Customer support is the backbone of every organization. It is the only functional area in the company that is in regular touch with customers, besides sales. While the salespeople aim to woo these customers with their sales pitches, customer support executives need to retain them by solving their problems and gaining their trust.
Without solid customer support, the chances of retaining long-term loyal customers are next to zero. But what if your customer support executives are lacking in their performance? What if they are not able to resolve service tickets and help your customers?
Bad customer service can leave your customers agitated, thereby hurting your brand reputation and revenues in the long run. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that all members of your support team are performing great both individually and as a team.
This can be achieved by regular performance monitoring and providing consistent feedback to customer support.
Though, it is easier said than done because chances are that your feedback might have a negative impact on the performance of your support team. It is vital that you learn the methods of providing constructive criticism to your employees so that they are motivated to improve.
Let’s discuss some of the ways in which you can provide feedback to customer support without burning bridges:
This is one of the most basic yet critical factors to consider before jumping on with your feedback. You need to identify the right channel for communicating your ideas to the person that needs to improve.
In most cases, it is recommended to have a face-to-face meeting with that employee. Personal communication provides a touch of humaneness which cushions any potential bitter points of the feedback. Besides, you can observe the reactions of your employees and gauge how they are taking your feedback.
Emails are also good for feedback, but you need to be wary of the language that you use, as your right intention might not be conveyed otherwise. Phone calls are great when it is not possible to meet, but avoid text messages at all costs.
While interacting with your employees, you need to speak on behalf of the organization. It is imperative that you don’t make any personal comments as that might sour your relations with your team.
It is also a good practice to provide feedback on the situation and not on the person themselves. For example, suppose a live chat support executive is not using the templates that you have provided them as per your live chat software guidelines and that is affecting the quality of customer service.
You can provide feedback in two different ways:
The worst feedback that anyone can provide is one that doesn’t address the problem directly. You can avoid vague and generic statements by becoming more data-oriented and objective in your approach wherever possible.
For instance, let’s say you have noticed that one of your executives is late in helping customers through live chat software which is affecting customer service levels. One way of providing feedback might be, “Joan, you are responding late to customers. Make sure you improve your response time”. It is vague and Joan might not be able to understand how grave the situation is.
It would be better if you show her data from your live chat software dashboard that clearly shows that her chat response time is 8% lesser than other executives.
Providing timely feedback is imperative, but the real difference comes in when you also suggest methods to improve and offer help for the same. You need to make sure that the intent of your feedback is not to tighten a leash on your employees, but it is to create a constructive environment of learning as a team.
It is a great practice to listen to their side of the story and try to understand their perspective too. No one can take your feedback negatively if you lend your ear and offer support to facilitate improvements.
Besides, listening to multiple perspectives empowers you to further improve your guidelines and make them more employee-friendly and customer-friendly.
The sandwich method is the cornerstone of any constructive feedback. As the name suggests, you need to put in the criticism or feedback between layers of praise or positive statements.
Start by telling them about the good things that they did, then suggest them the improvements that they should pursue to get even better, and then wrap up with a summary on a positive note.
Except for truly disastrous cases, you can always find something or the other that a particular team member is doing. You need to praise their efforts where they deserve.
Here’s an example:
“Joan, I liked how you maintained a professional tone throughout the chat with this customer even when they became slightly rude and were able to solve their problem. If you work a bit more on the structuring of your sentences, you would be able to resolve such problems even faster. You could use more templates in your chat. If you need any help, I can demonstrate their use to you.”
Customer service support is the interface between you and your customers. It is vital that you provide constructive feedback to your support team to nourish them and excel at what they do. What are some of the tips that you use within your team?
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