Simply put, a reputation is not built overnight. This is something experienced customer support leadership knows all too well, especially as they embark on a new opportunity at a different company or department. Departmental change often happens in customer support because the support experience has deteriorated and this is negatively impacting the bottom line of a business. But worry not, every day is an opportunity to rebuild and improve so you can bridge this gap in customer service expectations. This means that, slowly but surely, your customer support reputation can become a cornerstone of your business instead of a black eye. Here are some key ways businesses can improve their B2B (business-to-business) customer support reputation.
Prioritize via internal organization – It’s tempting to jump right in and change things left and right on the fly. Don’t do this. Take a step back and evaluate how the customer support reputation reached its current level of inferiority. Talk to current customers if necessary to find out their pain points with your customer support operation. Make a list and communicate internally with staff and leadership about the changes that you’d like to make and in what order to roll them out. It’s important to not overload the customer support team with too many changes or it could make situations chaotic and even worse. Keeping things structed will help you stay organized and will provide a clear direction to everyone involved in customer support.
Promote collaboration – When rolling out new changes, provide formal training but encourage employees to teach each other as well. Collaboration is the key to great customer support and this style of teaching improves not only the collective knowledge of the team but also has a positive impact on your internal communication, company culture, and employee longevity. In addition, don’t forget to reward and acknowledge employees who go “above and beyond” in helping to educate their colleagues.
Utilize customer support technology – Getting started with this level of collaboration may seem daunting, but it can be accomplished primarily through technology such as customer support software. A comprehensive software solution enables direct collaboration on tickets and conversations while providing all the tools necessary to truly create memorable positive support experiences for your customers. Let software provide proof of the ROI (Return on Investment) of customer support so that your reputation never declines again.
Be proactive with communication – Don’t just sit around and wait for customers to interact with you so they can learn about your improved support experience. This is especially applicable for customers that have felt “wronged” by your customer support in the past. Once ready, be proactive and reach out with personalized communication (such as email or targeted advertising) to let them know about your new and improved support offering. You need to give people a reason why they should give your support team and business another chance. This type of communication is the next generation of customer interaction.
Always keep learning and evolving – A common reason why a customer support reputation gets worse over time is because companies become stagnant and set in their ways. Don’t let this happen; continue to ask for and evaluate feedback from both internal and external sources to keep improving your customer support experience. This feedback can include facilitating NPS (Net Promoter Score) information or one-on-one detailed interviews with customers. Make sure to vary your feedback sources and look for common trends before making large changes to your customer support process.
In short, changing a customer support reputation to something you’ll be proud of takes time and precise planning. Be organized, listen to your customers and employees, and enable collaboration with the assistance of technology. Doing all of the above will propel change in your customer support operation and over time your reputation will continue to improve. More customers will take notice of the changes and share their positive feedback and experiences with colleagues in their industry.
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