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Out of all companies you have interacted with, which ones did leave a better impression – the ones with good marketing skills, or the ones with impressive customer support? To me, it was definitely the latter.

Your customer service department is just as important as your sales department, so if you don’t already have a customer service team, it’s time to put one together as soon as possible. And while it is true that each company has its own way to handle customer service, there are some rules that generally apply to any type of business.

If you are planning on developing a customer service team from scratch, follow the tips below to make your journey easier.

What does good customer service mean for you?

Every company should aim to provide the best customer service, but the definition of good customer service varies from business to business. Before you start building a support department, you need to define what good customer service means to you. This will help you have a standard to measure your team’s

There are three important aspects to tackle when it comes to good customer service:

Company values

The way you handle customer service should deliver on the company values. Define what the core values of your business are and make sure that your staff is trained to respect and never break those values.

Exceeding customer expectations

The most effective way to stay on top of your competition is to consistently exceed what customers expect from you. Do some research and find out how your main competitors are handling customer service, then make it your purpose to do better than them. This means shorter response times, successfully handling disagreements, and ensuring your team uses the right language, tone, and attitude.

Complying to legal requirements

Each country has its unique legal requirements when it comes to customer service. From response time to the size of your customer service team and how you handle complaints, you need to ensure you are complying with those requirements.

Decide on the channels you want to support

You may be tempted to say your team will be available 24/7, on every available channel, but that may not always be possible. Especially if you have a small support team, they won’t be able to provide consistent high-quality support on every possible channel, so try to focus on a few at first.

To choose the most appropriate channels, you need to find out what your customers are mostly using. Do they contact you primarily by phone, email, or chat? Each channel has its benefits, so choose carefully. Below are the main channels we recommend:

Phone

This allows for real-time conversations and remains one of the most popular ways to handle customer support. One drawback could be the fact that phone support can be very time consuming, especially for small teams,

Email

Email support has become very popular, as it allows you to provide comprehensive information to your customers. You can send them instructions, guides, or simply answer their questions. However, email conversations can be challenging, especially when it involves a lot of back and forth.

Live Chat

A simple, yet effective combination of phone and email support, live chats can help your team avoid long conversations while delivering the necessary information to your clients. Pay attention, as customers do expect a faster response time on chats than they do when it comes to email.

Social media

If you have a social media page, chances are you will be getting a lot of questions either in comments or through direct message. Your team should be able to keep an eye on comments and messages and answer them as fast as possible.

Self-service tools

This is one of the best ways to take the weight off your support team and provide customers with some guides to be able to help themselves. It may take some time to put together, but it can help a lot in the long run.

Measure customer service performance

In order to improve your services, you need to measure its quality from the beginning. Customer service tools can produce detailed reports that can help your team better understand where they are standing and what needs to be improved.

By gathering all this data, you will be able to determine if you have enough staff to fulfill customer needs, or if you need to expand your team, as well as the quality of services your team is providing.

For example, if a large number of customers are constantly contacting you for the same issues, maybe you need to come up with more effective ways to make those issues disappear.

Invest in the right software and hardware

There is nothing that helps your team more than good tools they can use to assist customers. Invest in good internet speed, as well as some reliable computers, to improve time efficiency and service quality.

Be careful when choosing a help desk software, because it will be your team’s go-to tool. It should be easy to use, provide the features you need, and allow you to integrate other tools with it if necessary.

Don’ forget to pay attention to details as well. Sometimes, customers may have to wait in line until their call gets picked up, so consider including some good music on hold. No one likes to listen to thin air.

Hire the right staff

Being able to provide reliable and high-quality customer support depends a lot on hiring the right people to deliver it. Pay close attention when interviewing potential candidates and don’t let anything other than their skills influence your decisions. You may be tempted to hire anyone, just to open your support lines faster, but it’s better to start with a small and competent team, instead of struggling to train someone who has no customer-oriented skills.

The ideal customer support agent’s skills should be emotional intelligence, empathy, good communication, technical skills, as well as any other specific qualities that align with your company values. Ensure you list those skills on the job description, so that candidates know what is expected of them.

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