Advice for Providing Great Customer Service
Everyone has experienced bad customer service at one time or another. Whether it is on the phone or at a service desk, the experience no doubt left a really bad impression of the company and how they do business. Customer service is crucial in a business. It is right there on the front lines of customer interaction and as a representative of a company’s image, customer service needs to be top notch.
A good business needs to maintain quality customer service. It is the key to a successful customer database and longevity for your business. It is hard enough for a business to acquire customers. You don’t need to lose them due to poor service. Repeat customers will generally spend more and refer more customers to you through word of mouth. So if you want to have repeat customers, you need to have great customer service. Here are some tips to help out your business.
Make the Customer Feel Valued
This is the number one important thing to remember with customer service. So many companies fail to do this. It is as if once they get a transaction from you, your importance to them has ceased. When a customer service representative is talking to a customer, they should address them by their name as often as possible. Don’t ever treat them like they are just a number. By addressing them by their name, this adds a personalized aspect to your customer. It lets them know you are paying attention to what they have to say and that you value them as a person instead of a nameless customer.
Find a Solution
Most often a customer will contact customer service because of a complaint about a product that they bought. When this happens, the service representative is already at a disadvantage because the customer is not satisfied with their product. A great customer service representative should always try to find a solution to the customer’s problem. Never, ever leave them dissatisfied.
Finding a solution to a problem or complaint can be tricky. If you find that there is no immediate solution to their complaint, you should try to find another means of creating a satisfactory solution. Try offering something else of value as an additional bonus. You can also offer to send a replacement item or an item on loan until theirs is fixed in your repair department. If the item has to be shipped back to the company, offer free shipping or even for Fedex to pick the item free of charge. All of these choices will result in a satisfied customer who will want to continue to do business with your company. They will hopefully tell their friends and family about the great customer service at your company and that alone is worth any trouble and hassle. It’s free advertising from a valued source that will hopefully turn into larger profits down the road.
Show Good Listening Skills
When a customer contacts your company’s customer service department with a problem or a question, the representative needs to make sure they give the customer their full attention and focus on what they are saying. Far too many times a customer service representative who is on the phone or receiving email does not give a customer their full attention. After all, the customer can’t see them. But even on the phone, the customer may still pick up on the representative’s tone of voice. If the customer service rep is not paying attention and focusing on the job at hand, it is still going to be apparent. The best way to truly be able to solve your customer’s problem is to give it your full attention so that you can properly evaluate the situation.
A great customer service representative needs to ask questions about the problem and in order to do that, they need to listen to the problem. By doing this, the customer will know that you are really listening to what they have to say.
Get Rid of Automation
Have you ever called a customer service number and been happy to hear an automated message? No, because it is cold and impersonal and takes too long for the customer to get to the information that they need. Great customer service relies on people, not an automated machine, to deal with their customers. If the business is a home business, make sure there is someone around to answer the phone. Get call forwarding if you need to. Having them leave a message is just as bad as an automated response. If the customer service is for a large company, hire enough people to answer the phone. Talking to a real person is much more comforting and more efficient in answering any questions or problems from your customers.
Make Sure the Staff is Properly Trained
If you have a number of employees who work as customer service representatives for your business, you must provide them with necessary updated tools, equipment, and training for success. If you have a technical support service department, make sure they have the latest training and technology at their disposal. Outdated technology is not the best way to achieve a satisfied customer. Equipment that needs to be replaced will only slow down the department and create lag times for helping customers. Also, representatives will not want to work with you if they feel that they can not complete a job using the resources that you provided for them.
Customer service employees need to know how to properly respond to customers and how to help in a positive way. You don’t want an employee who has a bad attitude manning the phone lines. That is like a bomb waiting to go off. Employees need to be courteous and perform in a professional manner.
Also try to have some incentives for your employees. You will want to have bonuses or levels of advancement for the employees who would like to stay on with your company and receive promotions. If the employees are happy, they are going to perform their job at a much more efficient level. This means happier customers and a successful business.
When Solving a Problem, Do More than Just the Minimum
When customer service is helping a customer by finding a solution to a problem, try throwing in a few extras or freebies. Everyone likes freebies and such gestures will only help to make the experience a more positive one. You can give a customer a discount, a free item, or even upgrades, all at no additional charge. This shows that you truly value the customer and appreciate their business. A loyal customer will keep coming back instead of going to the competition as long as they know that your company provides great customer service.