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November 2019

Essential Skills of a Customer Service Representative

Essential Skills of a Customer Service Representative

By | Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Inbound Call Center Solution, Outbound Call Center Services, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

A skilled customer service representative is the single most important asset of a growing business. Since 71% of customers are lost due to poor customer service, you can build a loyal customer base only if your customer service center is optimized. More importantly, existing customers spend 33% more than new ones, so your priority should be retaining your current customers and increasing their lifetime value. Hence, the most cost-effective way of increasing profits is focusing on these customers through good customer service, rather than intensifying sales efforts. A whopping 80% of your future profits will come from a mere 20% of your existing customers.

Decrease your Customer Churn Rate to increase profitability

The customer service representative is the face of the company—the first point of contact that establishes your brand image. To avoid customer service fiascos in this day and age of social media, when public opinion holds a great deal of weight in determining a company’s reputation, make sure that each customer service representative at your company has some essential skills. We have collated the 10 most important ones here for you that you should look for when hiring your customer service center team.

Essential Qualities

Each customer service representative must possess these skills to be able to effectively build customer loyalty, reduce attrition, and enhance the brand image.

1. Empathy

Empathy in customer interactions can make a marked difference in customer retention rates, since 68% of customers leave when they perceive a business as indifferent to them. A good customer service representative empathizes with customers, trying to understand their problem and resolve it as quickly as possible. Being apologetic for any inconvenience caused and treating the customer in a friendly manner are cornerstones of excellent customer service.

Walk in the customer’s shoes to understand their problem(s).

2. Patience

Stay patient to truly understand what the customer wants.

Customers usually get in touch with a customer service representative when they are confused about or frustrated with the product or service. Patiently hearing out the customer helps de-escalate the situation and improve understanding of the actual issue—improving the chances that it will be resolved expediently.

3. Clear Communication

Your customer service representative should have a strong command over the language and use simple, jargon-free sentences that a layperson can understand. Moreover, the call center operator should make sure to relay all the important information, leaving nothing to doubt. This entails a balancing act between reassuring the customer and promising only what you can deliver.

Make sure that you communicate in a clear and concise manner, using layperson terms.

Strong internal communication between departments, established SOPs, good organization of information into CRMs, and timely management of ticketing systems are all crucial. An experienced 24 hour call center would take all this hassle off your hands.

4. Sufficient Knowledge Base

Know the product or service better than the customer using it

A good customer service representative has a strong grasp over the ins and outs of the products and services being offered, billing procedures, refund policies, and basic troubleshooting steps. This is the only way the customer service representative will be able to answer customer questions accurately. Having an agent passionate about your service is the best possible sales technique since they would in turn convince customers to purchase your good or service.

5. Problem-Solving Initiative

Finding a viable solution for each customer query, to ensure higher chances of resolution on first contact— a higher FCR (First Contact Resolution rate)—is an essential quality in any customer service representative. He or she should know all about your value offering and be intelligent and dedicated enough to find a solution. Additionally, the customer service representative should have enough initiative to resolve as many queries as possible himself/herself, without escalating it to upper management levels.

Take the initiative to solve problems before escalating them.

6. Strong Organizational Skills

Need for good organizational skills in customer service.

Your customer service representative should update databases on time, find relevant information for each customer quickly, and ensure that the rest of the team is aware of the progress of that customer case (by creating notes on the CRM). Work with someone who has handled a range of backend databases, CRMs, and ticketing systems, so you don’t need to start from scratch to establish your customer service center.

7. Strong Listening Ability

The customer service representative should be a very good listener—attentive to the customer’s complaint and able to read between the lines. There should be no audio distortion on the call, so the VoIP should be up to par.

This entails not only listening to the customer’s complaint or question but rather understanding the root causes. Staying attentive to and reporting underlying common issues will help improve the overall omnichannel customer experience. For instance, if customers keep calling for assistance with tracking their orders, the tracking system has not been correctly and sufficiently highlighted on your website.

Only a good listener can unearth the root causes of issues and resolve them.

8. Using Positive Language

Use positive language to communicate with customers.

The language your customer service representative uses in communication has a very strong impact on your customers, especially via non-voice support channels, since connotations may skew negative. For instance, if you are unable to deliver a package on the expected date due to logistical issues, there is a negative way of updating the customer as well as a positive way.

Negative: We are unable to deliver the package tomorrow since you placed the order too late today.

Positive: The packages for delivery tomorrow have already been dispatched today. I will mark your parcel for express delivery and make sure you can get it early morning the day after tomorrow.

Both responses are correct but the second one uses positive language, which will certainly keep the customer happy.

9. Flexibility and Omnichannel Support

Today customers look for instant gratification for all their issues. Your customer service representative should be able to handle omnichannel support inquiries, sometimes at the same time, to deliver holistic customer service to each customer. More than that, he or she should be able to make connections, come up with creative solutions, and switch between support channels to understand each customer’s history with the company. Only then can the customer support be accurate and helpful for the customer.

Need for flexibility and omnichannel support in customer service.

10. Expert Time Management:

Manage time well to provide timely and accurate customer support.

An omnichannel customer service representative needs to handle several support channels at the same time. Handling all incoming queries in a timely fashion is only possible with discipline and expert time management skills. The customer service representative should also be able to prioritize tasks and support channels, handling each inquiry efficiently and give sufficient attention to each. For instance, a call is more urgent than an email and a troubleshooting chat must be answered before one inquiring about the services you offer.

These are a few of the most important qualities that you need in each customer service representative. Concerned about how you can find such a paragon? Hire an experienced agency to handle your customer service center so you get free of the hassle of recruiting and training each customer service representative. They will already be experienced in handling similar projects, so there will be a much shorter learning curve.

Have we missed any important qualities? Feel free to let us know by commenting down below.

5 Must-Have Tools to Globalize Your Business in 2020

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Globalization, Technical Support, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

What is the tool most commonly used in today’s world by individuals and commercial organizations? Very simple, the Internet!

The Internet has made so many tasks convenient and so many processes irrelevant in the business world. Ecommerce support is only one click away—be it multilingual support for your stakeholders or technical support for your customer care center. If you have high-speed internet connectivity and a functional operative system, 80% of your business is already global. Therefore, it is important to investigate a futuristic version of your business considering the global context and available digital tools in order to truly globalize your business.

Globalization 2.0 brings the world to your doorstep and the Internet brings a huge potential market to your work desk. It is now easier than ever to create and promote an international brand image. There are many innovations in the tech world to help digital businesses grow. Here are 5 main tools that will be help you globalize your business:

  1. Research Tools

Research, Research, Research, ACTION! Make this your business mantra and make Google your best friend.

Use research tools to analyze the perceptions and behaviors of your new and existing markets. You can use Google Trends to gauge the demand of your offerings in a specific location, or consumer barometer to read into consumers’ ecommerce behavior.

Another free online tool is Quartz Atlas. It provides a vast database on world demographics and helps you search for information using your relevant keywords. Moreover, the data is presented in the form of tables and charts, which you can customize using your own variables.

Other ecommerce research tools are priced but come with convenient payment plans and free trials. For instance, you can use Jungle Scout—which is most popular for product research, or SemRush—which gives you an insight about your industry’s top keywords and performance of your competitors based on their website.

Similarly, if you are interested in hiring a virtual team, research can help you harness the best of the best by guiding you where to locate your next star worker.

You can find a plethora of other software applications to help you gain more information about your competitors, your niche, your campaign, and product performance.

  1. Resource Management Tools

There are plenty of software and tools available in the market that help in organizing and monitoring resources. They prove helpful in carrying out budget controls, time management, human resource management, as well as data and document management.

Do you also need a solution for conducting audio and video meetings with your remote team members located in different time zones?

Project management software and tools are a good way of managing a remote team, tracking time, efficient communication, and resource management. Popular project management software such as Wrike, Monday.com, or Basecamp include helpful features like real-time chat and messaging, task assignment and progress tracking, document sharing and analyses. Moreover, a comprehensive set of integrations across different in-demand, cloud-based tools makes these software applications a more compelling option. Read more about the best project management tools here.

  1. Marketing Tools

Time has brought enormous innovation in marketing as well. The arrival of Big Data and interactive technology have refined the way marketing is carried out and innovation has introduced new techniques for acquiring and retaining customers.

Marketing tools can handle everything from social media automation to customer-company relationships and affiliate marketing.

In a nutshell, marketing tools for ecommerce sales should ideally relieve you from social media, content creation, SEO, and email campaigning stress. You should also be able to find and segment consumer data for better customer service and targeted marketing campaigns. Some of the most popular marketing tools today are:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

This set of tools are usually a composite of marketing tools, analytical tools, and research tools. They allow your business to have a systematic approach to managing all the information and interactions of your business with your customers, suppliers, and other businesses. Some examples are Intercom and Pipedrive.

Your customers are your bread and butter. For your business’ survival, it is important to reach out to your customers and meet their requirements. As a global business, you must use multiple communication channels to communicate with your customers. A customer management application (CRM) can help you aggregate all communications in one place and effectively deal with all the purchase, engagement, and feedback information. Look into a CRM before you take any other steps to globalize your business.

This allows your customer care center to prioritize and attend to customers who need immediate response. It also becomes easier to track the website traffic, consumer movement, and preferences in order to optimize their purchase experience and enhance customer loyalty.

CRM tools help the customer care center agents to:

methodically identify and work on prospective clients

build and retain loyal customers

understand customers’ requirements and their response to marketing campaigns

segment customers based on demographics and preferences and create personalized follow-ups.

  1. Coordination and Translation Tools

Important: Communication is the key!

All interaction with your customers, suppliers, and teams has to be timely, efficient, and clear. In order to globalize your business, your brand needs to possess a multilingual and multi-ethnic outlook. Your website should cater to native languages and norms of your target market. Also, your customer care center should be equipped to provide multilingual support to equally cater to all your customers across the globe.

Communication tools can help avoid unnecessary delays and misunderstandings. This results in identifying issues and resolving them in a timely fashion. Bilingual customer service or multilingual support can be invaluable too.

Other than project management and CRM tools, translation services, and coordination tools such as Calendar, Hangouts, and Skype can help your company boost its ecommerce sales.

For expanding internationally, it is important for you to distinguish between ‘time zones’ and ‘time relationship’. While everything is 5 minutes earlier in Germany, there is a more relaxed relationship with time in the global south. This is where coordination comes in. An efficient multilingual support service can easily handle both for you.

Global expansion is exciting and risky, but it is the best way to increase ecommerce sales.

Some of the abovementioned tools’ features overlap. Hence, it is important to critically analyze your business and its requirements. There are many more tools that you can use to streamline your activities and globalize your business. Choose the right tools from the start or contract a business service provider to take away these worries while you focus on your core activities and strategizing for going global.

Which tools do you use in your business? Let us know by commenting below.

Get IU Ecommerce Support Services for the Holidays

Get Expert Ecommerce Support Services to Boost Sales This Holiday Season

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Holiday Season | 2 Comments

Hire ecommerce support services to stay ahead of the curve this holiday season. Holiday season sales can often eclipse the rest of the year’s sales combined, several times over. Holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018 — up from 5.8% the year prior. So you need to make sure you are fully prepared to handle the surge of orders. You will naturally need skilled ecommerce support services to help with ecommerce product research and listing, order processing and fulfillment, and ecommerce customer service.

We have compiled this simple checklist of items to ensure that you are fully prepared for this holiday season.

Holiday Sales in 2018 - IU Ecommerce Support Services

Your Holiday Season Preparation Checklist

Kick off your ecommerce strategy and marketing planning in September. Lead the market and don’t respond to trends and competitor strategies. Use this checklist to ensure that you are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the entire holiday season and especially the Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays.

Are you running a little late? That is perfectly all right! Jump to this section and see what you can do now to get expert ecommerce support services.

null Do Your Research:

1.   Review your marketing channels and see which were the most productive, which drove traffic but not sales, and which had the highest conversion rate. Multichannel customers spend 3 to 4 times more than single channel customers, so optimize your omnichannel strategy.

2.   Review your historical data to see which products were most popular in last year in the holiday season. Make sure you stock enough of these.

Cyber Monday Expected Sales - IU Ecommerce Support Services

3.   Do some ecommerce product research to find the hottest purchases this year and analyze your competitors’ product lines. Use this information to decide on your own product line for the season.

4.   Figure out which products in your store are purchased together and create discount bundles to encourage more purchases.

5.   Analyze the gaps in your ecommerce storefront and customer experience.

6.   Figure out how busy was your support desk during peak season last year and staff accordingly. Hire seasonal ecommerce support services to handle the overflow in the holiday season.

7.   Determine the biggest mistakes you made last year and how you can avoid them this year.

8.   All in all, conclude on the lessons learned and insights gained from last year. Use this research and analysis to fine-tune your strategy for the season.

null Look into Ecommerce Website Development:

1.   Minimize your website’s loading speed to ensure that visitors stay on your site.

2.   Ensure that the shopping cart is functional, secure the payment gateway, and make it look seasonal.

3.   The fewer clicks to purchase, the higher the conversion rate, so shorten your purchase process.

4.   Optimize your website’s mobile capabilities to further facilitate your shoppers’ experiences. This will maximize revenue in the holiday season.

5.   An ecommerce website development expert can handle all of this in a couple of days, so find one to suit your business’ needs today.

Importance of Website Loading Speed - IU Ecommerce Support Services

null Optimize Your Site for SEO

1.   Optimize your website for SEO after updating the images, keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions to help shoppers find your business in search results.

2.   Make sure to optimize them for the holiday season and include your promotion schemes to increase click-through rates (CTR).

3.   Create “evergreen” holiday URLs or revive ones you’ve used previously. If you use the same URLs year after year, you begin to accrue more authority to that particular page—which is crucial to SEO success. Go back to your analytics for last year and find out what URLs or landing pages you used for those events. Either re-enable the same URL or redirect it to a more permanent URL that you can use going forward.

4.   Avoid date specific URLs when you can. For example, in most instances /black-friday-sale/ is better than /black-friday-sale-2019/.

5.   Develop an internal linking strategy that increases the number of links to your key holiday landing pages.

6.   Work on your off-page ranking. A lot of SEO strategists make a grave mistake by emphasizing only your primary domain for their ranking efforts. Create and optimize video content around holiday keywords. Try running through a few of your priority keywords in search today, and see what sites and platforms turn up! You may be able to feature your content on these third-party websites to achieve rankings you may not otherwise have a shot at.

7.   Hire an SEO agent experienced in popular white-hat techniques to assist you today!

null Invest in a Mobile App: 

Mobile conversions are expected to outpace desktop conversions for the first time ever this year, so you must make sure that you have a mobile-friendly site. If most of your traffic originates from mobile devices, having an app will draw more customers.

1.   Your app should have key features such as enhanced in-app checkout options and personalized communication features.

2.   Targeted messaging through push notifications have a high success rate. Customize your app to send one-time push notifications for a specific product or service sale or discount. You can have ongoing ones for month-long or season-long events.

Jump in Mobile Commerce - IU Ecommerce Support Services

3.   Stick the landing by making sure product notifications and emails take customers to the product page. Cart notifications should take them to the cart.

null Engage the Best Ecommerce Support Services: 

Make sure you have experienced ecommerce support agents to handle each aspect of your business—from ecommerce customer service to product research and ecommerce product listing. They should also be experienced in handling the pressure of holiday sales.

null Accurately Plan Inventory:

Make sure you plan inventory ahead of time so it is available for sale before the holiday season starts—at the latest by September. You should have an extra margin to cater to unexpected surges of demand for popular products. Don’t forget to stock up on any supplies your shop might also need—items such as delivery labels, boxes, stickers, packaging materials, wrapping paper, and so on.

null Schedule and Staff Sufficiently for the Holiday Season:

Scheduling for the holidays is another nightmare that you must plan for ahead of time. With most of your in-house employees going on holiday leave, you need backup ecommerce support services to handle the surge of orders in a timely fashion. You may need to consider hiring 24 hour call center support.

null Get the Right Backend Technology:

Make sure your customer and inventory information is updated in real time by using a good CRM and inventory management system. Your agents should be well-acquainted with the platforms that you are using.

These are some of the major platforms and tools used by ecommerce businesses.

null Develop Engaging Ecommerce Product Listings:

Create an engaging ecommerce product listing for each item that you want to sell. Unless you convince visitors that your product is the best option available, you will not be able to close a large percentage of the sales, so this step is crucial.

null Optimize Ecommerce Customer Service:

1.   See which customer channels are used most often by customers and invest in omnichannel customer experience management.

2.   Make your business easy to contact on your website. Adding live chat support gives you an edge over the plethora of other ecommerce businesses competing for the same customers.

3.   Create FAQs and answer templates for the most common questions and requests. This will make ecommerce customer service much more efficient.

4.   Delineate SOPs for handling and escalation of customer cases.

null Make Order Fulfillment Fast and Accurate:

Fast and accurate order fulfillment is necessary to make sure your customers get their purchases on time for the holidays. Consider offering shorter delivery options, not only satisfying but delighting customers with your speed of delivery.

null Create and Schedule a Content Calendar:

Create social media and blog content for the holiday calendar, focusing on product images, videos, and holiday promotions. Link all these back to your website. Hire seasonal ecommerce support agents with expertise in graphic design and content writing for a cost-effective approach.

null Engage Your Target Base:

In October, engage your customers across all devices and platforms. Go for a combination of organic growth and paid digital marketing strategies. Re-target your ads and improve your ad quality score so you are not overcharged for CPC during the holiday season.

null Create Quality Marketing Content:

Create direct marketing flyers and brochures, email marketing campaigns, landing pages for promotions, coupons, site headers and banners, and sale promotions. Update your “About Us” section and policies pages. Best of all, you don’t need to do it all yourself, hire a marketing VA to do it for you.

null Develop a Discount and Sales Strategy:

Create discounts and sales that span a specific length of time, rather than the whole holiday season. Such a strategy performs better because it develops a sense of urgency in customers.

null Fine-Tune Your Returns Policy:

Craft an easy-to-understand and generous return and exchange policy. You should have an extended return window around Christmastime (usually until the end of January) so consumers have time to return gifts. This will increase overall customer satisfaction and keep them coming back even after the holidays are over.

null Inspect Your Website Hosting:

Make sure your website is capable of handling the expected traffic to your store, so it doesn’t crash at the worst time. Perform any necessary website migrations now so that everything is set up and ready, with easy expansion capabilities. No need to be alarmed—hire ecommerce website development experts to optimize your website and manage backup hosting.

null Make the Checkout Process Easy:

Your app and website checkout processes should be easy and hassle-free to ensure that your visitors are converted into sales.

null Personalize the Shopping Experience:

Make your customers feel valued by personalizing recommendations for them as well as all messages, emails, and push notifications.

Reasons for Abandoned Shopping Carts - IU Ecommerce Support Services

Got Late in Your Planning? An Easy Solution

Running a little late on your preparations for the holiday season? Instead of trying to sort everything out yourself and overburdening your current staff, hire an expert agency to provide ecommerce support services. They will not only find you the most suitable workers, they will hit the ground running due to their experience in doing the same for numerous other businesses. Don’t delay any further and make the decision today, so you don’t miss out on holiday sales till next year.