For an average B2C and B2B customer, who do you think is the face of the company? We bet your first thought would not be a customer service representative, would it? In reality, they are the ones who become a face of your company for your clients. That is why selecting the perfect candidates and setting up a good and functioning Customer Service Department is of paramount importance.
In this article, we'll cover:
What does a Customer Service Department do?
Very often customers need support and assistance before, after and even during the sale of the product or a service. Customer Service Department representatives are the ones who provide this support. The main task here is to create a trustworthy atmosphere and provide the client with the exact information they need right at the time when they need it.
At the same time, it is completely irrelevant how your customers reach out to you — via phone, email, chat or any other way, your customer service team is expected to deliver the same straightforward and efficient service no matter the circumstance and the mood of the client.
But, we are putting it lightly, so to speak. There are many more responsibilities that a Customer Service Department is supposed to cover. Let’s see what they are.
1. ❓ Develop a FAQ
Dealing with clients on a daily basis gives your Customer Service Department a perfect and unique opportunity to see what questions are coming up frequently. In order to not have to answer them almost every day, they can develop a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document/website section. Having the answers to the most common question in writing, for the customers to find themselves, is going to sufficiently cut the amount of customer tickets the consultants have to deal with.
2. 🙋 Track what customers really want
Most of the time, the Customer Service Department are the only ones who get to interact with the clients. With this, they are the only ones who can really understand what your clients like and think about your company. What they complain about and what they want you to improve. Surely, the more you listen to your customers, the better the UX is going to be.
3. 👥 Be proactive
Reaching out to the client before the client reaches out to them is a part of customer service representatives’ duty. They are to stay in touch with the customer and make sure that the level of customer satisfaction is growing. Being proactive is one of the core duties of a Customer Service Department.
4. 🤗 Pass on the praise
Yep! It happens. Sometimes customers call to praise your service or your support team. And surely, while hearing and seeing all of it is extremely pleasant, the Customer Service Department cannot hold on to this information. They need to tell their superior about this, so that the management could really see and understand what is working and what is not.
5. 😃 Be a customer representatives inside the company
No one has a better knowledge of your customers in your entire company. That is why in all the meetings and brainstorming sessions it is important to hear what your customer service representatives have to say. They can give a very valuable insight into your clients’ needs and wants.
As you can see, being a customer service representative is not an easy task. It goes way beyond resolving the questions and issues that the clients might have. Their role is to communicate with your clients, make sure that their UX level is high and be the voice of the customer inside your company.
But of course, it takes a lot of people to run a Customer Service Department. Most of the users do not even realize how many people are responsible for their experience. Let’s start with the fact that it takes 4 tiers for this department to run smoothly.
Customer service tiers
There are 4 essential tiers of a Customer Service Department.
Tier 0 — self-support (L0)
It is basically a way for customers to resolve their issues themselves, be it via a web tutorials, a special app or simply with the help of your website.
Tier 1 — basic help (L1)
Consultants of the first tier are solving the simplest and most common clients’ issues. They are the first ones who the customers come in contact with and most of the time they are able to resolve whatever issue comes up.
Tier 2 — in-depth technical support (L2)
Second tier support consultant’s knowledge base is usually broader and more advanced than that of the L1. They deal with issues more complex. Their responsibilities might include testing, researching and digging deeper.
Tier 3 — code-level investigation (L3)
Tier 3 are practically programmers. They are the ones responsible for resolving the cases on the code-level. They have to have a lot of experience and technical knowledge and understand the architecture of the program.
Tier 4 — outsourced software/hardware vendors (L4)
This tier is needed when resolving the situation is out of reach of the in-house customer service. Cases that might require help from the outside, like from software developers or hardware vendors, are not that frequent, but they do require the highest level of attention.
If you want to read more about the support level tiers and their responsibilities, please check out this article.
Now, when you understand what tier of customer service deals with what, we need to talk about different teams.
Yes. Tiers are for support consultants only. The rest of the specialists in the department have their own roles and their own responsibilities.
Teams within a Customer Service Department
💼 Account manager
Think of account managers as the advocates of the customers. They start working with the customers as soon as they come looking for services and stop only in case their business relationship is terminated. They build excellent professional relationship with the client to ensure that all the customers feel special and important.
🎁 Loyalty and rewards
It happens. Even in our fast-changing world there are clients who stay with the vendors for decades. Such clients deserve recognition and a bit of a special treatment. Loyalty and rewards team are trying to reward loyal clients by making the special offers.
🔃 Returns and warranty
Sometimes one of the parts of a customer experience is filing for returns and warranty claims. And specialists in this segment of a Customer Service Department know all the problematic areas of the product and understand common reasons for claims.
😳 Issue management
These employees handle escalation and generally help to improve the service or a product relying on customer’s requests and complaints.
Support consultants provide guidance and direct help to the customers when issues occur. They have to have a deep knowledge of the supported product as well as have excellent people skills.
Yes, sales personnel is also a part of the Customer Service Department. Not only do they handle all the sales calls, but they also provide the clients with needed information as well as assist them before, during and after the purchase.
It takes a whole team of people to make the customer feel welcome and appreciated as well as make sure that all the clients’ issues are resolved in a timely manner.
And yes, that is a lot of people. That does seem a bit chaotic, doesn’t it? Well, do not fear. Every company finds their own way to structuralize and bring order to the Customer Service Department.
How to bring structure to your Customer Service Department?
1. Make sure that you are hiring the right people
The first step comes at the very beginning of the process — when you are only looking for the people to fill your department with. You have to know precisely who you are looking for and what questions to ask them during the interview process. There can be no mistake. At this point it is better to prolong your search than to hire the first candidates you are interviewing.
2. Set up appropriate roles for everyone
When the people are hired you might think: now that I have everyone I need with the right skills, what is the best way to implement those skills for my and their benefit? In what roles will they open up and develop the most? This will help you get the most out of your newly formed team.
3. Provide necessary training
Even the best and most skilled of the specialists need time and information to get into the right working rhythm. No shame in that. Give your new employees everything they might require to know your product or service inside-out. This is the best way for them to learn how to help your customers better.
4. Create a friendly atmosphere
Too often management underestimates the importance of relationships between the employees. And given that the Customer Service Department has to work as if they are one mechanism, it is easy to understand the importance of team building and friendly relationships within the whole department and separate teams as well.
5. Encourage leadership
Sooner or later you are going to start seeing true leaders within the structure. Employees like this need to be encouraged and properly trained. Sooner or later they might make a great member of your management.
Setting up and creating a friendly atmosphere within your Customer Service Department is going to set up the necessary grounds for a productive and efficient collaboration with your customers. As a result, the satisfaction level of your clientele is going to grow which, in the long run, will ensure the success and development of your business. That is how important a perfectly suited Customer Service Department really is.