Contributed July 6, 2021, by Cheryl Viola Executive DIrector, MBA
Great customer service is a by-product of following best practices. Best practices include things like:
- Valuing the customers’ time.
- Having a pleasant attitude.
- Providing knowledge and helpful resources.
- Exceeding expectations.
You and all your team members need to:
1. Know Your product.
Knowledge about the products and/or services is essential. As an employee take the time to learn. Make it your goal to learn everything there is to know about the product or service.
A lifetime ago I had a job at a one-hour photo store. During the downtime, I would spend time reading the manual on the various film cameras. I found it fascinating to learn about aperture, depth, and filters. This love for learning has continued throughout my life. The more we learn and understand the business, the products, and the services the better it is to assist the customers. Never stop seeking opportunities to learn.
2. Maintain a positive attitude
Attitude is everything. A positive attitude goes a long way in providing excellent customer service.
Most customer interactions are not face-to-face, your attitude needs to be reflected in your language and tone of voice. We have often heard that when you are on the phone with a customer you need to smile. Yes, they cannot see the smile, but they can hear it in your voice.
3. Creatively Problem-Solve
Thrive on solving problems for your customers. When customers come to you with a problem, they are looking to you for answers and they want to feel valued and that you care about them. The best way to win a customer for life is to solve the problem in an efficient and timely manner. WOW them!
4. Respond Quickly
No one enjoys long waits for solutions. We can all think of an experience of trying to get a solution and not being able to speak to a live person or being transferred so many times that you lose your patience and hang up.
Recently I had an experience calling customer service, first I had an automated system answer the line, after listening to the options and choosing an option. I then listened to another list of options with the disclaimer that this was so they can better serve my needs. It felt like it was an endless loop of options without being able to get to speak with a real person. I was then put on hold to wait for the next available service agent. By the time I was connected to a live person, I could have a conversation with I was getting frustrated. At the end of a 90-minute telephone call, I spoke to 6 different people to which none of them were able to solve the problem at hand. 41% of customers reported that their biggest frustration is being put on hold. Do not leave your customers waiting. If you do not know the answer to their problem, investigate the solution and get back to them promptly.
5. Know your customers
Great interactions begin with knowing your customers’ wants and needs. Customers love personalization. We love walking into a business and being greeted by name. Regardless of the size of the community, we can all strive to build and maintain that small-town feel of learning people’s names. Even if you are the customer, pay attention to the employee’s name badge. Address them by name. Show empathy, listen carefully, and always exude kindness.
Customer service is the lifeline of any business, not just a department. Customer service is a journey that is always evolving and you can continue to improve.