In business, the most commonly followed policy is that the customer is always right. Yet dealing with individuals who are confused, angry and don’t want to listen can make providing good customer service a very messy job. In these challenging moments it’s important to take a breath and remember that we’re all human. Good customer service means being empathetic, having a good attitude and trying to sincerely solve the problem at hand. Those people who are customer-facing must always remember that customers want to be treated in a fair and considerate manner.
In this blog post, I discuss some customer service tips that might make interacting with customers easier and more pleasant:
When in direct contact with customers it’s important to adjust your body language and voice. Having a friendly and relaxed face with good eye contact lets the customer know that you’re confident and paying attention. Also, when speaking to a customer, your rate of speech and speaking volume should match your customer’s to make them feel comfortable. You don’t want to copy the customer exactly, but mirror their body language to make them feel comfortable.
When speaking with customers, it’s important to validate their importance. After all, they’re spending their hard earned money with your company. Saying things such as, “I don’t know” or “Our company doesn’t do that” makes customers feel unappreciated. If you don’t know how to answer a customer’s questions or how to help fix a problem it’s better to say, “ Let me find that out for you” or “ Let me check with my manager to see what our company offers” than to leave them hanging. Customer representatives need to be flexible and try to solve all problems, big or small. This also means that companies need to be less bureaucratic and regulated by rules and customer service reps should be more empowered to rectify issues.
A test of a good relationship is how you can handle difficulties, and a business and customer relationship is no different. When a mistake has occurred, apologize and quickly move on to suggesting solutions to the problem. There is no need to tell a customer to calm down. Saying too much will only escalate the matter. Once the customer is willing to listen, a customer service rep is at a critical point. Now comes the hard work of regaining a customer’s trust. Customer service reps that are extremely knowledgeable about their company’s service and/or products and have access to a good knowledge base can quickly come up with solutions for frustrated customers. When the dust has settled and the problem has been solved, sending a small gift or a personalized card lets a customer know that they are valued and their business is appreciated.
One highly recommended method from customer service superstars to fix mistakes is L.A.S.T. technique customer service, which stands for Listen, Apologize, Satisfy and Thank.
The foundation of a company’s customer service department is a good knowledge base. The way it’s updated and organized can reduce the number of cases and questions, and help employees hone their customer service skills. There should be two types of knowledge bases: 1) external for customers and 2) internal for customer service representatives. The goal of an external knowledge base is to help the customer by being self-serving.
Hence, the knowledge base must be constantly updated and easy to search. It should also be easy to navigate as well and provide as many details about a case as possible. Also, as cases are being resolved, a company’s knowledge base should constantly be updated with new information to prepare for future cases. Finally, training customer service reps well in advance of a roll-out helps them to have the ability to tackle future problems in an efficient manner. A good knowledge base is organized and is always evolving. It constantly collects important information so it’s easily retrieved and used by customer service reps.
Getting feedback from customers has now gone way beyond a suggestion box. With technology, everyone needs answers right away. Some possible ways to obtain customer feedback include:
Businesses have an obligation to respect the trust customers have with their company. Unsatisfactory service is extremely detrimental to a company’s survival. Word of bad service travels even faster since we now live in the information age. Companies have to work harder to protect their image and be more committed to delivering excellent customer service.
How does your company deliver excellent customer service? Let us know in the comments below.
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