Ten Signs your are offering a bad customer support service

Want to know whether your customer support service is good enough? Need to know whether your customers are satisfied or not? Check for the following ten signs.  If they exist then be sure your customer support needs a boost.
1- You are not directly communicating with your customers and not collecting their feedback on your level of service.  Some good examples are: online feedback forms, surveys, questionnaires, feedback collection phone calls …..
2- You do not have any targets or standards for performance.  This means your customer support employees do not have any standards to meet.  If you work without targets then you do not have a challenge to meet and hence you will not go anywhere.
3- You do not have any effective training programs (whether internal or external) to leverage your support team’s performance and refresh their minds every while.
4- You do not have a clear workflow that all support members follow clearly and without a flaw when serving a customer.
5- You have a set of de-motivated customer support employees.  This can be because they are not rewarded for extraordinary effort, or there is no room for growth or no room for acquiring new skills or they work in a bad environment…..
6- You are not watching your support staff closely.  By this I mean:
a.if your are offering customer support over the phone: overhearing their conversations with customers and recording them for future reference
b.If it is face-to-face support service with the customer: Watching their performance on shift and commenting on the spot (not in front of the customer of course). 
In other word you are not doing one-to-one sessions with each employee to show him where he went wrong and when he performed well and why.
7- You do not have a clear reward and punishment policy based on performance that is actually being implemented.
8- You are not willing to swallow some costs to compensate customers for bad customer support services they received from your employees.
9- YOU LIE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. Whether regularly or once in a while to cover for an issue you have, in either ways lying is the worst thing you can do.
10- You are not easily accessible. Example: your phones are busy all the time, your web site is too heavy to load or always down, your support centers are not easy to find and visit (you are awkwardly located) , OR…..

I’ll give an example from one of the projects that I worked on.  I used to work as a Business Development Manager at an IT company that offered customer support services over the phone. They had most of the 10 fatal signs above:
1-They had a group of de-motivated employees
2-No defined workflow
3-No targets or standards to meet
4-No training program
5-Never thought of asking their customers what they thought of their service
6-No close monitoring of support center team performance
7-No clear reward and punishment policy
8-Lied to their customers all the time.

After I tackled the issues above, here is how their performance was boosted within the period of one year (we had a milestone after 6months and then contiued to improve):
1. Increased the average percentage of accepted calls per day from 50% to 94%
2. Improved the average speed of answer from 3mins to 21secs.
3. Increased the percent of cases resolved and closed in the same day from 57% to 64%
4. Improved the ability of call center agents to resolve cases without routing to other departments to increase from 35% to 57%
5. Improved the average case resolution time from 35hours to 20hours
6. We conducted regular surveys to collect customer feedback. Some where online questionnaires and others were quick short ones over the phone.  The scores in one of the short over the phone ones once we started collecting feedback was as follows:
In four questions (out of 5) respectively: 4,  4,  2.8 and 2
After 6 months of applying the new workflows the scores became: 4.9,  4.8,  3.6 and 4
The questions were:
A-How do you rate the CS representative in terms of: politeness – clear voice – attitude?
B-How do you rate the CS representative in terms of: understanding his duties – asking effective/reasonable questions – know the reason of the problem?
C-How do you rate the resolution time of the problem and avoidance of repeating it again?
D-Generally, how do you rate your experience in dealing with the support of X Company?

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