Why Now is the Most Strategic Time of Year to Reassess Your Customer Service Strategy

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

9/24/15 1:00 PM

Its_timeSummer vacations are over, the kids are back at school and most of us are getting ready to swap out our tank tops for turtleneck sweaters. Fall is quickly approaching, with the holidays trailing right behind. As tempting as it may be, this isn’t a time for businesses to just coast along until the end of the year – especially when it comes to optimizing contact center operations.

Instead, in order to successfully ring in the new year, contact center managers should be getting ahead of the game starting now, including assessing what their customers’ needs are and how to best allocate their resources. With budgets for 2016 most likely set, now is the perfect time to start strategizing. Follow these five simple steps to make that happen:

  1. Make a list; take a long hard look at your past year. What made your customers happy and what fell short? Don’t just discard the programs/policies that didn’t work. Reassess them and figure out why they weren’t successful. Maybe with a few tweaks the impact on your customers would be more positive. If not, figure out what the problem was in order to avoid it as you move forward. As for the good, make them even better; you can never make your customers too happy. For instance, perhaps you rolled out an all-new text messaging service channel and you found it was well-received by customers (after all, 64 percent of customers surveyed last year by Harris Interactive said they prefer to send and receive text messages for customer service verses traditional phone). Make text messaging even more convenient for your customers by monitoring your target audience’s peak mobile usage time. Determine when the messages are most effective and send them then.

  2. Don’t just rely on your opinion, ask your customers. After all, who would know better? Email or provide an online survey, or call your customers and ask for their input. Make sure you critically review their answers, and then establish a plan to improve their customer service experience so that you can kick off 2016 right.

  3. Don’t sweep the bad reviews under the rug. Whether it’s from your own assessment or from your customers, you need to recognize your mistakes and own up to them. Nothing increases customer retention than accountability from an organization. Therefore, respond to each customer who had a complaint; not only send a letter of apology, but also an explanation of how you organization specifically intends to do better. For instance, perhaps you are reestablishing your brand with an all-new mission statement that is even more customer-centric. Also, don’t let agent training fall through the cracks, especially with the busy holiday season ahead. Continually coach your agents by implementing personalized, attentive, online methods that enable them to learn online at their own pace.

  4. Your customers aren’t the only ones who want to feel heard—so do your employees. It’s very simple; if your employees aren’t happy, most likely your customers won’t be either. This is the time of year to ask what your employees think. What programs/policies did they believe were the most and least successful? Do they have any ideas to help improve business as a whole? Your employees are your main line to the rest of the world, so find out what your customers are telling them.

  5. And don’t forget to THANK them! Thank your employees and customers—a little appreciation goes a long way. Recognize those who excel in the office with a special award, party or even a verbal congrats would mean a lot. As for your valued customers, let them know they’re truly appreciated with a nice gift or substantial discount, just for their continued business.

By doing all of this now, not only will your business be better prepared for 2016 but you’ll most certainly have all of your best customers and employees ringing in the new year right along with you.

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