Customer Service Tools: Quit Procrastinating and Learn the Technology

Anyone who has tried to figure out how to use a new piece of technology right out of the box knows how frustrating the process can be – it can take weeks or months to fully comprehend the best way to operate some of the more complex devices offered on today’s market.

Unfortunately for business leaders, the same principle applies to the adoption of customer service technology, and it is up to them to effectively and efficiently train their staff members.

With the world of e-commerce service in constant flux, how can decision-makers ensure that support representatives are always up to date on the latest software and best practices?

According to a recent article from ClickZ, knowledge is power when it comes to leveraging new live help technology and getting the most out of its features.

Decision-makers are too content in adopting a “we probably won’t use all of the functionality we’ve invested in, but it’s nice to know we’ve got it” mindset, and that a more proactive approach to understanding the intricacies of a customer service technology solution is key to achieving an impactful, long-term return on investment.

Related article: Online Retailers Strive to Overcome Integration Challenges

To truly take advantage of a new service, business leaders must realize that half-baked adoption methods will not suffice in an era where even the slightest competitive advantage can make a tangible difference on the bottom line.

Going all in on new customer service tools

While it may be far-fetched to assume that every component of a solution can serve to better a business’ e-commerce service operations, Clickz suggested a few ways that decision-makers can ensure they are at least getting their money’s worth when it comes to leveraging new technology.

Much of this process should take place before a dime is spent on the service, as a clear vision of a call center’s shortcomings must be the guiding force in any technical overhaul. Without a complete understanding of how operations can be improved, business leaders will likely find themselves lost once they open the proverbial box of their new software and realize they may have made the wrong decision.

In addition to carefully selecting a piece of technology, leaders must also realize the importance of training as a part of the implementation process. A live help solution is only as effective as the people using it, and Clickz mentioned that while on-the-job learning is helpful, it does not tend to be enough in most cases.

As technology changes so rapidly, businesses must embed training programs into their strategies to keep staff up to date on the latest software tweaks rather than scrambling to make sense of changes that seemingly occur out of the blue.

Setting standards helps reps thrive

If a solution does turn out to be the right fit for the job, decision-makers must thoroughly convey to their staff how the new technology should be used in the context of their overarching mission.

A recent article from Forbes stressed the importance of customer service standards in the digital age, and training is a large part of setting a strong precedent in this respect. Live support software can only reach its full potential when users have a clear set of standards in mind and feel empowered, not impeded, by the technology.

They recommended that leaders do not merely lay down service guidelines without going into any further detail – representatives tend to adopt standards more completely when they understand the reasons behind them and how they fit into the big picture of the organization.
* * *

This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.

Related Articles:

Celebrating a History of Personal Service

Cord HimelsteinCord Himelstein, Head of Marketing for Michael C. Fina Recognition, has helped the company become a leading provider of employee recognition and incentive programs. Since 2007, he has been responsible for leading the company’s strategic marketing initiatives and communications efforts. Cord works closely with customers to help them develop measurable workforce recognition strategies.

Michael C. Fina started out in 1935 as a silver wholesaler. In the 1950s we expanded into the retail market. By the 1960s, we began fulfilling corporate gifts to local businesses, and from that we built an entirely new organization dedicated to selling employee reward programs to other businesses. Today Michael C. Fina Recognition is a multinational company fulfilling recognition needs for hundreds of major corporations and millions of employees across the globe.

Personal service has always been a huge part of our identity. We built an entire reputation in Manhattan around providing stellar service tailored to the needs of each customer. It’s why people showed up, and it’s what has afforded us the opportunity to grow to our current level.

Over the decades we’ve seen our role to clients evolve from commodity supplier to full-on strategic partner. We were there to see analog service award programs expand into fully integrated all-in-one digital reward platforms, and watched as employee recognition grew from a side initiative into a key driver of employee engagement, productivity and business performance.

But even as times change we still must keep our promise of maintaining meaningful connections with our customers. It is, after all, our signature differentiator. As a recognition company, we’re in the unique position of representing our customers’ brands. When one of their employees calls us they have to feel as if they’re talking directly to their company. We are extensions of our clients’ brands. If we’ve done our job well, you’ll never even know we were there.

However, getting customer service teams committed to representing so many brands while providing top-notch service takes a strong engagement push from management. Here are some of the things we do to keep our customer service ahead of the curve:

  • Provide constant education

    —Every call center employee regularly gets a chance to personally sample the gift items we use and review each customer’s standards and values to help create an authentic and knowledgeable experience.

  • Keep technology current

    —Translation services, call management systems, and integrated communication services allow us the flexibility to scale up rapidly with little impact to team size and work smarter, not harder.

  • Recognize, recognize, recognize

    —We always celebrate achievements linked to our customer service goals and offer several onsite perks, team incentives, and multiple layers of recognition opportunities for everyone.

Last but not least, we celebrate every day of Customer Service Week! I’m talking food, streamers, confetti, games, and fabulous prizes. There’s a reason Boss’s Day only gets a day and customer service gets a whole week—customer service is the frontline of any organization, the beating heart of its values and aspirations. That’s one thing that’s as true for us today as it was back in 1935.