Customer service is always important.
But for some business models, a well-oiled customer service department is an absolute necessity, an essential element in the company's overall business strategy.
Customer service consultants are supposed to energize your team and equip them with the information they need to deliver stellar service to your customer base. But in reality, some customer service consultants are inexperienced hacks who are more invested in collecting a fee than they are in your company's success.
The problem is that anyone with a business card and a website can call themselves a customer service consultant. Customer service consulting professionals are out there, but to find them, you'll need to do your homework and understand how to hire a customer service consultant who delivers actual results.
- Industry experience. Don't even think about hiring a customer service consultant who doesn't have a proven track record in your industry. No matter what you hear, there really is no such thing as general customer service skills or training. Modern call center environments are highly specialized business units with industry-specific processes.
- Professional references. It's often difficult to separate results-oriented consultants from the rest of the pack. Verified, professional references eliminate guesswork from the hiring process and confirm that your consulting firm has the ability to deliver on their promises. References also provide a window into your provider's personality and training philosophy.
- Proven credentials. One of the most frustrating things about hiring a customer service consulting provider is the number of salespeople who pose as bona fide consultants. If you wanted a sales person to train your customer service team, you could accomplish it without going outside the business. Be diligent about making sure your provider has genuine consulting credentials.
- Support resources. Good consulting companies have a range of analytical tools and support resources that are essential for identifying problem areas in your operation and helping your team overcome obstacles to growth. Although a one-man consulting operation may be less expensive, it may not have access to the resources you need to achieve optimal results.