Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing multiple service channels, part of Managing a Customer Service Team.
- Things can get tricky if there's several ways for your customers to contact you. This video focuses on managing multiple service channels. Here are a few things you can do to optimize service quality across all channels you use. A key consideration is to coordinate with the departments that own each service channel. In many companies different channels are owned by different departments, but your customers don't see it that way. They just see one company. Each channel may have its own specific purpose, but it's important that they all share the same customer service vision.
This is a definition of outstanding customer service that's unique to your organization. Another way to think of it is it's your company's customer service brand. Coordinating with channel owners can help ensure each channel is delivering a consistent experience that's aligned with the customer service vision. Another consideration is to create channel-specific service standards. These are broad guidelines that help employees deliver a consistent experience on every interaction. These guidelines should be consistent across all channels, but tailored to each channel's unique characteristics.
For example, a customer calling your company should get a similar feeling as a customer emailing your company. But the way that service is delivered will naturally be determined in part by the channel itself. You can also use these service standards for evaluating service quality. Many companies monitor phone calls for quality and training purposes, but all channels should be monitored equally. If you'd like a refresher on creating customer service standards, you can check out the Developing Service Standards video from earlier in this course. It's important to recognize that your employees might have skills that are well suited to some service channels but not to others.
This makes it important to have channel-specific hiring and training programs. For example, a company might have some employees who are terrific on the phone or in person because they're terrific at connecting with people. Those same employees might not be great at serving customers via chat or email if they don't have the typing skills to keep up with the fast pace of those channels. Some employees can do it all, but in most cases, you'll have employees who will specialize in a few channels based upon their skills and abilities. It's perfectly okay, but you can support them by having a specific hiring and training plan for each service channel.
Finally, it's important to encourage your employees to focus on one channel at a time. Asking employees to serve customers in person while typing emails and answering phones will inevitably lead to divided attention, slower service, and more mistakes. You'll get more productivity from your employees if they can focus on just one channel at a time. They'll handle a larger volume and make fewer mistakes because they'll have less distractions. Of course, it's okay to switch a fully trained employee from serving one channel to another as customer demand requires it.
Just be sure they aren't constantly jumping back and forth from customer to customer. There is one caveat here. Some companies are using special software that brings multiple channels together on one screen. This software can allow employees to simultaneously work on email, web tickets, and social media because all of those channels go to one place. It actually works well because employees don't have to refocus their attention from customer to customer. Managing multiple channels can get complicated. My final piece of advice to you is to focus on making it as simple as possible for your employees.
If you can find ways to allow them to focus on one customer at a time, no matter what channel they're serving, you'll generally find service quality goes up, speed increases, and errors go down.
- Clearly defining outstanding service for employees
- Evaluating service quality
- Identifying obstacles to outstanding service
- Aligning resources to optimize service delivery
- Calculating the cost of poor service