What are the Different Support Channels B2B Companies Should Offer?

B2B (business-to-business) customers are becoming more demanding. After experiencing some of the more modern support methods in their everyday B2C (business-to-consumer) lives, they are increasingly expecting B2B companies to keep up.

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Customer Service Skills Training - Bulletproof Customer Service Tip #1

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How would you characterize your customer service? Customers are what keep your company alive, and you want them to spread the word about how good you are to whoever is interested. Over the next few weeks we're going to share some customer service tips to help make your customer service bulletproof.

Tip #1: Skills & Training

You may have the best CRM software ever made, but that can't substitute for a well-trained customer service team. There are certain qualities you should look for in everyone you hire to represent your company to your customers:

  • Clarity: Your customers need to understand exactly what you mean. Be precise as possible in every detail, so there are no misunderstandings which will later prompt a second, angrier call or email from your customer.
  • Flexibility: Every customer is unique and every service request is unique. Your representatives should be able to react quickly when the unexpected arises, which will be more often than you think.
  • Knowledge: Your representatives represent your company. So, it stands to reason that they should know just as much about your offering as you do. If your reps don't have a working knowledge of your product, they aren't going to get any respect from a customer who needs intelligent answers.
  • Patience: This is a big one. You're going to have angry customers, there's just no getting around it. Your customer service team will have to be prepared. Every call must be handled with the same level of respect and professionalism.
  • Tenacity: Most people contact you only when they have a problem, and they want the problem solved -- generally as quickly as possible. Many of these problems will be routine, but often (especially in B2B customer support) you'll run into some that are trickier than usual. Your ideal representative will continue working on the issue until it's resolved, or at least until all options have been exhausted. Tenacity should also come with the understanding that there is a time to move on.

It's impossible to have good customer service representatives if they don't know what you expect from them. That's where training comes in. What should training entail? First and foremost, it should include information. Your prospective reps should know all the features and perks of your product, as well as the shortcomings! If you've got more than one department, it doesn't hurt to make sure your reps have a basic understanding about each department as well.

Each of your employees should know as much of the total process as possible, from beginning to end. Knowing where a problem is coming from and where it's going to end up is a big part of neatly solving the issue. It's a great feeling when a customer can call and feel like he or she is talking to someone who thoroughly understands the subject.

Guest Bio: Emily has been writing about customer service issues for many years, and currently writes on behalf of the call center software specialists at Kova Corp.  In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, creates her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen

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