Having a business objective called excellence in customer service is probably part of every company’s mission statement. But, what exactly does it mean? Well, it depends on whom you ask, and possibly when you ask. As customers, you who are reading this, probably have your own ideas about what constitutes great customer service. I know I do.
When you contact a company for the first time, there is a normal exchange of information about your specific issue, your wants and needs. You tell them about the problem you’re trying to solve or what you’re looking for and they ask you questions – for example, about the color, size, number of items you want to order, date you need them, how you want to pay for them, etc. If you, the customer, are satisfied with how the call proceeds, you’ll probably buy the product or service or do business with the company again in the future. If you are unhappy with how the call proceeds, you won’t, as companies well know.
So, when you decide to “go” with a given company, what exactly makes you do it? And in the end, does it matter?
Yes! It surely does matter. It matters to you, and it matters to that company, because without a lot of “you’s,” the company does not survive.
So, back to the question: What makes you give the thumbs-up signal to doing business with a company?
Was the customer service outstanding? Was the rep knowledgeable, professional, courteous, friendly, empathetic, relatable? Or did it just come down to price? Was it all of these factors, or something else entirely? For most people, customer service is a determining factor in the “whom to do business with” decision matrix. According to Gartner in 2014, “89% of marketing heads predict that customer experience will be the primary basis for competitive differentiation by 2017.” It seems we arrived at that point early, since, in 2016, “89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.”
The essential question now is, what constitutes excellent customer service?
You probably can answer that based on your own experience! Customers want service personnel to be friendly and empathetic, resolve the problem quickly, and make the process easy. Most people probably find these “demands” reasonable. Delivering them is not always easy, however!
Customer service reps (contact center agents) are the frontline force that represents the enterprise. These are the people who make or break “excellence in customer service.” Being the best possible rep is dependent upon attitude more than anything – a desire to help the customer and do so in a pleasant manner. In the contact center, however, customer service reps have performance metrics to meet. For example, Average Handle Time (AHT) of say, 90, 120, 180 seconds, to solve “world hunger” on a customer service phone call. That’s a short time and a lot of pressure to complete the task and deliver excellent customer service. No matter how great the attitude, the stress of meeting AHT goals (and other metrics) can be wearing and frustrating, especially if customers are demanding and difficult.
Reducing contact center workforce stress is something WorkFlex strives to bring about with our intraday management technology. Customer service reps who need a break from the AHT pressure or the angry customers can use WorkFlex to schedule themselves into off-phone activities such as email or chat, or can complete a training module, if they need to. They can also take time off of work to get a breather and they do not have to ask the center’s schedulers for permission. Instead, they just look at available overstaffed periods in the WorkFlex mobile app or in the browser version and select what they like. Decompression helps keep attitudes positive and service-oriented. That, in turn, makes customer attitudes toward companies more positive, which in turn, keeps them coming back. Ultimately, it means company survival.
WorkFlex is a tool in the available toolbox of methods and mechanisms contact centers can use to achieve their excellence in customer service objectives. Why not investigate how it works? You’ll be interested to learn about what else it can do for your contact center. Trust me, that’s a lot.