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2 weeks ago

Why Sales Data is Important for Customer Service

Data is key to getting the sale. A sales person or marketer must know their audience. They must know what they like and what they don’t, why and how they shop and what is likely to make them buy. Analyzing data for sales is big business. However, that same information can serve a second purpose by being utilized after the sale for customer service.

 

Not All the Same

 

Customers are not all the same. They have different needs, unique motivation and individual problems. To meet their needs and provide a satisfactory resolution to problems, you need to understand them. Using the data collected from marketers and putting it to work in customer service can result in more satisfied customers.

                                                               

For example, you have data that shows the typical customer is a mother with young children. For sales, that information will impact how they present their products. In customer service, it can influence your answers with customer issues. Perhaps it tells you their primary concern is going to be how to get their money back if they are unhappy with the product or they may have questions about how the product works.

 

If a call centre agent can picture the customer as an individual with unique needs, it will help them formulate a better response. Just as sales personnel are more persuasive when they understand what motivates a person to buy, customer service agents are more effective when they know what a customer wants when they have a complaint or concern.

 

Making the Two Departments Work Together

 

Many businesses don’t just have a one-time sale to a customer but must continue to encourage repeat sales from the same customers. It can be helpful to both teams if they understand the customer’s interactions with the business even when it’s with another department.

 

For example, if a customer called in with a complaint to the call centre, it would be important for sales staff to be aware when they attempt to make another sale with the person. They would want to know if the problem was resolved. Did it revolve around a product? If so, was the product replaced? Otherwise, they may have little success with the customer for another sale.

 

The easiest way to manage this situation is with software or programs where each department can put notes on the interactions with customers. The other departments can refer to the notes when they are communicating with a specific person. Even if a business is too small to have a full staff and formal programs, there should be a way to relay important information between multiple staff members.

 

Customer service works best when agents have all of the information. They can utilize sales data along with other information to help them resolve conflicts or concerns with customers. The customer will feel more recognized and understood, and they will believe they are more than just a name or number with the company. This will enforce their loyalty with the company.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

2 weeks ago

Is the Customer Always Right? Understanding the Goal of Call Centres

It used to be the mantra of most businesses. The customer was always right. That meant that the customer service person must do whatever it takes to make things right with the customer, giving them what they want even to the detriment of the company. However, anyone in the service industry knows the truth is the customer is not always right. The real goal of call centres and customer service should reflect a new truth.

 

The Customer is Always Important

 

No, the customer is not always right, but maintaining a relationship with them is always important. Rather than giving the customer what they want when it doesn’t make sense, the focus should be on how to reach a satisfactory conclusion so you can maintain a relationship with that customer in the future.

 

Even when you know the customer is clearly wrong, the situation must be handled with care. The primary focus must be on treating the customer with respect, as someone who matters to the company. If they feel important, they’ll be more likely to respond positively to your efforts.

 

Reaching a Solution

 

While you can’t always give a customer what they want, you can work towards a solution both parties will be happy with. For instance, a customer may want a product at a certain sale price that is no longer in effect. Companies that want to keep this relationship have two options. They can make an exception and sell the item at the former sales price. The problem with this solution is that the customer will expect similar treatment in the future.

 

The second option is to offer a solution that works for both parties. It may be to present a second, lower-priced product to them or to offer a special discount that is not the same as the sale price, but still less expensive than full price. The key is to think outside the box when it comes to solving problems with customers.

 

Train Employees

 

While businesses don’t want to train customer service staff that the customer is always right, they should be taught that every customer matters. Some companies use role play to help agents learn how to deal with different situations. They may develop solutions for common problems which will meet the customer’s needs in a different way.

 

Successful companies also educate and equip staff members to handle problems on their own. They teach agents how to come up with a solution and they back the agent even if the solution is a little different from previous offers. Allowing customer service staff to make their own decisions when dealing with customers can help improve the customer service experience. While some businesses worry about the results by giving agents too much authority, the right training can relieve much of that concern.

 

By doing away with the old idea that the customer is always right and replacing it with the concept that every customer is important, businesses can achieve a higher level of customer service and customer loyalty.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

1 month ago

Top Reasons to Outsource Your Call Centre

Whether you have a new company just getting started or you’re thinking about making some changes, outsourcing a call centre can be a big decision. Even if you feel like your current situation isn’t ideal or customer service analytics show poor performance, you may be worried about what will happen when you aren’t in direct control of this department. Here are some valid reasons why outsourcing makes sense.

 

Reduced Expense

 

Setting up a new call centre is a major investment of time and money, neither of which is readily available to most new companies starting out. Even a call centre that is already set up uses a lot of resources. When you outsource, you pay only for the necessary services as they are used. Because the call centre has multiple clients, you aren’t the only one paying for the services.

 

Flexibility

 

Because most call centres experience peak times and slow times for calls, you aren’t paying agents to do nothing. They manage multiple clients, which means they are working for someone else when your company doesn’t need them, so you don’t have to pay for idle time. When the season gets busy, they can ramp up staff to deal with increased volume quickly.

Specialized Knowledge

 

Call centre agents often have specialized knowledge for specific industries. For instance, one call centre may specialize in health care while another one handles retail customers. This ensures your clients or customers receive the best help from people who are qualified to answer those questions or handle concerns.

 

Expert Management

 

Call centres follow the advice of “do one thing and do it well.” They are experts in customer service, which translates into better management for call centre agents. They can train their staff to ensure the highest quality performance. The result is fewer complaints from customers and more customer loyalty. While some companies worry that customers won’t like dealing with an outside company, the truth is that very few will know that this is the case with a top call centre agency.

 

Data Collection

 

Many call centres have access to big data to analyze performance and other aspects of customer service. This information can be valuable for companies that want to improve customer service or other areas of the organization. It’s possible to utilize advanced technology for this information that the company couldn’t afford to access on its own.

 

Quality Control

 

The focus for call centres is on providing the best service for their clients. They have the processes in place and the programs to monitor every call for efficiency and results. Information is reviewed and processes may be tweaked until the results are what you want them to be.

 

Many companies worry that call centre agencies won’t have the level of dedication to the customer that they do. In reality, their dedication is to the company, which means they work to provide the best customer service possible. In fact, many companies say these call centres do a better job of handling customer issues than the business did, which increased the level of customer satisfaction and loyalty towards the business.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

1 month ago

How to Ramp Up Customer Service for the Holidays

As the calendar counts down the days until the end of the year, businesses start thinking about what that means for the holiday season. Retail stores take advantage of holiday sales with the goal of reducing inventory. Other businesses focus on how the weather will bring new issues, such as in medical care. Whether you have a few sales associates, a dedicated call centre or a dispatcher, you need to think about how your customer service needs change for the season.

 

Train Early

 

For many companies, they must hire on temporary staff to get through the holidays or the winter months. It’s important to plan early and hire even before the need arises. This gives you more time to train them to deal with the busy time. Focus extra on helping them learn how to deal with upset customers or frustrated clients because the time of year may bring out the negative side to people.

 

Look at Your Processes

 

Whether you are a medical clinic that will see an increase in sick people or a retail store that will see more shoppers, look at your processes to find ways of speeding up the process. No one likes waiting in long lines to see a doctor or to make a purchase. While not every issue can be overcome, try to look for ways to improve in areas where it is possible.

 

Equip Your Staff

 

Consider giving your seasoned staff more authority during this season. If someone has been with the company for some time and knows the business, trust them to make more decisions without searching for manager’s approval. This step will help eliminate wait times and allow your staff to be more efficient. It also makes them feel good and have a positive attitude towards helping customers or clients.

 

Don’t Forget Marketing

 

It’s easy to focus on managing current business in the busy season and let your marketing efforts slack off. You’ll pay for this later on when you don’t have as much business. Take time to include marketing in your schedule. If you must slow down, cut back on marketing, but don’t cut it out completely.

 

Consider a New Model

 

If what you’ve been doing in the past hasn’t worked, you may want to consider changing your procedures for this year. For instance, you may want to outsource your customer service to a call centre agency. Outsourcing allows you to focus on core elements of your business without sacrificing your customer service. When you hire an outside agency, they are focused solely on serving your customers

which can bring your reputation up a notch.

 

No matter what industry you’re in, the company is likely to be affected by the changing seasons and coming holidays. Whether you’re dealing with an increase in business or employee time-off for the holidays, think about how this will impact your business and what you need to do. With careful planning, your business can not only survive this season but thrive.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

1 month ago

Measuring Call Centre Effectiveness

Call centres are designed to handle a large volume of phone calls and to manage customer service more efficiently. They also come with a higher cost and reduced interaction with customers. To ensure your call centre is doing the best job possible and helping your business grow, you need to be able to establish analytics which measure important aspects.

 

What is Analytics for a Call Centre?

 

Analytics for a call centre would determine how effective and efficient the centre is as a whole as well as which agents are the most effective. It could analyze which methods and tools used provide the best results.

 

Not only do analytics help a business monitor the ability of the call centre to meet the needs of the customer, it assists from a Human Resources perspective. Employers and managers can reward employees based on performance and encourage more positive results.

 

What Kind of Analytics Should be Used?

 

You’ll find all kinds of analytics tools available for use in a call centre. If you’re a small business, you won’t have time to monitor everything or review multiple programs. You must choose the best options which tell you what you want to know.

 

Text analytics – tells managers about the messages received through written documents and social

media as well as text messages. It provides information about messages sent and received.

Speech analytics – a newer measurement, it tells managers if there are areas for improvement such as using a script or other methods to achieve the desired outcome from a call.

 

Predictive analytics – reviews previous performance to determine future results, such as number of agents needed at specific times to handle call volumes.

 

Desktop analytics – measures the effectiveness of the systems and ensures they are working properly. It also identifies areas where training may be needed and identifies any unnecessary or redundant tasks.

In practical terms, analytics identify issues that customers complain about. For instance, it may include length of time a customer is on hold or how many times they are transferred in a single phone call. It may identify problems with turnaround times for answers to customer issues. When the information is reviewed, it can help the business owner or manager determine if more staff is needed or more training is necessary. Perhaps procedures need to be updated to ensure everyone is more working more efficiently.

 

The Results

Once you use analytics to measure how your call centre is doing, you can make changes to improve the results. This often means more time spent with the customer or answering their issues and questions faster and with less wait time.

 

The end result is better customer service and more satisfied customers who are loyal to your company. If you cannot provide this level of service to your customers, it’s better to outsource it to a call centre agency that can provide the analytics and results you need to keep your business growing and thriving. Measuring performance ensures what you’re doing is correct and being done the right way.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

2 months ago

5 Steps to Improve Relationships with Your Customers

From assisting with a purchase to dealing with a malfunctioning product, your company’s customer service is going to interact with customers on a regular basis. Some of them will be nice and friendly while others will be upset and angry. No matter the situation, you want to use the opportunity to improve the relationship with your customer to ensure their loyalty.

 

1. Teach Empathy and Patience

 

Not all customers are easy to deal with for a call centre agent or service representative. Regardless of the customer’s attitude, your agent must maintain an attitude of professionalism. Furthermore, it helps if they are empathetic and patient because it shows in their voice and manner.

Empathy happens when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Perhaps the customer is upset because they bought a product that isn’t working correctly. Imagine how you would feel in the same situation. Even if you disagree with the customer, it can help if you understand their point of view and how they feel.

 

Patience is important when you have to explain the same information multiple times or when the person wants a different answer and you can’t give it to them. When someone is being patient, they won’t raise their voice or act frustrated with the customer.

 

2. Explain How to Communicate Clearly

 

One of the biggest problems in customer service for any business is a lack of clear communication. What the service rep is saying may not be what the customer is hearing. In some situations, the agent may assume a customer knows the basics about a product.

It’s important to teach your customer service agents how to think like a customer when they are speaking to them. Make sure they don’t assume a customer knows information or talk in technical terms the average person doesn’t understand. They should explain everything in simple terms and in great detail.

 

3. Be Willing to Adapt

 

Not every customer is going to react the same way or have the same level of understanding. Your customer service agent should be able to adapt to various situations. It also helps if you can give them some independence on how to handle issues. If they can find a unique way to resolve the situation that fits in with the company rules and regulations, it can make the customer happy and ensure long-term loyalty.

 

Part of the ability to adapt is dependent on the amount of training your agents receive. You may need to work through real-life situations in training to help them understand what options are available. Make sure your agents know who to turn to when they are unsure of an answer. When they are more confident in their job, they will be better able to meet the needs of the customer.

 

You can help your staff improve their relationships with customers by teaching them how to empathize and be patient, how to communicate clearly and how to adapt to the different customers and situations.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

2 months ago

Can Surveys Improve Your Customer Service?

Whether you’ve had complaints about your customer service or you just want to improve what is already good, the first step is to know what your customers want and what they aren’t getting. Even with the advent of technology, one of the most effective ways to gauge a customer’s impression of your business and your customer service department is through surveys.

 

What a Survey Tells You

 

A survey should be able to tell you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and what you could do better. In fact, you should design your questions to do just that. It doesn’t matter whether you have a dedicated call centre, a customer service department or just a receptionist. You want to know how people feel about your company.

 

When you review the results of your survey, they should expose any weak areas within your company. Perhaps it is the length of time a customer must wait to talk to someone or the number of times they are transferred.

 

You can use this information to make improvements within your organization that matter. Instead of guessing about what your customers want, you’ll know.

 

How to Conduct a Survey

 

You have several options for using a survey. One of the easiest if you have a physical location is to have customers fill out the survey while they are in the store. You can also send a survey home with them or mail it to them. However, the surveys may get forgotten. The best method for many businesses is to utilize technology and have customers fill it out online. You can even send it in a text message, email or through social media.

 

The key to any survey is keep it short. Select only one purpose for the survey and ask relevant, simple questions that provide the information you need. Give people choices in the answers to keep the information the same.

 

For instance, you may want to know how customers feel about calling into your company. You should ask three or four questions about their call, such as if the wait time is too long or just fine. You could ask if the customer service representative used their name, and how well they did in resolving the problem on a scale of 1 to 10.

 

What to Do with Survey Results

 

Once you get the results back from your survey, you should study the information to see how you can make changes. On the areas where you received low satisfaction scores, you must work on immediately.

But don’t fail to consider those areas that are average. While no one may be complaining, you want to work to improve so your company can stand out from the competition.

 

Don’t give your customers surveys every time they shop or use your services, but make surveys a regular part of your analytics. Create a survey two or three times a year to keep updated on how effectively your business provides customer service.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more.  They service the North American market.

3 months ago

What Does a Virtual Receptionist Do?

 

 

If you are a small business owner, you may have to wear a lot of hats. One area where you will need to hire eventually is a customer service agent or receptionist. You want your customers to talk to a professional when they call in with a problem or question. Large companies may create a call centre, but small businesses only need a single position. Until you can afford a full-time employee on your payroll, a virtual receptionist may be the perfect option.

 

What is a Virtual Receptionist?

 

A virtual receptionist is the first voice your customers will hear. The person acts as a traditional receptionist but works from a remote location. Much like outsourced call centres, a virtual receptionist can be from anywhere, but they represent your company to customers and vendors.

This person may work during your company’s business hours or you may choose to have someone available outside of regular hours. They must have access to certain information and be available to

answer phone calls that come in.

 

What a Virtual Receptionist Does

 

A virtual receptionist does many of the same tasks as a traditional front office person. They answer phone calls, which is their primary role. In addition, they may schedule appointments or make reminder phone calls. They may do other basic tasks that involve interacting with customers.

Remote receptionists learn the basic information about your organization to service the customer, while leaving more detailed work for you. They can take messages, leaving you free to respond at a time

which suits you.

 

The Advantage of a Virtual Receptionist

 

The primary advantage in hiring a virtual receptionist is that you pay less than for a full-time employee. You can select the hours you need a receptionist, and you only pay for the time they work. You aren’t required to pay for benefits, which can reduce your overall cost.

 

This is often an optimal solution for companies just starting out. They hire help only when it’s needed. For instance, you may be out in the field on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those days you can have a virtual front desk person handle phone calls, and you take care of customers on the other days.

 

Another benefit is you are hiring skilled staff for an entry-level position. Instead of hiring someone with little to no experience, your receptionist is someone who does this type of work on a regular basis. They know how to act professionally and deal with problems while representing your company in a positive light. You have less training and supervision, allowing you to focus on other tasks in your young company.

 

When hiring a virtual receptionist, you should choose a company with a strong reputation in call centre service. They should be familiar with your industry and be able to make your company look good. Even though they aren’t part of the company, they will be the first voice customers hear when they call in. The real job of the virtual receptionist is to make your company look good and to provide exceptional customer service.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more. They service the North American market.

3 months ago

4 Tips to Improve Customer Service

If you feel your company offers only mediocre customer service or even if it’s acceptable but not outstanding, you can make improvements. Take the level of customer service your company offers up a notch to ensure loyalty and satisfaction from those you serve. Here are four tips to help you.

 

1. Provide Ongoing Training

 

Many companies train new employees on how to provide customer service which meets company standards. However, long-term staff may need a refresher or to learn new skills which help them perform better.

Plan to hold seminars, classes or other training at least once a year. Make it mandatory to ensure everyone stays up to date on their skills. You can bring in speakers or use online training to increase interest among staff members.

 

2. Create a Customer Service Strategy

 

Take the most common call topics and create a strategy to handle each issue. This helps employees feel more prepared, and they understand how you expect things to be dealt with. At the same time, you don’t want your call centre agents to act like robots. Make sure they understand the importance of treating each caller with personal attention.

As you create your strategy, talk to the call centre representatives. Get their perspective and listen to their ideas. Being on the frontline gives them a unique perspective, which could serve well for your company.

 

3. Practice Situations with Staff

 

Make it easier for your employees to understand how to work with customers by creating practice scenarios. Have them act out different situations they find themselves in and enlist other agents to deal with the issue. This teaches call centre agents about listening, responding correctly and dealing with different emotions.

Some agents are more comfortable with certain emotions than others. For instance, someone may feel adept at dealing with an angry customer while one who cries and is upset flusters them. Teach your staff members how to handle the emotions of other people, and they will provide better customer service in all situations.

 

4. Empower Your Agents

 

While you have company standards your call centre must follow, you should give them as much independence as possible. Perhaps you can let them make decisions in specific situations. If they feel they have some power to respond to customers, they will be more involved and be able to come up with solutions to problems.

One of the challenges customers face is asking for help and being directed through two or more levels of customer service before getting an answer. If the level one or two agents are authorized to deal with normal problems, the situation can be resolved faster and more effectively for both the customer and the company.

 

Even if you get good marks for your customer service, you can always take things to the next level by following these four tips. Help your staff stand out in a good way to their customers by incorporating one or more of these tips into your protocol.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more. They service the North American market.

4 months ago

Using Social Media for Customer Service

More and more customers turn to social media when they are purchasing goods or services. They will research the company on social networks, sign up to follow them for good deals, and even communicate by posting questions or comments. Any modern business must learn how to utilize social media effectively to maintain positive customer service.

 

How Customers Use Social Media

 

Customers utilize social networks in many ways when it comes to businesses. They will turn to their friends online to ask for recommendations. Once they find a business they like, they’ll follow or like that business to learn more about them. They may sign up to get deals or discounts not available elsewhere.

More customers are turning to social media when they have a complaint or question. They’ll post on the company’s page for everyone to see. Other customers will watch for the company’s response, what they say as well as how fast they respond.

 

Are Call Centres a Thing of the Past?

 

Studies show that more customers prefer to use social media over calling a company when they have a question or complaint. They avoid calling because of the long wait or dealing with call centre agents who don’t know the answers or can’t resolve the issue. Some customers think they will get a better response through social media while others just don’t want the hassle that’s often involved with phone calls.

 

Companies that have a solid reputation for excellent customer service don’t usually have this issue. When they have short or no wait times and solve the customer’s problem quickly, people don’t mind calling them. If people are turning to social media over other methods of customer service, the business owner needs to ask themselves why and fix the issues.

 

Combining Social Media and Customer Service

 

Companies that want to excel in customer service must focus first on making the main point of contact effective, which is usually the phone. They must incorporate social media and respond quickly to customer comments. The business will have to learn how to deal with complaints in a positive way since others will be privy to the interactions.

 

More businesses are discovering the importance of hiring a social media manager to help them gain or maintain a positive presence in social media. At the same time, they must continue to hire and train outstanding call centre agents to ensure customer satisfaction with each interaction.

 

Customer service isn’t the easiest aspect of owning a business, but it is one of the most important components. The kind of service you provide to your customers how successful you will be. Social media magnifies that result because others are watching how you handle each interaction.

 

Any business that wants to succeed must learn how to use social media in their company. It isn’t enough to set up a page and add a bunch of status updates in hopes of attracting new customers. You’ll have to focus on current customers who will either enhance or hurt your online image. Learn how to use social media in your customer service, and you won’t regret it.

 

Ashley Meszaros is the Owner/President of We An-Ser Communications  in Calgary. We An-Ser Communications provides award winning call center services in Calgary, dispatching, medical answering services, man down services, lone worker support, wireless panic services and more. They service the North American market.