7 ways to better support your customer service team

In the world of business, if there's one thing that's guaranteed to make customers happy, it's great customer service. Whether it's arranging a repair, processing a refund or providing first-class technical support, your staff spend their time going above and beyond to make sure everything is just right. We know because we've read the reviews! 

To kickstart October, the Institute of Customer Service is running National Customer Service Week, a five-day event celebrating the best customer service from around the UK. For companies to consistently achieve success by meeting (and beating) their customers' high levels of expectation, the frontline operation needs to be informed, motivated, and rewarded. 

Whether people are browsing for a bargain in the Black Friday sale, or comparing costs ahead of Christmas, increase your chances of earning a Trusted Service Award and ease the pressure on your customer service teams with our seven handy tips. 

1. Update your website FAQs 

Pretty simple, this one, and perhaps the easiest item to action, but when consumers visit your website, they're in the research phase. A fresh set of frequently asked questions is an all-around win. Armed with the latest facts to hand, their customer journey just got a lot more straightforward, and they didn't need to pick up the phone to find out more. 

This kind of digital housekeeping can effectively reduce call numbers and apply anywhere a potential customer searches for your product or service. For example, update your Google My Business page with the correct opening hours. Find out how your Google Stars rating can be affected by out-of-date information in our free guide. 

During busy periods, share a link to your FAQ page on all relevant social media accounts and consider adding a pop-up or information bar to your homepage. 

2. Make returns simple 

If customers are calling repeatedly wanting the same information, for example, how to return purchases, you can make their lives easier by emailing them all the returns information they need, as soon as you know their product has been delivered. 

We think footwear retailer Schuh achieve this this well, and their website has an easy-to-read guide for returns. With the number of online purchases set to rise indefinitely, customers are less likely to interact with a physical product before the point of sale.

While there’s lots you can do to improve your product pages, like good quality photos and accurate descriptions, online returns are here to stay. And if your returns policy is clear from the outset, you’re more likely to improve consumer confidence – and hopefully conversions! 

In fact, while just under half of online shoppers have something back during the pandemic,  76% of shoppers would return or exchange items less often if retailers provided more accurate images and details on their product pages. 

Enable your customer service team to help more people in the right way by providing better product information upfront.  

Keen to learn more and help the planet? Discover how you can boost sustainability by reducing your returns.  

3. Keep people in the loop 

Sometimes, you can't beat talking to an actual person, especially if your query isn't listed in the FAQs or is more niche. But when customers do contact your customer service team, they expect to get the answers they need quickly – no one wants to be put on hold! 

To keep your customers happy, and reduce your team’s stress levels,  keep your employees up to date with the latest customer communications. That could be an email to existing customers, an incentive offers for new customers, or details of a product change that may raise issues across the board. 

How you choose to keep them in the loop is up to you – here are some helpful suggestions from CIO. 

4. Celebrate the good 

In an ideal world, your business wouldn't need a customer service team. Your shoppers would be delighted with their purchase and eager to drop lovely five-star reviews every time. Unfortunately, we all know things go wrong from time to time, and when things need putting right, your customer service teams are always the first port of call. 

As a result, your squad of problem-solving superheroes work until everything is as it should be, no matter how hard the journey. However, findings from the Resolution Foundation reveal that a growing number of UK employees are finding their jobs more stressful, despite job satisfaction remaining broadly the same as it was 30 years ago. 

For customer service teams, a rise in product and service expectations amongst consumers may be one of the root causes. This means that it’s even more important that you reward your employees for a job well done. Consider sending out a weekly #WednesdayWins email to your team – and the broader company – that highlights genuine customer feedback and praises your members of staff. 

Get more in-depth insight into how you can take pressure of your customer service team with our free guide. 

Feefo Surveys is a great tool to get feedback from your customer service team. You can create private and anonymous surveys to make sure your employees are happy, equipped with the right tools and have a place to ask for more support. Get started with our 6 downloadable survey templates that will get you results. 

 

5. Take time to train 

Training videos have come a long way over the years. Gone are the wooden acting, cheesy soundtracks and cliché attitudes. Today, learning is primarily virtual through learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy, while LinkedIn and Google offer skills training for several online disciplines. 

Give your team free access to resources that will nurture their talent and empower them to explore areas that not only are they interested in, but as a business, you'll be able to give them the freedom to put their newfound skills to good use. Encourage your team to set aside time in their work calendar to do this and ask them to report back on the experience. 

6. Lighten the load 

Almost half (46%) of customer service teams with chronic stress listed their workload as the leading cause, according to a Conpsych report. 

In this case, extended sick leave is likely to put more pressure on the rest of the team. Regular breaks play an essential part in maintaining an employee's health and wellbeing, which might get missed during busy periods or when an individual provides a high level of ongoing support. 

Encourage each member of your staff personally to take a break, especially if you’re one of the many companies who still offer remote working solutions. And try not to take no for an answer! Being glued to a computer screen all day is physically demanding on the senses. Truthfully, all but the most important reports and calls can wait, as you support your customer service teams to maintain n a healthy work/life balance. 

And if your workplace doesn't have a quiet zone? Think about where and how to create an attractive chill space – somewhere cosy and quiet where everyone can step out of the work headspace, free from calls and distractions. This guide from Diamond Interiors can show you how. 

7. Get the right gear 

Ever heard the expression "A bad tradesman blames his tools?". There might be something in that. 

We've learned a lot about our workspaces during the pandemic, mainly that doing video calls in your pyjamas is more common than we first thought. But beyond the WFH quirks we've since adjusted to, it's clear that having the right equipment to do the job (no matter the location) is essential. 

Chairs should be ergonomic, desks should be at the correct height, there needs to be a plentiful supply of laptop chargers everywhere, and, crucially, computers should be up to date. Not just in terms of virus protection - accessibility matters too. Quite frankly, in 2021, nobody needs to be working in front of a gigantic CRT monitor or battling with spreadsheets on Windows 98. 

If a staff member needs to purchase an item to improve their workstation, make it clear how the expenses system works (you may need to simplify it for this purpose). You could even assign everyone a set budget (say, £500) to buy the right home office equipment they need. This article from Wired explains how to give employees the right tools for the job, especially if they're working from home. 

National Customer Service Week takes place from October 4th-8th, 2021. Join in on social media using #NCSW21. 


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