…In part 1
, we left off with large companies feeling concerned about staff and cost. Let's strategize an implementation that takes into account scalability with a conservative investment.
The key factors that generate effective change in customer service:
- Scripting - refining with good staff
- Training built, not on apology, but on accountability
- Enabling customers to reach representatives with whom they have built a rapport
The first two require an adjustment in training when hired with ongoing reinforcement by management and company culture (company culture - a fascinating topic though not in the scope of this article). Admittedly this shift requires initial expenditures to retrain existing staff, but is a one-time cost. For new staff, the methodology gets absorbed into a new training package – not complicated.
The last initiative requires process mapping for implementation. To break it down:
- Rapport built, info shared with customer for future contact
o Email address for customer to reach representative
o Schedule of when representative is available to be reached
- Customer has choice to email representative and expect answer/call-back during their scheduled hours or call-in if they require assistance immediately.
- After customer emails the representative, representative can email the customer letting them know an approximate time they will call back. This time can take into account current call duration as well as wait time of current queue so that customers are not unfairly put ahead in line.
- Representatives need technical functionality to dial out.
- Representatives to have regular, consistent hours (good for both staff and customers).
- Have an auto-responder for the representative’s email tied into the login command of the phone system. When the representative logs on, it turns the auto-responder off. This means, if the representative is either on vacation or sick, the auto-responder lets customers know and invites them to call in.
- Input field in CRM under customer profile for assigned representative’s email address. This allows the company to pull all customer records with that specific address and send one email to all impacted customers seamlessly so they know not to look for that representative. This is required with schedule changes, when promoted, or if no longer working at the company.
Notice, not one of the above implementations requires an on-going cost. Ironically, implementing these changes are potentially easier for larger companies as they have more staff to balance specific coverage times.
And the best part? Identifying a company's best customer service representatives becomes easy: whoever has the most assigned customers (easily pulled data due to step #7). FYI, these are the staff worth promoting and leading company training initiatives.
This concludes this miniseries on customer service. I welcome your feedback on these ideas.
Stay tuned where our next articles considers the perspective of time as a currency.