Business owners: Take care of your customers by taking care of your agents.

Hear the difference from someone who has served and satisfied customers directly. Don’t just look at numbers. Numbers don’t lie but they don’t paint the picture entirely, it does not paint the humanity of customer experience.

Managers, business owners or CEOs have a way of quantifying everything. Which is not bad at all; after I started managing a small team of online workers I have come to understand and appreciate the value of looking at numbers and charts to get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in an organization.

Metrics, KPIs, ROIs, what-have-yous. But this is not enough to make sure your company looks like how you envisioned it in the eyes of your current and prospective customers. I don’t know which consultant sweet talked you into deciding what kind of customer service set-up you have, but you have to know these few things:

Customer Service is simply taking a call, doing what is the most basic, simplest thing to do to solve an issue or respond to a question. That’s it. You can tell your agent to empathize and use nice words and whatever, but if you instruct the agent to simply “serve” that’s all they’ll do. What you think of your company’s customer experience is what’s eventually gonna to trickle down to the agents. Understand now that it isn’t just a department that you need to have because customers are simple-minded or needy or whiny. It’s a department that will take care of the back-bone of your business – your customers.

People like me who has been in this line of work for some time knows that it is more cost-effective to retain a customer that getting a new one. You can search Google now and you’ll find case studies and articles telling you that by cutting retention down even by a few percent, a business can almost double it’s revenue.

If you know this to be true then why is it that you prefer to only serve your customer than make sure they are satisfied?

Customer Satisfaction is going above and beyond what they initially asked. Thing is, when a customer calls even they don’t know exactly what they want. And it is the job of the agent to know that. They can call for an unknown charge on their bill and the agent explains what it is and the customer understands but will that ensure a satisfied customer?

The agent will have to know that aside from understanding what the charge is, the customer is confused and anxious. Why is it there? Has it been in my previous bills before and I just noticed now? What are the chances of this happening again in the future? Do I have to start checking all the bills from your company from now on? Should I post on Facebook and warn my friends to look at their bills too and check for any charges they don’t know about?

An agent that is trained to aim for a satisfied customer will identify these concerns without the customer saying it and he/she will proceed in assuring the customer that it is a one time charge or mishap, that won’t happen again and that this issue will be sent to the higher ups to be taken a good look at so the company can prevent it from happening to someone else. He will then proceed to educate the customer on things they can do to ensure that they have total control over their bill, like accessing an online account for their service. You see, our company cares enough to make sure that this kind of mishap won’t happen to anyone else. This is not how we want out customers to feel like when dealing with us. This mistake is not what makes us.

A satisfied customer is more likely to stay, buy or add more services/products from the company and can even be your mini-brand ambassadors. They’ll tell their friends how they had an issue and it was solved perfectly and they feel like they can trust your company more. What managers or business owners fail to realize is that to the customer, your agent is YOUR company. Their voice is the voice of the company, their demeanor, their words, their attitude is what the company is portraying, what the company wants to them to see.

Ask yourself, are my customers seeing my company as an organization to simply serve or do they see my company as an establishment that seeks to satisfy and take care of it’s customers?

Start there. Because caring for customers is not just the job of an agent, it’s a job of everyone. Including the owner.

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