As the speed of business and commerce seem to be going faster and faster, it just might be time to slow down a minute and make sure you have a happy customer. Providing excellent customer service is not hard or difficult, yet people seem to struggle in really giving it. Want to rise above your competition? Practice excellent customer service.
Start by smiling. This is very important in face to face encounters, but just as important over the phone. Did you know that you can hear a smile?
Next, make sure to use the appropriate respectful greetings and do not use slang or general terms when referring to customers, like “Hey guys.” In the initial interaction, be proactive and ask how you can help or be of service to them. Then, actually listen to the response. Be attentive and take notes if you need to, then repeat back to the customer what you understood they needed before proceeding. This is a basic, yet effective business communication skill and not used often enough in customer service settings. However, if your aim is a happy customer, then this technique can resolve many misunderstandings and miscommunications before they even start.
Excellent customer service often calls for patience and an open mind. While it’s all too easy to judge a customer based on age, appearance, the way they talk or attitude; refrain from making assumptions about the customers. Delivering great customer experiences means that everyone is treated equally and with respect. This includes keeping your cool when a customer is being sarcastic or rude.
When situations arise where the customer is upset, have your staff take responsibility and apologize. Remember, it is current situation they are in that is making them upset and not so much you personally. Then empower them to make decisions on their own regarding refunds or free products to give away. Always take the high road and offer customers more than what they were asking for or expecting. It does not have to be significantly more, but just showing that they are important with a small gesture can go a long way.
Have systems in place for dealing with the changing marketplace and developments. This can be done by implementing in house training or utilizing online training for your industry. It might not be a bad idea to also have yearly training on customer service standards as a reminder for everyone.
Make sure to be consistent in your message to the customer. Let them know that a happy customer is the aim of the business and then act on it. It may be helpful to have regular meetings with your staff to see if they have any ideas that can be implemented to increase customer satisfaction. Often, asking for feedback can really open up the channels of communication and help everyone feel like they are on the same page.
Also, lead by example and treat staff as the internal customer that they are. If they feel that their contributions are recognized and appreciated, they are then motivated to provide that same appreciation and attention to the customer. Excellent customer service really relies on the basics being delivered in a sincere and consistent manner.
Peace & Prosperity,
P.S. Feel free to share any customer service experiences you may have had, good or bad, in the comments section below.
photo credit: doo3