Each year, J.D. Power releases their list of Customer Service Champions. They compile data from hundreds of thousands of customer surveys to rate the top 50 companies in the world that provide the best customer service.
Want to learn from the best of the best? Below are the top seven tips from the Customer Service Champions as well as advise on how you can improve the service you provide your customers.
A common theme amongst Customer Service Champions is that they all recognize the importance of hiring the right team. They make sure that their employees will do whatever it takes to ensure that their customer’s needs are met. For example, during the hiring process Bangor Savings Bank assesses whether or not their merchant services specialist candidates are willing to visit a customer’s business after hours so they can troubleshoot onsite. Bangor Savings Bank understands the value of being there for their customers day and night and has the team to execute.
How can you hire call center agents who are willing to go the extra mile for your customers? First, look for candidates who are conscientiousness – achievement-oriented, responsible, self-disciplined, organized, methodical, and dependable – as studies suggest that these candidates are most qualified to provide top notch support. Another must-have trait? Empathy.
Finbarr O’Neill president of J.D. Power advises, “Top service providers need personnel with empathy – a trait that arguably can’t be taught – and an attendant passion for fixing customers’ problems.” Finally, analyze their experience. There is a sweet spot for hiring call center agents who are willing to go out on a limb for your customers: you should avoid candidates with no experience and as well as those who are over-qualified. If you’re looking to hire call center agents who will excel with customer service, your best bet is to hire candidates with a proven track record for providing customers with amazing service.
Excellent customer service doesn’t end with hiring the best. In order to provide service like The Customer Service Champions, you have to also train your agents to exceed your customer’s expectations.
The president of J.D. Power stated, “There is a strong financial reward in delighting people.” Exceptional service increases customer loyalty and word of mouth referrals – both of which can result in a significant competitive advantage in a fierce market. Customer service agents who are well-trained are also “able to anticipate what frustrates customers and ensure that the seeds of aggravation don’t get watered” claims O’Neill. Taken together, well-trained agents will increase customer service quality, customer loyalty, brand awareness and revenue.
Looking to enhance your training protocol for your call center agents so they can be the best of the best? Here are some tips and resources to get you started:
Adopting a train-to-delight approach will put your team on the fast track to exceeding your customer’s expectations.
Customer-centric companies don’t just offer top-notch support, they offer preemptive support. For example, after purchasing a new Lexus, each customer is given a technology tutorial. This not only increases customer satisfaction, but decreases the likelihood that the customer will call in frustrated because they don’t know how to use the car’s technology. Take a lesson from customer service pros and make sure that each of your customers is given a detailed product demo and has a comprehensive understanding of how to use your product and service so they can hit the ground running. The ROI will be huge.
Providing excellent support requires that you interact with the customers on the channels that they prefer. Quicken Loans president stated that, “We’re focused on providing tools to get clients the answers they want, whenever and however they want to get them.” By offering multichannel support, your team will be better prepared to meet the changing needs and expectations of your customer base.
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Customers are increasingly expecting a personalized experience when interacting with support. In fact, a recent study found that offering personalized information had the strongest impact on customer ratings of service quality. AvMed, a nonprofit health insurer, understands the importance of this and assigns a personal service representative to every member. “This reduces the frustrations members may have elsewhere, in needing to explain their situation to representative after representative in an attempt to get help,” explains CEO Michael Gallagher.
Don’t have the budget to assign a personal service representative to each customer? No problem. Use call center software that displays comprehensive information (e.g., name, title, tickets, event, cases, call logs, chat transcripts, etc.) about the customer in the browser as a call is made or received. Then, no matter which agent fields the call, they will know the entire history of the caller and will be equipped to provide top-notch, personalized service.
The Customer Service Champions don’t just meet customer’s expectations, they exceed them. For example at Lexus, they give the car back to the customer with the seat in the exact position as when it was dropped off for servicing. These small details make a big difference in the eyes of the customer. It proves that your team is willing to do what it takes to make sure they are happy. When your team makes a concerted effort to meet your customer’s needs and then goes above and beyond to exceed their expectations, the end result is customer service excellence.
When customers have suggestions or complaints, The Customer Service Champions not only listen, but act. For example, Bangor Savings Bank responded to customer feedback by eliminating fees when customers access ATMs anywhere in the world. But they didn’t stop there. They also reimburse their customers when another bank charges them a fee.
CEO Jim Conlon claims that, “the empathy demonstrated by the move was more important than the dollars and cents.” So the next time you feel like disregarding customer feedback because you think it will be too costly or too time consuming to implement the changes, think of the impact that it might have on your customers.
Providing a truly excellent customer experience requires hiring and training an awesome team, providing them with the right tools and adjusting your approach to providing customer support based on customer’s expectations and feedback. Doing so can help put you on the fast track to being the next J.D. Power Customer Service Champions!