If you want to up your customer service game, you’re making a great decision! Customer service accounts for a large part of the reason why customers are satisfied – or not – with your company and product.
Rather than leaving customer service to chance, beef up your services so you’ll have customers who recommend you to their friends, instead of complaining about you on social media.
Here are eight of the best tips to use.
Listening. It’s an age-old skill that is forgotten faster than it’s learned. From the time we’re in kindergarten, we’re taught to “listen to the teacher” and “listen when someone is speaking.”
Unfortunately, in the corporate and consumer world, listening to customers has become a lost art. Whether a customer walks into the shop to share an experience, discuss a problem, or air a complaint, they should be listened to.
Customers have a keen eye for knowing when the person opposite them is biding their time until they can show them the door. If you manage to not just smile and nod, but listen to what they are saying, you’ll go far in solving problems and winning your customers over time and time again.
Every customer wants to know that you, as a business, care about them. Demonstrating that you do can be difficult in a world that is increasingly disconnected and detached.
How can you show your complaining customer that you do get where they’re coming from? Empathy.
Empathy doesn’t mean telling them they’re right about the two hundred dollar rebate requested from a product purchased five years ago, worn, used, and enjoyed until it fell apart. What empathy does do is communicate that you have feelings and can understand why they might be upset.
It communicates that you understand them on a feelings level. It says, “You must have loved that product. I’m so sorry it stopped working. Do you know what you’d like to replace it with?” It is showing that you “get it.”
Grumpy customers are made even grumpier by salesmen and women who are out of sorts. If they argue and you argue back, you won’t get very far. If, however, you respond to them in the positive by letting them know you’re on their team, you might help deflect some of their angst. Use positive phrases and genuine questions to get to the bottom of what they need.
Ask questions like, “How can I help you?” and “What is the problem you’re experiencing?” Say things such as, “I’ll be glad to help you with that,” and “I’m so glad I get to help you today.”
Bringing positivity into your conversations can go a long way in helping your customers.
Familiarize Yourself with the Inventory
When you’re talking with a customer, whether in person or over the phone, they often need help, advice, support, or recommendations. For any of these needs, it’s vital that you are intimately familiar with the inventory your company sells.
If a customer has item A and it doesn’t fit their needs, you’ll need the knowledge to tell them that item F will actually suit their purposes. Lacking knowledge of what your store or company offers will leave you with a frustrated customer who still needs help and isn’t receiving any.
Provide Fast, Painless Customer Support
When customers have a problem, question, or issue with a product they’ve purchased from you, they need to access customer support that is proficient, user-friendly, and painless.
Going the rounds through endless options on an answering machine isn’t going to make for a happy or satisfied customer. They need multiple ways to get a hold of you and numerous avenues to have their problem solved.
Consider adding a live chat on your webpage for instant access, utilizing Facebook messenger, or hiring an answering service.
The more ways customers can interact with someone who can help solve the problem they are experiencing, the faster you’ll get your customer’s problem solved and send them on their way satisfied.
Offer Consistent Answering Service
A prevalent complaint from customers everywhere is frustration over phoning a company only to get a recorded message and an endless list of options, none of which apply to them. Messaging systems are often used because employees don’t have time to answer phones all day.
However, if you want a middle ground that offers your customers guaranteed customer service and gets your employees out of answering the phones all day, hire an answering service.
Answering services are beneficial for the company and the customer. Why?
- They offer up to 24/7 service
- Someone is always available to talk
- They can troubleshoot
- They can direct to the appropriate person or department
- They are professional, calm, and personable
With an answering service, you get all the best of providing excellent customer service to your customers while allowing your employees to do what they do best – their job.
If your customer comments on your Facebook page or sends a question through messenger, they’re expecting an answer – and fast.
Messaging through Facebook is fast becoming one of the most common methods of quick communication, and your customers are keen to use it.
It’s highly convenient for them, and you need to be ready to respond. Have someone available who can be logged in as your company, so they’ll receive all messages and offer help right away.
Sometimes you’ll need to work with a customer and come to a compromise to keep them happy and keep winning their business. Within reason, be flexible when dealing with product disputes, guarantees, and issues related to purchases and bring-backs.
You won’t always be able to extend a special offer, but for the few times you can, you’ll almost always impress your customer.
Improve Your Game
Providing the best customer service doesn’t mean you refund five-year-old purchases. It does mean that you’re accessible, listen well, and do everything within your power to ensure your customers receive an excellent service experience.
Which of these tips will you start implementing?
About the Author
Dee Hawkins is the founder and CEO of A Better Answer Call Centers. She has been the recipient of the Great Women of Texas award, several industry quality awards for each of her three office locations, and recently was honored with the ATSI Hall of Fame Award for her lifetime commitment and leadership in the call center industry. Dee is currently writing a book about working in telecommunications and can often be found tending to her garden and fruit trees with her poodle, Star.