Whatever your business, good customer service can make all the difference. Given that it takes more time and investment to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, it makes sense to hold onto those you’ve already got. However, more than 8 in 10 customers say they have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service. That could be a lot of money your business is throwing away if you haven’t got good customer service advisors in place. So what should you look for in an ideal customer service advisor? Here are 5 key components no applicant should be without.
1. They can establish a good rapport with customers and clients. Building a rapport isn’t about sales talk or spouting technical jargon, which will alienate callers, it’s about treating customers and clients as people first and responding to each individual enquiry as appropriate. A good customer service advisor needs to be comfortable and natural when handling calls, and should never sound like they’re in a rush. If some of your customers or clients are regular callers, they may well get to know your advisors on a first-name basis. Advisors who can make a genuine connection with customers the first time they call will increase the likelihood of them becoming repeat and possibly lifelong customers.
2. They’re a natural problem solver. While similar issues will arise, every enquiry is unique and a competent advisor must be able to adapt and respond appropriately as required. Those with the ability to problem-solve will have an aptitude for independent, critical thinking so it wouldn’t be a good idea to hire anyone who can’t demonstrate such skills. After finding someone with natural problem-solving skills, you’ll need to arm them with the tools required to handle customer problems – this can only be done by providing regular in-depth training and making sure advisors have a full understanding of your businesses’ functions and services. Finally, don’t force your advisors to stick to a corporate script – your customers and clients will know the difference between genuine assistance and hollow assurances.
3. They are good listeners. Customer service advisors should give a customer or client their undivided attention, listening carefully and responding with the information they need. We’ve all spoken to an advisor and been incredibly frustrated because we’ve felt that they weren’t really listening to our concerns. This is especially true of complaints, and if the caller doesn’t think they’re being listened to and taken seriously, they’re likely to shop elsewhere next time. While it’s important to record performance metrics such as response time, it’s not good practice for your advisors to speed through calls without listening or resolving issues properly. Listening fully to a caller may take longer and demand more investment but you’ll retain far more customers that way.
4. They can work well in a team. Although your advisors will spend a lot of their day on the phone with callers, they don’t work in a bubble. Team-working skills may include the willingness of senior advisors to supervise or mentor junior members, or to simply help cover for another advisor who is absent or needs assistance with their call volume. Working as part of a team also requires working well with management and providing useful ideas and feedback if they can improve service delivery. Of course, it is up to you to create the right kind of working environment so that your advisors feel like valued members of a team, rather than replaceable robots.
5. Strong commercial awareness. A good advisor will have a thorough understanding not only of their particular role within a company but of the company as a whole. This includes brand awareness, an understanding of the company’s values and ethics, and the common sense to know which business practices make commercial sense and which should be avoided. More often than not, your customer service advisor will be the first point of contact between your company and your customers. As such, it’s important for them to represent your brand as well as possible. If your advisors are proud of where they work and their role in the company, they will engage with clients and customers not just as paid employees but as brand advocates too.
Being a good customer service advisor requires a range of diverse skills and isn’t a job anybody can do. Rewarding your advisors with proper pay, promotion and training will ensure your best employees don’t quit early, taking all their valuable knowledge with them. Becoming the best advisor possible takes time and experience so invest in your employees to get the best results.