Thanks to the Internet, and in particular social media, the customer has more power than ever before. Happy customers will gladly act as evangelists for your product or service, and unhappy ones will make sure that everyone they know is aware of how you have let them down. This means that good customer service is more important than ever before.
Customers are People
One of the biggest problems that many growing companies encounter is maintaining a high quality of customer service. When you have just a handful of customers, it’s easy to give them all personal service. As your customer base grows, you may need to outsource contact centre services to a third party, and if you do that, there’s the risk that he personal treatment your customers are accustomed to will fall by the wayside.
If you want to retain a positive image as a company that provides top quality service, then you will need to make sure that whoever provides your contact centre services is as dedicated to the happiness and welfare of your customers as you are.
One way to do this is to keep your contact centre in house. You don’t need a sophisticated call centre set-up with an expensive PBX system to do this. You can manage a quite sophisticated contact centre in house via IP telephony. Running your contact centre in house will ensure that the people your customers talk to always have up-to-the-minute information about your products, and you won’t have to wait for things to filter through several channels to reach the front line employees.
More Than Just Phone Calls
Modern consumers expect to have more options than just picking up the telephone, so IP telephony is just one part of the equation. To provide strong contact centre services, it’s wise to cover as many different channels as possible. For example, you should look at providing email and web-based ticketing, online chats, and limited support via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services.
One of the benefits of providing support via several channels is that you can ask your customers to provide feedback about the support they received. In addition, if you answer simple questions online, there’s a good chance that people will comment on the support they received in public, providing you with effectively free, positive publicity.
Of course, this sort of support philosophy can easily backfire. If you do choose to offer several support channels, make sure the people dealing with social media are well trained employees with a positive attitude and friendly (but cautious) personality. The last thing you want is to end up in a situation where an off-hand sarcastic comment is misunderstood, goes viral, and lands you on a list of “Worst PR disasters of 2012”.
Politeness Costs Nothing
It costs nothing to be polite, but make sure that you mean it when you ask “Is there anything I can do to help?” Especially if you’re asking online. Many companies have added Twitter to their contact centre services lists, but don’t follow through with offers of assistance that they make on Twitter. If you’re going to promise to get back to someone who contacts you online, make sure that you follow through.