Does the phrase, “the customer is always right” really hold water? Well, cliche as it is, this holds a lot of water. Customer service is more than just a department; it’s the lifeline of a business. Hence, providing excellent customer service should be one of your priorities.
When customer service is provided excellently, it results in customer loyalty.
When customers are satisfied, they are likely to recommend a business to their family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
Providing great customer service begins with a genuine desire to satisfy customers.
However, you should offer more than just products and/or services.
You also need to consider the cumulative experience of customers when they do business with you.
Take note of what they feel and think about your business.
Figure out how you can make their experience better.
The Importance Of Good Customer Service
Customer service creates a significant impact on old and new customers alike.
According to a survey, 68% of consumers react to low-quality customer service by posting about their experience on social media as well as telling their family and friends about it.
Moreover, 86% of adults are willing to spend more money on a better customer service experience, while 73% said that speaking to friendly customer service representatives make them feel connected to the brand.
In fact, customers will not hesitate to pay more for a product and/or service if they feel cared for by the company.
When they know that they can quickly contact customer support, they will be inclined to stay loyal.
Low prices may attract customers, but exceptional customer service will make them stay.
Providing excellent customer service is a win-win for everyone.
It makes customers happy and encourages them to be loyal.
In addition, it helps businesses earn more money as well as form a better relationship with customers.
Practical Tips for Great Customer Service
Now that you know about the importance of providing excellent customer service, you have to incorporate it into your business.
You should invest in customer service tools and training.
You must also keep your employees motivated.
One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is having employees that are demotivated and inefficient.
Keep in mind that attitude is much more important than skill when it comes to business.
It is easy to train people for skills, but it can be hard to modify their old habits and behaviors.
So, in order for your business to have effective customer service, you should use the following customer service techniques:
Customers need to be able to contact your business.
You may want to offer 24/7 customer service, especially if your customers are in different time zones.
You can use software programs among other customer service tools to keep your business open at any time of the day.
This is especially helpful to people who have hectic schedules and can only log onto the Internet at odd hours to make online purchases.
With a software program, customers can place orders anytime, anywhere.
Ideally, you should include your contact information, such as your business address, phone number, e-mail, and social media channels, on your official website.
This way, customers can easily ask questions, state complaints, make suggestions, and/or ask for a refund.
If you don’t want to put your e-mail address online, you can use a contact form that customers can fill up.
Respond In A Timely Manner
Customers are generally impatient.
When they send a message, they expect to receive a response right away.
Otherwise, they may give your business negative feedback.
Teach your employees how to provide excellent customer service.
Train them to respond to messages within twenty-four hours.
If they are doing a live chat on social media, they should be able to provide quick yet accurate information.
Address Customers By Their Names
Addressing customers by their names helps makes your conversation more personalized.
It assures customers that you have their best interest at heart.
However, make sure that you use the right tone when saying their names.
You must also insert their names naturally in your conversation.
Refrain from saying their names too many times.
A good rule of thumb is to write down their names immediately and to ask for the correct spelling and pronunciation.
Be Brief And Direct
Customers do not have time to read lengthy and vague e-mails.
Hence, you should make your messages brief and direct to the point.
Give your customers the answers that they need.
Provide explanations if necessary, but avoid including unnecessary information.
Send Confirmation Receipts
Don’t make your customers guess whether you have received their messages.
Your response has to indicate how long they need to wait for a reply if you cannot respond to them right away.
You can also use software to direct them to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages where they might find the answer that they are looking for.
Listen To Your Customers
One of the customer service skills that your employees have to develop is listening.
Being a customer service representative is more than just talking and providing information or answers.
It’s also about listening intently to the concern of the customer.
In addition, you should not merely offer product and/or service recommendations.
You must also listen to the opinions and recommendations of your customers.
Since they’re the ones that use your products and/or services, you have to tailor your business to meet their needs.
You can even send out surveys or have polls to find out what they want.
Use The Right Tone When Speaking To Customers Over The Phone
When people talk on the phone, all they hear are each other’s voices.
They cannot see the other person’s facial expressions and body language.
So, it is important to use a tone that can convey the message accurately.
For example, a flat and monotone voice may tell the customer that you are bored and uninterested in what he is saying.
A high-pitched voice and a drawn-out talking speed may tell the customer that you cannot believe what you are hearing.
A high-pitched and emphatic voice may tell the customer that you are enthusiastic about your conversation.
A low-pitched voice and a slow talking speed may tell the customer that you are not interested in having the conversation at all.
A loud voice and a fast-talking speed may tell the customer that you are angry and not open to accepting any input.
The moment your customers hear the tone of your voice, they make an assumption regarding how you feel or what your attitude is like.
Hence, it only takes a few seconds for them to determine if they want to continue talking to you or not.
Treat Customers With Respect
One of the most effective customer service techniques is to encourage customer service representatives to put themselves in the shoes of customers.
This would teach them how to provide excellent customer service.
Assuming they were to be a customer that needed help urgently, how would they feel if the customer service representative ignored their concern or answered them rudely?
Your employees should keep in mind that every person deserves respect.
They have to conduct themselves appropriately, regardless of the way the person on the other end of the line speaks and behaves.
They have to be professional at all times, especially since they are representing your business.
Do Not Argue With Customers
It’s common for customers to get angry and start an argument when contacting customer support.
They may raise their voice and probably even utter inappropriate comments or words when your products and/or services do not meet their expectations.
After all, they just want to get what they paid for.
It is not good to argue with customers.
Rather than argue with them, your customer service representatives should keep their cool and offer a solution to the problem.
Keep Your Word
If you say that you will do something, then you really have to do it.
For example, if you promised to call a customer on Friday at 10 AM, you have to call them on Friday at 10 AM.
Do not call them on any other date and time.
Otherwise, you risk losing their trust and they may no longer do business with you.
Train your employees to follow through on their promises to customers.
They have to respect their time.
Focus On Forming A Relationship, Not Making A Sale
Another one of the vital customer service skills that your employees should learn is sociability.
If you want your business to last for decades, you have to form and maintain a good relationship with your customers.
This way, they would keep coming back for more.
So, when customers contact customer support, your customer service representatives should build rapport with them.
They may make small talk with customers by asking how they are or how their day went.
Then, they can move on to the main concern of the customers.
People generally want to feel cared for and appreciated.
When customer service representatives talk to customers about things other than the products and/or services they offer, they make these customers feel valued.
It’s as if they are speaking to them as friends, not mere strangers.
Hence, customers feel more comfortable and relaxed, and they become loyal patrons.
Admit Mistakes Or Errors
No person or business is perfect.
Everybody makes mistakes, including you.
Hence, you should not feel the need to conceal or deny it.
Customers want honesty.
So, when you make a mistake, you have to take responsibility for it.
You have to apologize and do your best to make things right.
Help Your Employees Develop Positive Customer Service Skills
If you want your company to have a good reputation in your industry, you should train your employees to show a positive attitude and personality.
Your employees must know and understand why it is necessary to provide excellent customer service.
They have to effectively communicate with customers by listening intently, offering solutions, and providing accurate information or answers.
Help them enhance their problem-solving skills and presentation skills.
See to it that they have thorough product and/or service knowledge, as well as a complete understanding of the systems and processes of your company.
You should also train your employees to handle complaints professionally by staying calm and composed, not arguing with customers, and being objective with their answers.
Likewise, they need to use the correct questioning techniques.
Your employees should know how to deal with angry or frustrated customers.
They have to have empathy so that they can understand them better.
Teach them how they can assert themselves without being rude or disrespectful.
They must also learn how to work as a team.
Moreover, you should train your employees to show genuine concern to customers.
They need to be helpful, patient, and polite at all times.
They should also constantly search for new and innovative ways on how to improve their customer service.
Implement A Customer Service Culture
Different businesses have different customer service cultures.
Nonetheless, nearly all of them have departments that deal with sales, telemarketing, credit, order processing, collections, customer service, and technical support.
Business owners who know how to provide excellent customer service are meticulous and organized.
They have systems in place to ensure that the needs of customers are properly attended to.
Remember that customers may need to contact various departments and they may get lost in the process.
They may be passed on from one department to another until they are forgotten.
This is obviously not a good way on how to provide excellent customer service.
Your employees must know their roles in your company.
Aside from fulfilling their individual job descriptions, they need to make a collaborative effort to help the customers.
Nobody should worry about who has to deal with a particular customer because it is everyone’s duty.
Set A Good Example
It is not enough to just know how to improve customer service.
You also have to apply what you learn.
As a business owner, you are the role model of your employees.
So, you need to set a good example for everyone to follow.
Keep in mind that the way you behave tells your employees what your real values are.
So, if you want your employees to treat your customers with respect, you have to treat them with respect.
If you want your employees to be punctual and productive at work, you have to be punctual and productive yourself.
Measure The Quality Of Your Customer Service
Successful businessmen understand the value of providing excellent customer service.
This is why they regularly measure the services that they offer and ensure that they only provide the best.
But how can you measure the quality of your customer service?
Study The Supply And Demand
Measuring your sales allows you to determine the quality of your customer service.
In essence, if your customers are satisfied and happy, they will be more inclined to pay for more of your products and/or services.
Then again, you should also consider other factors, such as price mark-downs, the economic climate, and the season, to find out why your sales have increased.
Let your customers give their input on how to improve customer service and provide it excellently.
Your employees can ask them when they shop at your store or contact them via phone or e-mail.
You can also create surveys regarding the different areas of your company and ask your customers what they think.
Evaluate The Complaints You Receive
Getting a lot of complaints is a sign that you have poor customer service.
Do your research and find out what your customers frequently complain about.
Whatever the issues are, you need to address them immediately.
Determine The Weaknesses Of Your Business
When you measure your customer service, you will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
Use this as an opportunity to make improvements and provide excellent service to your customers.
For example, your customers may be dissatisfied with how long they have to wait to receive assistance.
They may also be annoyed because your products are often out of stock.
Check Out Your Competitors
By observing your competitors, you can have an idea of how you stand in terms of customer service.
This will enable you to make adjustments or improvements if necessary.
For example, you may pose as a customer to find out how other companies treat their customers.
You can also talk to people who have done business with different companies and ask them which one provides the best customer service.
Document And Keep Track Of Interactions For Future Research And Development.
Make sure that you keep a record of phone calls, e-mails, and other transactions between your customers and your customer service department.
This will allow you to analyze if there are any service gaps.
It will also let you improve your customer service through customized training interventions.
Hopefully, these tips for providing excellent customer service were able to give you an idea on how to run your business more effectively.
Keep in mind that it isn’t enough to sell trendy, functional, or in-demand products.
Likewise, it isn’t enough to offer promos and huge discounts for services.
You have to offer exceptional customer service if you want your customers to continue doing business with you.
Have these tips been helpful on how you intend to run your business going forward?
Do leave us your thoughts!