According to Gartner survey, 89% of companies expect that the customer experience is what they are going to compete about. Thanks to the digital technologies, today’s word-of-mouth marketing has been given a new life, primarily through social networks, having the power to skyrocket or ruin a business’s reputation overnight.
Taking into account the findings that customers are more likely to share their bad experiences with a company than good ones, looks like customer support has grown to be far more than just responding to customer requests and handling issues.
“You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied” - this quote by Jerry Fritz, a famous speaker, and trainer shows how important customer support is, as it gives a business a critical competitive advantage.
Behind each memorable interaction with a client that lays a foundation for a long-term relationship is a great support team. It all starts with the people and the culture. So, let’s learn how to build a successful support team to ensure the stellar experience for your customers.
Understand your needs
Typically, companies prefer candidates with prior experience in their industry, but it’s not always the sole winning bet. You should also pay attention to suitable candidates depending on their primary responsibilities and support channel they’ll be working with.
If most of your support requests come through email - you need someone with perfect writing skills, if its phone - voice, and manner of speaking are very important etc.
Experienced managers know that you can teach skills, but character traits and attitude are almost impossible to change. Therefore, focus on hiring the people who can potentially make a good customer support agent. They need to be passionate, empathetic, good problem solvers, willing to help and caring for others.
Naturally, all of these traits aren’t easy to see in the course of a single interview, so here are a couple of questions you might use:
- Do you have an experience of defining problems that others were oblivious to?
- What makes you feel successful at the end of the day?
- What are the non-work related things you are passionate about?
Also, pay close attention to a person’s attitude, as a negative attitude and carelessness can infect the whole team. Is he/she a team player? Are they able to inspire others? Are they willing to put their ego aside and stay laser-focused on assisting customers, or walk an extra mile to solve their problem? Are they responsive and responsible?
The hardest thing about hiring the right people is that in most cases, resumes do the talking while hiring decisions are often made based “on gut feelings” rather than facts. Still, by watching your new employees closely, you can make sure only the suitable ones make it to the end of their trial period.
Don’t save on training
First and foremost, let all your new support employees master the product you’re selling, to know all of its ins and outs and be efficient in handling issues with the prompt speed. Even if it takes much time, this is worth it.
Moreover, consistently invest in your customer service team education by organizing training that can help them reach new heights. In the today’s competitive environment you simply cannot afford to stop learning and improving.
Cultivate team spirit and motivate employees
The positive mindset plays an important role in the efficiency of each employee. Use all possible means to create a close-knit team working towards the common goal rather than competing against each other.
Motivate agents with perks for their achievements, let the team members recognize those who demonstrate the great results and reward them.
Also, empower agents with tools and authority to make decisions when dealing with customers, this helps to increase their responsibility and improves problem-solving skills.
Build a process for problem resolution
Today, awesome customer support is quick support. So, to save your agents’ and customers’ time, it is best to have a plan in place, applicable for all or distinct types of issues.
It can be something like this:
- express your apologies and listen to the customer;
- gather all the necessary data on the issue;
- resolve the problem and follow up to check;
- document the issue for others to use in alike situations;
- see what can be done to prevent similar problems in the future.
Personalize the service
Customer support teams use so much scripting, that customers often feel they’re dealing with robots. Instead, a successful support team members treat each customer as an individual, personalize scripts, express their compassion and understanding and are willing to walk an extra mile to fix an issue. Such attitude won’t go unnoticed and will build you the reputation of the company that does care for its customers.
Stay abreast of the latest technologies
Admit it, even the greatest support professionals cannot do much with just bare enthusiasm - they need tools which totally meet the business requirements. Technology is evolving at the speed of light today, so make sure you keep your finger on the pulse not to miss the tool that could help your team work better, faster and more effectively. You might even consider migrating to a more suitable help desk software, so check out our reviews of the top customer support platforms.
It all comes down to a single line, “Always deliver more than expected”, originating from Larry Page, the Founder of Google. Doing more than you have to may be hard, but the results will be far superior than what you expect, so isn’t it worth it?
What is your recipe for a successful support team? Is there something we missed? Do share your insights in the comments!