eCommerce Insiders

Customer Service: How Many Stars Would Your Team Earn?

There’s a currency that’s almost as important as the dollar, and it offers far-reaching consequences to the success of a company’s product, service, or brand.

The online rating system.

Specifically, the rating system represented by the ubiquitous star that every eCommerce website features. Everyone knows what they are and what they mean.

Star ratings usually range between one and five, with five stars representing the highest rating possible, and one star representing the worst possible rating imaginable.

Consumers gleefully assign star ratings to products they purchase based on a variety of factors. But did you know that a consumer’s customer service experience also plays a role into the rating a product (or a brand) will receive?

Take a moment to consider your customer service team. Whether they’re manning the phone lines, the email inboxes or the live chat windows, they’re the human representation of your brand. They’re your front-line offense, and defense.

Most importantly, they have the power to generate streams of new revenue to your site, or they have the power to ensure that your company realizes a horrible fiscal quarter (or fiscal year!) while damaging your company’s brand.

The best thing that you can do is to take an honest inventory of the qualities and characteristics that define your customer service team. Before you hire your next staff member, make sure that you’ve created an environment that allows your team (as a whole) to hit five stars in the following areas:

Is the Team Receptive to Customer Input?

Managers are always looking for ways to tune into the needs and the desires of their customers, but the input that management is looking for can be found in the notes that your customer service team records during interactions with consumers.

Shoppers are eager to let a company know when they’re happy or displeased with their experience. They also ask the customer service team questions that often can only be addressed by management.

Do yourself a favor: take the initiative by creating a channel of communication between your policy makers and your customer service team. Your customer service often holds the key to all of the info you’ll ever need to change policy and tactics. They’ll let you know the areas where you’re doing a great job, too.

Can They Present Themselves in a Professional Manner?

Because the customer service team is the front-line contact point for shoppers, it’s normal for them to experience fatigue after being hit with complaints and dissatisfaction.

Therefore, it’s often challenging for many customer service reps to maintain a professional attitude. In fact, many reps are challenged with the concept of personalizing negative interactions with shoppers.

Having said all of this, your best customer service team members (and candidates) are those who understand that their job is to offer service for the greater good (and the financial stability) of your company.

Consumers should never experience a rep who presents an entitled, rude, or hostile attitude. Reps like these destroy your brand’s reputation, and poison the morale of their co-workers.

Do They Display a Sense of Empathy and Urgency?

Speaking to the previous point, shoppers yearn to speak with reps who seem to care.

They want to know that your reps will take issue with packages that get lost in the mail, are destroyed during the delivery process, or are shipped out incorrectly, for example.

Shoppers want to know that your customer service team is on their side, and they are willing to transform issues into solutions.

Are They Reactive or Responsive?

Again, there will be moments when it’s hard for a rep to keep their cool and their sense of professionalism. However, the reps you want on your team are those who can pause and respond to heated moments with care.

Those who react and personalize these type of interactions are toxic to your brand, and to their peers.

Are They Empowered to Resolve Minor Issues?

The best customer service interactions involve those where the reps are empowered to resolve minor issues, without the need for keeping the customers on hold needlessly while the rep haplessly waits for a manager to resolve the issue.

An example might be a scenario where the rep offers the shopper a refund, or a discount towards a future purchase. Depending upon your product or service, you might authorize your reps to offer comps, based upon their best judgement (and if the rep believes that offering the comp will foster goodwill in the mind of the customer).

Empowering your reps to resolve minor issues creates a wealth of efficiency, and it also positions your company’s brand as one that’s customer-facing and high-caliber.

Are They Knowledgeable about Products and Policies?

Finally, your five-star customer service team should be knowledgeable about the latest company products and policies. Nothing tarnishes your brand perception quite like a rep who replies with “Uh!” or “Ah!” when queried by customers.

While it’s definitely important for your company to sell products or services that garner five-star ratings, it’s just as important for your customer service team to garner a five-star rating, too.

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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