Customer service representatives are on the front lines of all product and service-based businesses. Their job covers a wide range of important responsibilities such as answering queries, managing complaints/offering problem resolution, and in general, maintaining and nurturing valuable client relationships. These brave and sometimes underappreciated individuals bridge the gap between company and customer. Although there are various factors which contribute to a company’s success (or lack thereof), customer service plays a vital role in this respect – it’s important to recognize all the ways this position has the power to make or break a business.
A customer service agent takes dozens of calls from clients each day. It would be great if these calls merely consisted of positive feedback and virtual pats on the back, however the reality is that more often than not, these calls are not exactly positive in nature.
Typically, a customer will call for one of three reasons, the most neutral being that they are interested in a company’s product/services and would like to request more information. This is the kind of call a qualified representative should always be successful in handling. If an agent is properly trained, well-versed in all things relating to the company they represent, as well as up to date on product/service changes, no questions should go unanswered. This is why it’s important that all agents undergo rigorous training to acquire a healthy knowledge of the brand they’re speaking on behalf of. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and many businesses have taken a lax approach to the development of customer service teams. As a result, there is a much higher number of dissatisfied customers (both potential and existing), who ultimately end up with a competitor company.
The other two most common motivations for calling a customer service line involve product issues which require assistance/troubleshooting, or extreme dissatisfaction with the intention of filing a formal complaint as well as submitting a request for a replacement or refund. These calls are far more complex and demand competency, patience, sensitivity and problem-solving skills. With customer services reps working under such immense pressure, there is much more room for error. If a client is on the fence about remaining loyal to a brand, how a customer support agent handles their issue can be the determining factor. This is often where businesses underestimate the power of extensive and ongoing training. When a client is underwhelmed (or worse, upset) by their exchange with a customer service agent, they will most likely take their business elsewhere. This can be especially detrimental if they end up sharing their negative experience with friends and family, or online, where negative press spreads like wildfire and poor reviews can topple a business.
One of the most valuable assets qualified customer service representatives bring to the table is their ability to collect valuable client data which is essential to the pursuit of a successful business. A company can use this information to evolve and adapt based on the changing needs of its target customer base.
But how do outsourcing (BPO) companies factor into the equation? To find out, follow the link to ‘Foolproof Customer Service: Why Outsourcing Companies Are King – Part 2’