[This article was written by Gabby Rolette.]
With so many businesses competing for market share selling similar products, keeping your customers happy and loyal to your brand is essential for success. Customer service is quickly becoming the key differentiator to securing gains in customer loyalty. Where multiple retail outlets can have a matching price on any given product, brands are looking to redefine expectations with respect to convenience and communication. So, if you’re spending more in customer service to stay competitive, you can recoup that investment by turning your customer service team into your best sales representative.
Salespeople are defined by their job title – they sell. Employees in a sales role should be relentless, ambitious go-getters who refuse to quit. Customer service is quite the opposite. It’s more about being empathetic and apologetic. While it may not seem like customer service reps need to care about sales techniques, sales is actually a big part of any customer service job. Once a lead gets on-boarded and is officially a paying customer, all responsibility falls on the service team to keep those customers happy. Essentially, they need to be the ones reminding customers they love your brand. So, how can you turn your customer service team into selling machines? Check out these 4 tips.
#1. Create an experience
In order for a salesperson to be successful, they need to captivate the interest of a potential customer, and give them an experience they won’t forget. For example, a friendly outgoing personality can easily get a conversation started, but it’s the knowledge and expertise they are able to demonstrate that keeps a person hooked.
The same mindset should apply to your customer service team. When customers have issues or questions, they want to talk to a live customer service team member who not only knows what they’re doing, but is friendly, upbeat and pleasant to work with. Customers who feel like they have a connection or a good rapport with team members will be more inclined to reach out whenever they have issues instead of canceling service or writing negative reviews online. Here are some tips that will help your business create a positive customer experience:
- Create an interactive online portal that your customers have access to view and update account information.
- If customers are having trouble making updates on their own, have your employees create video tutorials of themselves making the updates, or utilize software that allows reps to share their screen with customers to show them how to do something in real time.
- Offer a free trial of your service or product so customers can test it out before they buy.
- If customers provide feedback, thank them and provide credits, discounts or coupons to use with your business.
- Send weekly newsletters so customers can stay up to date on your business. Newsletters can include company updates, star employee of the week or a link to your most recent blog post.
#2. Implement team goals
When your business implements individualized and personal staff goals, your employees are less likely to work together as they will only be focused on reaching their own goals. However, implementing team bonuses encourages employees to work together to achieve a common goal.
When employees work as a team, they can help each other with difficult customers, jump in to another team member’s case to provide insight or suggestions, and assist with trying to save customers who may be trying to cancel. Instead of an “every man for himself” attitude, your employees will work harder to make sure all of their team members are performing to the best of their ability, and you can rest easy knowing that all of your customers are receiving the best possible care, no matter who is helping them. Some examples of team goals include:
- Saving as many accounts or customers from cancelling each month as possible.
- Growing the company by a certain number each month or quarter.
- Staying on top of customer issues and trying to decrease the amount of emails/chats/phone calls each month.
- Resolving issues in one phone call as often as possible.
#3. Measure success weekly and make improvements
As most business owners know, there’s more to running a successful company than just sales. You also have to measure the success of your employees, systems, and protocols, and make improvements as needed. Some ways you can do this include:
- If you use a helpdesk software to manage customer tickets and cases, you can run reports on the amount of cases each support rep handles weekly, and how long it takes them to complete a case.
- Reward support reps with gift cards or prizes when they complete cases quickly and efficiently.
- Check phone systems to see how many phone calls your reps are answering and/or making each week, and reward the rep with the highest number of calls.
- Review case surveys and feedback from customers to gather their insight. If customers are unhappy emailing back and forth, implement protocols for your reps to call more customers in addition to emailing them.
- Run reports on why past customers have cancelled and how their accounts could have been handled better, so that you can apply new tactics and protocols to your customers still on service, as well as future customers that come through the sales funnel.
#4. Remember your ABC’s: Always Be Changing
In order for your business to grow, you need to adapt to the ever changing ebb and flow of the market. Revamping your in-house protocols and thinking of creative new ways to connect with customers will help give your business the fuel it needs to thrive. Here are some ways my own company has changed the way our support team operates over the years:
- We implemented new procedures to reach out and check in with our active customers as well as our trial customers more often.
- We’ve added more case follow-ups for customers we haven’t heard back from.
- After we’ve resolved a case, we now reach back out in a couple of days to see how everything is going, and if the updates we made are working for them.
- Each month we send swag and hand-written letters to customers we’ve been working with.
No matter how big or small your business is, it’s important to utilize all of your departments and employees to their fullest potential to maximize the success of your brand.
Gabby Rolette is from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and writes for the SAS call center blog. She loves reading and writing, but when she’s not at work you can find her helping animals or spending time with her nieces and nephews.
Twitter handle: @SpecialtyAnswer