7 Tips to Help Your Agents Delight Customers, Better Your Brand



David Lee
09/09/2011

Recently, Call Center IQ contributor David Lee raised important questions about whether your organization’s customer service representatives are damaging your brand.

Not one to dwell on the negative, Lee joins us to share seven tips for transforming call center agents from brand liabilities into brand assets that delight customers and strengthen the overall brand.

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  1. Collect examples of service that demonstrate what your brand promise is supposed to look and sound like to your customers, patients, or clients, and share them on an ongoing basis.
  2. Create a Behavioral Vision for your employees. Operationalize what "going the extra mile", "world class service," "being customer-centric" and other terms mean in real life terms.
  3. Make giving feedback to your staff a continual, real time process. Let them know right after a great interaction that you noticed and what specifically made it great in your opinion. Better still, write down phrasings and whole sentences you noticed that were great and share these with other members of your customer service team. This both teaches and celebrates great service.
  4. Give clear, corrective feedback in an "adult to adult" way in real time. You make it "adult to adult" by asking them first for their take on the interaction and how they might do it differently next time. You also communicate "adult to adult" with voice tone and the absence of scolding and threatening. "Clear feedback" means you don’t sugar coat or downplay performance issues. "Clear" also means stating clearly what you want, what "equals" great customer service in that situation. You also show respect by asking "Are there things I can be doing to help you with this?"
  5. Don’t assume they know the basics of grammar. If necessary, provide very specific training around grammar to offset the declining standards in society (e.g. you don’t say "Me and him", "Her and I…" or "Myself and Jim…") Check out Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tipsfor fun posts on common grammatical mistakes.
  6. Provide training on resilience, mindfulness, and emotional self-management. Being in customer service is similar to being in sales—you MUST be a master at emotional self-management if you are going to be great at what you do day after day. Dealing with the public day after day can fray the nerves of even the most saintly individual. You don’t want your afternoon customers to deal with customer service reps who are feeling frazzled from dealing with your morning customers. You don’t want the person right after the difficult customer to hear an edge in the customer service rep’s voice. Each interaction needs to feel fresh, kindly, and alert.
  7. Help your management team make sure it knows how to create a climate that leads employees to feel filled with goodwill, joy, and passion, so they can’t help but project that to your customers! (If you think that’s impossible, go visit Zappos, which I did in June. Amazing.)

David Lee, the founder of HumanNature@Work, works with employers who want to improve employee engagement, customer service, and morale. He has worked with organizations and presented at conferences both domestically and abroad.

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