In my experience of calling a customer support helpline number, I have to, very often, repeat my concern to different agents after having punched in multiple extensions. Sometimes, the call is put on hold, or worse, it gets disconnected. I am certain I am not alone in facing such a situation. Because this is annoying and time-consuming, I prefer dropping an email or chatting with an agent real time.
There are many people like me who prefer this kind of an interaction to ensure that their issues are resolved. In such a setup, the mode of interaction is a computer or smartphone screen – customers cannot hear or see the agent who is assisting them. There is uncertainty whether the agent is actually a human or a robot/auto-responding email. Today, the customers contact customer service only if they want a human and personal relationship. In such situations, how can one ensure that the customer service experience for the customers is “human enough”?
The answer to this lies in the skills that the customer service representatives possess. It is essential to hire the right employees, as they are the first point of contact for the customers to build a relationship with the organization. However, I believe that in order to support the customers on an online platform, employees must have these five skills.
It is easy to sense the mood of the customer on a telephonic call. However, when customers report their concerns via an online platform, it is difficult to gauge the customer’s state of mind and temper. To win even in such situations is quite a challenge. In such a scenario, employees with good interpersonal skills will have an advantage with the customers. Interpersonal skills are simply the set of abilities that any person needs to work effectively with others and to positively interact with them.
Employees that possess these skills will understand and acknowledge the problem with clarity and precision. They will also empathize with the customers, are polite, and take full responsibility for the problem that the customers are facing. Customers will certainly be appreciative when the employees are entirely dedicated to being helpful to them.
The core value of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing store, is ‘Deliver WOW Through Service’ and the employees never cease to prove it. A customer ordered a pair of shoes from Zappos that fell apart shortly after the delivery. He contacted the Zappos Customer Loyalty Team. The response that he received is nothing less than absolute brilliant.
It is but natural to skip out certain details while reading. However, online customer service agents don’t have that kind of a liberty. It is essential for them to read meticulously and comprehend the customer’s issue in totality and with precision so that the customer is provided with the best support in resolving the issues. Agents that do not possess acute reading skills might jump to conclusions, leading to customers getting agitated.
For the customer service agents in a voice-based process, it is impossible to attend to multiple customer issues at the same time. However, it is crucial for the online customer service agents to multitask: they must be able to effectively chat with multiple customers and provide solutions for each customer issue. Nevertheless, this cannot be done at the expense of any customer; each customer must feel that the agent is attending to his issue wholeheartedly and dedicatedly.
Along with providing the solutions, such employees must be able to record the conversations and escalate issues to higher authorities, if needed, while operating various tools simultaneously.
When the customer support is provided in a text-based format, it is easy to judge the level of professionalism that a brand and its employees possess. The representatives must always use appropriate writing skills, which include correct spellings, grammar, and punctuation. The tone of the language that is used to communicate with the customers can make or break the relationship that the organization shares with the customers.
Ability to personalize
When the customer receives a personalized experience even on an online platform, it is sure to delight them, bringing in repeat business. If a customer service agent is fastidious, it becomes easy to understand the customer behavior and thus provide the correct resolution. It might even calm down a furious customer and win his loyalty. Further, such employees must be willing to keep the script aside and improvise to provide the best resolution to the customers.
Recently, we shared some of the greatest examples of customer service skills, where we talked about a Netflix employee delighting his customer with a Star Trek-inspired chat. This Amazon customer service executive too did something similar in terms of personalizing his responses.
Additionally, customers want their issues to be solved promptly and efficiently. Thus, the time taken to respond to the first email or chat message is extremely crucial. For this reason, customer service executives in an online setup must be prompt.
Are there any other characteristics that you look for in employees that deal with customers in an online setup? Do let us know!