Customer support is the bedrock of any business. In the past decade, customer experience has become a top priority for most companies. This should come as no surprise considering that business revenue depends on customer’s purchases. And if they are provided a good experience, consumers will spend more. Most companies understand the value of that principle and, therefore, spend a significant amount of resources on customer support.
Call center managers know that when providing customer support, it is not enough to just focus on methods of delivering a great service. You have to think ahead and anticipate what can go wrong and how you can prevent it. Customer support is a fast-paced environment, so mistakes are inevitable. And naturally, mistakes have a negative impact on a business. But being aware of potential problems gives you time to prepare for them and an opportunity to avoid them.
In this article, we’ll look at the most common mistakes customer support specialists make and talk about how to avoid them.
1. Lack of personalization
Statistics suggest that 89 percent of digital businesses invest in personalization. Customer experience is a competitive battleground for businesses. And whoever meets consumer needs in the most efficient way wins. On the other hand, businesses that fail to fulfill customer expectations lose. Personalization is what distinguishes one type of business from another. It’s pretty noticeable when a customer service specialist is uninvested and robotic. Such a style of interaction makes a pretty bad impression on a customer. Instead, when talking to users, agents should give them undivided attention and treat them in a humane manner.
Personalization means delivering customized service that considers the individual needs and expectations of customers. To make sure your customer service is personalized use the following techniques in your communication:
Those and many other methods are intended to make customers feel appreciated, respected and cared for.
2. Inconsistent customer service experience
Consistency shows the stability and reliability of a business. A single successful interaction doesn’t get you customer loyalty. Instead, customer loyalty is built on a consistently positive experience with a brand. And it makes sense. Imagine that a customer that had a nice encounter with a customer service specialist one day, calls again and gets a bad service. How do you think that makes the customer feel? Probably frustrated and confused because he/she expected the same level of service they got before. Such instances create distrust towards a company.
Many companies sign SLA with their customers in order to avoid any misunderstanding or unrealistic expectations as well as to set standards for how a service should be delivered. Following such a document itself solves the problem of inconsistency. Plus, it gives customers peace of mind because they know the consequences will follow should a company violate the agreement.
3. Shuffling a customer around
Being bounced from one customer support specialist to another is not fun, especially when you need an issue to be resolved. When customers contact a call center only to find themselves stuck in a circle of transferring they begin to grow frustrated and question the company’s integrity. That’s not the way you want to run your business. Customers want and expect to be treated with respect and dignity and passing their calls around shows the opposite. Of course, there are instances when some issues require additional assistance and transfer to another specialist is necessary. But call center managers have to make sure that such transfers are made as smoothly as possible with minimal inconvenience for customers.
Provide extra training for your agents. This could be specialized training that teaches agents how to handle a specific issue or extensive training that involves teaching reps to provide support on a variety of problems. In addition, call centers can utilize skills-based call routing in their work. It’s a software that recognizes the specificity of a customer’s problem and routes the call to a rep that is most qualified to fix the issue.
4. Arguing with customers
This one is a no-brainer. It goes without saying that arguing with customers is unacceptable under pretty much any circumstances. In situations where you have to deal with unhappy customers, your patience and integrity are put to test. Some customer support specialists fail that test by starting talking back to customers. Why does that happen? Because of the agents’ inability to control their emotions, but most of all because they don’t take customer service ethics seriously. Being rude to a customer is probably the highest violation of the fundamental principles of the industry. Such behavior can lead to negative consequences for a business.
Train your agents to develop emotional intelligence. Being able to control your emotions is one of the most important aspects of call center skills. Explain to your agents that difficult customers is something they will have to deal with a lot and give them tips on how to handle such situations without overreacting. Here is a couple of them:
5. Bad upselling
No one likes to be bombarded with upsells, especially when it’s done over the phone. Pitching an upsell to customers has to be done at the right time and with the right strategy. In an effort to deliver proactive customer service sometimes agents rush in upselling. When a customer calls to get help and instead is met with an upsell, it makes the company look like it cares only about revenue. And that’s not the only example of bad upselling. Other ones include being too pushy when pitching sale; offering an upgrade even though a customer is unsatisfied with a previous version of the product; starting a conversation with a sale and more.
And again, it all comes back to training. Coach your agents to analyze customer needs in the process of resolving the problem. This way a customer support specialist can recognize an opportunity for an upsell and use it right after the issue is resolved. Also, it’s important that reps know how to leverage upselling as a solution to a problem.