Customer service is an important aspect of a business. Research shows that 92% of consumers would likely repurchase from a brand after receiving a positive customer service experience. Another 78% said excellent customer service would make them forgive a business if it made a mistake.
Businesses know that making customers happy with their buying experience is the key to success, which is why organizations should provide top-notch customer service with the help of a team specially trained for it. A reliable customer service team can contribute to a pleasant customer experience and improve brand image in the long run.
This article will serve as your guide in building and handling a reliable customer service team that can nurture target markets and drive your organization forward.
Essential Roles in a Customer Service Team
Customer service teams often consist of members with different sets of skills and specializations. Below are some of the key roles you need to remember when building a customer service team:
- Customer service representative
Customer service reps directly speak with customers and provide solutions to their immediate problems. They also collect customer feedback and cascade it to their customer support manager.
Since they directly interface with customers, customer support reps are trained to have both hard and soft skills. They are also thoroughly educated on the company’s products and services to quickly address customer inquiries.
- Customer service trainer
Behind every great rep is a knowledgeable and skilled trainer. Customer support trainers educate reps on managing the accounts they are assigned to, handling difficult customers, using customer relationship management (CRM) programs, and more.
Customer support trainers started as reps too, so they know all the responsibilities, challenges, and rewards that come with the job.
- Customer service manager
At the helm of every customer service team is the customer support manager. These managers are responsible for onboarding new reps and overseeing the team’s overall performance. In some cases, they step in for customer service reps when necessary, like when customers demand high-level authority.
Similar to trainers, customer support managers have extensive experience as reps as well, making them ideal mentors and leaders for newbies.
- Quality assurance analyst
Quality assurance analysts evaluate reps based on their behavior when dealing with customers, technical knowledge of their offerings, conformity to company policies, and overall performance.
They then use this information to resolve pain points within teams, improve processes, and boost overall efficiency.
Tips for Hiring Customer Service Team Members
Forming a customer service team is not easy. Here are some tips to help you easily source and filter quality candidates:
- Identify your expected skills and experiences
When hiring customer service professionals, focus on quality over quantity. You must have a firm idea of what you are looking for in a customer service rep, trainer, manager, or QA analyst so that you can recruit and onboard them with ease.
Ideally, you should ask your existing customer service team which skills and experiences they are looking for in candidates. They have a clearer idea of what each role in their team requires, so make sure to get them involved in the hiring process.
- Test candidates for their soft skills
It is not enough for customer service professionals to be knowledgeable of the accounts they handle. They also need to be equipped with soft skills needed to relate to customers.
Look for candidates who are empathetic, collaborative, tech-savvy, and flexible. They should also be good problem solvers and communicators, as these qualities help them better navigate customers’ concerns and provide them with a satisfying experience.
- Ask situational questions
One of the best ways to test a customer service professional’s experience is by asking them situational questions during the interview, such as:
- How would you define good customer service?
- What’s the best customer service you have received?
- How about the worst customer service you have encountered?
- How would you have handled that experience as a customer service professional?
- How would you handle a difficult customer?
Alternatively, you could also give them a test project where they are tasked to provide a demo of a product or service and respond to possible customer inquiries. This activity would be a good way to test both the candidate’s hard and soft skills.
- Assess for culture fit
For any customer service team to succeed, it must have members who share the same work ethics and values. This is to ensure they can work smoothly with your existing customer service team and offer significant contributions.
When assessing a candidate for culture fit, you can them these questions:
- How do you like to be managed?
- Can you describe your work style?
- What type of environment helps you become more productive?
- Recruit from your networks
If you do not have enough time to sort through applications from online job boards, consider recruiting customer service professionals through your networks to get more quality candidates and fast-track the hiring process.
You could seek referrals from existing employees, look for customer service advocates on LinkedIn, or even connect with potential candidates at conferences and events.
Best Practices for Managing Customer Service Teams
With a customer service team already in place in your company, how do you ensure that they remain productive and efficient every day? These tips may help.
- Encourage mutual respect
A general rule in the workplace is to treat your colleagues with respect, as this practice can help boost employee morale and minimize conflict. When managing a customer service team, make sure to encourage mutual respect among members so they do not feel stressed at work but feel motivated to do their jobs well.
- Listen and give feedback
When conflicts do arise, make sure to listen to their concerns and provide solutions that are beneficial to all. Providing feedback, whether they are good or bad, can also help each member improve in their work and collectively boost their customer service teamwork.
- Provide learning and development opportunities
Consider accompanying feedback with learning and development opportunities that customer service professionals can take. Not only does this ensure that they minimize their mistakes in the future but it also upskills and develops them for other roles within their team.
One way you can train members for certain roles is by identifying their DISC profiles and setting goals according to their different work styles.
DISC Flow, for instance, offers programs that help assess an employee’s dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance to see how they can contribute to their organization’s goals. These initiatives can help customer service teams identify areas for improvement and which members would be more suitable for a particular role.
- Simplify processes
Bureaucracy in the workplace often creates inefficiencies and delays, which is non-acceptable in the world of customer service. You must then streamline your processes and eliminate unnecessary steps to ensure your customer service staff can perform their jobs seamlessly.
Look into CRM programs, customer purchasing data, and other relevant resources to fast-track the customer service process, as well.
- Create a supportive work environment
By recognizing and rewarding customer service professionals for their accomplishments, you can boost their productivity and morale, improve their growth mindset, and encourage them to be more collaborative. When employees perform well, they can retain happy and loyal customers, too.
Experts in Customer Service
As you can see, forming and managing a customer service team requires a lot of patience and organization. Here, a customer service outsourcing service can be a valuable business strategy for you. This type of service already provides the manpower and resources needed to support customers and help your organization meet its business goals.
Last but not least, remember that having a customer service team is a great investment. Treat customer service professionals with care as they can help turn customers into long-term brand advocates.
M. Alan Shapiro is the CEO of Executive Boutique Call Center, an offshore call center and technical support services provider. Since 2008, he has been helping his clients’ companies grow by providing them with high quality and reliable outsourcing services from their two offices in Cebu, Philippines. He spends his free time snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and gardening.