Critically, customer service advisers need to be great and active listeners, so they fully grasp the customer’s issue and then can advise on a course of action. “They need to be able to express genuine empathy with the customer, and the problems and frustrations they have,” says Marilena.
“They also need great problem-solving skills, and to be supported by all the systems, processes, access to information, training and experience necessary to apply those,” says Raymon. And lastly, they need to be fluent communicators so they can come back to the customer with a clear description of a solution and a guide to next steps.
As a reflection of that, his team is able to resolve 92% of the questions it receives directly, without having to escalate enquiries to a second level involving the likes of risk assessors or claims teams.
In this context, Marilena has a favourite maxim: ‘Never stop learning.’ “We should always be updating our skills and knowledge: whether that is around new digital platforms and tools, new rules for risk limits, expertise in reading financial KPIs or a deeper understanding of how the state of a balance sheet impacts risk decisions.”
“What is key is that our teams receive timely updates on the three focus areas of our core service: claims and collection, policy management and the risk aspects that determine a credit limit explanation coming from reduction or cancellation,” she says.
One way in which we support that is through an ambassador system, which encourages knowledge-sharing between those different departments and customer service teams. “As a company, we really invest heavily in upskilling people and bringing their knowledge to the same high level,” says Raymon.
Alongside such knowledge-building, though, soft skills are equally important. Marilena aims to work every day with her team to ensure genuine empathy, understanding and friendliness are being expressed across all customer touchpoints.
And such efforts are certainly appreciated by customers. A customer from Italy recently pointed to “the good feeling of collaboration every time you contact Allianz Trade.”