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Customer Care Needs To Be Job #1 in the New Year

Customer Care Needs To Be Job #1 in the New Year
By Sue Smith and Jennifer LeClaire

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Salespeople as well as customer service reps and contact center staffers need to always remember that customer care and providing a positive customer experience are their top priorities. Aside from that basic understanding, they need to be given the tools and authority to get the job done right.
 

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All of that is needed, plus a good dose of common sense -- asking yourself and your team how you all like to be treated when the tables are turned and you're in the role of customer.

To help keep your team stay fresh and focused on the customer, we've gathered customer service advice from several tech gurus who specialize in customer service solutions.

Get Closer to Your Customers

Monica Norton, senior director of content marketing at ZenDesk, recently shared three of her favorite tips for top service: Get closer to your customers; build good will; and, have a plan.

"Just like in your personal life, the best way to develop close, long-lasting relationships with your customers is to devote your time and energy to the process," she advised. "Ask your customers for their input, listen to what they say, and act on what you learn."

Build Good Will and Plan Ahead

In terms of building good will, she says, if you focus on the customer experience when everything is going well, your customers are more likely to forgive and forget when something goes awry. Then, there's planning.

"Decide in advance how you'll respond when a problem erupts," Norton advises. "You won't have to waste time deciding what to do in the heat of the moment if you already have your playbook ready to go."

Offer Self-Service

Another set of three handy tips for customer care comes from Oracle: know your customers; empower your customers; and adapt to changing behaviors.

The enterprise tech giant points out that quickly connecting customers with the information they need has become more important than ever. Providing quality resources for self-service -- from FAQs to online manuals and searchable databases -- can help cut your customer service costs while also boosting customer satisfaction.

Consider these two related facts: Forrester Research has found that seventy-two percent of customers prefer using companies' websites to answer their questions. But TSIA Technology Insight reports that only 52 percent actually find the information they need.

Know Your Customers

"Choose a knowledge management tool that will: identify customers' current and downstream needs, deliver personalized online content and answers, and accelerate their service journey with smarter searches," Oracle suggests.

As for empowering customers, Oracle is big on leveraging social media and collaborative service tools to help businesses share information socially. Social sharing also enables rapid, low-cost content development, and can help reduce contact-center workloads. (continued...)

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