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The truth of the matter is that you can try extremely hard to deliver an excellent product and still fail as a business owner because customers are not happy with your service. Customer service, for many companies, can be the difference between profitability and going out of business entirely. Excellent customer service must be a cornerstone of your brand if you wish to survive. It is also something that must be reassessed from time to time. Below are five steps for making that kind of evaluation on an employee by employee basis.

Direct Supervision

You should have managers try to observe how customer service representatives communicate and serve your customer base directly. While such employees are likely to try harder and behave better with direct supervision, you can still learn a lot when your managers are on the floor. For example, if an employee was not trained properly on how to greet customers, this can be fixed immediately once your manager observes this incorrect behavior. While reps may act their best while directly supervised, their best may not still be good enough regardless.

Mystery Shopping Services

You should also, of course, try to obtain feedback regarding how your employees behave when they are not in the presence of a supervisor. In many ways, this is where the rubber meets the road. If they offer poor customer service just because they believe they are not being watched, this behavior either needs to be corrected or that employee needs to be let go. One excellent way to do this is to implement mystery shopping services. These services have their employees go undercover in your store and attempt to obtain customer service. They will then produce a report on specific employees regarding how they were greeted, whether the employee was helpful, whether their issue was solved and more. It can be great intel to have to learn which employees are excelling at customer service and which ones need work.

Product Knowledge

One thing that is integral to customer service is product knowledge. If your employees don’t have good knowledge regarding your products, they will not be able to provide quality service. This is something that can even be tested much like a school quiz. Customer service representatives better have strong proficiency in regards to your products and their intricacies. If they do not, customers may quickly get frustrated from the fact that even the supposed experts seem to know nothing that can actually solve their issues. Make sure you provide the right study materials for them to learn what they need to know. Lack of proper training is always the company’s fault.

Customer Wait Times

Something else that should constantly be reassessed is customer service wait times. These wait times can often be the difference between satisfactory customer service and poor customer service for many consumers. If you have physical brick and mortar stores, try to use mystery shoppers to find out exactly how long they have to wait before they are helped on the floor regarding their problems. If you have an online store, you can certainly call in yourself and see how long it takes to get a hold of an actual customer service representative. If you are placed on hold for minutes and minutes, you may quickly learn why customers are so dissatisfied with your service.

Customer Reviews

There are also other performance indicators you should include in your customer service reviews. Direct customer feedback via reviews is one of the best options. If you have a customer service help line, you can have customers complete a survey over the phone regarding their experiences when speaking to a customer service representative. While you can listen to the calls their selves, it may be hard to discern just what the customer thought about the service they received. These reviews are a good way to obtain the customer’s honest feedback and have that feedback link back to a specific employee. As for online reviews, keep in mind that 90 percent of consumers read them.

Overall, excellent customer service is one of the most important elements of business success. As such, you should use a customer service review processes to reassess this important element of how your company is performing. Things like mystery shoppers, customer feedback, product knowledge tests, wait times and direct supervision should all be used in this review process.