Small Ways to Improve Your Customer Service in 2021

  • Train customer service agents on empathy.
  • A good On-Hold service is always helpful when you don't have the man power yet.
  • Stay flexible and consider bilingual agents.
  • Offer support for customer service agents.

The year 2020 was tough and 2021 hasn’t been a great improvement for many in the world. If you’re a business owner who sells a product or a service, you have to provide less than satisfied customers a means of contact and self-expression.

Build-in Empathy

Many people are feeling quite trapped as they shelter in place. When an unhappy customer reaches out to your organization, make sure they have lots of options. Let them know that you’re available for their most comfortable method of responding by responding in kind.

If they email, email back. Calls work the same. Be prepared to let folks rant a bit; many people have felt unheard for far too long. If you’re paying someone to let folks rant, empower them.

Leaving people on hold because your staff is limited will do nothing to keep a dissatisfied customer from being an irate customer.

Use Music

Choose a long tune that’s through-composed, rather than something with a lot of repeating verses. Something simple and rather percussive, such as a plucked guitar or hammered piano keys, will allow any voice recordings to stand out and be easier to hear.

Lots of song verses repeated over and over with the same message repeated ad nauseam will not soothe a customer; being reminded of the time spent on hold will likely only add to the irritation.

Change Things Up

Make sure that your message on hold expresses your business message, but don’t allow it to get too serious. “Your call is important to us,” is getting a bit overused, so why not let your potential happy customer know that you’re doing your best to get to them, thankful for their patience, and willing to contact them in a variety of other ways?

Offer a rapid response in whatever format your phone customer switches to. Leaving people on hold because your staff is limited will do nothing to keep a dissatisfied customer from being an irate customer.

Stay Flexible

Give your dissatisfied customer the chance to have a positive interaction with your customer service reps. Empower your call reps to ask a customer to back things up and share their whole story. The time invested in this can be extremely valuable; the power of repeating their narrative can allow your service rep the chance to empathize.

Conversation can help in this case. Let your reps agree with the client who’s had a frustrating experience. “I can certainly see why that would be frustrating,” from a rep that lets your customer dial back from anger. As anger is not a good communication tool, using other words can let your customer find a new way to express themselves until they’ve fully stated their complaint.

If you’re able, consider hiring bilingual agents. By hiring customer service agents who can speak a second language, particularly one that is used by your customers, you can offer language-specific services that will show your customers you care about their needs. Multi-lingual agents can help customers express themselves clearly and by offering this service, you will be making your business more accessible to your diverse audience.

Give the agent autonomy to provide them with the chance to be in control of the exchange.

Support Your Agents

Depending on the nature of your business, your customer service agents are dealing with folks who are probably pretty dissatisfied and frustrated with life in general. If you’re providing a custom service or offering any form of customer comfort, make sure that your agents have some flexibility in offering a bargain or another service.

For example, if you’re selling an online class and your agent gets an unhappy call, train them for

  • calmness
  • empathy
  • de-escalation

Give the agent autonomy to provide them with the chance to be in control of the exchange. Let them offer a second class, a forum for direct feedback, or another means of communication if you’re not interested in offering a refund.

Customer service reps are not punching bags, but without the autonomy to either terminate the call or make an offer to the customer, your policies can leave them hanging. Empower them to make an offer to an unhappy customer and you may find that your previously unhappy customer can be converted into a second chance.

McKenzie Jones

McKenzie is your typical Midwestern gal. When she is not writing or reading, she can be found training for her next half-marathon, baking something sweet, playing her guitar, or cuddled up with her golden retriever, Cooper. She loves watching football, fall weather, and long road trips.

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