Customer service management refers to the methods, techniques, and technologies that businesses employ to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the objective of enhancing business relationships, helping in customer retention, and driving sales growth.
But, exactly, what do customer service managers do? Is their position solely administrative, executive, or both?
As a customer service manager, you would be responsible for hiring and managing your support team, as well as training and monitoring their performance, coming up with ideas to improve customer service, and, of course, motivating them.
Overall, you will be held accountable for everything that occurs with your customer support staff. That’s OK, but you should be prepared for everything that comes your way.
To assist you, here are ten customer service management techniques that will help you please both your staff and your customers:
1. Recruit your team
Hiring employees is the first step in managing customer service. And let me get this off my chest straight away: soft skills are critical in customer service.
There are other requirements, such as typing speed for live chat agents or coding experience. And, all else being equal, such difficult technical abilities can be a tremendous advantage. But what would you do with a seasoned developer who lacks empathy and communication skills?
That is why you should look for the following soft talents in your potential customer service representative:
=> Listening actively
=> a positive outlook
=> Dispute resolution
But how can you even put anything like this to the test?
A good old-fashioned job interview with the proper questions is arguably one of the most fail-safe methods of assessing candidates’ soft skills. However, there are extra tests that may be performed to ensure that a person has what it takes.
For example, you might present a role-play situation needing a certain answer and see how prospective prospects respond to it. Alternatively, you might go play ping pong with them. Such unforeseen events may be ideal for putting soft skills to the test in a more friendly atmosphere.
2. Specify who is responsible for customer assistance.
Customer service may now involve everything from responding email queries to proactive onboarding to even upselling and cross-selling, depending on the scale of a firm. That is why it is the responsibility of customer service management to outline all of the duties that your team will be accountable for early on.
Naturally, this will involve responding to any client requests and queries via live chat, email, social media, and phone. At all times, this should be your team’s primary focus. But what more can they do once they’ve cleared their inbox?
Customer service is often in charge of the following extra responsibilities (which frequently overlap with sales and marketing agendas):
Proactively reaching out to consumers and giving assistance
Creating and maintaining a client self-help knowledge base portal
Keeping note of all regular client requests and comments
Reporting bugs and escalating tough situations to the appropriate departments
Customers who reported issues, requested improvements or items, or wrote reviews were followed up on.
When it’s appropriate, upsell or cross-sell items.
Assisting with new customer onboarding
Keeping track of client happiness and reporting it to managers
Sure, some of these responsibilities may appear to belong to the sales or marketing teams, but that’s the thing about five-star customer service management. It is your responsibility to maintain constant contact not just with consumers but also with other departments. Customers should not have any reason to suspect anything other than excellent customer service from you.
3. Plan training programs
Typically, customer service training occurs concurrently with the employment of new employees. A customer service manager hires someone for the position, trains them, and then fires them. However, new trends and technology develop on a daily basis, and it is your responsibility to stay up with them while also training your employees.
According to Malte Scholz, CEO and Co-Founder of Airfocus, all customer service training should begin in other areas. That is why they need customer service representatives to spend some time in the sales and marketing departments before beginning their main role:
4. Maintain constant communication with different departments.
While a skilled customer care team and a strong thorough knowledge base can address some difficulties, this is not always the case. Customer support may demand assistance from developers or may need to send a customer to sales.
Samantha Odo, COO of Precondo.ca, believes that a competent customer service manager will inspire every executive/department involved in customer care to: The best thing you could do is include everyone in the customer care department. No, I’m not saying it delegated final responsibility to a large number of people. However, include every executive in the process. Every major department’s leaders, including the CEO, accounts department, sales department, and every other major department’s executives, must have a relationship with customer service.
Its advantage would be that you would be able to develop more good policies. A sales team, for example, can assist you in dealing with clients, and the budgeting team will give an appropriate budget to this department. By doing so, you would bring all departments together to achieve a single aim. So, how can you establish this symbiotic relationship? You’ll need certain tools. You need the greatest and most efficient tools available for keeping track of all concerns, interacting with the team, and, of course, delivering excellent customer service.
5. Select the appropriate technology stack
Customer service cannot be provided without the necessary tools and their execution.
According to Kat Kalmykov, Head of Customer Success at Thankful.ai, there is always a lot of demand from above for customer service managers to incorporate technology into their operations. However, it is important to determine whether (and which) technology is the best fit for your company.
Some companies can utilize technology to provide an amazing customer service experience, but for others, it can actually result in a less than spectacular end since the technology isn’t capable of doing what you expected or hoped it would. Before adopting any new procedures, tech or non-tech, make sure you understand your strengths, limitations, and opportunities.
Only your own knowledge and skills can help you choose the proper equipment. Here are some resources to help you manage your customer support team more effectively:
HelpCrunch is an omni-channel customer care platform that allows you to manage live chat, email, and knowledge base assistance. In essence, you can answer client requests via live chat, follow up via email, and generate self-help knowledge base articles all in one application.
A good project management tool is essential. Tools like Notion, Fibery, and Evernote, for example, are excellent for keeping your to-do lists, activities, and projects all in one place. Developers also want to utilise systems like Jira to monitor issues, tasks, and bug reports.
Any team collaboration technology chosen by your organisation – Slack, Chanty, Microsoft Teams, and so on. However, as a customer service manager, you should ensure that your preferred customer support tool is effectively connected with your team communication platform. You may, for example, link HelpCrunch with Slack to receive all customer messages, forward them, and tag coworkers.
Calendly is used to schedule demos, and video call software such as Zoom (pay) or Google Hangouts (free) is used to conduct such demos.
Screenshot and screen video recording software, such as Monosnap or Snagit.
CRM (customer relationship management) software that stores all prospects and leads’ contact information in a single database. Although HelpCrunch provides rudimentary CRM capabilities, your sales staff is likely to choose something more complex, such as HubSpot, Zoho, or PipeDrive.
These are the absolute minimum of tools that any customer support staff should have. Chatbots are another trend that is gaining popularity right now.
However, perspectives on this technique differ. Some argue that it’s the greatest method to serve clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week and reduce your team’s effort, while others argue that this technology isn’t yet evolved enough to be useful.
According to Dmytro Okunyev, Founder of Chanty, chatbots are only useful if you have a set of 4-5 questions that your clients frequently ask:
We get a lot of inquiries about our price plans, how we compare to our rivals, what features we have, what’s on our product roadmap, and so on. Furthermore, our clients range from small teams of 5 to large organisations with 500 seats. In other words, the target population is simply too diverse for a single chatbot to cover.
This is why we abandoned the chatbot in favour of recruiting customer service representatives to provide coverage for at least 12 hours each day. The cost is more, but the ROI is higher as well.
6. Establish attainable customer service KPIs.
Once you’ve hired the appropriate people, defined their roles, and provided them with the most effective tools, your major job is to monitor their performance. Setting reasonable yet exact customer service KPIs (key performance indicators) is therefore essential.
KPIs, in my experience, generally seem pretty scary to employees. As a result, it is critical to build such criteria on your own experience in order to make them attainable. A competent customer service manager also recalls that KPIs exist to reward and motivate frontrunners. Don’t forget to vote.
So, here are some of the most popular customer service KPIs that you may wish to monitor in your organisation:
Rate of customer satisfaction
Average time to first response
Average time to resolve a problem
The amount of knowledge base articles they’ve produced, as well as the number of demonstrations they’ve created and their conversion rate
The total amount of upsells and cross-sells.
The majority of these indicators are simple to measure in any customer service software. HelpCrunch, for example, tracks the number of discussions, initial response time, and time to closure. You may also assess your customer satisfaction level based on chat evaluations left by consumers after you have resolved their issue.
7. Establish a customer service mindset.
A customer service philosophy is a set of principles that you, as a manager, communicate to your staff and encourage them to communicate to customers.
I realise it sounds corny and needless. Everyone understands that you must treat consumers with respect and do your best to assist them. But, in fact, do they? Has your representative ever been disrespectful or called on their bluff?
Having a basic organised customer service philosophy can help you ensure that everyone in your organisation is on the same page about how you should provide customer care.
I particularly appreciate how TalkDesk’s Shauna Geraghty summarised it in her post. It is made up of six basic yet critical components:
Every consumer represents the company’s future.
Everything revolves around one’s reputation.
The quicker, the better.
If you make a mistake, apologise.
Make yourself as accessible as possible.
Keep your customers close – they’re all you’ve got.
I understand that all of these assertions may appear to be self-evident and intuitive. But why, most of the time, does customer service appear indifferent and uncaring? Companies rarely worry about how they are viewed, instead focusing on apparent duties such as receiving a query, swiftly answering it, and closing the case.
What do you think? I could go on and on about customer service philosophies, principles, and other nonsense. However, at the end of the day, excellent customer service management entails paying attention to your staff. If they claim your KPIs are unattainable, they’re usually right. And if they say your support software is morally outdated and unable of doing its job, chances are it is.
So, yes, follow these seven simple procedures, but don’t forget to listen to your staff. They should have the last word in every choice about customer service management that you make.
Author: Akshat Singh, Digital Marketing Intern, SherjiTechnologies