Do you know how to provide your customers with the best possible service?
Not exceeding expectations can send your business down the wrong track towards a customer service train-wreck.
Not to worry!
Change customer conversations by sharpening a few skills that every customer-facing employee can master:
A – Attentiveness
Understand your customer’s experience and become their strongest advocate.
Pay attention to individual experiences.
Notice details including a customer’s words, gestures, and body language when they’re describing a problem or need.
B – Be Knowledgeable
Customer-facing employees should thoroughly know products and services.
Otherwise, they won’t be equipped to solve problems.
A solid foundation of knowledge outfits employees to navigate complex customer situations.
C – Clearly Communicate
Quickly get to the issue at hand.
Customers don’t really want to hear your life story or how your day’s going.
Keep it simple and be mindful of how your communication translates to customers.
For example, a customer at a quick-lube shop was told their filter replacement would be “included” in their final bill. The customer translated that to mean the filter would be FREE. The employee meant it would be added to the bill. The customer didn’t return to the shop because of the miscommunication.
D – Decode
A great customer service rep can decode a customer’s current emotional state.
Knowing your customer better will empower you to create a more personal experience for them.
But, don’t misread a customer and ultimately lose them because of miscommunication or confusion.
Look and listen for subtle clues to help decode their current patience level, personality, mood, etc.
E – Encourage Positivity
People develop perceptions about you and your business in part from the language you use.
Positive, encouraging language can affect how a customer perceives your responses.
Even minor changes to conversation patterns go a long way towards creating happy customers.
For example, an employee responds to an out-of-stock item request by saying:
“The product isn’t available. I can’t get it until next week.”
“I can place an order for the product today and it’ll be sent to you next week.”
The first response is not negative, but it emphasizes what the employee cannot do rather than what they can do. It feels abrupt or impersonal.
The second response provided the same information, but with a can-do approach. It focused on a resolution rather than a problem.
F – Forbearance
You will not succeed without patience.
Already frustrated or confused, customers contact your business looking for a competent representative who will meet their needs without rushing them out the door.
Take the time to truly understand what a customer wants.
G – Graciousness
Some customers will never be happy no matter what you do.
Perhaps they had an awful day, are a complainer, or there are other circumstances beyond your control.
These grumpy customers may seem to want only to give you a hard time.
A great customer service provider will use basic acting to maintain a gracious disposition in spite of someone’s best attempt to bring them down.
H – Help
Ask for help.
It’s important to quickly realize when you’re unable to help a customer with what they need.
If you don’t know the answer to a question or the solution to a problem, then get someone who does.
Don’t waste your and the customer’s time trying to help when you cannot.
I – Innovation
Customer service providers need to stay on their toes all the time.
Perhaps a customer situation was left out of the handbook or a customer hit you with an unexpected reaction.
You’ve got to think on your feet:
Who’s your go-to person when you don’t know what to do?
How are you going to contact that person? Have an escalation plan.
What will you tell the customer in the meantime?
J – Just Stay Calm
Don’t let a heated conversation or customer cause you to lose your composure.
Customers expect you to hold up the sky when they think it is falling due to their current problem or need.
L – Listen
Collecting and listening to customer feedback is crucial for an innovative business.
Sometimes that may mean reading between the lines.
For example, a customer may feel that your website is difficult to navigate. Rather than directly saying, “Please improve your xyz,” a customer may instead say “I can’t find what I’m looking for,” or, “Where is the search function?”
Don’t miss important feedback.
P – Persuasiveness
Sales go hand-in-hand with customer service.
Sometimes a customer will reach out because they are curious about your product.
Customer service reps should convince an interested customer that your product is their best option.
Don’t lose potential customers because your service reps don’t compel them to purchase when appropriate.
S – Seek Improvement
Business owners and their employees must be motivated to improve what they do, no matter what that looks like.
Companies with high customer satisfaction ratings analyze and react to reports that illustrate customer satisfaction over time.
W – Work Ethic
To provide service people rave about, you’ve got to be willing to do what needs to be done without shortcuts.
The status quo won’t cut it.
It takes extra effort and drive to create an exceptional customer experience that people share with friends, family, and associates.
Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. is passionate about customer service.
Our experts help with everything from customer happiness ratings and service workflows to hiring and training staff.