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Chances are that you have had poor service lately and this has tarnished your perception about a brand even though you cannot fault their products. Customer Service is now not just seen as ‘’nice to have’’ but, is an integral part of every business, with so many options now available for our customers and the competitive marketplace as a whole. It can now be argued it is not enough to concentrate on what we do, but in fact how we do it.
This post defines the ten main points to enhance every customer engagement with a goal of establishing a state of customer excellence.
1 – Respect
Treat every customer with respect, not just important large customers, but every customer, after all, the fact that they are contacting you in the first place is that they need help – as a rule of thumb respect each customer in the same way you would a close relative.
2 – Exceed Customer expectations
Do your best to give each customer that wow factor, understand their individual needs, and go beyond what they can expect you can do. Sometimes it only takes a simple action on your behalf to convert a wandering customer into a loyal customer.
3 – Be Truthful
Never lie, it can be heard in your voice, a slight doubtful hesitation with the lack of eye contact or the rapid change of tone and pitch on the phone are all signs that something is not right. Be truthful, believe in what you say and be confident, again, remember that the customer is effectively giving you a chance for them to trust you, don’t blow it.
4 – Active listening
Simply hearing somebody is a world apart from active listening. Active listing involves looking beyond words and taking into consideration pitch, speed and the underlying tone of a discussion. By practicing active listening skills you are more likely to understand exactly what the customer wants, even if they are not 100% sure themselves. If you are not sure how to active listen, there are online courses to help.
5 – Keep customers informed
Nobody likes to be left in the dark, if a situation changes that involves your customer, ensure that you inform them so they are one of the first to know, even if the call is not highlighting a positive result. With communication comes trust, and with trust, satisfaction!
6 – Make the customer feel important
Always remember who the most important person is – you customer! This may sound a little cliché however, look at the facts; your customer receives products or services from your company or organisation in return for a reward, generally cash… It is this cash that pays your salary. So if you look it as it is, no customer no salary – your customer is important and you should always remember that.
7 – Help customers understand why
If something goes wrong or hasn’t gone as planned, help the customer know why. I do not mean baffle them with jargon, but match their business speak. Please note there is a big difference by helping a customer understand why and making excuses – one shows commitment to the satisfaction of the customer, and the other shows reluctance to take accountability.
8 – Know how to apologize
When apologizing to a customer it best not to transfer blame, as you are talking to your customer about a product or service they are purchasing from you. When something goes wrong, this should be seen as time to shine – yes, things go wrong, however it how you deal with them that shows the strength of your customer service.
9 – Accept Accountability
If something goes wrong, take the responsibility of it, simply saying a statement like “I am sorry for your inconvenience, I will personally now take responsibility of this and ensure you get a ……” Then follow up on your word and take accountability on the call and follow-up with the customer – this might not be straight forward and may need a flow of communication before the customers issue is resolved.
10 – Remain Positive
It is human nature to mimic each other and if your customer is sad or angry, we often will start to follow their tone. It must be remembered that they are generally calling for support where you are perceived expert, with this it is always important to remain positive about any situation. However also be very careful not to lose your empathy with the customer or sound patronizing.
By learning understanding the skills of offering high Customer Service through structured training, coaching and mentoring you can not only ensure a customers satisfaction but recruit them as continuing patrons of your business, and who would not want that.