Customer service departments can be like disaster zones. Dozens, hundreds or even thousands of calls and emails flood in every day. Customer service representatives do their best to handle every situation using the resources they have. Some problems get solved, others slip through the cracks.
Other times, the problem gets solved but the customer still isn’t happy. The customer service team gets locked into survival mode, doing only what they can to keep customers from leaving.
Perhaps this is why, every year, poor customer experiences costs US based companies an estimated $83 Billion in losses per year (Source: Parature Customer Service Blog).
If you want to avoid being victim of this grisly statistic, here are three things you’ll want to do right away…
#1 Make a Price Increase
Increasing prices gives you higher margins. If you invest those extra profits into building, equipping and training your customer service team, you’ll get more business than you would by investing the extra profits into marketing.
Happy customers talk. They leave reviews online. Word of mouth marketing starts working on your behalf. Before you know it, customers are coming to you instead of you having to go out and find them. So a price increase is a great way to create a better customer service department and increase your profits.
Don’t worry about what the higher prices will do to your sales either. According to the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. This data was gathered during the peak of the global economic crisis. People ARE willing to pay for value, and they measure value based on how you treat them.
How many times you have you gone to a competitor and even paid a higher price in order to get better service? The key is to “sell” the price increase to your customers by telling them that you’re doing it to invest more into creating a great experience for them. If you deliver on your promise, they won’t mind the higher prices.
#2: Get Better Systems
Even the best customer service agent can be confined to mediocrity if you don’t give them the right tools. Call recording and monitoring and archiving systems and a great system for tracking tickets and follow ups can make a stunning difference in your customer service team’s performance.
If you have any doubts about your systems for managing customer service procedures, a change probably needs to be made. Make it. Don’t force your customers and your representatives to settle for mediocrity.
According to the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011, nearly 90% of consumers went to competitors after having a poor customer service experience. Good customer service reps are also less likely to stay where there’s chaos. So while getting by with faulty systems might save you a few bucks, maybe hundreds, it will lock your business into a purgatory of mediocrity.
But with great systems, you can create the economic growth which will justify the extra money invested in those systems.
#3: Clean House: Hire and Fire
Once you have the extra money to pay great customer service reps and once you have systems in place the will help them win, hire people who WANT to win. If you have people on your team who are comfortable with just getting by, get rid of them. Don’t try to motivate them. Find people who are naturally motivated, people who have customer service in their DNA.
When you work with winners, and you pay them well and you give them the systems that will help them win, chaos disappears.
Remember that bad customer service will cost you more money than bad marketing, but great customer service is 10x more powerful than great marketing. It will put customers to work for you. In the age of trust based marketing, this is the most valuable thing you can have going for your brand.