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5 common mistakes that affect Customer Service and how to avoid them

by Managing Virtual Teams on March 11, 2014
Business

Your Customer Service Team is the face of your company and it is important that all the human interactions are as good as your product. After working for 8+ years with Customer Service Teams, here are the top 5 mistakes I’ve seen and how to solve them.

1.   Lack of communication between teams

Some procedural changes take place inside the company and your Customer Service Team is the last one to know. If this situation sounds familiar take some action:

  • Send weekly emails with updates and make special remarks during team meetings.
  • Have a person in your time zone in charge of making sure all templates and manuals are up to date.
  • Periodically test your CS team with questionnaires to detect misunderstandings or poor knowledge of your business.
  • Give incentives to those who are most knowledgeable!

2.   Unmotivated Agents

Your customer service team along with your sales team is the face of your company. Treat them well. Make sure they know how important they are and give them all the tools they need to have fun at work:

  • Create fun competitions between teams.
  • Provide extensive trainings so people feel like they have a domain of your product.
  • See point 5. Give them a channel to provide feedback and product-related suggestions for future development, because it has the side-effect of motivating and involving your CS team.
  • Provide awards to entire teams.
  • Make sure your CRM tool meets all the needs your team has.

3.   Unification of Multi-lingual Teams

The response of your company must be unified, but each culture and each language has a unique way of expressing itself. Make sure you give each Language/Country Team Leader some room to personalize templates and treat your customers according to their culture or language.

If the agents are natives of that language, they will know how to improve the process so your clients from that country get the service they expect. You can also have them do some research to confirm certain details, like what titles, if any, you should use when addressing those customers. This helps customers identify with your brand.

4.   Something isn’t right: Prepare for the worst

The same way cities have evacuation plans and disaster sirens, your Customer Service Team needs a plan for when things go poorly. Think about all the things that could go wrong and how you are going to communicate with your customers to make them better. Here are some examples:

  • Your CRM doesn’t work: prepare a plan so you can communicate with your customers via Social Media and phone.
  • A feature of your product is buggy or not working: have a generic plan for all such cases, including the provision of service discounts or coupons.
  • Your page is down: have a page ready to be uploaded in this situation.
  • Have a contact plan that includes a service email to all of your customers, and special contact methods like telephone for your VIP customers.

5.   Involve your CS team in product improvements

Use surveys to ask your Customer Service representatives what needs improvement; don’t wait for the problems to appear to solve them. Get their perspective on what your customers really need, and what they think they need. They work 40h/week on the balance between customer and product, and they have a perspective that you may not have. Inquire, listen and take action!

photo credit: gordon2208 via photopin cc

Anna Danés
Anna worked in the web sector before founding Ricaris have a nice day (www.ricaris.com) in 2009, a successful services company providing distributed solutions for companies in the web sector. Managing Virtual Teams (www.managing-virtual-teams.com) is a new consulting product bringing together all of the experience across the distributed teams of Ricaris, and putting it into bite-sized courses, virtual team activities, and consulting packages. Follow Anna @virtualteams.

Managing Virtual Teams
Anna Danés worked with several Internet start-ups, across three different continents, before founding Ricaris (www.ricaris.com), a successful Internet services company. With her knowledge of managing remote staff, and her firm beliefs that companies are responsible for creating a better world and work environment, she has recently created Managing Virtual Teams, a consulting service for companies dealing with distributed staff.
 
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