Earlier on this blog, we addressed some of the most-hated customer service practices and how contact center managers can avoid them. Some of these practices included long wait times to connect customers with live agents and transferring customers numerous times.
Companies that fail to take protective measures against these bad practices will suffer. For example, according to aggregated research from KISSmetrics, 89 percent of customers have stopped doing business with a company due to bad service; 78 percent have abandoned a purchase due to poor service; and customers are twice as likely to talk about a bad service experience than a good one.
Indeed, poor customer service can negatively affect an organization, but the opposite can be said about a company’s excellent quality of service. That is, companies with superior customer service stand to reap numerous benefits. For instance, U.S customers are willing to pay 13 percent more to work with companies that provide excellent customer service, according to KISSmetrics.
So, what kinds of companies are these? Recently, analysis firm 24/7 Wall St. and research survey group Zogby Analytics joined forces to see which brands lead the pack; these companies would be inducted into their Customer Service Hall of Fame. After polling more than 1,500 customers about the quality of customer service provided by over 150 U.S. companies, the survey conductors identified Amazon, Apple, UPS and Trader Joe’s as standouts in customer service. This was the sixth year in a row that Amazon topped the list; less than 2 percent of customers reported a poor experience with the company, and the organization’s sales increased 25 percent in 2014.
These results should speak volumes to contact center managers looking to continually improve their quality of service and increase revenue. For these individuals, the question becomes: “How can I emulate this kind of service?”
The answer is simple: It all starts with the people you employ and train. The product that an organization provides is without question less important than the people who are behind the product. In fact, according to the aforementioned research, 73 percent of customers say that friendly employees are what make their experiences with brands memorable and what keep them coming back.
To this end, your customer service strategy should begin internally with agent training and coaching, which should be an ongoing initiative within your facility. To produce effective and friendly agents who are confident in and fulfilled by the work they do, you must support them with training tools that are easy to use and which flexibly adapt to their schedules. Such tools can include personalized surveys sent to agents directly after interactions and e-coaching during downtime, for example. Furthermore, each agent should begin training on such things as corporate culture and service best practices at the initial hiring stage. This type of training should continue throughout each agent’s entire career with your company, promoting customer excellence as a way of life within your contact center.
As customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken said in a recent interview with USA Today, “Customer service is not a department, it is a philosophy.” Are you ready to increase profits and become a Hall of Famer yourself?