Think of Your Customer Service Agents as Marketing Agents
What do you feel makes a bigger difference to your client? Is it the number of features you offer with a product? Or perhaps it is the pricing? How much of a difference does your servicing staff make? Reasonable pricing, great functionality, and the latest features are all great to have. But when so many products offer essentially the same features, it can be the personal touch, your customer service, that makes a difference for your customers.
From SalesForce to Forbes to the Huffington Post, everyone has an opinion on the importance of customer service. But even as customers connect through more channels, the one constant is the importance of the experience. Self-service capabilities do not remove or decrease the value of the customer service staff. In his blog post of January 2016 Shep Hyken listed sixteen trends in the world of customer service. Fast forward to today, and I would like to focus on the experience when the customer reaches an agent. What does that experience feel like? How can your company be certain to turn it into a marketing opportunity?
It takes a new way of thinking about service to be ready to turn a possible complaint or problem into an opportunity. Customers vary greatly in their tone and willingness to spend any effort resolving an issue. And telephone agents have to be comfortable with their customer service tools, resources, and their level of “calm” to be able to respond to whatever comes across from the customer. What if we were to think about the service channels the same way those of us in marketing think about other marketing initiatives?
Five Tips to Turning a Customer Service Call into a Marketing Opportunity
Here are some thoughts on how to turn a customer service call into a marketing opportunity.
- Headline message―After your agent gets through the standard greeting, what comes next is the same as the headline. An inbound call is an opportunity to thank the customer and to reinforce your brand. Ask the agent to use unique characteristics, such as customer tenure to customize the thank you. Example: “Ms. Lynch, thank you for using the Omega solution since 1999.”
- Supporting points are like good subheads, but for the call center, it starts with listening.
- The agent should listen to the customer before trying to respond. Your customer does not want to be talked over. Have them use open-ended questions to engage the customer. Example: “Mr Brown, what can I do for you today?” This gives the customer a chance to state their question. The agent should listen all the way through and not interrupt the customer.
- Empathy―The agent should demonstrate empathy when addressing the underlying issue the customer has encountered with the solution. Example: “Dr Who, I see what you are asking about, and here is what Omega is doing to address the situation.” Don’t minimize the problem or make any reference to the problem being the fault of shipping or another group within the company. Remember this is a marketing opportunity Go to the full article.