Having real people working your customer service line will pay off

Business is more competitive today than ever. There are few people who would disagree with that statement. Today, trying to reach the goals of additional sales or a greater market share is challenging since customers have so many options as to how they spend their resources.

If you want to keep customers loyal to your brand, your best option may be to treat them right and provide service by offering a person to talk to.

“Voice is still on people’s minds as the preferred channel, and we obviously agree and promote our personalized service solutions,” says Steve Brubaker, chief of staff, InfoCision Management Corp. “We offer multichannel solutions to meet a variety of marketing objectives and we still find when people want to ask a question, they pick up the phone and call.”

Smart Business talked with Brubaker to learn how companies can better deliver customer service by using a third party provider.

How do you see customer service differentiation growing in importance as compared to product differentiation?

We are noticing more companies are starting to invest in the customer service function. We went through a long period of time where many were quick to focus solely on the lowest cost solution, and certainly that is important, but today the focus is on the value of selecting the most cost effective solution.

We have found that having knowledgeable people on the phone who can speak clearly and represent the product and the company makes all the difference in achieving first call resolution. They understand the company, they have been trained properly, they have a good background, they know what to do and they are able to make the customer happy.

If the issue is not resolved in the first call, it may make an unfavorable impression. People get frustrated if they have to be put on hold. When customers reach someone, and receive help and get answers to their questions right away, it helps strengthen their relationship with the organization. Most importantly, they want to know that you appreciate their business.

What has been evolving or changing to make it more important than ever to understand the preferred method of contact?

Many times, the contact center is the first impression that someone has interacting with a live person, especially following up to online or in store purchases. It is likely when a customer has a question about the product or a question about the service, he or she may have never been in a store or spoken with someone until they call. Now that they are talking to a real live person, they’re going to form an impression about the company.

While it’s not an easy job to communicate with customers who may be frustrated or have had a difficulty, we recognize they are calling because they need resolution. We add value by assuring the customer that we’re here to help: ‘Let us understand what the issue is, let’s talk about what we can do to resolve it.’

What else is important in that person-to-person call that the customer service representative needs to demonstrate?

It’s all about being sensitive to the customer and listening. Listening is so critical. We teach that, and we do a lot of role-play and discussion about, ‘What did the customer say and what did we say?’

It’s important to do this for each call and avoid assuming they are all the same. In each call a unique situation presents itself, and if we are not listening carefully, we may be less than optimal. We want to handle each person as an individual. You should still receive personalized customer service in today’s environment.

Steve Brubaker is Chief of Staff for InfoCision Management Corp. Reach him at (330) 668-1400 or [email protected]

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