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How to Improve Customer Service in 2021 [Guide]

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Forster Perelsztejn
Marketing Advisor

Customer service is one of the most underrated functions in the corporate world. Which is insane because it’s critical. So how do you ensure high-quality customer service? This guide will dive into each aspect and offer actionable advice to improve your customer service operations!

According to a massive survey by SAP, customers are 50% more likely to break up with a brand because of bad or unresponsive customer service than for making repeated mistakes.

Also, according to a survey by Microsoft, 58% of consumers have broken up with a brand because of a poor customer service experience.

This can have direct financial consequences. First because of the loss of revenue, but also because it’s much easier to get an existing customer to purchase again than it is to acquire new customers. 

So in order to maintain the same level of revenue, you’ll have to invest more money in customer acquisition. In fact, reducing customer churn is a great way to increase revenue.

And, obviously, bad customer service also impacts the reputation of a company. 

World-class customer service is a combination of the right people, the right practices, effective prevention, smart use of data, and smart use of technology.

Build (and keep) a dream team

Customer service is all about people. It’s about the customers. And it’s about the people serving them.

Customers expect well-managed service, handled by empathetic, efficient, and creative people.

That’s who you need to hire and give a reason to stay.

Here’s how you do it!

Hire the right people

You can't wing customer service.

It's a real job. Some people are good at it, some are bad, and some are legendary. Customer service best practices are nothing without the right people.

So obviously, the first thing you want to do to improve customer service is to hire the right people.

There are specific qualities you should look for when hiring someone for the job:

  • Empathy

A customer service representative is not a technician. They’re your first line of communication in case of an issue. That’s why you need people who can put themselves in the customer’s shoes

  • An analytical mind

Issues can arise for various reasons. And in various ways. You need someone with a structured mind, who works methodically. 

A good way to test that skill is to see how they first react to a problem. Do they go right into it, emailing a solution to the customer? Or do they first list the possible causes, confirm their hypothesis, and only then get back to the customer?

  • Willingness to help

Customer service is not a dirty job. It may even be the most important function at your company, besides your core business.

Hire people with a drive. People who want to help others and find satisfaction in solving their issues.

Even if your product seems boring, get someone willing to do the emotional labor.

  • Fast learner/adaptable

The world moves fast. And so should your customer service team. Your product or service will have new features, your company is going to grow, new people are going to enter the team,... You need people who can withstand change. Or better yet, thrive in it.

  • Self-control/patience

Some customers will be difficult. Some will act in flat-out bad faith.

You need someone stable enough not to take it personally. Someone who can keep their cool and still focus on making this a positive experience for the customer. However horrible, they are. (To an extent, of course.)

  • Good communication

An important part of customer service is conveying the right message clearly.

If your agent has a fix for your customer’s problem but they can’t articulate it, it’s not going to work.

When interviewing customer service representatives, make sure to test their oral as well as written communication skills.

  • Coachability

Overall, customer service is more about attitude than hard skills. What really matters in a customer service representative is that they’re coachable. If they already have the right soft skills, you’ll be able to turn them into a success machine. And a delight to your customers.

It’s a bit of an effort, but that’s the price of customer satisfaction. 

Taking the time to hire the right people is 100% worth it.

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