Companies rely on customer service departments to provide the link between the customer and the company. Customer service departments focus on accurately recording data on complaints, comments and compliments supplied by customers through over the phone or by face-to-face contact. Though each company has different policies and methods of handling customer contact, the basic characteristics of customer service departments remain similar.
Quality customer service results from specific and targeted training and mentoring practices. An important characteristic of quality customer service, proper training helps to ensure consistent and efficient customer service across the company. Training, which focuses on the phone and computer systems, as well as company policy, keeps customer service representatives well-versed on changes and updates to policy and procedure. Data collected by utilizing the tools provided, helps the company focus marketing efforts, identify trends and analyze feedback on products and services.
Customer service expectations help set the tone and lay the groundwork for handling typical customer service situations, including comments, complaints and questions. Expectations of positive and productive customer service interactions include greeting customers enthusiastically, practicing the skill of active listening and using empathy, to show an understanding of the situation. In addition, negotiation skills and the ability to deal with difficult situations in a calm manner represent characteristics of successful customer service representatives.
Frequent evaluations of customer service personnel and policies provide the ability to adapt to an ever-changing customer service environment. Evaluations provide a way to reinforce guidelines and offer additional individualized training. Characteristics of the evaluation process include statistical components, monitoring and mentoring. Statistical components, including calls per hour and average call length, identify areas of performance where improvement is possible. Monitoring of customer interactions by phone or in-person provides valuable feedback for individual development. Due to the changing needs of the company and the department, ongoing training provides for continual updates on customer service priorities and guidelines.
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