Risk is unavoidable in the world of business.
Launching an enterprise is a gamble. Every dollar you spend could lead to a loss or a gain, in one way or another. And one area in which risk is most prevalent is customer service.
Delivering the strongest customer experience your team is capable of will help your business grow, but if you make bad choices, you could be taking unnecessary risks.
That’s why you have to be sensible, strategic and mitigate risks however you can. While the mitigation of risk seems like one of the most daunting aspects of cultivating successful customer service, you can actually make it simpler by basing your decisions on performance results.
Why Good Customer Service Depends on Results
Good customer service is fundamental for any successful company. Call centers and customer support departments have a critical role in building, and maintaining, a loyal audience.
More than half of consumers are willing to spend more with a business providing a guaranteed positive experience, and customer experience is expected to become the key brand differentiator as of next year (overtaking products and pricing). Both points demonstrate the massive impact a good standard of service can make on your success.
You can never afford to take your customers’ experience for granted. Don’t just assume your support team is delivering the best service possible every single day without doing your research. A quality assurance program is a must for any call center or customer service department: you’ll gain a real insight into how effective, efficient and productive your agents are.
Your quality assurance should incorporate multiple metrics that reflect your goals and values. For example, focusing on establishing a solid Customer Satisfaction Score, Net Promoter Score, Average Handling Time, Response Rates and similar will help your support team grow.
Monitoring interactions between your agents and customers across all channels (live chat, phone calls, emails etc.) will reveal where your team’s strengths and weaknesses lie. By studying the performance results you gather, you’ll identify which members require which types of coaching and training to improve.
This is vital for effective, ongoing mitigation of risk.
Assigning Tasks and Maximizing Skills
Measuring employee performance in regards to customer service is ideal for deciding which employees are best suited to specific tasks. Not everyone in your workforce has the same skills and abilities. Yes, they may be undertaking identical jobs each day, but some will be better at it than others. For example, one agent could smash productivity targets but fail to resolve customer problems effectively enough to attain high Customer Satisfaction Scores.
In this case, they need a little work to be at the right level. Being productive and efficient is fantastic, but if the employee can’t leave consumers convinced your business is the best (or even the only) option worth their time, that’s a massive issue that must be tackled.
Leaving said worker to keep doing their job as they have been would be a risk: a consistently poor experience could chase customers away to a competitor. 67 percent of consumers cite bad experiences as a reason for switching brands, though only one in 26 would actually complain to you — so you might never know how they feel about an interaction if you don’t ask.
A steady routine of feedback, coaching and training would be enough to help this agent deliver a higher standard of service. But they may still excel in other areas of their job or liaising with team leaders or managers to discuss key issues.
So, you would cultivate mitigation of risk by focusing on improving their skills and — perhaps in the meantime — allow them to spend more time doing what they do best. Once their customer-service capabilities were good enough, the agent could return to their usual duties, empowered by their training and coaching.
The Mitigation of Risk Through Effective Management
“It is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.”
This quote, from Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Ed Catmull, reinforces how important a manager’s role is in mitigating risks. And developing a better understanding of employees’ abilities and flaws makes managing your team a lot easier.
How? Because you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about everything from workloads, assigning tasks, reward programs and more. Studying performance patterns, customer feedback and employee feedback too (gathered through surveys) equips managers and HR staff with the information to manage teams most efficiently.
By playing to workers’ strengths and accommodating their needs, you can boost engagement and build a stronger bond. The more employees trust, and feel valued by, management, the more loyal they will be.
For example, performance results could show that employees perform better after lunch than they do in the hour or so before. This could be due to their having a chance to get away from their workstations, grab a bite to eat and socialize. They can take their mind off the job and come back revitalized.
Likewise, performance may slump again towards the end of the day, as agents get tired and frustrated waiting to go home. Any difficult customers or complex interactions may test employees’ patience and carry a danger of confrontation.
You could achieve mitigation of risk by providing agents with breaks throughout the day, rather than just one lunch hour. Create a games room or relaxation spaces where they can unwind and recharge their batteries for fifteen minutes or so, perhaps once in the morning and again in the afternoon.
Performance results would likely show a boost in efficiency and customer experience as a result, with employees feeling less fatigued after long stretches of work.
The mitigation of risk may sound complex and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Paying close attention to performance results is a powerful way for managers, team leaders, agents and admins to pinpoint issues — and the risks they create.
Taking action to address problems and develop solutions will minimize risks, across employee performance, productivity, HR processes and more. You’ll have a wealth of information upon which to base your decisions in the future.
The best QA software gives you all the tools and features you need to gather critical performance data and centralize results from multiple sources. It can be integrated with your CRM platforms easily, and employees at all levels can access customized dashboards to stay connected.
What techniques do you use to mitigate risks in your business, and how have they transformed performance? Let us know!