How to Excel at Customer Service Management: A Complete Guide

How to Excel at Customer Service Management: A Complete Guide

Did you know that 97% of customers who've had a good customer service experience will tell others about that experience? That means that 97% of the positive interactions could lead to more customers and more sales. In turn, that leads to better revenue and a growing business.

Keep reading to learn more about customer service management and how you can improve customer service in your organization.

What Is Customer Service Management?

Customer service management refers to companies' practices, strategies, and technologies to manage their customers. More specifically, these techniques and resources help companies collect and analyze their interactions with customers. In turn, they can keep track of and use customer data throughout the customer lifecycle.

The goal of excellent customer service management is to improve relationships with customers, increase the retention rate of customers, and improve sales from both existing and new customers.

Those who work as customer service managers have a big job on their hands. This job is more than saying "Hello" and "Thank you" to customers. It's about forming and maintaining healthy relationships with existing and new customers.

And, the customer service manager has to do the following:

  • Hire customer service professionals
  • Run the entire customer support team
  • Train every individual who is a part of the team
  • Track each individual's progress
  • Track the whole team's progress
  • Brainstorm ideas on how your team can improve customer support
  • Carry these ideas through to fruition
  • Motivate your team to get their work done

We could go on and on about the weight and importance of each one of these tasks. But, if you have any experience in business, you already know how meaningful customer relationships are.

So, you know that keeping your customer service team and your customers happy is a difficult job.

Let's jump into some customer service management tips that will make the job easier. These tips should help you feel more prepared to take on all of this responsibility.

Why Customer Service Is More Important Now Than Ever

The old way isn't the right way anymore. It used to be that organizations would work to make a single sale. Once the consumer made their purchase, that was it.

Now, because there are so many different organizations out there, the script has changed. It's no longer a single company pressuring consumers into buying their product or service. Now, its companies competing to get the customers.

Therefore, companies are trying to draw customers in with polite vocabulary and good relational skills. Coming off as cold and pushy isn't going to make customers make purchases.

Customer service is essential because it's at the heart of those customer relationships. Without customer service professionals, companies wouldn't have relationships with customers at all. Therefore, they wouldn't get the sales that they're used to getting.

Beyond that, customer service representatives work to attract, satisfy, and retain customers. They are the reason that these businesses receive any customer orders.

So, as a customer service manager, you have to realize and preach this. You know how valuable your team is, so you should treat them as such. And, you should make sure that they know how helpful they are.

But, at the same time, they should understand just how hard they have to work to maintain these good relationships with customers. It's not easy, but it is worth it.

Excellent customer service is more important than ever because people are more distracted than ever. Getting someone's attention and maintaining it isn't easy. But, an excellent customer service team can do it.

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Customer Service Management Strategies

Making the right game plan is crucial if you want to care for your team and your customers. You can't just dive into managing your customer service professionals.

You have to start with a solid plan for tackling customer care management.

So, we've outlined seven things that you need to consider and plan out before getting started. By using our strategies, you'll be better prepared for handling every aspect of customer support.

1. Define What You Want Your Team to Do

First, you need to define what you want your team to do. In other words, you need to specify the responsibilities that you wish your customer service team to have.

Depending on the size of your business, these responsibilities are going to be different. So, it would be best if you got brainstorming quickly. You want to make sure that you cover anything that you wish your customer service team to take care of.

Of course, these responsibilities are never set into place permanently. But, you want to be clear about responsibilities when you're talking to your team and hiring new members.

Here are a few responsibilities that you may want to include:

  • Talking to customers and offering help before they ask for it
  • Creating and maintaining a knowledge base where customers can answer their questions quickly
  • Keeping track of common questions and comments
  • Reading and responding to feedback from customers
  • Speaking with representatives from different departments about complex problems
  • Creating bug reports when needed
  • Following up with customers who made complaints
  • Up-selling and cross-selling items when applicable
  • Presenting product demos
  • Assisting customers with the onboarding process
  • Tracking customer satisfaction
  • Reporting on customer satisfaction and feedback

The list could go on and on. Working in customer service isn't easy. But, it's all necessary if you're looking to creating solid and lasting relationships with your customers.

You may also notice that some of these responsibilities coincide with the marketing team. That's on purpose.

That's what makes a successful and effective customer service team.

2. Hire the Right People

A helpful customer service team depends on the people who make up the team. If you have the wrong people, you're never going to assist your customers in the right way.

So, we recommend reevaluating your current team members and hiring new individuals if needed.

The first thing that you want to look for in customer service professionals is their soft skills. Of course, having technical, hard skills can be a great advantage in customer service. But, soft skills are a lot harder to teach than hard skills are.

So, it would be better to look for individuals with soft skills so that you can teach them all of the hard skills. Here are some of the soft skills that you should be looking for in an excellent customer service professional:

  • Clear communication
  • Good listening skills
  • Self-control
  • Positive attitude
  • Assertiveness
  • Conflict resolution
  • Empathy
  • Depersonalization
  • Proactivity
  • Humorous tendencies

To see whether or not your current staff or potential hirees have these skills, you should consider conducting scenarios. You'll present a situation and see how the individual reacts. Then, you'll be able to tell whether or not they have one or several of these soft skills.

The more of these skills they have, the better equipped they'll be in a customer service role.

3. Create Effective Training Programs

Many customer service managers train their team when they're incoming, i.e., they train their employees directly after hiring them. Then, their employees go on with that training forever.

However, it's better to train customer service staff continually. If you only train your team once, you're not going to reap the benefits of new strategies. And, you can't expect your staff to keep up with recent trends if you don't require them to do so.

Knowing all of that, you should establish a training program that runs over a long time. If you plan for and require regular training, you can keep your team up to date on industry trends and service techniques. It benefits you, them, your customers, and your entire business.

The more regular training that your team gets, the better they'll be at assisting customers. So, they'll be able to keep customer relationships strong. In turn, your business will make more sales.

That's why investing in your customer service professionals is so important. They are the key to making your customers happy.

Therefore, customer service professionals are the key to making sales and growing your business.

As you're creating your customer service training plan, you should make sure that you're combining knowledge of sales and marketing. And, it would help if you were refreshing their memories about once a quarter.

Over time, you can create a more robust plan as you learn what works best for your team.

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4. Choose the Right Technologies

New technologies are constantly emerging. And, each piece of technology does more than the last.

As a customer service manager, you need to keep up with these technologies and make sure that you're choosing the best technology stack for your team. With the right tools and the right technology, your customer service team can do more. That is if your team can figure out how to use each piece of technology best.

The biggest problem with customer service technology is the pressure that's behind it. So many businesses pressure their customer service managers to use technology that they don't need.

Misusing too much technology can cause more problems. So, each customer service manager should take their time evaluating which technologies their team would benefit from.

To be clear, this doesn't always mean pickest the newest, fanciest, or most expensive technology. You may only need one kind of technology to get you through if you're working with a small company.

Whatever technology you choose, it should work specifically for your team and your company. It would be best if you didn't worry about outside pressure or influence.

And, it's okay to change technologies as you're finding out what works for you and your team. That's why many of these services offer trial periods.

We'll talk more about technology further down.

5. Maintain Clear Communication

One of the pieces of technology that you may be looking for is a communication channel. Any professional customer service team needs an official communication channel that allows them to work together seamlessly.

Your entire company likely has a communication channel that it uses for company-wide communication. If your team can use a smaller chat room within the same system, that's perfect. But, you may need to use something else if this technology doesn't work for your team.

It would help if you kept in mind that your department is likely to communicate often with other departments. Since customer service fields questions and answers from customers, they have to keep in constant contact with all other departments in the business.

So, you should make sure that your team has easy access to all other professionals within the organization.

All in all, you should make sure that your customer service team is appropriately using each communication channel. And, they should understand which technologies to use for different kinds of communication.

For instance, your customer service team and the entire business may use two different channels. So, it's important to let customer service representatives know who they need to speak to and how they need to contact them.

Making a spreadsheet of department officials and preferred contact methods is the best way to go. Just make sure that you're updating this spreadsheet over time and letting your team know about any changes.

6. Write Your Customer Service Goals

If you haven't been doing so already, you need to make sure that you're writing down customer service goals. These are milestones and dreams that your team wants to achieve within a certain amount of time.

You and your team should be making customer service goals regularly. Maybe you want to decrease the number of complaints or increase the number of customers. Perhaps you want to file complaints faster or solve problems quicker.

Whatever these goals are, write them down and keep yourselves accountable for them.

We recommend the SMART goals system. It ensures that you're writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. This kind of goal-writing format will ensure that you're making goals that you can track over time.

Too often, we're making goals that we can loosely meet. We ask ourselves to read a book and check off the task after reading a page. Creating SMART goals will ensure that you're more specific about the goals that you're setting.

Then, you can take the necessary steps to complete and meeting those goals.

7. Track Your Key Performance Indicators

Let's take it back to the classic KPIs or key performance indicators. These are measurements that can help you and your team determine how successful (or unsuccessful) you're meeting specific goals.

As you're creating those customer service goals that we just talked about, you should include some specific KPI measurements that you want to reach. For example, you may want to decrease the average response time by five hours. Or, you may want to increase customer retention by 15%.

As you're creating these goals, KPIs can help you set a realistic and tangible number that you and your team can reach for.

Here are some vital customer service KPIs that you should be tracking regularly:

  • Average response time
  • Customer churn rate
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention rate
  • Revenue churn

You and your team should meet to review these metrics often. As you learn more and more about how your team can work to improve these metrics, you'll be able to create stronger customer bonds. In turn, you'll be able to make more sales and grow your business.

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How to Use Technology to Improve Customer Care Management

Technology is one of the most critical tools for customer care management. But, it's also one of the most dangerous additions to customer support teams.

As we discussed before, you have to be careful about picking the right technology for you and your team members to use. More technology isn't necessarily better. More advanced technology isn't necessarily faster.

To choose the right technology stack for your customer service team, you need to balance four factors:

  1. Organization
  2. Time
  3. Cost
  4. Efficiency

Let's talk about these factors and how you can balance them to ensure that the technology that you've chosen is helping your team rather than hurting it.

1. Organization

Technology makes it easy to collect, organize, and store all of the data that you're bringing in about your customers. Investing in a solid customer relationship management system can turn your customer service strategy around.

The CRM software can segment your customers and create marketing campaigns that target your customers correctly. Overall, you'll be making better marketing and sales decisions because of all of the customer data you will have to work with.

As you're using the software, you'll notice important trends over time. You may see customer preferences that you hadn't noticed before. Or, you may see that certain advertisements work over others.

All in all, you'll find that you'll have more information when it comes to your customers and their likes and dislikes. Using an efficient customer management system will make your marketing and sales decisions firmer. And, you'll see more targeted results than you may have had previously.

2. Time

With the right technology, you'll also notice that you're going to save time. There's no guessing in your marketing campaigns. And, there's no more searching and sifting through emails.

You're going to start saving time on everything.

Most notably, you'll see that your interactions with prospects and customers will be more efficient and productive. You'll be able to connect with customers however and whenever you want using the unique tools in customer support technology. And you'll be able to respond to inquiries and comments quicker.

There's no need to worry about lost emails, unsent responses, or old inquiries anymore. These automated systems can target important messages and bring them to your attention as quickly as possible.

There's no more wasting your time looking or guessing.

3. Cost

With the right customer support technology stack, you'll find that your costs will also drastically go down. With all of this time that your customer support team now has, you'll notice that they're working on other vital projects.

You may need to make a significant investment for this technology at first, but it will pay for itself over time. You'll be decreasing the customer churn rate and increasing the customer retention rate.

As this trend progresses, you'll see that you're making more sales and bringing in more revenue.

4. Efficiency

Apart from the time that you're saving, you'll also notice a performance improvement. Of course, efficiency leads to time-saving. But, it's more than that.

Efficiency leads to more time saved, more work done, and fewer mundane tasks. With the automation of some of your customer support tasks, you'll find that you're keeping your employees sane.

Repeatedly performing the same tasks over and over again can drive anyone crazy. That's why automation matters so much.

You must take the time to invest in marketing automation technology that can handle those repeating tasks that your employees don't want to do anymore.

Once they're automated, you never have to think about them again. With this, your employees can focus on other tasks that need a human touch.

Communication Made Easy

Working in customer service management is more than dealing with unruly clients or making pleads with unsubscribers. It doesn't involve selling your soul to make a sale or screaming at those who won't buy from your business.

Customer service management is about running and working with a team of experts who specialize in human relationships. They form relationships with customers in the hopes of receiving their trust.

To do this, you need the right technology on your side. That's why our team developed the Helpmonks all-in-one customer engagement platform. You can do it all from team email management with a shared inbox, live chat, email marketing, drip campaigns, and customer relationship management.

Your customer service team deserves technology that will make their jobs easier. So, get started today with a free trial.