13 Easy Ways To Make Money From Customer Service
1. Introduce a very simple way to flag potential sales opportunities. Train and reward reps for accurate flags. Keep it simple here so the sales dept or customer service reps time isn’t wasted.
2. Cleverly compensate dissatisfied customers. Example might be a discount coupon on next sale (which also aids new sales), or just a simple apology. Make sure the customer is not inconvenienced further and they do not incur any fees (e.g. delivery).
3. Ensure Customer Service Reps add value, and not just handle requests. Allow reps to become knowledgeable in other related products and in sales techniques, but don’t make it blatant for the customer (e.g. offering credit cards). Simple examples might be having a range of small value-add services that reps can offer, with very small fees.
4. Embed training into products to reduce customer calls. Include easy-to-find detail on advanced topics, case studies (by topic) and tips-and-tricks. Compensate reps who have ideas and contribute to this information.
5. Connect customers together to form a community around a product or a specific application (or industry). Contribute special services and offers to community members to aid adoption and sharing. (e.g. white papers, new information, discounts). A self-serving community reduces the called to the service department.
6. Capture customer experiences and comments into a reusable format for Product Development and Sales to leverage. Again a simple format is often the best. Measure and reward the value added.
7. Maintain a relationship with customers. Try to give the impression of personal relationship, even when that’s not practical. Leveraging customer data automatically captured and new social media technologies to nurture the link. Add value within the relationship by providing proactive service advice based on calculated needs.
8. Capture Best Practice around your products. When something goes well, get the rep to record it for immediate reuse for everyone in the Customer Service team. This can constantly raise the default/minimum behavior and service level. Make time to share this important information.
9. Try to make it fun not painful. No customer likes having to get help, so try and make it somehow more fun. Silly example is free entry into a prize draw upon logging a service ticket.
10. Give customers great tools to help themselves. Its faster for the customer and cheaper for you. Reward reps who build/contribute most value to self-help tools. Embed in the design of these tools a way to tracking their use, so to allow for later analysis and improvement.
11. Customers love go-to people. This, done cleverly, need not be a real person. E.g. Kevin Smith is generic rep assigned to one customer, but responses (non-telephone) can be done by any rep in the team and auto-signed as Kevin for that customer. Data capture per customer means if the real Kevin did contact them it would take him only 5minutes to get up to speed from a summary of the history.
12. Resolution process clarity. Often sharing what the rep has to do with customer can allow the customer to prepare or help (e.g. get reference information ready, try things out). Its less frustrating for everyone and Customer Service teams shouldn’t be scared to share their own processes and procedures (unless they’re bad).
13. Provide all reps with a checklist of value-add things they can do. Its helps everyone. It aids use (i.e. more value add going on), ensures just approved things are done (keeping costs down) and provides consistancy between customer service reps. Keep the list relevant and fresh.