Product knowledge is essential in customer service. It plays an important role in both outbound and inbound customer interactions. Having good product knowledge will not only help customer service agents to provide excellent customer service, but it’ll also improve customer satisfaction, increase sales, build brand image and boost employee confidence. In short, when it comes to customer service, knowledge is definitely power.
The importance of product knowledge in customer service cannot be overstated. Especially so for organizations that make customer service their business — call centres. Inbound call centre services or call centre outsourcing services providers are prime examples of organizations that give utmost importance to product knowledge. Companies that provide outbound and inbound call centre services represent clients and go through numerous calls every day from customers, on behalf of their clients. Customers call in with an issue or question regarding a product or service.
As brand representatives, inbound call centre or call centre outsourcing services agents and outbound sales representatives are armed with product or service knowledge. Customer service training programmes that prime these agents, lay a great deal of stress on in-depth product knowledge, among other things like soft skills, hard skills and more. This information is essential when assisting customers. By in-depth knowledge, we mean knowing all aspects of products or services being offered such as features and functions as well as their benefits and detriments.
How does good product/service knowledge help?
Good customer service:
Customers prefer brands that provide best customer service . The biggest advantage of being well-versed in product features is that agents can provide high quality assistance to customers. Good product knowledge can build customer relationships and create a lasting impression on customers. Customer support agents acquainted with all aspects of a company’s products and services can resolve issues swiftly and more effectively. They wouldn’t stumble over words or keep referring to manuals or ask colleagues for assistance. Instead, well-informed agents will lead customer interactions with ease and flow, providing quick resolutions.
Product knowledge allows you to present benefits and special features accurately and persuasively. The more the agents know, the better they communicate. The agents’ responses become clearer, more concise, easier to understand, and better crafted. Communications become smoother and less stilted. Once the agents are armed with the information they require, explaining features and benefits of a product without hesitation will become second nature.
Product knowledge brings assurance to the tone and manner of the agent. Customers respond more favourably towards agents who are enthusiastic and assured about products and services being offered. Customers feel they are in safe hands when agents can answer promptly and assuredly.
With a deep knowledge of products and services, agents can correctly match the clients’ needs with the right kind of product or service. The more they know the better they get at providing the right kind of assistance. Another aspect is that when the agents know more about products or services, they can explain features and benefits in a more simpler and lucid way to the customers. It rules out ambiguity and so, customers receive specific information. Agents can also let customers know early on if a product they are looking to buy does not suit their requirements. They will thank you for assisting them in making an informed purchase.
Speaking of trust, it is crucial that all customer service agents of a brand are armed with the same, current information. Imagine a situation in which a customer receives different versions of information from different customer agents. The customer will become unsure of associating with the brand. They will lose trust. They are more likely to trust brands that show confidence in what they are selling. And so, it is crucial that all touchpoints are updated with current information, including promotional materials and websites.
Set your product apart:
Customers today are spoilt for choice. They are exposed to so many varieties of the same product. So how can you stand out from the crowd? Offering information on products that would be more suitable for the customers’ particular requirements, or suggesting add-ons, or pointing out the advantages of the model you are selling, or presenting a different product that would serve the needs of the customer, or putting up a deal by way of free installation or delivery charges will ensure that the customer gets impressed. This is possible only when the customer service agent is familiar with the products offered by the brand and by its competitors.
Handle product shortcomings better
It is also important to school agents about the shortcomings of your products or services too. Acknowledge these shortcomings and anticipate queries related to them. Having a sound knowledge of products and services will help agents field any unexpected questions, with ease. Knowing what customers would ask, in advance, and preparing answers or solutions to those questions will aid the agent. Customers will trust you more this way.
Training the agents to field all kinds of customer queries will ensure that they do not get caught off-guard and grasp for words. If an agent becomes vague or defensive or completely ignores a question, the customer can lose faith in the brand. The last thing you want to do is to provide insufficient or ineffective assistance, when it can be prevented.
Deliver powerful and concise answers to address misconceptions or apprehensions effectively. Assure worried callers that you are trying to work towards a solution. Alternatively, you can suggest workarounds or better versions that will help resolve any current issues.
How can agents learn more about products and services?
Agents can get to know more about products and services the brand offers through conventional and creative sources. Some of the most common sources are:
- Product literature
- Promotion literature
- Own user experience
- Training programmes
- Production units
- Experienced colleagues
- Customer feedback
- Customer purchase analysis
- Practice demos
Work that knowledge muscle!
Equipping agents involved in the contact centre services or call centre services with deep product knowledge is a way of ensuring excellent customer service. Product knowledge goes a long way in improving customer service and building healthy customer relationships. When employees are educated about the features and shortcomings of your product, they can convince customers better and build their trust.
Encourage employees to learn more about your products and services to deliver exceptional customer experiences. You will see a perceptible rise in business performance, employee confidence and customer happiness.