Customer service drives your business forward and therefore should be given priority in your overall operations. However, when companies are performing well, customer service complacency can occur. While focusing on meeting their quarterly financial objectives, developing new projects and services and coming up with marketing strategies to bring in more leads, they may actually lose sight of what got them to their level of achievement in the first place.
Each business will have unique concerns to focus on, of course, with some industries requiring much more customer engagement than others. For example, a small bed and breakfast might have much more interaction between staffers and employees than a large hardware store. No matter your industry, it’s important to reflect on the customer experience you hope to deliver and compare it with the level of service you’re currently offering. A customer service audit is a great way to do just that. How to do your customer service audit varies from industry to industry, of course, but there are some universal truths to keep in mind.
No company can expect to prosper if it neglects customers through poor service. This underscores the need for companies to check in on their customer service processes internally. Here is a checklist of things to look for to ensure that your service is up to par:
WHAT IS YOUR RATIO OF ANSWERED CALLS TO UNANSWERED CALLS?
Is your company so short on staff that sometimes you see an employee scrambling to run across the room to answer a call that’s been ringing off the hook? Unanswered calls can cast a black pall over a company. Keep track of calls that go unanswered or that go to voicemail. Big picture statistics on how many calls you miss out on over the course of a day, week, month, or year can paint a clear picture of the current level of service you’re extending to prospective and existing customers. Though this is just one aspect of your customer service audit, your ratio of answered and unanswered calls is often extremely telling.
What is an ideal ratio? 100/100. No call should be left unanswered or sent to voicemail. There is an opportunity to provide great service every time the phone rings.
DO EMPLOYEES UNDERSTAND ALL IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE BUSINESS?
When questioning how to do your customer service audit, make sure to factor employee development into the equation. Employees who cannot answer basic customer questions are a drag on your company. Make sure they get proper training so they can better address queries and guide customers to the appropriate product or service. By identifying points of contention and confusion amongst your staff, you can clarify your position on the subject and get everybody on the same page.
HOW MANY COMPLAINTS HAVE YOU RECEIVED IN A GIVEN PERIOD?
Context is everything when it comes to complaints. While it’s easy to brush away data at the surface level, patterns may become more evident when you look at the big picture during your customer service audit. Weekly statistics might be needed for your particular company, especially if you do a high volume of business. Otherwise, monitor the number of complaints you receive each month and compare the results to see if you are improving or declining. There’s no one perfect formula for contextualizing complaints, so play with the figures to see if any trends arise.
HOW MANY COMPLIMENTS HAVE YOU RECEIVED IN A GIVEN PERIOD?
Compliments are just as important as complaints to keep track of. You can get details from incoming emails, posts on your company’s social media channels as well as on note cards that you leave out to solicit customer feedback and ratings. While it’s important to accept compliments and keep moving, it’s equally crucial to understand where you’re succeeding and how to maintain your reputation for excellence. A customer service audit should paint a complete picture of your offerings, so it’s important not to neglect these compliments as they come in!
HOW LONG DOES STAFF TAKE TO RESPOND TO INQUIRIES?
Phones should always be answered immediately. If you lack the staff resources to answer each call as it comes in, it’s a sign that you need to hire more people. A more practical solution is to work with a third-party call center to handle all the incoming calls, 24/7. In an increasingly globalized society, you’re no longer just competing with other local businesses. To grow your business – or even just hold steady – you’ve got to be ready to offer the kind of round-the-clock service customers have come to expect. Fail to deliver and you’ll find your company being passed over for other more accessible brands.
DO EMPLOYEES ASK IF THEY’VE ADDRESSED ALL CUSTOMER QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS?
Your employees should never assume that all of a customer’s needs have been addressed. Verify that they ask the customer if they need to take care of anything else before trying to conclude the call. This kind of verification requires little effort but makes a big impression on the caller, keeping them coming back time and time again.
DO WE CONDUCT REGULAR STAFF MEETINGS TO COVER CUSTOMER SERVICE ISSUES?
A company that does not examine itself from time to time can become lost and drift from its core values. You should establish ongoing meetings to share concerns and complaints so members of your team can learn from one another about handling ongoing customer problems.
HOW ARE YOU FOLLOWING UP?
How do you know if you’ve thoroughly met your customers’ needs if you don’t check in with them after rendering service? Track how well you are doing at following up with customers.
DO EMPLOYEES HAVE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT ON THEIR OWN?
When a customer calls in with a problem, can your employees come up with a solution by themselves, or do they have to bring in a manager to take over? Many businesses find that they increase profits and expand their customer base faster when they empower employees to make creative and useful solutions.
ARE YOU USING THE MAGIC WORDS?
Does every employee interaction with customers include the use of courteous terms including “please” and “thank you?” It’s almost a cliché to point these out, but using these magic words on a consistent basis will help ensure your team keeps customer service top of mind.
At MAP Communications, each member of our team knows the importance of providing outstanding customer service. Behaving professionally and courteously with each person we interact with is our highest priority. If your customer service audit shows that you could use some improvement in how you communicate with people contacting your business, you’ll want to consider outsourcing customer support. For more information about how we deliver outstanding customer service, please contact the professionals at MAP Communications today.