While traveling and living in a number of countries, I came to encounter several customer support services at various satisfaction levels ~ very few provided the service as it should have been.
In the process of expanding my business, while searching for a company that could provide quality customer support, I noticed several companies falsely claiming that their quality of services were unsurpassed. Therefore, I decided to establish another department customer support and messaging software within the company. After initial experimenting, I finally adopted a system which started working up to the desired level taking the company from scratch to top ranking in Better Business Bureau in a very short time.
On achieving desired goals and successfully working for over a year in this field, I decided to start another company to offer services to other businesses. After gaining considerable experience in the industry, I thought it is a good idea to share my experiences with other busy entrepreneurs to save their precious time.
Whether it is a conventional or an e-commerce business, “superior customer support service” is equally important in retaining your customers and their confidence which is very cost effective as compared to attracting new customers. One bad experience can change the perceptions of your customer which can spread very quickly when he shares this with others, hence shattering down the image of the company, in the long term. To avoid being misled, it is very important to select the right customer support service provider for your business. Being the front line actors, customer support agents are very important pillar for a business. They are your brand ambassadors reflecting how you feel about your customers.
Another important thing is; how easy it is for your customers to contact your company. There should be a variety of channels available i.e. face to face, by mail, phone, chat, fax and email. It could be a challenge for the company, as it requires a lot of efforts to integrate and streamline solution providing your agents with the information they need to effectively service the customer.
Knowing and understanding your customer is an important ingredient for business growth which you cannot afford to ignore. You should be having specially designed strategies to get their feedback. But the question is how it will be possible. There are many ways, for example feedback forms, mystery shopping, and satisfaction surveys. Even more important to listen to the responses of your customers on feedback forms, surveys etc. and making appropriate reformations or alterations, when needed.
For all these your customer support agents can play an important role as they have direct interaction with your customers. Although it is better to eradicate the reason for your customer to contact you in the first instance but still good quality customer service is unavoidable in meeting customer needs.
The retention of your customer support agents is a global problem and we need to find a solution for that to keep consistent quality of customer service with a similar, familiar look and feel whenever they contact the company. If you are not able to retain your staff and try to work with less numbers or new untrained agents you will not be able to deliver good quality customer service, resulting in driving away your customers.
To cut down the cost of using live agents, some companies have implemented automated voice attendants, leading to negative experiences by impersonal conversations. Another important area resulting in a frustrated customer is redirection of calls to other agents or superiors due to incompetency and lack of knowledge of the products and services. The responding time in attending the customer’s call is also very important to save your face from a negative impression.
Over the years the customer support services is emerging as an independent industry which is growing very fast in cost effective regions such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc. Like production facilities, companies in high cost areas are outsourcing their customer support services to those regions. Delegating some of the service areas of your business to a third party having expertise in that particular area is necessary if you want your business to grow. It makes perfect sense to partner with people to run them with you, sharing the workload and the profit.
Now the question is what should be the criteria of outsourcing certain services to third party provider? When I was in the process of establishing my company I put myself at customers’ place and asked a question to myself as to how I would like to be treated by any company. If I am satisfied, I will stay longer with a company and even will refer others to buy from the same company resulting in better growth of business. This method of selling is easy as compared to direct marketing, conventional advertising and other expensive approaches to attract new customers. The quality of customer service will make you stand out from your competitors.
The first step before contacting any service provider is to decide your exact requirement i.e. whether your requirement is only chat support or voice call, if it is voice call whether it is inbound, outbound or both. Some businesses may also require Email management and online presentation. After analyzing the requirement and deciding on the channels to be used for your customers another important thing is to find out what technology is being used by the service provider.
At times you may need to change the level of service. If changes arise, your service provider should be able to update the terms as necessary. In any business relationship, there is always a possibility of disputes. While signing up with the service provider you should have full understanding as to how dispute resolutions are tackled.