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5 Naughty and Nice Things about Customer Service

customer service

The holiday shopping season is here, and now is the time when your customer service will show whether it deserves candy or coal in its stocking. Your reputation rides on how your company interacts with your customers, many of whom are probably under the seasonal duress that the holidays heap upon them. Those customers may be cranky, short on time, indecisive, confused they put your customer service to the ultimate test. 

How does your customer service stack up? Let’s consider these 5 “naughty and nice” aspects of customer interaction, and see where your company fits in. 

  1. Coal for too much automation 

We live in an increasingly automated society — from voice-activated lights to self-driving cars — propelled by market demand. But there’s one automation that consistently causes people to grind their teeth and wish for days gone by: automated customer service.  

A recent survey by Consumer Reports found that “Can’t Get A Person On the Phone” was the number one customer service complaint. In fact, most of the top 10 complaints in the survey are all caused by too much reliance on automation. Automated phone trees make customers work too hard to get the answers they seek, and too often they don’t provide the information that will satisfy the customer. That’s an invitation for the customer to walk away.  

  1. Candy for friendly and knowledgeable customer service reps

What’s the number one best practice? Hiring customer service reps who know your products, interact positively with your customers, and know how to solve problems. Nothing boosts your business more than a customer walking away with the feeling that someone listened to them and fixed their problem. 

That’s especially true these days, when customer have a very powerful tool in their hands – they can review and rate your company’s performance through a variety of online sites, such as Yelp, Facebook and FourSquare.  

  1. Coal for limited delivery options

E-commerce is the fastest growing segment of the retail economy. People love the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their home and having their items delivered. But home delivery isn’t always a good option, particularly for urban residents who live in high-rise buildings. And particularly around the holidays, home delivery isn’t a desirable option when buying presents for people who live at the same address. There should be at least some mystery to that present under the tree, right? 

Many e-commerce businesses only use carrier delivery services, but some are also starting to diversify their customers’ options by creating customer service centers where buyers can pick up their items either from an easy-to-access locker, or from a sales representative. This kind of pick-up center can also help businesses solve a major customer service issue they give customers direct access to a personable and knowledgeable customer service rep. 

  1. Candy for omnichannel strategies

Shoppers today expect that companies will be able to serve them no matter what platform, or combination of platforms, over which they choose to do business. Whether it be a mobile website, a desktop website, over the phone, or in a brick-and-mortar setting, customers expect that there will be a seamless connection between all of those interaction points. Businesses need to work extra hard behind the scenes to tie them all together. 

  1. Candy for bilingual customer service reps

The demographics of the United States are changing rapidly. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing segments of the population, now accounting for nearly one-fifth of the nation. And their buying power is growing considerably, reaching $1.5 to $1.7 trillion.  

That’s a huge market that many companies are trying to tap. One of the factors that must be considered is language barriers. About 38 percent of Hispanics use Spanish as their primary language. To effectively reach these customers, businesses need bilingual customer service representatives. 

Consider these 5 tips as you look at your customer service. You’re guaranteed to have a greener holiday season.   

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Topics: last-mile delivery void customer convenience center customer service e-commerce