Everyone has a story about customer service, whether it is good or bad. We all know what makes good customer service as a customer. Have you thought about it customer service for an organisation? Here are seven customer service tips
- Invest in soft skills training:
Customer service is fundamental to all areas of your organisation. There is a need to teach customer service representatives how to solve customer problems and anticipate problems with customer service. They should also be trying to exploit sales opportunities and build brand loyalty. They also must be trained in conflict resolution, communication effectiveness, building rapport, phone etiquette etc.
Management is not only responsible for being visionary and developing strategy. They must give their customer service representatives every opportunity to succeed.
- Realise Customer Reality:
Bad customer service can just about always be attributed to a failure to understand what customers want. Customers want to be treated like they matter to you. Perhaps this may be blindingly obvious to some: How do you make customers feel like they matter to you? :
- Do you have an automated message telling customers they are important to you? Apparently the importance of these customers cannot be overstated because customers hear that message repeated every 20 seconds, while they wait to speak with your business.
- Do you have customer service representatives that can listen and diagnose customer problems, find possible solutions, and solve the problem to the satisfaction of the customer?
- Do you have a checklist of customer service issues that you personally detest? Make sure your business does not demonstrate any misdemeanours from your list.
“While you may be quite brilliant when it comes to the front-end of business — making sales, increasing market and mindshare — you’re really undermining your success on the back-end.” (Adrian Miller, Seven Steps to Exceptional Customer Service, Business Know-How Newsletter, June 28, 2011)
- Making Customer Service Ordinary:
Training your staff about the products and services your business offers is commonplace and is seen as a fundamental function of business. Customer service training is often seen as something only that customer service representatives do when required. However, it is better to foster a culture where customer service training is ongoing and valued. This will of course lead to improvements in customer service, and by doing this; create a “buy in” from the Customer Service Representatives. Try to create the ethos “Of Course we are doing training this week, we are always doing customer service training, it is part of what we do this company”.
- Make it real:
Suspension of belief is not something you want your customer service representatives to get from the training. Don’t get the Customer Service Representatives fixing problems or coming up with solutions that do not exist, or cannot be solved.
Check in with your Customer Service Representatives, daily. Find out what annoys them and when this occurs. Encourage a strong culture of feedback. Make sure this is an opportunity for them to provide honest blame free feedback, without punishment. It’s cheaper to find out what’s working and what isn’t for customers from staff rather than Ex-Customers.
- Broaden Your View of Customer Service:
Traditionally, customer service is viewed as the interaction between the customer making an enquiry, and the Customer Service Rep responding to that enquiry. This definition must be extended to include everyone and everything that interacts with customers. Customers’ interaction with your business can change affecting their perception of your customer service. Today a customer interacts with your delivery person; tomorrow it’s the telephone menu, next week it’s the sales staff. If any of these interaction channels are untrained and ineffective, customers will make swift and harsh assessments of your customer service.
- You can’t fool your staff all the time:
If you treat customer service representatives and everyone else performing customer service duties badly, they will in turn have difficulty treating customers well. Businesses that have the double standards: one for employees and another or customers: in this will have trouble remaining internally credible.
- Everyone smiles when they’re winning:
If you have a high demand product or service, and customers are constantly knocking at your door, it is natural to assume customer service is perfect. However, your business can easily decline, if competitors learn to do what you do, except faster and cheaper. When your business is struggling due to these and other factors, customer service can either flourish or collapse.
Good customer service can save your business. Make sure you train your staff regardless of sales and how much market share you have in the future.