Customer support is often the primary responsibility of a retailer’s sales and service staff. Yet the most successful businesses often make a habit of taking a more holistic approach by including customer satisfaction in all of their marketing and business development efforts. After all, “the customer is always right.” It is a fact that many successful businesses have made the commitment to excellence in every area of their operations.
Customer support is the delivery of extraordinary service to customers prior, during, and even after a sale. Without excellent customer support, there is a very real chance that a customer will leave your shop or organization, never to return. Yet the perception of success in these interactions depends on how employees “can adapt themselves quickly to the personality of that particular guest.” Let’s examine some of the ways that employee support staff can help improve customer satisfaction.
Automation is one of the key elements of technological support. By eliminating the need for a human resource director and the various administrative personnel necessary to maintain the efficiency and productivity of an entire technical support department, technical support teams can focus their attention on actually providing stellar customer service. For example, sales representatives can set automated reminders on their cell phone for when they need to call back regarding an order, or have the item shipped directly to their customer. In this way, by eliminating the need for an in-house telephone center, customer service representatives can spend more of their time assisting the customers, rather than trying to keep the office running as smoothly as possible. As well, automated systems can provide a great deal of assistance to smaller companies that might not otherwise be able to afford a call center.
Sales support operations are perhaps at their most effective when they include a combination of in-person and web-based techniques. When customers are able to contact support representatives in person, they tend to be more comfortable with an agent than those who call in via their computers. Having an in-person representative provides a personal touch that makes customers feel like they are dealing with an actual person, which can make a big difference in generating more business. Likewise, Web based customer support operations are becoming increasingly popular because customers feel much more comfortable leaving their queries online instead of sitting down face-to-face with a customer service agent. There is a lot to be said for being able to read a person’s facial expression, write down their response, and then evaluate it to determine if they actually understood what was being communicated.
Both in-person and online customer service agents can benefit from utilizing audio visual technology. This includes things like training DVDs, interactive whiteboards, voice transcriptions, or recorded telephone messages. These tools can help to ensure that employees have the best understanding of how to best provide customer service to a variety of different customers. Likewise, a training DVD that includes a demonstration of a live phone conference might be very useful for a new call center employee who may not be as familiar with using the equipment necessary to conduct a live conference call. Likewise, a recorded telephone message that follows a specific script can also be beneficial in teaching a live operator how to handle messages that are directed at him or her.
The biggest obstacle companies face when providing customer service is making sure that every customer is treated fairly. Poor customer service can negatively affect a company’s reputation in the marketplace, which can have an effect on the growth of sales. To prevent bad business, service operators need to know how to treat every customer who comes through their doors. They need to know how to address each customer’s individual needs and concerns. Good customer service doesn’t just involve calling back and letting the customer know that he or she is receiving the wrong item. Good customer service goes a step further and makes sure that every customer experience a positive outcome that is worth remembering.