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The Alternative Board Blog

5 Ways to Improve Your Employees' Customer Service Skills

Jul. 1, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
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You can have the best product or service imaginable, but the value and integrity of your business is nearly always determined by the quality of service you and your employees provide to customers. And while it seems unfair, you may never hear about the negative experiences your customers have, since many of them will simply switch allegiances to a competitor whom they believe (rightly or wrongly) can serve them better.

Protecting against such a possibility is a compelling reason to continuously improve your employees’ customer service skills. Also, by leaving the present state of customer service “just as it is” for too long often means mistakes go unnoticed, bad habits become ingrained, and before you know it, the “customer service differentiator” you’ve always relied on is no longer working in your favor.

How do you fix bad customer service?

Here are five tips on enhancing the quality of service your employees provide and thus keeping your customers happy:

  1. Make sure dedicated channels are always working.
  2. Beef up your customer representatives’ “people skills.”
  3. Be adept at using social media to serve your customers.
  4. Recognize and celebrate your customers.
  5. Be proactive in collecting feedback. 

Make sure dedicated channels are always working

Every system you have in place for communicating with customers should be operating at peak efficiency at all times. This includes email, phone and the “Contact Us” function on your website. Conduct periodic tests of all available touchpoints so you’re confident customers can reach you when they want to. 

Beef up your customer representatives’ “people skills”

Certain interactive personality traits are crucial for treating customers with the respect and dignity they deserve. It’s well worth the time and expense involved to ensure your customer reps exhibit these traits in all of their customer interactions. Make sure to consider these interpersonal (or soft skills) when hiring or training employees:

  • communication
  • conflict management
  • empathy
  • listening

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Be adept at using social media to serve your customers.

The quality of a company’s customer service efforts is always being judged (and commented upon) on social media. That’s why it’s imperative to have at least one service rep dedicated to monitoring your company’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other relevant platforms. Their skills should include being able to engage respectfully with users who leave comments, so it’s clear your business values active interaction with its customer base.

Recognize and celebrate your customers

Improving customer service isn't solely about reducing negative interactions. It's also important to take the time and recognize your best relationships. Promote and celebrate when an employee goes above and beyond for someone or when a client has been with you for multiple years. When you take the time to showcase something positive others will start to mirror back more positivity in the workplace. 

Be proactive in collecting feedback

Perhaps the best way to fine-tune your employees’ customer service skills is by collecting all the feedback and data you can. Among the options for gathering such information:

  • Phone surveys
  • Email survey
  • A comments section on your “Contact Us” page

Consider offering an incentive to participate in your customer service survey, thereby increasing the likelihood of a qualitative response.

Just as you place a high value on continuous research and development, it’s important to always look for ways to enhance the service you provide your customers. Often, it’s the deciding factor in whether or not they choose to do business with you.

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Written by The Alternative Board

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