0845 544 0681 enquiries@callteam.co.uk

Customer service benchmark report – Part 2

Customer Service Benchmark Report
Follow-up Part 2

 

As promised in the last installment I will be looking at the first two of seven Benchmark results of a report carried out by SuperOffice,

However, I would like to recap on what has been written previously.
As mentioned before your business depends on how you manage your Customer Service enquiries.

It can make or break companies regardless of size, more so now than ever with the ”Name and Shame” culture as well as the added showcase of social media.
How many times have you regaled to friends and family: “Wait till I tell you” or “You’ll never guess what x, y or z, did when I complained about a b or c”. Then proceed to tell them about your bad experience of their customer service.

How do I know the experience was bad?
You are more often than not going to relay a bad experience and never a good one.
So what, as a consumer, are you looking for when it comes to customer service? Why are so many companies getting it completely wrong?
As the report said “Loyal and happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. They contribute to a healthy business, create new customers and act as referrals for future customers.”
On the other hand, in the world of social media an unhappy customer can share their complaints to thousands of friends, connections and followers. Which can eventually lead to business failure.
Most companies know that they need and should deliver excellent customer service.

But interestingly enough, research shows that while 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service. In fact only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service.”
So what can companies do to ensure they are providing excellent customer service?

How can we improve our customer service

Well they would not go far wrong by following the report’s seven key areas which contribute to good customer service. And ensuring that they have the correct processes in place for dealing with customer service requests.
1. Responding to customer requests.
2. Acknowledging that the email request has been received.
3. Following up with customers.
4. Solving the request in the first reply.
5. Reducing the response time.
6. Making it easy for customers to contact you.
7. Adding the element of sincerity.

Let’s start by having a look at the first two:-
1.Customer service – Responding to customer requests

When a customer sends an email they normally expect a response. In fact, that’s why most companies hire a team of professionals to handle customer service questions. So when Superoffice contacted a sample of 500 companies how many responses did they get?
What we found was that 41% (205 companies) did not respond to the customer service request. That’s nearly half of all companies that do not respond.
It was also noticeable that the companies who did not respond to customer service requests had quite a few things in common:-

  • They could only be contacted through an email on their website.
  • They were mostly smaller sized companies and employed less than 100 people.
  • They didn’t send an automated response once to confirm that our message had been received.
    .
    Based on these findings we can conclude that these companies do not have the correct processes established in handling support requests.
Best Practice tip #1

Always answer customers when they contact you. If you don’t respond they are likely to spend their hard-earned money elsewhere.

And even if you cannot answer the question right away. Inform them that you are working on it, and let them know they can expect a reply.

Pro Tip:- Customer Serviced software allows you to send an automated response. When a request has been received, it automatically forwards the request to the correct department, which means the right person.

Personally, I would try and use the Best Practice Tip as much as I can. – it lends itself to the personal touch or if you find you are being overwhelmed contact an email management company like Call Team who provide this service to clients…..

Also automated services can sometimes be just that, automated and generic and don’t allow editing to cover for ALL eventualities that may pop up.

You may also find that not everyone, especially if a start-up or small – medium business has the budget for that kind of software.

2. Customer service – Acknowledging their email.

Letting your customers know that you have received their support request shows that you are listening and working on a solution to help them. However, if customers send an email to your support team and they don’t receive a response, they may contact you on more than one channel looking for a reply. Then before you know it, you’ve got an increase in the number of customer service requests from the same customer on the same topic.
One way of letting the customer know you have received their request is to send a automated response..

Unfortunately, Superoffice found, after sending 500 emails to companies worldwide, only 33 companies acknowledged that they received our email request. This means that 94% didn’t acknowledge the request at all.

Get into the habit of acknowledging an email without the use of an automated service. However the whole point of this report is to equip companies with the means of providing better customer service and if an automated response suits you better then by all means use one, just as long as you acknowledge customers emails.
A third option again would be to use Call Team’s email management service where a team of highly professional VAs await to support you

Best Practice Tip #2

Setting up an auto-responder that includes working hours and an emergency telephone number. This will help reduce the number of follow up emails customers send.
On the other hand, most customer service software comes with the option to tag all emails with a unique code, which allows you to track all emails relating to that request.

The key here is to keep your customers informed, yes you got the email, yes you are working on a way to find a solution agreeable to both yourself and your customer. But unless you communicate this to them, how will they know? As the report stated will likely result in multiple emails all about the same request and each one escalating to a higher level of frustration as your customer increasingly feels ignored and left in the dark.
After all how would you feel if you were the customer?

It’s only common sense, and courteous, these simple steps will go a long way to keeping your customer happy and that is what we all want – Happy Customers.

Happy Customers, Happy Business

 

Customer service benchmark report shows surprising findings

About six months ago I posted a blog post about Customer Service – What makes a company great? Along with some guidelines and a few dos and don’ts to help with what is one of the most important aspects of any business, big or small, as discussed in aforementioned blog post.

Well now I’d like to revisit this topic, not because, as some may think I am running out of topics, ‘au contraire’ but due to the fact that there has been a benchmark report on the subject of customer service published and the statistics are, to say the least, alarming, however they make for an interesting read.

The report, ‘2017 Customer service benchmark report’ from Super office is twenty-five pages long and explores three areas:-

  1. How the companies compare to each other in customer service.
  2. How the companies manage and respond to customer support requests.
  3. What can we learn from ‘best in class’ companies.

 The findings came up with seven key areas, however before we look at those, we will have a look at the introduction, methodology, and key findings before I bore you with a load of facts.

Please read on, your business could depend on it.

 Introduction
Loyal and happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. They contribute to a healthy business, create new customers and act as referrals for future customers. On the other hand, in the world of social media an unhappy customer can share their complaints to thousands of friends, connections and followers which could in turn, lead to business failure.

 Like I said your business could depend on it, nothing spreads quicker than a “Name and Shame”.

 The report goes onto say “most companies know that they need and should deliver excellent customer service. But interestingly enough, here comes the science bit, research shows that while 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service; in fact only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service.”

 That seems such a HUGE difference.

 Why did the businesses believe they were giving excellent customer service? What were they doing or not doing? And why did such a low percentage of customers believe they were getting excellent customer service? What were the customers expecting but not getting to score so badly.

 Here’s what the company carrying out the research did.

 Methodology

They analysed the customer service quality of five hundred companies across the world, both small and large companies and to keep the study simple they sent one email to each company with the following two questions.

  1. Do you have a phone number I can call you on?
  2. Where can I find pricing information on your website?

 Based on the speed, quality and tone, they then scored each response out of one hundred, where one is poor and one hundred is excellent.

 The responses were based on the following categories:-

  • Was the contact information easy to find?
  • Did the company acknowledge the support request?
  • How long did it take for the company to respond?
  • Were both questions answered in the first reply?
  • Did the company follow up to see if we were happy with the level of support?

And here are the findings – “if I can have the envelope, please”. However before I make the announcement, can I just say that before reading the report it was thought that

  1. Customer Service is a priority to most, if not all, companies.
  2. Smaller companies would manage customer service better than bigger ones.
  3. All companies would respond quickly to customer service requests.

 Well the study found that (drum roll, opens envelope):-

  •  41% of companies did not respond to a customer service request.
  • 90% of companies did not acknowledge an email had been received.
  • 99% of companies did not follow up with customers.

Only

  • 11% of companies answered both questions in the first reply.
  • The average response time to handle a customer service request was 15 hours.

 

The results speak for themselves.

 

In the next blog, one of four, I will be going over the first two of seven key areas which contribute to good customer service as well as sharing some best practice tips.

 

Till next time.

Customer service is King

Customer service is King

It’s a competitive world today, no longer is the high street the king of sales. Online it is easy to research, shop around and make well informed buying decisions. Price is, as always, a major deciding factor but other issues like ethics and environmental credentials are important too. Most importantly, customer recommendation has a big influence on our buying decisions today.
Have you ever bought anything from Amazon with only a one star recommendation?
…..Didn’t think so.

20 years ago

We all bought what we found on the high street or in a mail order catalogue. TV advertising ruled, a prime time slot during the soaps guaranteed your product would be a best seller. Everyone bought the same brands. A trusted recommendation was generally from a friend or family member.

Customer service
Today the internet is a giant open market, noisy and competitive; it’s difficult for even large corporations to get a share of voice. So how do smaller businesses differentiate themselves and stand out in the crowd?

Customer service is how.

Offering a personalised service is so much easier for a smaller organisation. Large corporations are envious of this flexibility. All the content marketing, CRM systems, automation and data in the world can’t ensure a satisfied customer. Customer service is now king of sales; the most important factor in the buying process is how the customer feels about the experience.

Was it a positive interaction?

Would they buy from you again?

Will they recommend you?

All purchasing experiences are based on emotion. The way your customers feel about you is the way to stand out from the competition. If small businesses make sure that every interaction a current customer has with them is a positive one they will be happy and they will be loyal.  In fact, not just current customers, everyone is a potential customer or might recommend you to a potential customer. So put a smile on your face and go out to make some raving fans today.

 

 

How small business owners take a break at Christmas

How small business owners take a break at Christmas

Call team christmasWith Christmas just around the corner , we are discussing a subject close to every business owners heart; What to do about Christmas and by that I am referring to “How Much time, if any, are you planning to take off? Do you……….

  • Finish on Friday 23rd December and start back on Tuesday 3rd January?
  • Finish on Friday 23rd December and resume on Wednesday 28th, then finish on Friday 30th and resume on Tuesday 3rd January? or
  • Don’t stop except for Christmas dinner and even then you are constantly checking your devices?

It can be a difficult time for business owners; they feel torn; the whole point of starting your own business was to spend more time with your family. We all have visions of it all being sweetness and light but what you don’t figure in or what people don’t tell you is the time it takes when doing everything yourself: From getting and then keeping clients, turning these clients into returning clients; to finding new ones; to marketing, networking, social media, scheduling meetings, appointments, overseeing orders to delivery and so on. Before you know it you’re either hidden under a pile of paperwork or you’re sleeping slumped on your desk.

The truth is there is no right or wrong decision, take whatever time off you feel comfortable with. I am sure like most business owners you make split second, life changing decisions every minute, well maybe not every minute but certainly several times a day with no qualms and yet this decision can leave most owners quivering like a plate of jelly or blancmange or if I am really being twenty-first century Panna Cotta, different name same wobble.

However there is a fourth option you could consider – hire a company of Virtual Receptionists to take care of all your festive needs over the coming season. To see how Call team can help call 0845 544 0681.

And now finally and in the vein of all things Christmassy here is a new version of an old classic, one I am sure you have sung many times before and you might even adopt these alternative words.

12 Days of Christmas

“On the first day of Christmas my VA said to me “And a charity event organised”

On the second day of Christmas my VA said to me “Two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the third day of Christmas my VA said to me “Three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the fourth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the fifth day of Christmas my VA said to me “FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the sixth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the seventh day of Christmas my VA said to me “Seven days’ work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the eighth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Eight bills paid, seven days’ work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the ninth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Nine taxis ordered, eight bills paid, seven days’ work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”,

On the tenth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Ten presents bought, nine taxis ordered, eight bills paid, seven days’ work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and a charity event organised”

On the eleventh day of Christmas my VA said to me ”Eleven quotes emailed, ten presents bought, nine taxis ordered, eight bills paid, seven days’ work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed , two blogs managed and a charity event organised”,

On the twelfth day of Christmas my VA said to me “Twelve files created, eleven quotes emailed, ten presents bought, nine taxis ordered, eight bills paid, seven days work, six rooms reserved, FIVE GOLD PENS, four network meetings, three tapes transcribed, two blogs managed and an charity event organised”.

 Disclaimer: – This is by no means a true reflection of seven days’ work for a VA. We are good, some say brilliant but we are not miracle workers, speak to the Birthday boy if you want that.

Blog written by Lorraine Jack

Seven reasons to hire a VA – Virtual Assistant

Seven reasons to hire a VA – Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants, if you have not heard of the term, are very much like your PA/EA or traditional secretary. The only difference is that as VA’s we have elected to work from home or remotely. We do not need a desk, a computer or a phone as we have our own, thank you. As well as managing your phone calls, some of Call team are a virtual assistants. We charge either hourly, per project.  In some cases on a retainer package which means you pay only for the work/hours agreed on. No sickness pay, holiday pay or any other deductions associated with employees, . As some business owners* have found, hiring a VA is a win-win situation. The majority of them wonder how they ever coped without a VA.

Call team Virtual Assistants

Read on to discover what they had to say about hiring a VA and if  this is for you, get in touch 0845 544 0681.

I was overwhelmed by scheduling
Once I started getting overwhelmed by scheduling meetings/calls and emails I decided it was time to hire my Virtual Assistant. She’s been a huge help and costs me £450 a month for full time work. Eric Sin
I was Angry at My Work
A few weeks ago I felt a flash of tightness in my chest from anger as I was sitting down to do work I really didn’t want to do. That was a wakeup call that I needed to delegate more tasks and focus on work that I actually enjoyed doing. The best part is that the assistant I hired was thrilled to be doing this type of work so it was a huge win-win for both of us. Peter Kennedy.
I was Bogged Down in Repetition
I knew I needed a VA when I found myself doing a lot of repetitive tasks on a daily basis. I’ve worked with a number of VAs over the years and I found the relationship most beneficial when I could outsource time consuming, repetitive tasks. You want to avoid spending too much time explaining or reviewing projects so that you can maximise the time savings of having a VA in the first place. Nicolas Greenen.
My Personal Errands were Killing My Productivity
It became clear when tasks from my personal life started to interfere with my ever-growing schedule. It wasn’t as much of a problem before – but after that line was crossed it became a trade-off. I could get all my work done or neglect the personal errands or vice versa. Thankfully now I can delegate much of my personal life to my assistant as well as some of those small business tasks that ate time. Alec Bowers
I Was Ignoring Core Tasks
The moment you realise that lately you haven’t really worked on the core tasks that grow your business because of all the other things.  – That is the final moment you need to stop and reassess your work load. Focus on the work you do best and hire other people to do the rest, like Call Team. Being the Jack of all Trades can seem like a necessity for many entrepreneurs; but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Focus! Sam Smith
I Realised Others Could Do It Better
When clients ask me about Virtual Assistants or remote staff the first thing I get them to understand is what they, as clients are good at or not good at doing. This is often quite difficult for entrepreneurs as they’ve usually been doing everything in their business themselves. Once you show them that others can not only do it better but that their business can’t grow without delegation they get a VA. Liam Martin
My First Hour Was No Longer My Own
I’ve always thought that the first hour of the work day really sets the tone for those to follow. Realising this hour had become routinely filled with marginalia was a big sign I needed to hand off some tasks in order to get the right ones back. Sam Sixton.

happy young business man portrait in bright modern office indoor

As you can see from these recounts a Virtual Assistant will not only help but enhance your business, support you and your growth.

For more information on how Call Team can help please contact us.

*Quotes from The Huffington Post 2014

Customer Service hints and tips

Customer Service hints and tips

What makes a company great, makes it stand out head and shoulders above the rest?
How do they have not only loyal but repeat customers who go back time and time again?

Is it the size of the company – bigger is always better?
Is it the amount of profits they make – well they must be good if they are making all that money – right?
Is it maybe they are the only business which has a particular item – hardly.
Or is their marketing top notch, taking full advantage of ALL media. Are they including online, social, TV and broadsheets as well as radio and tabloids?

Best Customer Service

 

What is their secret?

The truth is there is no secret, it all boils down to one thing – no matter size, profits, products, services or marketing plan.If you don’t have this one thing you may as well shut up shop and go home – and that one thing is Customer Service.

Don’t get me wrong the other things do help in some small way but Customer Service is King.

It should be natural and not forced. How annoying did “Have a nice day” become? Novel at first perhaps, but now it is not.So how do you achieve great Customer Service?
Try following these dos and don’ts as guidelines:-

Do smile when talking – seems strange I know but it works, try it and see the difference.
Practice active listening and hear what your Customer is saying but don’t sit in silence use audible nods and empathise. Repeat to show you have been listening using expressions like “If I have heard you correctly…….” This goes a long way and also informs customer that you have been listening.
Out of bounds expressions such as“You need to……,” or “I can’t so you have to………..” They neither have to nor need to do anything.

Ask permission “Is it OK if I take some details?” “May I have your name?” “Are you happy to give me…….?”
Don’t argue back, tempting as it maybe and never swear!
Never carry it over to the next customer and don’t take it home with you.
Each customer is an individual. Although you may think that they are Bat Crazy or what they are contacting you about is trivial. Always remember, to them it is important.
It isn’t personal, all they want is for someone to take responsibility and to listen.
And finally always end on a positive note, even if it’s a simple thanks for your call.

That’s how to do Customer Service!

Follow these guidelines and you will notice a difference.
Not just in your customers but also in your staff who will be happier in their work and willing to go that extra mile.

Customer service

Please contact us here to find out how Call team could support your customers, improve your Customer Service and free up time for you.

 

Lorraine Jack is a Call Handler with Call team and a Virtual Assistant.
She loves writing blogs.Contact her here: lorraine@callteam.co.uk