7 Daily Grind Lessons to Apply to Customer Service

Have you ever thought about how more complex our daily tasks are than we give them credit for?

There’re so many psychological layers attached to our day-to-day interactions, and yet we do not pay any attention to them anymore as we’ve grown accustomed to them.
Is it then possible to adopt the same mindset in regards to customer service and create a seamless customer experience?

We’ve sat down with our customer excellence advocates at OpsTalent. After a heated discussion, we came up with these seven examples of how to evaluate your customer experience according to real-life examples:

 

First impressions matter

When a friend or an acquaintance recommends a restaurant to you it can either be a hit or miss (but nor for the most obvious reason). You decide to visit the recommended restaurant on a Saturday evening, you expect to see many people having the time of their life and yet when you pull up you see an empty parking lot as well many vacant places in the establishment itself – you decide against going in as the situation at hand does not bode well.

The same can be applied to online approaches to customer experience such as self-service. Users need to see imminently see what makes these such a popular choice, and most importantly why they’re useful to them. A simple, inviting and always up-to-date support home page is an invaluable tool but it also needs to contain relevant content on more in-depth problems on additional pages.

 

We’re still open

Actions speak louder than words, which is why you not only have to speak about going the extra mile but actually prove to your customers that you’ll be there for them at any time – even if they’re a tiny bit late.

Embrace a positive culture by hanging out the “We’re Closed” sign later than the actual closing time. Reinforce it by implementing a company-wide rule, that all support teams need to help at least one more user before finishing for the day and before you notice, it will turn into a habit.

Customers will also catch on as they will notice their tickets resolved faster – a classical win-win situation.

 

Recognise good service

The amount you tip the person serving you is tightly connected to the quality of service. While tipping is not present in the world of customer service, it’s still important to give credit when it’s due by incorporating solutions enabling the customer to rate your consultants immediately after their customer experience while it’s still fresh in their memory.

Evaluate these customer ratings, recognise agents who constantly excel at their job and provide unique experiences to customers – distribute additional accolades if they routinely go far beyond their regular responsibilities.
The Best feedback is free feedback

Unfortunately initial feedback, despite being great is often just too basic to prompt operational change. Which is why free samples are so common throughout the beauty product industry as they are a great way to receive actionable feedback.

Implement a free sample policy, one which focuses on obtaining customer insight into your product but also over customer experience in regards to all stops on your customer journey. Boost support team morale by sharing positive customer feedback and use negative feedback as a catalyst for policy as well ass support procedure change.

 

Too many choices are overwhelming

When you need to do a quick grocery run to your local supermarket you just sigh with resentment. Because you realise, all too well that upon entering the premise you will be bombarded with vast options to choose from, thus turning a quick trip into a journey.

A similar problem recently appeared in the customer service field. Customers are experiencing issues when met with the necessity of evaluating the best way to get in touch with you. The problem gets exponentially convoluted depending on who the customer wants to reach. Do they intend to contact the technology, software or application group? How severe is their issue, is it Tier 1 or Tier 2?

Which is why it’s essential to properly define presented to your customers in a clear and simple format, taking the weight of “too many choices” of their shoulders and just letting your consultants do their work.

 

Don’t be afraid to guide customers

It’s pretty common for retail stores to push sales of certain products they have a surplus of by placing the product at eye level on the shelf and further reinforce it by setting up in-store displays.

Customer service solutions are not that different and can implement a similar approach by featuring their best support method across multiple digital assets as well as featuring it at a prominent spot on their web page. Furthermore, it’s possible to up the ante by pushing live chat on the main self-service page (the one covering basic topics) while keeping email and phone numbers on topic-specific subpages.

 

Public service announcements

We’re conditioned to react in a certain way to public service announcements, we take them seriously as they inform us of potential disruptive or even dangerous conditions happening near us.

Fortunately, you can condition your customers in a similar fashion. If there’s a major problem causing a system-wide support crisis let your customers now how will it impact the availability of your service but don’t stop there. Make them aware how you’re dealing with it, provide an approximate problem resolution time and most importantly, keep them updated when the issue extends or new issues are discovered during your troubleshooting efforts.

The only way to effectively acknowledge your customer’s problem is to inexplicitly show them you’re not ignoring it by providing a constant stream of informational updates and providing a fix.

 

There are more ways you can apply daily-grind schematics to customer support situations and we only covered the most obvious ones. However, the above vividly shows that you can guide your customers and consultants down a certain path, and in time turn it all into a habit.

Don’t be afraid to forgo traditional approaches to customer support in favour of anecdotal ones. Unique approaches, when reinforced by practical application of real-life experiences make your business more relatable – and that’s what modern customer service really is about.

How to Bridge The Gap in a Multilingual Environment

Confusion can be the cause for major friction in an multilingual environment of customer care centres.

What steps should supervisors undertake in order to maximise efficiency and which methodology should they adapt in order to bridge the multilingual gap.

Common language

Most multilingual contact centres have a “business language” – the one that is used in standard day-to-day communication amongst all employees. The problem with this approach is, that in order for it to function smoothly all employees need to speak the language at the same level.

You need to allow some “accommodation time” for the new employees, let them adapt and learn. Remember language skills we learnt at school don’t necessarily transfer to a work environment.

Leave no room for misinterpretation

This is the most important step when it comes down to managing and excelling in this kind of environment, leave no room for misinterpretation at all cost.

Be precise and to the point. In regards to new hires, keep it simple and try to not overburden them with irrelevant information.

Details matter

If you want to run an efficient multilingual contact centre, offer guidance and thorough explanation of each task.

Be patient and flexible, remember the language barrier is not the only hurdle you’ll encounter. Different nationalities can interpret information differently. Keep trying until your staff can clearly understand the task at hand. Cover each and every detail of a project if you have to.

Don’t be afraid to change your approach

If you notice that your message isn’t getting across don’t be afraid to change it. Repeating it over and over again won’t do any good. Notice what words you’re using – see if you could re-phrase the message.

Try explaining the task from a different point of view as being repetitive is frustrating for all parties involved.

Visual aids

When explaining a difficult and complex project to the team, use visual aids alongside regular explanation of what is expected. This will provide amazing results in the long run.

Use screen-shots, charts or infographics. Be creative, but try not to overwhelm them with the visualisations.

Confirm and explain

Always make sure that people understand you, confirm that by letting them explain things back at you. The best employee is the one that isn’t afraid to ask questions regarding the task or the project. Make sure that your team understands that. Be patient, you will be amazed how often the first explanation is often misunderstood.

Explain buzzwords and industry lingo

Always explain industry lingo and buzzwords when assigning people to new tasks or teams. Keep in mind that different nationalities will at times use different terms and abbreviations.

To avoid potential confusion, agree on one standard definition.

A simple thank you goes a long way

Try to learn some phrases in languages commonly used by your agents and supervisors, even if the business language is English. Showing your employees that you’re making effort and that you value their culture will go a long way. Sometimes, simple phrases like “thank you” or “good morning” will boost morale and will bond you with co-workers.

If you are thinking of undertaking a management position in a multilingual environment such as a contact centre, don’t be off put by the initial language barrier problems. The multicultural environment and diversity outweigh the initial minor frustrations by tenfold – be flexible, adapt and overcome.

How to Hire Great Software Developers

Tech savvy entrepreneurs know all too well a high performing, software development team is the difference between successful product launch or failure to meet consumer expectations.

Recruiting developers can be quite the daunting task, especially if you have no coding experience or if you’re an absolute newbie to software development.

We have sat down with our CTO, who provided their 10 tips for evaluating top development talent:

Skill and culture specifics

Create a list of all the required skills the person needs to fill the position, as well as bonus ones the ideal candidate will poses. There’s no such thing as a “perfect candidate”, however you can come pretty close.

When hiring an iOS developer for example, he or she must know:

  • Objective C
  • Optionals
  • Control Flow
  • Classes, inheritance & initialization
  • Error handling

Which have to be evaluated during the initial screening process, however if it would be a bonus if they knew PHP for backend development purposes, but it won’t be used regularly then don’t disregard candidates because they’re inexperienced in a particular programming language.

Being too picky ends in chasing engineering unicorns, thus vastly lengthening the hiring process.

Furthermore, it’s not all about hard-skills as a cultural fit is just as important. Remote teams do not mesh with candidates who require hand holding and if you’re entire company maintains a professional image, then some of the “rock-star” archetypes will disrupt your entire work flow.

Know your company culture, ask appropriate questions to determine what type of working environment the candidate prefers and performs best in.

Market price

You can’t grab great talent at a bargain bin price, software developers are in high demand and it’s only going to go up. When eyeing a potential hire research properly and know the real market price as losing a candidate to another opportunity, or overpaying for an under performer can be quite devastating – plus word would get out that you aren’t savvy enough, which has dire long term consequences.

Have a budget, plan around it and know exactly what skill set you’ll get for it.

Team players

Software developers are notorious for being loners who don’t do team work well, which would be fine if their only obligation was to code all day. Unfortunately it’s not the case as they also have to respond to requests in a timely manner, participate in mandatory project meetings and coordinate with other team members.

Communication skills are often undervalued, but they tend to be the real deal-breakers for experienced CTOs. Which should come as no surprise, since ensuring your software development team runs like a well oiled machine takes more than just hard skills.

Deadlines

You know what’s the worst case scenario in the software development world?

A developer who ensures you he’s fine and will make it before the deadline, but fails to deliver at the last possible moment, and you find out he’s not even close to submit code, thus he sets the whole project back or even your whole company as a result.

This is why product roadmap deliverable and iteration cycles are the main driving force behind software development – they’re always tied to deadlines.

Provide certain scenarios to potential hires and ask about deadlines. Note their answers and reactions; what happens if they don’t hit deadlines and most importantly, how will they alert their manager when they fall behind.

Standards

Coding standards can be detrimental when it comes down to potential bugs, crashes or other issues.

You want to make sure your software engineers will be able to provide clean code, written with industry best practises in mind and with sufficient comments – such code will not cause any issues once someone else has to takes over.

Enforce uniform standards across all aspects of your company, ask for proper documentation to ensure quality – you don’t want to end up with spaghetti-code.

Coachability

An employee who can’t take feedback is the biggest problem any employer can face.

Unfortunately software developers can take negative feedback or any non-self imposed changes to their code quite personally – this is why your potential candidates need to be coachable.

Ease your software developers in and get them accustomed with the process, after a while they’ll not only take coaching, but will also want it themselves as they’ll notice the true long term value it provides.

Portfolio

Don’t be surprised if a software engineer sends you their portfolio as it’s a common approach, however instead of taking it at face value ask to see a demo of the product. That way you’ll be able to see their skills in action and also check their references by actually confirming they worked on the product.

Live coding

The most enjoyable interview for a software developer is a live coding test, and rapid prototyping a feature is by far the best approach to see if a candidate really is adept at a certain skill – it’s a win/win for both parties involved.

If a potential hire really stands out from the rest, it might be wise to let them work alongside your software development team to see how well he meshes with the group and how others respond to him – don’t be afraid to try novel solutions.

Watching a developer code while simultaneously having him explain his thought and work process to you can be essential in making the right choice as you’ll experience firsthand if they’re a good fit.

Don’t rush

Rushing is never advised as it will land you the wrong fit every time. Create a multi-stage, recruitment process which includes a phone/VOIP screening, an in-person interview, a peer interview and a live coding test. These stages will reveal any red flags before you hire, but also confirm their skill set and ensure they’re a cultural fit as well.

Networking

Developers know other developers, even if only by virtue of their profession and the highly specialised industry, but think about your long term goals and try to hire people capable of bringing their networking assets over to your company.

Learn to leverage your employee contacts and networking skills, and never settle for hiring a single developer – plan for the future.

Look for potential leaders when hiring software developers, you might be just starting out, but your end-goal is to have a highly functioning software house at your disposal, which can’t be achieved without charismatic people at the helm.