At Bandwidth’s core, we believe that exceptional customer service is one of the most important parts of our job. It’s what sets us apart from other companies and keeps our customers happy. How do we do it? Here’s a list of the top 5 ingredients that make up our recipe for providing outstanding service and achieving customer success.
1. Hire good people to represent your company
Take the time to hire folks who know how to respond to customers with a positive, can-do attitude. Employ people who have a strong, working knowledge of your product(s). These two things are key in providing outstanding customer service.
At Bandwidth, we’ve learned the importance of training our employees in real-life scenarios by having new team members shadow their seasoned colleagues as they work. They listen to recorded phone calls selected by the management team that exemplify good solutions to customers’ issues. In team meetings, we review examples of trouble tickets (the good ones and the bad ones) to highlight areas where we’re doing well; but, also, to learn ways we can improve our customer service.
2. Make it easy
In today’s world, everything is online. Real-time chats, texts, user guides, and discussion forums (you get the idea). Sometimes, you just need to speak to someone – a real, live person – to explain your problem or question and get the help you need.
Bandwidth offers a 24/7/365 customer support line and has real people answering the phone. Our Network Operations Center (NOC) team is still wide awake long after standard business hours are over and are standing by to lend a hand. Their primary mission is to ensure network health and uptime. At Bandwidth, we know that things don’t just happen between 9AM and 5PM.
Another thing we’ve learned? Avoid a long list of phone prompts that make it difficult for customers to get to the right place at the right time when they call. Make sure your phone tree is only a button press or two before a live person answers. Nobody has time to listen to endless options and you’re setting up your employees to answer calls from angry customers as soon as they say hello, if you don’t make it simple. Position your employees for success as soon as they pick up the phone.
3. Keep customers informed
Be polite. Listen. When needed, be empathetic. Treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated. Nobody wants the runaround and most of the time, the customer just wants you to hear them out. So, let ‘em talk. When they’ve finished, offer a viable solution. If you don’t have one, find someone in your company who does. The last thing you want to do is leave the customer hanging with no resolution.
A lesson we’ve learned here at Bandwidth is that sometimes it takes time to get to the answer. Often as customer service professionals, we don’t keep the customer in the loop because we don’t feel like we’ve got any valuable information unless we have a finite answer. But think about it from the customer’s point of view. “What is going on? Did they forget about me?”
Even if you don’t have an answer, reply to the customer (as many times as needed) to let them know you’re still working on it. They’ll appreciate your informativeness.
4. Strive for Quality vs. Quantity
It’s not a race, so you don’t have to rush it. Touting high call stats or the number of trouble tickets solved on your company website doesn’t make you the winner. Helping customers effectively and efficiently is the name of the game, so make it count. We do that, and we got some great reviews as a byproduct.
5. Educate the customer and give them a voice
Embolden your customer and show them how to do it themselves. It may add five minutes to your support call, but it’s worth it. And once a call has ended or a ticket has been solved, make sure you ask for unbiased feedback about the engagement. At Bandwidth, we use a tool called Customer Thermometer to do just that! Your management team can use this information to ensure each interaction is good for the customer.
However, we didn’t stop there and decided to make it even easier. A talented team of folks got together and compiled a host of how-to videos and reference docs that are easily accessible to our customers. Hence, the birth of the Bandwidth Learning Lab and a whole new way to put our customers in the driver’s seat.
Let your customers know you’re listening. It’s really that simple.
What are some customer service tips that you’ve found most helpful? Let us know in the comments!