Whether you’re managing one CSR, a whole team, or a mix of seasonal and permanent staff, your whole business will benefit from implementing proven processes to develop customer support and improve company culture.
Here are 6 customer service management best practices to take your CSR team to the next level.
1. Establish a “Start, Stop, Continue” feedback loop
One of the most effective ways to support your CSRs is to create an atmosphere where feedback is encouraged and welcomed. When CSRs feel free to share concerns, ideas, and observations with management, everyone stands to win.
Use the “Stop, Start, Continue” model by asking employees to give feedback about specific practices. This gives them the opportunity to weigh in on where time and resources are being wasted, and where they could be better spent. Detailed CSR feedback is valuable for creating more effective processes and getting full buy-in from team members.
Even a simple management feedback loop can lead to positive results:
- Gather information through a short survey, or hold routine meetings focused only on CSR feedback.
- Make a plan, communicate it, and return for more feedback. Consider all feedback with an open mind.
2. Create brand ambassadors, not service robots
Public relations guru Richard Levick encourages companies to incorporate their core values into their customer service approach. The key is to empower your CSRs to become brand ambassadors, not service robots.
Essentially, this means taking pains to make sure your CSRs fully understand your business. Make sure your backstory is part of their training. Why did you start your company? What are your business goals? What problem are you solving? Your CSRs will feel more invested when they understand the answers to these questions.
Brand ambassadors are more than enthusiastic CSRs. They advocate on behalf of a brand they truly believe in. When a call comes through, a CSR who takes a brand ambassador approach feels personally invested in taking care of the customer’s concerns.
3. Empower your CSRs to make their own decisions
Make it clear that you trust your CSRs to use discretion when it comes to solving basic customer service issues. When you feel confident your CSRs are well-trained and dedicated to your goals, give them the tools they need to reach informed decisions on their own.
For example, granting CSRs a higher level of network access can allow them to more fully research customer accounts. Or, you could allow CSRs to issue credits up to a specific dollar amount or to extend an introductory rate offer when a customer wants to cancel their service.
Seek to create a culture of autonomy rather than a culture of compliance. A CSR who checks off all the boxes and completes tasks according to a list of rules may be effective at compliance, but not empowered by a sense of autonomy. CSRs who feel valued and trusted will provide thoughtful, confident service as an important part of the company.
4. Audit your omnichannel response
According to a recent study, the most successful, growing companies use an omnichannel approach. Today’s customers expect to be able to reach companies across multiple channels, like websites, phone, email, web chat, and social media.
It’s not enough to include links to social media and set up an automated chatbot on your website if you can’t actively monitor these channels. Companies need to invest in training for CSRs and establish actual omnichannel strategies to see a positive impact.
Consider these statistics:
- 85% of top-performing companies using an omnichannel approach conduct regular CSR training on omnichannel communications
- 77% of customers connect with these companies across multiple channels.
5. Upgrade your CRM tools
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are the
heartbeat of successful customer service organizations. Working
within a functional CRM is much easier and much less stressful
than hunting down customer information across multiple
databases and systems.
A well-functioning CRM will streamline your accounts, so billing
is always up to date. Apart from improving operations overall,
better billing means CSRs don’t have to spend as much time on
collection efforts, a task few CSRs relish.
6. Continually monitor these crucial CSR metrics
The most common CSR metric is Customer Satisfaction, also known as the CSAT. It’s essentially a friendliness score based on a Likert scale of how satisfied the customer was after the latest interaction.
In addition to the insight provided by CSAT scores, it is crucial to monitor several other key CSR metrics:
- Call or handling times: Keep call times brief in order to reduce hold times
- Utilization rate: Inefficient utilization means you’re spending more than you need to
- Closing performance: Closing ratios are crucial to understanding individual performance and sales propensity
- Customer churn: Remember that retaining a customer is easier than earning a new one
- First response time: Reduced response times lead to more revenue
What If You Could Improve Customer Service Without a Big Investment in Hiring or Training?
With Slingshot, you can. Our highly trained CSRs can handle the same tasks as your employees, but they don’t call in sick, go home at 5 p.m., or leave for vacation during your busiest season.
We’re more than an answering service. Slingshot’s flexible approach means you won’t have to worry about concerns like seasonal fluctuations, 24-hour omnichannel access, or response times. Our CSRs can enhance your team or fill in gaps as needed.
If you’d like to learn additional strategies for building a successful CSR team, download our eGuide, “Powering a Productive CSR Team.”