This post was originally published by Allyson Dobberteen on lessonly.com.
Confession time: I’m a little bit obsessed with home design shows. House hunters complaining about paint colors, cheesy couples competing over who can get the last laugh, designers dramatically revealing their hard work—I’m here for it all.
I don’t own a home yet, but I like to think that the hours I’ve spent absorbing home design inspiration from the comforts of my couch will pay off someday. Hours of literal window shopping have to help somehow, right? I like to think that I’ve been laying a foundation for my future home design dreams.
This same idea can be applied to customer service skills and their effect on customer relationships. In short, good customer service skills are the HGTV of the customer experience. Where would great CX companies be without them? (Spoiler alert: Not very far.)
What is good customer service anyway?
Like any home design show worth its salt, we need to start with the basics. The wishlist. The budget. The pros. The cons. The first ten minutes of the show is generally spent getting a lay of the land. So, let’s do the same.
Most customer service folks will agree that best practices like having a pleasant attitude, valuing customers’ time, and solving problems efficiently matter a lot. But great customer service agents will take things a step further by exceeding expectations rather than simply meeting them. When a company can create a culture promoting advanced customer service skills like these, they can expect to see higher CSAT scores, reduced churn, and better customer relationships.
And why is customer service important in the long run? Let’s start with brand loyalty—73% of customers say they stay loyal to brands because of friendly customer service reps. Sounds nice, right? Of course it does, and that loyalty pays off exponentially over time. One study found that an increase in customer retention of just 5% can equate to a 25% increase in profit.
How to improve customer service skills and strengthen customer relationships
Now that we’ve got our wishlist of sorts, it’s time to get to work. Here’s where home design shows will share the master plan. They might give us a before-and-after illustration, show us a meeting between the designer and client, or jump right to a montage of sawing, shopping, and sledgehammering.
So, what’s our big master plan? Here are a few tangible customer service improvement strategies to get from “before” to “after.” Picture us unrolling the blueprints.
1. Listen to the client
The worst designers are the ones that completely disregard the client’s wishes. The same principle applies to customer service agents too. The worst ones are on auto-pilot, disregarding the subtle differences between one customer concern and another. Have your customer service agents practice active listening, so that they can cut through the chit-chat and solve problems more effectively.
2. Seek feedback early and often
It’s always a good idea to get a mid-design check-in. Sometimes, you find that you’re right on track. Other times, you realize that the clients aren’t quite as on board with the design as you thought. Don’t wait until the Big Reveal™ to test if your plan is going to work.
Don’t assume that you know what will make your customers happy. Let recurring, regular customer feedback guide you to your strengths and problem areas as a team. It can help you identify what the focus of future customer service skills training should be.
3. Hire the right people and onboard them well
No design show can last without an awesome cast and crew. Your customer service department should be full of stars too. Hire the right people with a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and soft skills for customer service excellence.
But hiring alone isn’t enough—far from it. Be sure to have a solid onboarding program in place to train new agents to be the kind of customer service superstars you’re looking for. Research by Glassdoor even found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improved new hire productivity by 70%.
4. Choose the right customer service enablement software
Ah, we’ve come to the focal point of our design. This is the bright backsplash, the beautiful fireplace, or that accent wall we all know and love. It’s what takes a decent design and brings it to life, making it greater than the sum of its parts.
Like a perfectly placed piece of art, customer service training software can tie the many strategies, methods, and types of customer service training together. Take Lessonly, for example. We know we’re biased, but it’s pretty powerful to provide your team with one place to turn to for personalized training, enablement, and coaching. And just like the best focal points, it makes people smile.
Start your customer service renovation today
It’s never too late to call in the experts. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more about how we can help you train, enable, and coach your customer service agents to be customer relationship-building aficionados.