24 May SETTING TARGETS TO IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE LEVELS
Your company’s reputation is one of the most important things that it has. In the days of online reviews and social media, it’s so easy for a customer who has had a negative experience to share it with the world, and that means business going out the door. No business wants to lose potential clients just because of one negative experience, which is why it’s important to ensure you get things right first time. That’s why many companies set strict targets for their customer service department, and this could help your staff stay focused on the clients. At Netcall Solutions we know all about providing the right levels of customer service and we want to share our knowledge with you.
One of the main things that customers want when they call a company is a speedy resolution. This could include:
- Having the call answered in a few rings
- Not being stuck on hold
- Not having to deal with endless menu options
- Having a short, productive call with an operator
If you can’t get calls answered on time, then it’s worth diverting them to someone like a professional answering service company. These people are trained to speak to clients in a friendly and helpful way, and to answer basic queries. Anything they can’t deal with will be passed on to you, and you can call them back when one of the operators are available.
What target should I set?
Most companies like to get calls answered within three rings. This is pretty standard among customer service departments as it ensures people don’t get fed up and put the phone down. Many customers have a pretty short patience level when it comes to waiting for the phone to be picked up, and therefore it’s important to try and meet this target whenever possible.
We all have to deal with an irate customer now and again. Sometimes it’s because of a misunderstanding, but if they’re irate because they’ve received bad service, then you can see why their anger is justified. There are lots of things that will make a customer angry, including:
- Long call waiting times
- Being passed around from department to department
- Not getting a quick response to a query
- Speaking to someone who isn’t properly trained
These are all things that can end up in bad reviews, but luckily they are all easy to avoid by having strict customer service targets in place. This could include ensuring that calls are passed on, that complaints are quickly escalated, and that there’s a clear path that all calls follow. By training your own staff, as well as using answering service companies, it’s easy to keep customers happy and to avoid having negative online reviews in future.
The majority of customer service calls to most organisations are usually pretty quick and easy to deal with. It could be a change of details, or just enquiring about opening hours, and no customer wants to spend a long time on the phone in these circumstances. However, during busy times they’ll have to be held in a queue along with longer, more difficult cases.
If your operators are tied up, it’s worth considering using an overflow call handling service. Once call waiting times reach a certain number, it means people will be redirected to a professional at an answering service, so there’s no sitting on hold. They can also help with basic enquiries, so if you have dozens of calls asking for basic information, then this will take some of the pressure off.
If people don’t get a speedy resolution for a complaint, they’ll often take to social media or review sites to complain, and this is where your reputation can take a downturn. Most companies have an official complaints procedure, and it’s important that you stick to this so that customers who complain know what to expect.
When customers submit a formal complaint, either over the phone or by letter, it’s important to get back in touch as soon as possible to let them know what will happen next. You will probably have a time window to resolve the complaint, 10 days is pretty standard, and by letting them know this you are reassuring them that the complaint is being looked into.
If you call a company about a customer service issue, then the last thing you want to hear is an automated message. It’s important to have a friendly voice on the phone, and someone who knows what they’re talking about. That’s why audits of your customer service department are essential. This could be regularly listening into random calls, or giving random tests to operators. If they need further training, then you could use a company answering service to take calls while your operators are busy, and this will take the pressure off when you have big meetings or need some extra cover.
When staff are overwhelmed with work, they can fail to meet quality targets as they’re simply just trying to get through the calls. If you are finding that staff are rushing through calls and not meeting quality standards, then it’s worth looking at overflow call handling so that they can take their time with difficult cases, and call back customers when your department is a bit quieter.
There are lots of reasons why excellent customer service is so important, and one of them is because it helps protect your reputation. A customer who has a good experience may tell a couple of people, but a customer with a bad experience could tell a massive audience thanks to social media. Having people on the phone who can pick up quickly, offer a high service level, and resolve issues is therefore essential, and can mean the difference between a good review and a bad one. This is why many companies set strict targets for things like answering the phone and resolving complaints, and why your business should consider it too.