If you’ve decided you want to stand out from the crowd with a differentiated customer service offering, read on – we hope at least one of these ideas will resonate and make your customers (and your boss) love you!
One of the easiest ways to differentiate your customer service is with frontline contact centre employees – hiring people who have the right personality and attitude to represent your brand essence. This need not be a hit and miss. Today’s best talent assessment tools are based on large volumes of data from real-life contact centres, and enable companies to profile ideal candidates and identify those who are likely to achieve high customer satisfaction scores. Request information on talent assessment tools.
Recognise the serious side to fun
Common sense tells us that engaged employees are going to provide better customer experience than disengaged ones. So spice up your contact centre with some fun to create happy, motivated employees who enjoy their workplace. There are a variety of “fun facilitators” who run workshops, and “fun consultants” who design innovative staff engagement programs throughout the year. Too many companies perceive this purely as a line item in the R&R budget, and fail to realise the serious side to “employee fun” and its positive impact on employee, and therefore customer, satisfaction.
To learn about another way to introduce fun into the contact centre, download our free guide, The benefits of gamification in contact centres.
Warm up your customers
Most contact centres offer bland messaging when their customers are waiting in queue or on hold. Here is a quick win opportunity to differentiate your customer service with compelling announcements and relevant offers, delivered by charming and professional voice talent.
Let your customers see you
As the world moves towards personalisation and visualisation, why not let your customers see your customer service representatives? Both the enabling technology and the consumer demand are there for video customer service, yet so few companies are offering it – another opportunity for differentiation!
Create a solutions team – not a complaints team
If you have a complaints team, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider: who would want to work in a “complaints” department day in and day out? What if this department was relabelled the Customer Solutions team, charged with finding solutions to customers’ problems and advocating internally for the customer? Changing the team’s name would require a cultural change program, but it’s all doable and can have incredible impact.
Rendezvous with your customers when it suits them
The bane of consumers’ existence is waiting on hold “forever”. But this need not be the case, even if the company’s call centre is overwhelmed. An instant enhancement to customer service is allowing the customer to rendezvous with you and select a time of their choice to receive a callback. For non-urgent inquiries, this is an ideal solution for both parties – the company can schedule the appropriate manpower in advance, and the customer can pick a time they know they will be free.
For more on this topic, check out our blog: Ditching drop-off: virtual queue solutions for contact centres
Extend your coverage
Many companies are still limiting customer service to business hours, Monday to Friday – even though they know that customers would appreciate extended hours or 24×7 service. One of the reasons for company inaction is a misconception of costs. Today, there are a variety of outsourced call centre services that specialise in after-hours coverage and can manage even small volumes in non-peak hours for modest fees. While the small volume of calls may not seem to merit the after-hours initiative on the surface, the value comes from the differentiation: the company can secure a real marketing advantage over its competitors with a 24×7 offering as part of its key value proposition. Explore outsourcing after-hours!
Make your customers feel secure
Credit card fraud is, unfortunately, a growing phenomenon, and contact centres processing credit card payments face increasing pressure to become PCI compliant to protect themselves and their customers. Yet traditional PCI compliance involves a significant investment in time and money. What if contact centres could (a) keep their customers happy by letting the customer enter their credit card details on their phone, so they don’t even have to reveal the details to the call centre agent and (b) still be PCI compliant without getting PCI accredited? Technology now enables this, and provides a differentiated level of customer service.
Break out of silos and get connected
How happy would customers be if companies were actually walking the talk of “omni-channel”, and connecting up all their channel silos? With omni-channel, companies can interact with customers with full understanding of their history and inquiry journey, whether that’s through phone, email, social media or in person. So many are talking about this, yet so few are doing it – another opportunity for differentiation!
Differentiation usually means being innovative. Perhaps you have an internal innovation champion or team, but if not, and you would like a fresh pair of eyes to be tasked with innovating to give you a customer service advantage, give us a shout. We’d be happy to help with an Innovation Workshop.
This post was authored by Sharon Melamed. With 25+ years’ experience in customer service and outsourcing in Australia, the US and Japan, Sharon is an industry veteran who has helped hundreds of companies find and implement customer solutions around the world. Sharon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Sharon on LinkedIn.