“Have You Checked Your Customer Service Program Recently?”

This short article offers quick, but effective advice and ideas on giving your customer service function a check-up and a tune-up.

Your company may be losing business because your customer service people lack the skills to do their jobs, warns an article in an issue of Communications Briefings. "Even hard-working, long-time employees may not pass crucial customer service tests," says Don Bagin, publisher. "To stay ahead of competitors, it’s crucial to check your customer service reps."

To test your customer service program, consider these approaches:

  • Examine how much you’re paying your customer service people. Often they’re paid appreciably less than other employees in the organization. Yet they’re the first people that your customers and potential customers talk with.

    Note: If each customer service rep enables you to acquire or retain one customer a week, the higher salaries will more than pay for themselves.

  • Use phantom shoppers. Pay people to call your firm — or shop in your store — and evaluate the way customer service reps handle them.
  • Train, train, train. Never assume that people are making the right decisions on the phone.
  • Make sure your reps have a solid command of the language. People who make grammar errors on the phone don’t impress customers as belonging to a first-class operation.
  • In addition to giving your reps the usual kind of training (phone manners, for example), present them with hypothetical situations and see how they handle them. Good customer service people must be able to think on their feet.

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