From the first marketing messages prospective clients see to the first question asked when they need help, your goal should be to create an experience that is as simple and as convenient as possible. However, it’s not all about having the best call center technology or being staffed to the brim—for small businesses, this is not reality. Great customer service starts with the customer’s experience with your company, which means not just being focused on happy customers, but a happy team.

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind to empower your customer service representatives:

  1. Create step-by-step processes that will empower each rep to confidently walk through all the steps necessary to solve a problem. Even if you think the steps are obvious, they are not for everyone. So write them down, and keep them visible.
  2. Take extra steps to satisfy your team with “surprise and delights.” As a small business owner, you may not have the budget for big bonuses, but a $10 itunes gift card and a hand-written “thank you for your hard work” note can go a long way.
  3. Provide your team with comprehensive training – up-front and ongoing. This training should include going over problem-solving steps any time a process may change to ensure each rep has all the information he or she needs to provide clear, accurate, and useful information to your customers.
  4. Celebrate wins! People respond to positivity, and if you can celebrate the great things your team is doing every day, the not-so-great things will fade away (or never materialize in the first place). When you are celebrating wins, it’s that much easier to have those “hard” conversations, because your team knows you are helping them to get better at what they do every day.
  5. Create an atmosphere where it’s OKAY to ask questions and rely on one another to solve problems. It makes people accountable to the team and more focused on providing outstanding support so that they don’t let the team down!
  6. Stay open minded to feedback and to removing roadblocks in their day-to-day work. Your best employees may not want to “complain” about the hours their spending on a manual task, but if you are open to (and even prompting) the conversation, you can often collectively find a more efficient solution.
  7. You have to care! Care about your customers, and care about your team, so that everyone feels valued, heard, and taken care of.

When it comes to creating a positive experience for your customers, the best place to start is to create a positive experience for those who communicate with your customers every day.

Leah Bowes is the Director of Customer Care for PaySimple, and was nominated for “Customer Service Professional of the Year” – along with her team’s nomination for “Customer Service Department of the Year.” You can vote for PaySimple at http://PaySimple.com/vote. Voting ends Feb. 10.

Leah Bowes

Leah Bowes

My name is Leah Bowes and I am the VP of Customer Experience. I headup the Customer Success and Customer Care teams and own the holistic “customer experience,” ensuring that we provide consistent communication, ongoing product improvements, access to educational materials, and strong relationship development and support. I have been a member of the PaySimple team since January of 2009. I am originally from New Jersey, and although I don’t have an accent (most of the time), I still consider myself a little bit of a “Jersey Girl.” I love to read, write, paint, entertain and cook, run, do yoga, spend time with family, friends, and our new pup, listen to live music, and travel.

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