Never Underestimate the Importance of Friendly Customer Service
There are many factors that go into delivering a great customer experience (CX), a goal that’s undeniably essential to ensuring the long-term success for any company. But in the drive to deliver a CX that’s fast, efficient and tech-savvy, it’s important not to forget the real cornerstone: friendly customer service.
Yes, even in the era of chatbots, autoresponders and one-click shopping, where customer care is delivered via automation as often as by actual live agents (and with good reason), the friendliness of the care that people receive is still a major deciding factor in how they perceive your business or brand.
And that really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sincerity, openness, lack of condescension, and good, old-fashioned friendliness are all things that people seek out in their social and interpersonal relationships. So it’s a no-brainer that folks value them in their business relationships, too.
This isn’t just speculation; there’s data to support it: According to a customer experience impact report from RightNow Technologies, for example, 73% of consumers say that friendly service is one of the factors that makes them “fall in love” with a brand.
“73% of consumers say that friendly service is one of the factors that makes them “fall in love” with a brand.” Click To Tweet
The takeaway is that offering customers friendly and accessible service should be a priority for your customer care agents. And here are a few ways to make sure you’re working to achieve this important goal.
The Top 6 Ways to Ensure You Deliver Friendly Customer Service
6. Keep a positive tone. First and foremost, your customer service agents should work to respond to all customer questions and comments—no matter how negative, or even angry—with a polite, positive tone. Especially when delivering bad news, it’s important to do so in a way that defuses any potential anger or frustration on the behalf of the customer. (You can find more insights into how to do this in our guide to improving your customer complaint resolution process.)
5. Speak the same language as your customers. Friendly customer service is also accessible customer service, which means connecting with people in terms they understand. If your agents are prone to slip into jargon that’s specific to your industry, or even worse, your business, customers are likely to tune them out. They may even find the language to be condescending (read: unfriendly).
And remember, America is a diverse place, and your customer base is likely to reflect that diversity. For that reason, it’s important to ensure that your contact center not only offers service in English and Spanish, but also in the dozens of other languages and dialogues spoken across the continent.
4. Provide agents with a great workplace culture. The friendliness that your customer service reps bring to their job is often a direct extension of the culture in which they work. Even the most upbeat, outgoing agent will have difficulty maintain a positive attitude and friendly demeanor in a company culture that’s negative or uninspiring (or even just boring).
It’s important, then, to cultivate a culture in which customer care agents feel respected and empowered. It should also offer them the chance to get to know their fellow agents and even socialize—something that’s possible even if they work virtually, as we’ve demonstrated here at Working Solutions.
“Happy agents mean happy clients,” as Carla, manager of Education and Development for Working Solutions’ Virtual Contact Center Education and Curriculum Design, likes to say. And that’s not just a catchphrase: Carla is among the team members tasked with creating a culture that’s truly caring and nurturing, and which sets Working Solutions apart from other customer care providers.
Happy agents mean happy clients
3. Hire selectively. Creating a positive culture isn’t necessarily an easy task. So, when you’ve achieved this important goal, you should then focus on hiring new customer care agents in a way that preserves that culture. As Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh told Zendesk, his company—long celebrated for the quality of its customer care—maintains its culture in part through selective hiring.
“Everyone that becomes a part of our family must be a culture fit,” he says. “By having great relationships internally and having fun, we are better able to serve our customers. Also, from day one, every employee is empowered to make decisions on their own that will positively impact the customer.”
In other words, although an emphasis on friendly customer service certainly can and should be encouraged and cultivated post-hire, it can’t always be brought out in someone who doesn’t naturally possess it. So, along with proficiencies in important customer care skills like speed, efficiency and knowledgeability, prospective agents should also be screened for their ability to fit within your culture.
2. Offer agents opportunities for continuous improvement and education. Here at Working Solutions, we’ve long been advocates of providing opportunities for continuous education for contact center agents. In part, this comes from sheer necessity: Technology is constantly evolving, as are the channels in which customers interact with businesses, and it’s necessary to keep agents up to date.
But beyond keeping agents the skills and knowledge of your agents as sharp as possible, ongoing education also a key factor in cultivating the kind of interpersonal communications skills that truly engage and satisfy customers. To accomplish, we offer our agents a constantly evolving variety of assessments, WebEx polls, gamification challenges and breakout sessions, among quite a few others, all designed to foster skills in engagement and empathy.
And the #1 Way to Ensure Effective and Friendly Customer Service Is…
How can you ensure all of these goals are being met while also doing the hard work of running your business? Many business leaders today are choosing to do so by partnering with a dedicated contact service provider—one that can offer high-quality agents from coast to coast, along with the positive culture, educational opportunities and career satisfaction required to ensure friendly service.
With more than 20 years of experience delivering stellar customer care, Working Solutions’ on-demand services are designed to be adaptable enough to suit a wide range of industries and businesses, no matter how large and small. And no matter what, the agents we offer our clients are always friendly—as well as being highly effective at their jobs.
We invite you to discover for yourself what engaged, motivated and friendly customer service agents can do for your business.
Contact us today to connect with a Working Solutions customer care expert to discover how we can help you achieve the kind of service your business deserves.Let's connect.