How to Maximize Your Customer Service Team

Group of women attending a job fair, working together and discussing.

A healthy business prioritizes customer service. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked in favor of marketing, branding, sales, and innovation. But adding value to your customer service will benefit your company.

4 Tips to Improve Customer Service

Your customer base determines your success. The best products in the world won’t matter unless your customers like them (and the company that makes them).

Customer service has traditionally been overlooked in favor of marketing, sales, innovation, and logistics. It’s a modern brand’s defining pillar. It’s either that or miss an opportunity to take your company to new heights.

A good team starts with good customer service. A few key ways to improve customer service and get more from your team are as follows:

1. Train Customer Service Employees

It’s impossible for those outside your organization to truly understand your products and services, which is why outsourcing customer service isn’t recommended for small businesses. You may be able to impart a superficial understanding, but not much more.

Having an in-house customer service team allows you to train them on how to serve customers. What matters is that you do it. Mandate customer service training for all. They should know everything about the goods you sell. Adding value and answering questions (rather than being totally reliant on scripts).

2. Teach Your Team Soft Skills

Good customer service begins with technical knowledge of the company’s products. But it doesn’t end there. You must also train your team in soft skills. Work on:

  • Empathy: Teach your team to treat customers like family. How would they treat their mother or best friend if they called with the same issue? Teach your customer service agents to empathize. Companionship can de-escalate conflict and foster healthier interactions.
  • Active listening: As a customer service representative, you know how frustrating it is to talk to someone who doesn’t seem to be listening. Encourage your team to actively listen, clarify, and engage with customers.
  • Positivity: Teach your customer service reps to be happy. If you can’t refund your money, say “We’d be happy to exchange the product for something else.”

Good things happen when you have a technically proficient team that also has empathy and positivity. That doesn’t mean customers won’t be annoyed, but you’ll have a plan for dealing with the underlying issues.

3. Ask, Listen, and Act

Asking for feedback shows your team you care. An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey is a good place to start. Find out how your team views your company and analyze the results. Take positive action based on the results.

4. Be Willing to Accept Criticisms

Even if the customer is always “right,” you shouldn’t abuse your team. When your team members are having a bad day, it’s okay to step in and help ease the tension.

Assume a customer is berating one of your employees. They keep putting the customer on hold to get your approval. You can’t do much about it, so the employee must endure verbal abuse.

Eventually, the employee breaks down in tears. Then you could “take the bullet” for them instead of telling them to suck it up and do their job. Your employee will feel valued instead of degraded.