Our guide to building an unrivalled Customer Service Team
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make when undergoing a period of growth is to leave your customer service team as an afterthought. Before you realise, you have a rapidly expanding customer base but no dedicated person, or people, to take care of them!
So the question is, how do you build such a vital team from scratch?
First; Ensure the functions and role of your Customer Service (CS) team are clearly defined.
Your CS team will be more than just a call centre or an online chat-bot answering questions. They will be the ‘face of your business.’ The first human interaction they have with your brand. They will be the direct line of communication between customers and the wider business. Therefore their insight and experience of customer needs needs to be considered. Consider what you want from this team. Is it complaints handling? Is it user experience? Is it account management or even sales? Ensure the objective for this team is clear before you hire to ensure that your new recruits are on the same page as you from day one.
- What exactly is your team going to do?
- How will they connect with customers?
- Are there core issues the unit will handle?
- Will specific team members have roles that vary from one another?.
- Which of the business’s core values will drive your CS team?
Everyone else in your business needs to know the objectives of your soon-to-be customer service team and ensure that they are supportive of those targets.
You need to make ‘smart’ hiring decisions. There are several ways to do this and increase your chances of hiring high-quality applicants. There are a few specific CS characteristics to look out for. If several of these characteristics jump out from the prospect’s application, they’re probably worth interviewing:
- Empathy and patience. Your CS team needs to appreciate that each customer is different. This requires a high degree of understanding and patience, even in frustrating situations.
- Flexibility. The candidate needs to be ready to adapt to new situations.
- Excellent communication. It stands to reason, CS team members need the skills to discuss complicated issues in a way that’s clear and concise.
- A hard worker. Providing top-notch customer service is tough. They will be facing awkward situations - often outside of their control - while staying positive at all times.
- Humility and non-egotistical. CS team members need to be comfortable swallowing their pride! This means having the determination and demeanor to help disgruntled customers without belittling them.
Wanting to work in CS seems baffling to many and it takes a very specific type of candidate to not only enjoy CS, but to thrive in it. Why would you want to build your career in an area of the business where you are constantly in the ‘firing line’? Well, ask them! Why a career in CS?
If the candidate isn’t passionate about selflessly helping others, they’re simply not the right fit. The applicant should express a willingness and natural desire to go the extra mile to help people. Prospects that have a knack of relating to others as, have an infectious energy and a ‘sunny disposition’ are typically those who excel. Ideally, when answering this question, the prospect should acknowledge that customer service isn’t just about resolving one problem after another. Instead, it’s about diligently satisfying the needs of each and every customer.
What does good customer service mean to you? Look for answers indicating that your candidate is willing to go above and beyond to exceed the customers’ expectations.
How would you handle X situation? Providing applicants with real-life scenarios is an excellent way to test whether the candidate has what it takes to do the job justice.
Finally, remember to show your CS team just how much you appreciate them.
Customer Service can be hard work. It can be tiring, belittling and stressful. It can also be the most rewarding part of any business. But do not just celebrate the ‘big wins’ or the ‘drastic saves.’ Thank them daily. Your CS team is the ‘engine room’ of your business and they are more likely to provide their best work when they feel valued. Small gestures such as a quick, ‘Good work today’ email, or a ‘high-five’ when passing them in the corridor, are just as effective as more extravagant rewards.
You know your employees and your employer brand best, so do what feels appropriate for your organisation!