5 months ago

Why Customer Service Matters in Small Businesses

A small business has a lot of disadvantages over larger companies. Limited cash flow, fewer employees to manage various tasks and an owner who must stay on top of everything. Customer service is another area that is critical to the success of small businesses – perhaps even more so than with larger companies. Here is why.

 

Global Competition

 

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but it often means better known and better able to respond to customers’ needs. Thanks to the internet, small local businesses don’t just compete against other local companies. They must beat out global competition. It may be the business in another part of the city or clear across the world.

 

A small business must stand out in the way they respond to their customers. A large company often automates its methods to reduce cost and provide products and services to a wide customer base. The only way a smaller company can compete is by providing exceptional customer service that stands out from larger companies.

 

Personalization

 

Customers today want to know they matter. They are more than just a number or name. A small company can provide that personal contact and get to know the face behind the name. A local coffee shop will know what flavor coffee a customer wants or a server at a restaurant will know which table a regular customer prefers.

 

Offering personalized customer service is one way smaller companies can promote themselves. They can seldom produce goods or services at a lower cost than larger companies, which means they have to charge a higher price. To compete against those larger organizations, they must offer something extra. They have to make the customer feel special.

 

Creating a Niche

 

For small businesses, they must carve out a niche to ensure survival. This means winning over customers and creating a loyal base. They cannot afford to be insensitive to the needs of their customers or to adopt a standardized approach. Instead, they must pursue the goal of building exceptional customer service that will bring people back to them again and again.

 

For some, it may mean they provide delivery while others may offer another special feature or benefit. The way to build a reputation for solid customer service is to find out what customers want and expect, and then to over-deliver. Always provide more than they ask for.

 

The only way a small business can compete against large companies is by offering a better customer experience. To achieve this, they may outsource the call centre or train call centre agents to respond to customer needs. From the owner down to the entry-level employee, everyone must have the same attitude and goals.

 

When a small business builds its reputation as a company that cares about customers, it will develop a loyal following that will beat out larger organizations. The key for these small companies is to know where they can excel and to put time and money into those areas and ensure long-term success.

 

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.

7 months 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.

7 months 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.

8 months 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.

8 months 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.

8 months 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.

9 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.