Acquire and retain more customers with an outstanding customer service team
If you consider customer service as a cost to your business, think again.
Did you know that 70% of buying decisions are based on how the customers feel they’re being treated and 7 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies that provide excellent customer service?
Turns out, your ability to acquire and retain customers depends a lot on the quality of your customer service.
And the quality of your customer service? It depends a lot on the people you hire to interact with your customers.
Here are some important traits and qualities to look for when hiring your customer service team:
1. High Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
It’s not “if,” or even “when,” but “how often” that a customer service representative has to deal with angry customers or handle sensitive cases.
To defuse these situations, customer care professionals need to have the ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as those of the customers with whom they’re interacting.
High EQ is characterized by:
- An innate ability to connect with other people and build relationships.
- The capability to control impulse, handle stress, suspend judgment, and think before acting.
- A high level of empathy, which is the ability to understand another person’s emotional reactions.
- The skill to facilitate a conversation by using social cues to build rapport and establish common ground.
- Self-confidence and open-mindedness that allow one to handle feedback constructively.
2. A positive attitude
Your customer service agents represent your brand so it’s important that they project a positive attitude when they interact with your prospects and customers.
They should have a naturally friendly disposition, an upbeat personality, and the ability to engage others in conversations.
Such enthusiasm should also be reflected in their work ethics, e.g., the willingness to go the extra mile to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Last but not least, a positive attitude will help facilitate collaboration with other employees in your company. This is important because the reps will often need the assistance or cooperation of other departments in order to find the right answer or provide the best solutions to your customers.
3. Flexibility and adaptability
Customer expectations are changing rapidly and it’s important that your customer service team can adapt quickly to meet them.
Here are just a few reasons to hire agents who are flexible and adaptable:
- Customers want “instant gratification” and expect to get an answer or resolution to their queries immediately. Customer service agents need to “connect the dots” and use everything at their disposal to deliver the best customer experience.
- The use of technologies, such as live chat, require customer service reps who know how to handle multiple interactions simultaneously without losing their cool.
- As omnichannel customer care becomes the norm, agents have to juggle interactions coming in from different channels and respond appropriately. They should also be able to think on their feet and switch channels when necessary to offer the best service possible.
- The use of new database platforms and customer relationships management technologies require customer service professionals to learn new workflows, processes, and systems quickly so they can stay productive.
4. Clear communication skills
The ability to communicate clearly and succinctly is an essential skill for customer service representatives and it’s important that your agents excel in both written and verbal communications so they can switch fluidly between channels.
Even though good communication skills can be learned through training, you should look for certain traits when hiring customer care agents to ensure that they can succeed at their jobs:
- A good grasp of your customers’ psychology and how to “get through” to different people.
- A knack for assessing a situation to deliver the right message at the right time.
- The ability to walk the fine line between reassuring customers that their requests have been heard without promising results that can’t be guaranteed.
- Having a friendly and positive tone in both written and verbal communications.
- The ability to ask effective questions and listen actively.
5. Familiarity with (and passionate about) your products or services
It’s frustrating for your customers to be interacting with a customer care representative who doesn’t understand their problems or has to transfer them from one specialist to the next to get the issue resolved.
While customer service agents should be supported by product specialists when handling highly technical issues, they should have sufficient knowledge about your products to provide basic support right away.
In addition, your customer care team should be passionate about your brand. They should be able to communicate the benefits of your products and the unique selling proposition of your brand while relating to your customers on the general subject matter around your products or services.
6. Problem-solving skills
Customers get in touch for a variety of reasons. No matter how thorough your staff training, there will be surprises that require your customer service reps to come up with creative solutions on the spot.
Members of your customer care team should have the ability to get to the bottom of an issue by asking relevant questions and understanding the customer’s ultimate goal.
In addition, they should be able to navigate a complex set of priorities and feel empowered to reach a solution that satisfies the needs of the customer while staying within the company’s guidelines.
To assemble an A-team for your customer service, you need to hire the right people and provide them with the right training.
In addition, empower your customer service team with the best tools so they can handle all the requests from different customer touch points without missing a beat.
When you put the right team in place and support them with the best-in-class customer care technology, you have a winning formula to acquire and retain more customers.