Good and Bad Customer Service Trends

New customer service trends emerge all the time because everyone is looking to improve their company’s customer service. Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, so adopting new customer service techniques and mediums can vastly benefit your company. However, just because they are trending does not mean that all of these techniques are effective. Here is a look at both good and bad customer service trends.

 

Good Customer Service Trends

 

Text Messages: Studies and surveys show that most customers prefer a text response. They are great for communicating with customers quickly, with little to no hold time. The only real caveat is that your responses have to be precise and accurate. Your customer service agents will need to be highly trained, in order to think and solve problems quickly.

Rapid Response Times: Customers are getting used to customer service response that is nearly instantaneous, and they come to expect it out of every company. So, no matter which medium you use for customer service responses, the faster your response times are, the happier customers will be.

Social Media Outreach: More and more customers are reaching out to companies through social media. It is usually one of the fastest ways to get in contact with a company, and people are taking advantage of it. You are missing out if you are not responding to customer service inquiries on your social media, because companies that are responding publicly are getting a lot of customer satisfaction because of it.

Follow Ups: Customers do not like to think that you solved their problem and then forgot about them. So, a follow-up contact to check in and make sure they are not still encountering a problem can go a long way towards increasing a customer’s satisfaction level. Follow-ups can be done in the form of phone calls, emails, texts, etc., so they are pretty easy to implement.

Scheduling Apps: In this fast-paced world, customers do not want to wait on hold to schedule an appointment. It is far simpler for customers to schedule the appointments themselves. You can implement this system in a couple of different ways: you could add a section on your website for DIY scheduling, or you could use an app like Schedulista.

FAQ Videos: Customers tend to like to solve their problems themselves before breaking down and calling customer service. So, having a large list of FAQs is a great way for customers to troubleshoot. However, they like “how to” videos even more. Short videos that explain how to use features or fix common problems give your customer step-by-step instructions, along with visuals. It is easy to upload such videos to YouTube.

 

Bad Customer Service Trends

 

Negative Online Contacts: Just because celebrities get into arguments with their followers online does not mean that your business can afford to. Anyone who represents your company should maintain a positive online presence. Treating a customer badly in such a public way can have a drastically negative effect on your company.

Using Only Facebook: People are turning away from Facebook as more types of social media sites and apps are emerging. So, if your only social media presence is on Facebook, you are missing out on a large customer base.

Exclusively Telephone Customer Service Support: Customers are evolving to use new technologies, and we now have other ways that they can contact us. Text, chat, and email customer service make up a lot of customer service contact volume today. If you are only using telephone customer service support, you are really missing out.

 

 

This is the age of the informed consumer. They can see a good business when they see that others like it too. So, when you treat them well, they are really good at writing rave reviews online. So, if you provide good, fast customer service, not only will your customers be happy, they will sing your praises to others. Since the majority of people now rely on the reviews of a business to make decisions on which company they will choose, a great review will hopefully result in even more customers.

 

 

How Outsourcing Your Car Dealership Customer Service Can Make A Difference to Your Bottom Line

With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and social media, both potential and existing customers have more opportunities to connect with businesses and brands – and vice versa – than ever before. No longer can a business thrive solely on the basis of high-quality products and services; in this age of constant connectivity, high-quality multi-platform customer service is the ultimate key to sustained success. While this is true in any field, it is especially relevant if you own and operate an automobile dealership.

 

You are not just selling cars, you are presenting a lifestyle choice, and a major component of that process is the ability to provide convenient and satisfying customer service that results in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. Rather than handling these duties in-house, outsourcing your car dealership’s customer service to a reputable multi-channel contact center can make a real difference to your bottom line in many ways.

 

Reduce Operating Costs

 

 

Since most call centers serve multiple clients in a range of industries, the operating costs of the facility, equipment, maintenance, and training are spread out instead of footing the bill all by yourself. By the same token, these agents are experienced, knowledgeable, adept at dealing with customers in a courteous manner, and versatile enough to handle any situation that may arise. With everything already in place, you only pay for services as needed. Whether it’s on a regular basis, during peak periods or holidays, or if you find yourself shorthanded for any reason, the parameters depend entirely upon the unique needs of your dealership.

 

Increase Customer Satisfaction

 

Because strict quality control is the name of the game, you can rest assured that the agents representing your dealership will uphold the same high standards of professionalism and dedication to customer satisfaction exhibited by your in-house team. Entrusting your inbound and outbound customer service needs to a first-class call center means reduced hold times when customers try to contact you, and the extended hours offered by firms such as KPI Connect allow customers the convenience to connect with your dealership outside of traditional business hours.

 

 

Free Up Staff

 

 

Instead of tasking your skilled in-house team with answering common questions via phone, email, web chat, or social media, outsourcing these duties to experienced customer service specialists will free up your staff to do what they do best and focus their valuable time and effort on core business activities. Not only will outsourcing allow your staff to be more productive, but potential walk-in customers will appreciate receiving prompt attention rather than waiting for someone to finish up a phone call or email.

 

 

Great Ways to Reduce Hold Times

Hold times can be a call center’s worst enemy.

When a customer contacts a business, the last thing they want is to be put on hold. Making them wait even longer than expected can sometimes be unforgivable. The average caller generally hangs up after less than two minutes on hold, and more than one-third of them never call back. That is a sizable loss of business and a brief window of opportunity, so reducing hold times is an essential part of keeping customers satisfied.

 

Six Ways to Help Hold Times be Reduced

 

  1. Have a Sense of Urgency

 

It goes without saying that when a caller contacts a business, they have pressing needs that they would like addressed promptly and efficiently so they can move on with their day. Treating each interaction with a sense of urgency does not mean that agents or managers should rush customers through calls, but rather strive toward reaching a satisfying conclusion as soon as possible with respect for the customer’s valuable time.

 

  1. Be Responsive

 

Along the same lines as the first tip, make sure your entire team is always at the ready. A surefire way to reduce hold times is to dissuade agents from engaging in an excessive amount of chatter among one another between calls. This responsive attitude should extend to internal departments and even managers, cutting down on the amount of time that agents – and customers – have to spend waiting for an answer to a question or to escalate a call.

 

  1. Grow a Knowledge Database

 

Creating, updating, and providing easy access to a database of company knowledge containing relevant information and helpful answers to frequently asked questions allows agents to effortlessly respond to customer queries without the need to place them on hold. These indexes should be made available both online and offline in case of a faulty or slow network or internet connection.

 

  1. Dig into the Data

 

Reputable contact centers, such as KPI Connect, have access to a suite of cutting-edge advanced analytics that allow them to pinpoint the areas in which they can improve. Take advantage of the data and manage call queues according to the patience level of your customers by finding out as much as you can about the callers who hang up, when they called, and how long they waited before abandoning ship.

 

  1. Keep Tabs on Your Team

 

Determine inefficiencies and reduce hold times by listening in on live calls, providing feedback that only the agent can hear, and even conferencing in as the situation warrants. If you are unavailable, listen to recorded calls to get a gauge on how your team is performing and use these examples to train new agents. Don’t just spend time just on the slower agents either. Check in on your top performers, and try to figure out their tricks and strategies to keep things moving along. You could discover some real gems that you can then pass on to the rest of the department.

 

  1. Appreciate Your Agents

 

As a high-stress job, call centers can experience a high volume of turnover, which means more time (and money) spent on hiring and training new agents, managers, and supervisors. Avoid the hassle and build loyalty among your staff by rewarding positive and efficient performance, encouraging suggestions and feedback, and foster a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.

 

 

Should You Have a Bilingual Customer Service Department?

If you do not have bilingual customer service agents working in your customer service department, your customers are definitely missing out. By having agents who can speak two languages, they can speak to a larger number of customers, which could mean improved sales and profit for your company. Without them, any customer that calls in and does not speak English is going to be frustrated by the language barrier. Here are some things you need to know about having a bilingual customer service department in Canada:

 

Why French?

 

According to the 2016 census, 7.2 million people speak French in Canada. Most of these French-speaking citizens live in Quebec, where 95% of people are francophone. Because of this, the federal government passed the Official Languages Act in 1969. This means that both French and English are the official languages of Canada, and they’re both in equal standing with each other. So, if your calls come from Canada, it is very likely that you may get a customer is going to speak only French.

 

The immersion of the French language in culture is not unique to Canada, either. French is one of the most widely used languages in the world, with 225 million francophones worldwide. It is becoming more and more popular, and that number is expected to jump to 700 million worldwide by 2050. It is the official language of 29 countries. In Europe, where the majority of francophone population live, the only language that currently surpasses French is German. However, more and more people are speaking French, and French is expected to be spoken by more people than German by the year 2025. The language is spoken on every continent, and it is somewhere between the 6th and the 8th most used language on the internet. So, bilingual customer service agents who can speak French are a great idea to increase the ability of your business to handle people of this tongue.

 

Bilingual Customer Service Agents

 

With industry and technology advancing so rapidly, it is becoming more important to utilize bilingual customer service agents in your customer service department. As your company’s client base grows, so will the variety in your customers. With bilingual customer service agents, your company will not only be better able to service your Canadian customer base, you will have access to an international market.

 

Language barriers between your customer service agents and your customers can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. Your CSAs will not be able to understand your customers, and your customers will likely become frustrated when their questions and concerns can’t be attended to because of the barrier. It is easy to see how this can make your customer satisfaction rating go down.

 

Outsourcing Customer Service

 

In order to hire bilingual customer service agents, you would likely have to pay them more per hour than standard agents. You would also have to verify their fluency in the language to make sure they can actually speak French well enough to assist your customers. However, if you outsource your customer service calls, you will have access to bilingual customer service agents that the call center has already hired. This is less expensive to your company, it saves you time, and your customer service department will be better equipped to handle your customers’ questions.

 

All these reasons, and many more, are why you should have a bilingual customer service department or outsource your calls to a customer service call center that features bilingual services. The repeat business from happy non-English-speaking customers will most likely offer big returns, making it worth the effort.

 

Improve The Efficiency Of Your Customer Service Department

It does not really matter how great your product or service is, customers tend to remember their interaction with your company more. It is for this reason that a good customer service team and fast responses can improve the overall image of your company.

If your customers are experiencing long hold times, they will hang up, and every lost call is a potential customer lost. However, there are ways to improve the efficiency of your customer service department and ensure that your customers have a good experience with your company with every contact.

 

Service Level and Occupancy Rate

 

There are two important measurements used in call centers to determine their efficiency: Service Level and Occupancy Rate.

There are two different parameters of measurement to determine what the “Service Level” is:

 

  1. Whether the agents at the call center are able to answer the calls
  2. The quickness of the agent’s ability is to help customers and resolve queries or concerns

 

Occupancy Rate refers to the total call handling time and total after call work time and subtracts agents’ idle time. High occupancy rates indicate low agent availability and long hold times, which can lead to call drops and low service levels.

 

If your call volume exceeds the number of customer service agents you have, you are going to have a high occupancy rate. This is very stressful for customer service agents, because they are over-worked. This causes them to be stressed out and can lead to high turnover rates. You may have customer service agents who are well-trained and possess all of the skills and qualities needed to provide good customer service, but if they are over-worked and feeling stressed, they will not be able to empathize as efficiently with customers in order to provide good customer service.

 

One of the best solutions to this problem is to outsource your customer service calls to a call center. This eases the workload of your employees, so they will be better able to do their jobs.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not take jobs away from your employees, but rather makes their jobs easier and leaves them happier. There are also many other benefits to outsourcing, as well.

 

Benefits Of Outsourcing Your Customer Service Department

 

Answer more calls

During peak call times, it can be very difficult for a handful of in-house employees to answer all of the calls. They may not have the experience needed to get through the calls quickly enough and then answer the next call before the customer hangs up. Also, whenever your office closes, there is no one there to answer calls after-hours.

A call center solves all of these problems. Their customer service agents are trained to handle calls quickly and efficiently. Fewer calls will be dropped due to long hold times because they hire ample agents that are very well trained. Some call centers, like KPI Connect, even offer after-hours operations, answering calls after you have gone home.

 

Customer Satisfaction

It does not matter why your customers call, they expect someone to answer when they call. If their calls are not answered, or if the hold times are too long, it leads to low customer satisfaction levels. However, with outsourcing, none of these problems are present. Not only are the agents trained to portray your company’s image and make your customers happy, they are trained to do it quickly, as well.

 

Increased Sales and Profits

You might be thinking that outsourcing is going to cost more money than it is worth. However, it can actually increase your profits. Simply by answering all of the calls, your profits will grow. Happy customers are likely to buy more, meaning there is potential for even more growth.

 

Outsourcing is not a decision you should make without some consideration. Lots of people have reservations about it but, consider the amount of benefits that outweigh the drawbacks and the potential to make your employees and customers happier. It is a great idea to at least consider outsourcing your customer service calls. It would most likely increase the efficiency of your customer service department and increase your profits, which is a good enough perk that most businesses would not pass up on.

The Drawbacks of an In-House Call Center

Regardless of what kind of business you are running, having a prompt and efficient customer service department is imperative. There is no better way to foster strong customer relations, boost your retention rates, and increase loyalty to your brand than through solid customer service. However, as your business expands you will likely come across the expected growing pains, such as more questions and feedback from your consumer base. If your customer service department is not fully prepared to deal with these demands, it can seriously damage your company’s image and reputation.

 

An in-house call center can work in certain situations, but when a business experiences growth, the shortcomings of keeping it in-house quickly become apparent. Before getting to that point, it is a better idea to examine all the potential drawbacks of maintaining a call center in-house.

 

Time Requirements

 

Time is a resource that is crucial in all aspects of business, and doubly so when it comes to customer service. Running a call center in-house will require considerable amounts of time from your employees. Every call from a customer must be received, every question answered, and all feedback heard. With an in-house call center, this means that you employees are tied to the phones, which doesn’t leave them with much time to attend to any other important or day-to-day duties that they may have.

 

A simple solution to this problem is outsourcing the call center duties. Once you do so, your in-house staff can return their attention to the tasks that are vital to keeping your company running in top form. What is more, when you outsource, all your call center duties will be handled by trained professionals whose primary focus is dealing with everything that customer service entails.

 

Hiring Call Center Exclusive Staff

 

Some businesses can’t afford to assign their existing employees to call center duties. If that is the case, the next step is to hire and train staff exclusive to the call center. You will also require IT experts and HR agents in order to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, the choice to hire staff to handle all aspects of the in-house call center is something that comes with a hefty price tag attached, particularly if extensive training is needed.

 

Rather than going through the entire recruitment, hiring, and training process, outsourcing your call center can actually cost you less in the long run. You will get access to agents that are already trained in customer service and call center technology, saving you the cost of training and IT and HR requirements.

 

The Cost of Call-Center Infrastructure

 

Incorporating call center infrastructure into your existing business is going to be a large expense, and not one that should be taken lightly. Consider everything that is required for essential call center operations: adequate office space, agent workstations, and all relevant technology and hardware. These costs can be an incredible drain on your resources and what is more, those costs will likely increase over the years due to upgrade necessity and maintenance requirements.

 

Outsourcing your call center needs can spare you these costs and in addition, be a far more affordable solution in the years to come. All maintenance and upgrades will be dealt with by the outsourcing company, removing that particular problem from your yearly to-do list.

 

Outsourcing is the Solution

 

Dealing with customer service in-house is no small task and will require serious commitment, funding, and time that you, your employees, and your business may not be able to spare. An argument in favor of in-house call centers is the aspect of control, but if you choose to partner with a reliable, trusted outsourcing company, like KPI Connect, that will not be an issue. Instead, the company will work together with you in order to ensure that all call center operations are handled exactly the way you want. Call KPI Connect to find out how we can help you.