The 10 Core Responsibilities of Customer Service
There's truth in the quote, “customer service is not a department- it’s everyone’s job.” For the sake of organization, though, it makes sense to define responsibilities.
To have a well-functioning team, you need to identify the areas of ownership. Here are the 10 customer service responsibilities.
1Solve simple customer concerns
A core responsibility of customer service is answering any simple issues that a customer may have. Customer service provides reactive support and is the one to respond when an issue suddenly pops up.
Customer service acts as the frontline of defense and takes care of as many issues as possible. The majority of questions a company receives are quick and easy to answer. Customer service fits well with the Pareto principle, or 20/80 rule.
This states that 20% of the work produces 80% of the results. Conversely, 80% of the work produces 20% of the results. Customer support acts to weed out the 80% of simple concerns before forwarding it to the specialists.
2Develop the FAQ
Because customer service deals with the common questions daily, they are in the perfect position to create a resource page with frequently asked questions (FAQ).
A FAQ is essential for answering the simple questions and allows your customers to get the answers without contacting support. Especially for customers that prefer to do things on their own, a FAQ sheet will give them the independence they want.
Customer service can track the simple questions and concerns that they run into on a daily basis, especially those with quick answers, to write into a FAQ.
3Track customer behavior
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of any successful business. Signing on new customer is part of what makes new businesses struggle to make a profit. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that increasing retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Customer loyalty, then, is essential to your business.
You can get a real look into what your customers think and how they feel about your company by tracking the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These indicators will give you the tools you need to increase customer loyalty.
Your customer service is in a key position to maintain these tracking metrics. Their daily interactions with customers allow them to keep these KPIs to give you a look. KPIs on customer behavior allow you to identify which customers are at risk to reach out to proactively. This way your company can maintain customers that might otherwise fade away without explanation.
Customer service can keep KPIs on what type of questions and complaints that they run into. These reports let you see common themes and trends in customer behavior towards your company. You can set up the reports to allow your business to make intelligent decisions. Instead of getting lost in individual comments, questions or complaints, you will get an overall view on the general opinion of your company.
Customer support acts as the frontlines of your company. They are most equipped to identify and reach out to your customers to offer the proactive support that keeps customers engaged.
Here at Userlike, our customer success team identifies and offers extra help to our unengaged customers. Because customer support is keeping KPIs on customer behavior, they can find which customers to may need extra help and engagement.
A great way to reach out to your customers is a proactive chat on your website. This gives the customer a chance to talk with your support with minimal effort. Proactive chat increases customer satisfaction and allows your company to show concern and care for your customer’s needs.
It is inevitable that your company will have to deal with angry customers. Whether the problem is a mistake within the company or completely out of your control, your customer service will hear about it.
Although it may not be always possible to make the customer happy, customer service can help to neutralize the situation. Customer support can help the customer calm down and tackle the issue at hand.
Because these situations are delicate and often unpredictable, training your customer service how to handle irate customers is essential. Your support can react positively in an emotionally charged situation when they have the right mindset and training.
6Collect customer feedback
Empower your customer service representatives to continuously collect feedback and you won’t need to set up a dedicated marketing research team to do it. Creating a whole new team is a clumsy and more expensive method; it is far more efficient to utilize your customer service.
Your customer wants a place where they feel heard. Your service reps will be able to deliver a more satisfying customer experience by collecting feedback while managing customer complaints. Just indicating to an angry customer that you are taking their feedback seriously often works to immediately start to calm them down.
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In order to make sure your company is growing and moving in the right direction, feedback from customers is necessary. If there is a process that needs to be faster, if there are too many steps or confusing directions, the customer has a place to communicate that. The customer can provide the needed distance from your product or service to give valuable feedback.
Another added benefit is that collected reviews can turn feedback into a marketing tool. Who doesn’t look at reviews before purchasing a product or service? The opinion of a third party goes a long way in promoting your company to potential customers.
7Pass on customer praise
Give customers a place to rave about your company! It can become too easy to concentrate and dwell on any negativity, but listening to positive feedback is just as important as criticism for growth.
Customers can take multiple promptings in order to share their positive experience, so as Stefan Debois from SurveyAnyplace mentions, gentle reminders can start with customer service. They are in the perfect place to request customer feedback when a customer praises the company.
If you receive customer praise, which I hope you do from time to time 🙂, always ask to use their words for your own marketing (website, social media,...) - important: instruct your customer service team to do the same, since they might not do it spontaneously #dailyscreenshot pic.twitter.com/2fAbarQ5pZ— Stefan Debois (@sde77) March 8, 2018
Encourage customer service to proudly display positive feedback and urge the customer to leave a review of your company. In addition, make sure that customer service passes on the praise to the rest of the company, so that the ‘producers’ in the organization get to hear the positive sounds coming in from customers. This will energize everyone in the company.
8Represent the customer
Customer service communicates everyday with your key demographic: your customers. As a result, they have a valuable perspective and information. They can provide important input in meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Keep customer service in touch with all the other departments in your company. They can inform your IT, for example, what people think of the technology you offer or any website bugs. They provide a powerful, detached perspective that someone within the company may not necessarily have.
If your service reps see a recurring pattern or problem, they can provide powerfful feedback. They also get a great feel for what your customers think or feel about certain goods or services, so they can offer great perspectives on potential changes your company may have.
9Break up with the wrong customers
Despite the cliché, not all customers are king. This comes back to the Pareto principle: some customers take more time and energy from your company than they are worth.
It can be a strategic choice to stop servicing unprofitable customers. Keep in mind and take into account the indirect costs of these customers. The more time spent with an overly needy customer, the more profit goes down. Also, a particularly negative customer can lower the morale of your workers and can contribute to a negative work environment.
Of course, many customers will need help at some point, and any customer can have a bad day. If it becomes a pattern with a particular customer, though, then it may be time to let them go for the good of your company.
10Respond on customer reviews
An increasingly important responsibility of customer service is to respond on product and company reviews written by customers.
Review platforms like Trustpilot and G2Crowd are growing rapidly in a variety of areas. Firstly, in the number of people who rely on them for their buying decisions. Secondly, in the number of people who use them as an outlet for giving vent to their happiness or frustration. And thirdly, they seem to be playing an increasingly important role as a trust factor in search engine algorithms.
All good reasons to take your review footprint seriously.
Whether a customer review is positive or negative, it’s worthwhile to engage with it. It shows appreciation for those who’ve taken their time to write one, and it offers you feedback you can use to improve your product and processes.
In case of a negative review, responding is absolutely crucial. Without a response, readers will assume it’s the truth. By responding on it skilfully, service teams can offer their side of the story, placate the negative customer, and show the rest of the world that –although you might not be perfect– you're a good and reliable company.
Customer service responsibilities – define and conquer
As you can see, your support team has a wide area of responsibilities. These responsibilities are too plentiful to reside within one person, so it makes sense to distribute them among your team and, if possible, to make one person responsible for one area.