus on to make sure you’re ready to meet your customers where they are and provide the type of help they’re most eager to receive.
Is the phone old fashioned? Yes. Is it outdated? No. People still want to call companies by phone, with HubSpot reporting that 48% of consumers still prefer to dial in. That’s more than the numbers for live digital chat or “contact us” forms.
Phone calls are essential ways to troubleshoot problems in real-time, as people don’t have to wait for a response text or email from the representative. Of course, to make phone calls work as a positive customer care channel, you have to ensure your call center’s systems and personnel are prepared.
Employees should have the technology to help them solve problems — such as customer databases to provide them with information on callers’ unique situations — as well as the training to solve issues without excessive delays. Both encyclopedic knowledge of your company’s products and interpersonal communication skills are important for phone support.
With more people dealing with companies digitally, text-based chat is always rising in importance. Customers clicking the “get help now” button on your website are at a crossroads — will you be able to resolve their problem quickly and effectively and get them to convert? You should make sure your team has the technology and training to retain these consumers.
Marketing expert Neil Patel pointed out the difference between good and bad live chat experiences. When companies respond quickly and anticipate the types of questions a customer may be dealing with, there is a great chance to resolve the issue. If the representative takes five minutes or more to answer, however, the chances of making the conversion plummet.
Live chatting is a unique form of communication, one that comes with its own set of best practices. Especially in cases when conversations bounce between automatic chatbots and live representatives, it pays for your team to be familiar with the technology at their command and the best ways to resolve consumer questions.
Customer Service Training Courses to Enhance Performance
Preparing your personnel to respond to customers’ queries means giving them multiple kinds of training. It’s clear that your employees should be very knowledgeable about all relevant products and services, to ensure they aren’t caught off guard and unable to solve an issue in a timely manner. Beyond being briefed on this information, however, your employees should also be adept at the so-called soft skills they need to carry out positive interactions.
While it may be tempting to consider interpersonal communication skills innate traits, there are actually plenty of courses that can help your workers empathize with customers. You can even find courses that have separate modules for frontline customer care employees and their supervisors, to ensure your teams are receiving adequate support from within.
A well-trained, well-prepared customer service team is an essential element of your organization, delivering the experiences that can lead to loyalty.