What Matters Most to Your Customers?

There’s an old expression about missing the forest for the trees. It simply means that sometimes we look at something so closely, that we miss the bigger picture. Customer service is vulnerable to this in any industry, including call centers. Our attempts to micromanage minutiae can sometimes distract from the larger and more significant aspects of the customer experience. 

As this ICMI article observes, there are times when a big-picture approach can be beneficial. Here are five places to start. 

1. Products and Services
The call center won’t have much say in the products a company provides. But it can be a recipient of feedback on those products. Listen to what customers are saying and compile that information in a way that lets management know what is happening. And if customers request a related product or a change to an existing one, pass that information along as well. 

2. Convenience
The customer’s time is valuable, so it should not be wasted. At a call center that means shortening hold time on calls, answering questions quickly and courteously, and efficiently handling orders and returns. 

3. Choices
Many call centers have become contact centers, to acknowledge the array of options now available to customers for placing an order or asking a question. These include communication with virtual agents, email and even posting feedback on a Facebook page. Customer service often means meeting the customer on their preferred terms. 

4. Courteous and Qualified Employees
And once again we return to the topic featured in so many of our previous blogs – the importance of friendly, knowledgeable call center agents. Invest in excellence to receive excellence in return. One bad experience jeopardizes not just that customer relationship, but countless others if that customer shares the details on Facebook or Twitter. 

5. Reduce (or Eliminate) Repetition
Most customers are fine with providing some personal information and any necessary transaction information to the call center agent. But their patience will be exhausted quickly if they are asked to do so more than once. Agents should have the technology to pull a data file with their complete history and information, and move the discussion along to the next step.