Service: The Key to Staying Competitive

Christine Antonelli
Jul 20, 2020 1:00:00 PM

Effective customer service is a key differentiator that can boost your company’s value. It is a factor that can win customers’ loyalty, not because of low prices, but because of the real sense of satisfaction with the products and the service they've received.Let’s explore this in a little more depth and talk about how it works on a day-to-day basis.

...Your customers’ loyalty comes as a result of satisfaction, and not merely because of low prices.

First, for effective customer service to boost company value, an organization must break with traditional thinking and treat customer service not simply as a cost, but as an investment.

Adopt Standard Operating Procedures Now

Once a company makes the satisfaction of each customer a priority, it becomes apparent that a set method, or set of guidelines, that drives customer service agents to deal with issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, will be counter-productive.

The majority of customer service management systems – both software and Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs), all err on the side of preventing the agent from taking wrong actions. That is to say, the process usually reaches the point in which the agent must say something like, “I’m sorry. That can’t be done.” 

Instead of reading the rule book to the customer, you should allow your customer service agent to take care of the customer’s specific issue the way they feel is appropriate. If your recruitment and training was done well, this flexibility can do wonders to your customer satisfaction and thus to your bottom line.

Trust and Agent Empowerment

It starts with trust. When management is able to convey in effect, “I trust your judgement and cannot anticipate every single situation that you will encounter, so I will not micro-manage your responses. I trust that you will meet customers’ needs,” agents become confident in their ability to help customers. 

And when you empower your agents, don’t build (or add-on) systems that take the spontaneity out of their encounters.

The best solution is a system that empowers the agent to go off script in order to solve the customer’s problem.

The best solution is a system that empowers the agent to go off script in order to solve the customer’s problem; at the same time, it also captures that solution so that it can be discussed afterward. In this way it may even provide a teachable moment that could improve the overall process for all your agents.

Beyond Agent Training

We're in a new era when it comes to a great customer experience. A mostly socially distant and quarantined customer base means that the primary mode of communication is now technology. Whether it's online ordering issues, general questions, or other concerns, your customers need to connect with their retailer easily through technology. That means providing an easy to navigate website, self-help portal, online chat service, social media monitoring, and much more. Retailers need to embrace the communication channels that are available and ensure it all functions together cohesively for a seamless customer experience. 

Customers know when customer service is a priority, and will reward companies accordingly with their loyalty. When choosing between lowering prices or service, better service is always the winning choice. 

About the Author - Chris Antonelli

Picture of Christine Antonelli

As Solugenix VP of Customer Experience and Support Services, Chris Antonelli manages the delivery of customer support services and customer experience initiatives for clients in the retail and financial services industries. Chris leverages two decades of experience in leadership roles where she has guided best-in-class customer support service solutions to global brands like McDonald’s, BMW, Citibank, Sonic Drive-In, and Jiffy Lube. As an Executive Council member for Ellevate Network, Chris is dedicated to the professional development of women in the workforce and ardent supporter of remote workforce development.

Connect with Chris Antonelli on: LinkedIn

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