Reason #1: Top Line Revenue. Customer service is a key part of your revenue generation team, and with the right training, could produce even more. Yes, outside salespeople bring in new customers, but the greatest influence on keeping clients happens in customer service. Often they bring in more dollars over the life of the customer than sales. Now imagine if they could be more proactive, ask better questions, and could take an opportunity to the ‘next step’. The unlocked sales potential in your customer service team is reason enough to pay more attention.
Reason #2: Customer Feedback. There’s probably no one in your company who speaks more frequently, or has a better relationship with your customers, than your service employees. Customers will tell these employees things they will never tell you: what’s wrong with your product or service, what they’ll need next from you, what’s going on with your competition, how to improve your offerings, and more. Utilize your frontline employees to create a constant feedback loop with your customers, and you’ll have something your competition won’t have—valuable information.
Reason #3: Internal Partnerships. Customer service is not reserved for the external customer. If internal customers (accounting, warehouse, shipping, production, etc.) treated each other as if they were external customers, 80% of departmental conflict would dissipate. Internal issues ultimately affect the customer. They can also contribute to attrition with your internal talent base. Typically, it is the good employees who leave when communications break down, not the marginal ones. When internal departments are treated like customers, great communication among all departments exist. There is a common language, a common culture, a process to work out differences, open door policies for resolving issues, and ultimately, a stronger company.
Reason #4: The Competition. Business growth comes from prospecting or plundering. Unfortunately, your competition is doing the same. Your loyal customers are on your competition’s prospecting list. Too often we ignore, take for granted, treat poorly or for some reason don’t deliver and give those loyal customers a reason to crack open the door to the competition. Give the competition an inch, and they’ll take it. Use your customer service center to ensure that your most loyal customers stay loyal and that all customers continue to grow.
More and more CEOs are taking a closer look at customer service and asking themselves the tough question: we have great people on our frontlines dealing with customers, but are we using them to maximize our great relationships and explore ways they could be even more productive? The answer is not in giving frontline employees checklists, but about empowering customer service providers to deal with each customer in a real, individual way that addresses their needs and makes them feel cared for. The return on investment is always worth it.