It seems that work has continued to be an inspiration for my writing, despite my propensity to craft repetitive blogs for nine hours every day.
This week, we did some office rearrangement and I ended up being shifted to a corner seat that was supposed to be “quieter.” But in reality, I either have to wear headphones or listen to impatient customer service reps deal with what seem to be unsatisfied customers, neither of which is conducive to writing. I had overheard a particularly loud call where a rep simply lost patience with a customer who complained about the wait time they’d just suffered through. It didn’t sound pleasant, but it got me thinking. I composed some notes and put them together for this post.
1. Humanize Your Customer Service. Do you think that people enjoy calling in to ask a question about a specific facet of their account, only to spend five minutes pressing buttons and then ultimately be put on hold? If you are a company that provides any type of service that’s primarily vended online — running an online store, an Internet marketing firm, or a cell phone service — you will need to have real, live people ready to take customers’ calls. No ifs, ands, or buts. These employees should be well-trained in your brand’s mission and proper conversational style for effective brand promotion. If you’re a smaller operation — say, a plumber or local restaurant — it is not necessary to have a dedicated staff there for the sake of answering questions. But you should certainly make it clear that you are ready to take customer concerns and complaints, and respond in a satisfactory manner. Finally, make sure that your customer service reps are professional and communicate your brand’s message without getting snippy. While an employee should never be forced to deal with threats or excessive verbal abuse, there’s no reason to act as if you don’t value a customer’s experience.
2. Design Your Customer Service to Sync on All Levels. Have you ever been to a website where you’re asked to talk to a person in a pop-up chat box? Have you been disconnected and forced to transfer to another rep, only to explain yourself again? Or how about being transferred from department to department, only to be told useless information? It is frustrating, particularly when reps need to access data banks or other sensitive information repeatedly. If your company has multiple nodes designed for customer service, ensure that you unify knowledge bases as much as possible. This way, the customer has a uniform, streamlined experience, and your brand’s identity will be consistent and clear no matter who they need to talk to.
3. Treat Your Customer Service Reps Well. This may not be a typical brand strategy, but I truly believe it makes a world of difference. When your employees are happy and feel valued, they want to represent your brand and sing your praises. They will be the face of a positive, progressive atmosphere that customers want to be a part of. Customer service can be an incredibly taxing job emotionally. Treat your customer service department well, and you’ll see higher agent retention and brand consistency, as well as positive brand association for both the employee and customer.
There are many more pointers to consider, but I hope this gets you thinking about what you can do to increase brand perception and positive brand association for your clients!