Customer service techniques that keep staff and customers happy

Feb 21
Customer service techniques

Customer service techniques that keep staff and customers happy

Are you struggling to get your team to perform, or even to care about what they are doing? A call centre agent may have the impression that the customer is always right, and that to deliver good service they simply have to say yes to everything the customer says. And yet, fenced in with business rules and approval processes, they may have little real ability to actually solve problems. When this happens, they’re going to feel a bit like a punching bag. As a Call Centre Manager, what you need are customer service techniques that will empower your agents so they feel motivated and solution-oriented, ensure your customers feel like their issue has been resolved effectively, and yet give you a sense of control over the whole operation.

Say what now? Fear not – it’s not too hard. Here are 3 customer service techniques that will empower your staff, and improve your customer experience.


1. Give them access to the information they need, quickly

For a call centre agent to solve problems and provide solid customer service, they need relevant information available to them very quickly. I’m talking at the click of a mouse, not logging into 5 different systems to try to source the right information, or get the story straight. Product info, the customer profile and a record of the customer service history, all need to be accessed very quickly. Get the right system and features in place, so your agents have the freedom to find information and make their customers happy. Start with call popups that prompt your agents so each call begins with a sense of being prepared.


2. Allow Staff to Make Decisions

outbound call centreOf all the customer service techniques this may take the most courage, but it’s worth it.

Imagine a customer calls, irate about an item on her bill that she believes, passionately, is incorrect. She’s a longstanding, loyal customer and she is very much not happy, Jan. Your agent needs the freedom and authority to solve this issue on the spot, based on the information provided to them (by the customer and your systems).

If they need to say no to the customer, and/or put them on hold, or call back when they have spoken to the powers that be, chances are the customer is going to be even more irate, and your agent will feel pretty ordinary on the receiving end. A good customer service technique to improve customer experience is to give your agents the authority to make decisions over small amounts of money.

This could be waiving items on a bill, reversing an incorrect charge or even giving an unhappy customer something complimentary, if they know they’re about to lose them. Ritz Carlton staff are given a $2,000 ‘budget’ they can use at their discretion to make any customer/s happy. You might want to start smaller than that, but it’s something to think about.


3. Make your team feel empowered

call prioritisationSystems and customer service techniques that can be embedded into the day to day are critical, but more so is the feeling of your staff. In the Ritz Carlton example given, the amount staff are given is $2,000. But the amount doesn’t matter. It’s the clear message given by this practice. They trust their employees, and they believe their staff are responsible enough to make the right decisions to deliver a superb customer experience.

Cultivate the feeling of trust by giving your staff challenging assignments, providing necessary resources if necessary, and being consistent with your support (not undermining it later). Increase your tolerance for mistakes, as we’re all human. Use mistakes (within reason) as an opportunity to facilitate learning. That is what trust is all about – believing in the person, in their potential and not defining them by their mistakes.


These are customer service techniques that really matter

Staff empowerment is critical if you want happy customers. Call centre agents need to be able to solve their customer’s problems quickly, so they need customer service techniques that make this happen. Invest in the right system to make their jobs easier – no one likes faffing about in different systems searching for the information you need to have a meaningful, fact-based conversation. Give them some authority to solve customer problems themselves, without seeking constant approval. Finally, show them you trust them, every day.

Challenge them, don’t blow your top if someone makes a mistake and ensure you take every opportunity to look for their potential and help them see it, too. These customer service techniques can help bring your customer experience strategy from something that lives in a business plan to a living, breathing thing that your staff actually care about.


Customer service techniques