Poor customer service was identified as major reason for 60 percent of canceled bank accounts and 36 percent of insurance company switches from a study made by Mobius Management Systems.

How do we deal with this glaring issue right in front of our faces during board meetings?

It is time to take a hard look at your customer service processes. Your front-liners – the customer service agents – may be under-trained or demoralized. Perhaps they are itching to get out and looking for better opportunities elsewhere. We cannot deny that customer service agents play a big role in any business success. Big companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google and HP leverage on customer service to set them apart from the competition.

How do we ensure our agents are at their best?

Improve our workplace culture. Making our work environment more “staff-friendly” reduces attrition rate. A happy place likewise fosters creativity, excellence and camaraderie. Business owners find it comforting to see satisfied employees coming in to work every single day.

Boost their morale. This is where we can be innovative. We can reward our agents not based on productivity but how they achieve customer satisfaction. We can develop employee delight programs like bonuses or monthly incentives. To ensure they rightfully deserve it, we may have to constantly monitor their calls or conduct after-call feedback other than reviewing reports about their call volume statistics.

Nothing is more gratifying than to see our agents think on their feet. Take time to review the decision-making authority of your agents and see how they can handle it well. If they can resolve the customer’s problem on the first call, rather than having that customer call back or put on hold while we run after our manager for help, you boost their morale and more importantly, improve satisfaction of our customers. The impact is great because customers think of our business differently – that we are a smart organization.

Empower with knowledge. Prepare them to handle actual customer interaction through intensive company-sponsored trainings and live calls. Teach them about the company’s culture, branding, mission, how to answer and transfer calls, deal with complaints, responding to e-mails and many more. We create a customer service culture ourselves and our agents benefit from it.

The way how we maintain our customer service differentiates our business from our competitors. It is the way we run it, and how our customers perceive of it. Never has outsourcing customer service to call centers been more important than ever in these times. Having someone to handle our telephone answering service or order taking makes our lives easier. Customer care is their main line of business and an exhilarating customer experience the ultimate goal. The agents from an outsourced customer service call center may not be our internal staff, but they can represent any business with poise and with professionalism.