Brands that understand their customers and strive to continuously improve customer service will be successful. Why? Because these companies understand, care about and are obsessed with their customers. We live in a time where consumers can have anything they want at their fingertips, but it’s up to the retailer to deliver. You never know how influential a customer can be, therefore, a customer-first mind-set is key to delivering happiness. Having this mind-set keeps you proactive in solving problems as well as anticipating new services and product offerings that delight customers.
And it goes beyond listening to customers; it’s about understanding them. As part of an annual training session, Jeff Bezos asks Amazon.com managers, including himself, to attend two days of call-center training, believing that “everyone has to be able to work in a call center.” Amazon’s success, and its philosophy, is built upon the principle that listening and understanding the customer is the key to success. The first step of every employee must be to understand an individual’s needs in order to successfully better the organization.
You might be wondering where to begin. A good customer service team can not only help your brand succeed, but it can also become the foundation for the way your business operates. Below, I highlight three tips for building the best team for you.
Build a Team of Empathizers Who Are Also Effective Communicators
Whether you’re running a startup or a large enterprise, customer service representatives must be communications professionals who are a reflection of your target customers. It not only helps the reps understand your customer, but also provides the chance to empathize with the customer’s pain points and problems. This should result in better aiding customers in an effective manner. Lastly, it’s important to ensure reps are polite, helpful and engaging during all interactions with a customer.
Implement Processes to Better Understand the Performance of Customer Service Teams
Have set metrics in place and set a baseline for delivering customer success. Often, companies will only measure the quantity of resolved issues, but neglect to measure the interactions and time spent discussing the problem. By only focusing on the end result, reps will feel constant pressure to get off the phone or chat quickly, without focusing on how the customer feels after the conversation.
Response time, discussion quality, repeat complaints, resolve time, customer satisfaction and repeat purchases are all important metrics for a successful customer service operation.
Make Sure Your Customer Service Reps Know You Care About Them
While customer frustration and negative reviews can be damaging for your brand, underappreciated customer service reps can also negatively impact the work culture. It can often feel thankless to work with annoyed customers all day. Ask yourself, when’s the last time you thanked your customer service team for the great jobs they’re doing.
As a brand leader or executive, it’s important to let your employees know you value their feedback. Customer service team members provide a direct line of communication to customers, and can help identify current failings or issues at hand. The same way that you would ask customers for feedback, ask your representatives what you can be doing better. The goal should be to create a safe, fun and enjoyable place to work, where people want to show up every day and help solve problems.
Customer obsession is what can make or break your brand. The biggest thing retailers, owners and employees can do is listen and understand what a customer is telling you. Having genuine empathy can go a long way towards understanding customer pain points and remedying them holistically. It can also be a big benefit in retaining and attracting customers. In a time of ubiquitous, public feedback, brands can’t afford to have a negative reputation for poor customer service. Those brands that take the extra step to listen and handle complaints with empathy are showing they truly care and will be the winners in the long run.
Johnny Hou is the founder and CEO of NZXT, a manufacturer and direct seller of computer hardware.
Related story: How Tech Startup Enjoy is Winning With Customer Service