Anyone in business will be familiar with the concept ‘customer comes first’ but how exactly do you put the customer first, and how can you do so in a way that adds real value to your business? Here, we take a look at some of the best ways to improve your customer service ratings, and the impact this can have on the success of your business. 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience, which starts to give you an idea of what this might be.


First things first, convenience is crucial when it comes to creating a hassle-free customer journey. There are two key ways in which you can establish a convenient communication system. Firstly, go the extra mile when it comes to prioritising the needs of your customers, by having out of hours phone lines.

The vast majority of the UK general public follow a traditional Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm work schedule, so being contactable outside of these hours is important if you want to be accessible. Inaccessibility is a sure-fire way of frustrating your customers, who are bound to think that their needs are of no interest to you if you refuse to be available for their queries.

Out of hours, phone lines have multiple other benefits too, for example, it allows you to make the most of a lucrative market that so many businesses are yet to tap into. Key online browsing hours are evenings and weekends, so you might also see your sales increasing as a result of being open during these times. Furthermore, spreading calls over a longer period of time gives you the space to handle each one better.

Secondly, live chat is a website feature that all companies should now be considering. It is a favourite of so many when it comes to contacting companies, thanks to its convenience and ease. Live chat allows a customer to type out a query and get an immediate response, making it ideal for the kind of simple, day to day enquires that can otherwise monopolise your phone lines, getting in the way of the more complex calls that require a conversation.

Both of these options, out of hours phone lines and a live chat feature, will require investment in the form of greater staff numbers. However, there is a way to achieve this that helps keep costs low while ensuring you benefit from the best customer service talent. Outsourcing allows you to use a body of skilled and experienced customer service representatives, provided by a third party who, in turn, handle the employer responsibility. Outsourcing works on a pay per minute basis, making it far more affordable than hiring in-house full-time members of staff. Most providers, such as Cymphony, have staff who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning you can establish out of hours customer service with no extra investment of time yourself. It’s a win-win!


A famous bugbear of most people when it comes to the customer service they receive from companies is an inability to get through when they call. For those who do manage to squeeze in a call to a business during work hours, it can be incredibly frustrating to be told that the phone line is busy, leaving you feeling as though your needs are simply not important.

A great way for companies to stand out when it comes to delivering excellent customer service is to ensure that you have plenty of manpower behind your phone lines, email accounts and live chat platforms. As a result of this, your happy customers will soon spread the word that your business is easy to communicate with, therefore boosting your reputation and customer numbers, as this is a key selling point.

Of course, every business owner wishes they could simply hire the staff they need but it’s not that straightforward considering the fact that staffing costs are one of the most significant when it comes to running a company. However, outsourcing can be the ideal solution to this dilemma too. You can outsource as and when you need to, as it doesn’t rely on lengthy contracts. So, during busy periods you can take on extra pairs of hands, only paying for the time they spend working for you, therefore ensuring a return on your investment. 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue, so realistically this move will help to increase your profits. 

Hold Times

Just as a lack of availability can rile your customers, putting them on hold for lengthy periods of time can also spell disaster for your customer service ratings. There is nothing more frustrating than this for those who are likely to not only have a grievance already but who are also likely to be on a tight schedule. The key to eradicating long hold times is ensuring that you have the staff numbers to handle the volume of calls you receive. Outsourcing to a company like Cymphony, which specialise in providing expert call handlers on a pay per minute basis, could also be the answer here.

Quality of Conversation

Once you’ve solved the dilemmas of convenience and availability, your customers are now looking for a satisfactory conversation with your customer service representatives. Realistically, this isn’t much to ask for when they have either already been disappointed by a product you have sold to them, or they wish to invest more in your products. So, how can you ensure you deliver?

One option is to invest in a top-quality training programme for your employees, but this can be expensive and time-consuming. Alternatively, you can simply utilise the existing skills and experience of call handlers provided by an outsourcing specialist. Some companies are even considering switching from an in-house team to an entirely outsourced customer service department, as the benefits are so vast.

Call handlers who have been sourced in this way specialise in this area of expertise, and have already taken part in rigorous training, as well as having gained much valuable experience. They will be well versed in how to handle the vast majority of customer calls; knowing the best solutions that lead to improved customer service ratings. They also know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to diffusing confrontation.

You might be wondering how they could answer calls specific to your company, but establishing a relationship with an outsourcing provider includes an integration period where they take the time to learn about the specific needs of your business. This enables them to merge seamlessly with your in-house team.

Finding Solutions

A friendly conversation is key but many of the customers who take the time to contact your company, do so because they require a solution to a problem. It can be a difficult balance to strike; knowing what to offer and when, and experience really helps customer service representatives to get it right. Perhaps someone is asking for a full refund on a product that didn’t meet their personal expectations but did deliver on what it was advertised to be, or maybe a customer is asking for additional rewards.

There are times when it is important to be frugal so that you don’t establish a reputation for handing out, for example, credit notes easily, which can lead to you being taken advantage of, but it is also important to be able to weigh up the wider advantages of being generous, which is often the best way to ensure customer loyalty. Outsourcing to seasoned professional customer service representatives is a great way to make sure the right customers are rewarded but the purse strings are secure.

As you can see, there are plenty of easy changes that you can put in place if you want to prioritise customer service, which you should, considering the fact that 89% of companies compete on the quality of customer service alone. Make sure you are always available, and that you have convenient communication channels. Invest in top-quality customer service representatives, which is far more affordable these days thanks to the option of outsourcing, and think carefully about your strategy when it comes to the solutions you offer to your customers.

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