Looking for some quick ideas on how to improve customer satisfaction?
Here are 31 quick-fire tips that have been submitted by Carolyn Blunt (5-11) and our readers.
1. Never say no to a customer
Our golden rule: never say no to a customer. If a customer service rep can’t deliver a solution for the customer, they escalate this to their team lead, so strategically we can resolve the root cause.
If we ever have to say no, it’s a ‘Disney No’; we turn a negative into a positive through freebies such as goodwill credit or free loyalty points.
Thanks to Kelvin
There are also more words and phrases that you should avoid using in customer service. You can find these in our article: 11 Things a Call Centre Agent Should Never Say (But Many Do)
2. Let them see your smile
Be positive… Let them see your smile. A positive experience and a customer care representative that leaves a positive experience will go a long way.
Customers can hear in your voice that you are smiling – it’s hard for a lot of people to be angry when the person on the other end of the phone is happy.
Thanks to Cristie
3. Let your unsatisfied customers guide you
Listen to those that are dissatisfied and act on their advice when it rings true. Find out as much detail as possible. Maybe the problem started on Twitter and has now taken an email and 2 phone calls. How can you improve overall, not just the end problem?
Thanks to John
4. Put the customer at the heart of your decisions
Put the customer at the heart of your decisions and take a balanced approach.
Be focused on problem solving, not on the process.
Thanks to Norah
5. Set the right expectations
Be precise and clear in your Terms & Conditions and customer communication, so you control the expectations you create. Keep your promises.
Thanks to Fredrik
6. Show agents how their actions affect the company
It is not enough to train your frontline staff in the systems, procedures or knowledge for their part of the service chain.
We need to actively share the bigger organisational ambitions and give real-life examples of how their actions can impact the reputation of the organisation. This will remind agents of the importance of their role, which could improve customer–agent engagement.
7. Adopt training “power hours”
Adding training “power hours” to an agents’ weekly routines can be really helpful to continuously remind and reinforce the customer-centric mind-set you need.
Support their soft skills regularly; the ability to manage their own emotions, positive language, listening, questioning, empathy, openness (as opposed to defensiveness) and influencing skills are all critical.
8. Train team leaders, not team managers
If management is mostly about the processes, schedules and targets, leadership is mostly about behaviour. So, train team leaders, not team managers.
Facilitate leadership sessions to train your team leaders to understand leadership styles, behaviours, decisions and reputation. This is key to them becoming successful and respected leaders.
Good team leaders support their teams to perform and develop and thus get the best results possible from their team members.
9. Train agents to have multiple interaction approaches
As a customer, I expect your agent to flex his or her style to meet mine, so that we have a good rapport and your brand feels like a ‘fit’ for me. It is important that the customer feels as if they are your number-one customer, regardless of the number of customers you serve.
10. Listen to the Voice of the Customer (VOC)
The contact centre is a great place to capture feedback from customers.
Using interaction analytics, it is possible to comb through every single customer contact and analyse the trends, problems and opportunities.
Acting on this data to proactively resolve issues in the service chain or to meet customer demands will provide higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.
11. Personalise the customer experience
Customers want to be treated as individuals, not as statistics, so a joined-up omnichannel experience should be offered.
No matter whether I tweeted you, called you, sent an email, put a post on your Facebook page, or a combination of all of those, you know who I am, what I need and where it’s up to.
Thanks to Carolyn Blunt, MD of Ember Real Results Training
12. Get agents to relay customer feedback to the wider business
As the call centre is a hub for customer feedback, it can be used to direct the voice of the customer into the wider business to drive real change.
If staff are constantly hearing the same customer complaints, get your agents to relay these complaints back to people who can act on the issues, to make sure future customers don’t face the same problems.
13. Hold call-review meetings with agents
While we have limited time off the phones for training, I made an offer to the staff that they can send me a note about a call they would like to review with me. This might be because they are not comfortable with the way it was handled or because they think they did a good job.
This has worked extremely well.
We listen to the call together and discuss how it went and I can give real-world tips on how it might have been handled more successfully or recognise their strong performance. This results in either improved performance or improved agent morale, which can positively affect customer satisfaction.
Thanks to Cindy
14. Make moves to boost agent morale
We have introduced fruit at the centre of the Support Centre to get the agents moving and a dartboard in one of the boardrooms to allow staff to interact with each other. We also moved the water cooler across each end of the office. The office relationships and atmosphere have completely changed and it’s amazing how that has impacted the response from the customers positively.
Thanks to Reginald
Find out more advice on boosting morale by reading our 11 Creative Tips That Will Boost Morale in the Contact Centre.
15. Put management in the shoes of the customer
When anyone (managers/supervisors/agents) is listening to calls, make them stand up during any time the agent puts the customer on hold. It’s a great way to demonstrate just how long it feels to the customer.
By doing so, managers may be more motivated to better equip call centres to handle problems, and agents could be more motivated to decrease hold time, resulting in a great experience for the customer.
Thanks to Mike
16. Under-promise and over-deliver
An age-old edict: “never over-sell and under-deliver”. Make sure expectations of service levels are established, published and met consistently!
Thanks to Iain
17. Present a sample of customer complaints in team meetings
Get team members to present a sample of the customer complaints in the weekly team meetings. This allows the team to review the problems faced and also feel engaged in the process of coming up with longer-term solutions.
Thanks to Peter
18. Respond more quickly to emails
With social media, this is the age of the instant answer. A one-working-day turnaround for email is too slow!
Try to send a reply quickly, even if it is just to confirm you have received their email and to set expectations for when they can get a proper reply.
19. Tone is very important
Always use positive words with a genuine interest in the customer’s needs. Tone is so important with the customer not being able to see us.
Thanks to Michelle
20. Allow the team to listen to and score their own calls
In a previous role I encouraged my team to listen and score their own calls. This built buy-in to a predominantly uncomfortable coaching session by giving agents the opportunity to identify their own areas of improvement with customer satisfaction
Thanks to Julia
21. Improve your service levels and queue time
An obvious way to improve customer satisfaction would be to increase service levels and decrease queue time. But, if you wish to do this, you would need more agents in the call centre.
You can find out how many more staff you would need to employ to improve your service level and queue time by using our version of the Erlang Calculator, which factors in shrinkage.
22. Throw away the scripts
We have found that scrapping the script has had a huge positive impact, treating the customer as the individual that they are – talking to them like a fellow human being has seen us receive feedback for being friendly and approachable and is bringing people back time and again.
Thanks to Danielle
23. Treat the customer as you would a friend or business partner
Take care of the customer end to end. Treat them as you would a friend or business partner. Do not get stressed about KPIs such as AHT. Only get stressed, if necessary, about the impression you leave in customers’ minds.
Thanks to Anna
24. Make other departments understand your role in customer service
If the culture in the rest of the business is different from the service team, make sure everyone in your company understands the impact they have on the success of the business.
Show them how their actions affect the customer experience as well as the cost to the business.
Thanks to Victoria
25. Keep in touch with the customer
Plus 1’s work for us. A follow-up call or a box of chocolates, or a free trial of a paid feature.
Show that they are valued customer – a small token can make all the difference.
Thanks to Anneliese
26. Share experiences through the company
My tip is for constant feedback throughout the complete customer service organisation. Every employee is listened to, and experiences are shared throughout the company to improve processes.
Thanks to Bart
27. Senior managers should match words with behaviours
Customer-friendly words from the ‘top’ should be matched by personal behaviours and policies.
28. Reward positive behaviour
When KPIs (key performance indicators) are good, the team is given a budget to do something fun (they pick it themselves). If the KPIs are bad, the budget is zero.
Thanks to Tom
29. Show that you care
Understand your customer’s business and show that you care when users are facing an issue. Act with sympathy as well as fast and understandable solutions.
Thanks to Romeu
30. Use customer focus groups
Use customer focus groups to find out what the customers themselves think makes them satisfied.
To find out more, read our article on 10 Top Tips for Running a Customer Focus Group
31. Be honest
Be honest. Customers appreciate it! Listen to your customers and educate them for better understanding. You can engage them more if you let them see the bigger picture and the background of some of your decisions.
Thanks to Monika
Do you have any tips for improving customer satisfaction? Please leave them in the comments box below.