How much research do you do before making an online purchase? How many reviews do you read and how many friends do you call?
In its 2017 “Local Customer Review Survey,” the international company Bright Local found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
As you may know, when you sell software in the B2B world, your people can make a difference in the selling cycle. The question remains: How can you create excellent customer service that inspires your clients to write authentic customer reviews about their positive experiences with you and, when read, will inspire those who have yet to work with you seek out your business.
My name is Lisa Perrin and I am the HR Administrator for eSkill Corporation, a premium web-based skills testing provider. Throughout the years, I have learned it can be quite challenging to sell a technology-based product, especially in the ever-changing digital economy.
Establishing your product and services is a tough journey and does not happen overnight. However, a skilled customer service team can give you a competitive advantage to receive authentic customer reviews that will establish your company as one that offers trusted products and services. I’d like to share with you how we developed our customer service team, and the five skills we looked for when forming it.
1. The ability to handle pressure and surprises.
One of the key skills in a customer service representative is the ability to remain calm under pressure – to be patient and confident while communicating clearly.
To test if a candidate can remain cool under pressure, we give them multitasking tests and different computer simulations that replicate the real-life working environment. These simulations require candidates to chat in multiple active windows, make changes in a database, and send e-mails to customers – all at the same time.
2. The ability to communicate clearly.
Communication in all its forms is a very complex skill to test. You need people who use positive language, who empathize with the customers, and who can read customers “between the lines.” But these skills are just the norm.
In a tech environment, you need people who are able to translate technical terms and concepts in a way that can be easily understood by the average, non-technical user.
When launching his new iPad, Steve Jobs didn’t tell the audience that the iPad had a height of 12 inches, a width of 8.68 inches and a weight of 1.49 pounds. He introduced these technical specs in a visual manner that anyone can relate to: The new model will fit in an A4 envelope and could be sent through the post office without paying a fortune on the weight.
3. The ability to sell in a natural manner.
For a long time, our CEO Eric Friedman hired people who only knew how to give demos and make volume calls, but they did not know how to sell in a natural manner. They didn’t have the industry background or subject-matter expertise to credibly sell a six-figure testing package to a decision-maker who had a testing budget that large.
Also, Eric always believed a good customer service person needs to genuinely make friends first and solve a client’s problem or up-sell to them later. To find people with those skills, we give tests that assess their ability to close deals, handle objections, establish business rapport, and communicate.
4. The ability to manage their time wisely.
Working in customer service involves making many decisions:
“Should I make a full refund or a partial refund?”
“Should I take out the transportation costs or not?”
But sometimes, no matter how many alternatives and options a customer service rep gives, clients are simply not satisfied. That’s when customer representatives need to stop persisting and use their time more wisely on other clients and tasks.
In our skills selection, we usually test concepts that involve the ability to focus, make decisions, say "Yes" or "No," set goals, and prioritize tasks.
5. The ability to work with data and personalize it.
A customer service rep needs to interact with many tech systems at once. They’ll need to look up data, update it, write, make calculations, generate reports to solve a complaint – all while talking on the phone! This requires concentration and attention to details.
However, this shouldn’t take away from their ability to give personalized service. For example, if you have a tech product that uses predefined templates, you can re-build them by using the client’s name.
Imagine putting all these skills together in ONE person? Do you think that person will transform a client’s experience and eventually generate a 5-star review?
Of course, YES!
My recommendation is to make a list of the most important customer service skills that align with YOUR service and product. Create an effective system to correctly identify these skills and benchmark the performance you expect your employees to reach or exceed. You’ll be just a few steps away from motivating your customer skills team to embrace the authentic growth mindset that every business needs.
What skills do you look for when selecting your customer service team? Let me know in the comments below.