4 Keys to Maximizing Customer Service
Some may say that good customer service is a lost art in our technology-obsessed culture. Some may say that customer service is just a bunch of C.R.A.P. And what do I say? I actually agree with the second statement, but probably not in the way you think. Stick with me and I’ll explain…
Customer service is the lifeblood of any business, even if the modes of communication have evolved a little through the years. Good customer service is simply about maximizing your ability to make each customer’s experience as enjoyable and professional as possible. If an experience gets off to a rough start, it’s your job to make the bad things that happen to your customers go away fast. The longer a problem persists, the more of a nuisance it is for the customer and the less likely they are to be a customer in the future.
Whether they engage with you over the phone, through email, or in person, it’s important to treat every customer as if they are a first-time customer. So, without further ado, here’s the C.R.A.P. you need to keep in mind:
- Communication - Most customer service pros have great communication skills. You’ll know you’re working with a communication expert if they pay close attention to what you’re saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what you’ve said to ensure their understanding. This is called active listening and it’s hugely important to demonstrating that the conversation you’re having is important to you. Not to mention, understanding the needs of your customer is key to your success in finding a solution.
- Resourcefulness – You know this one. It’s the ability to find solutions when there are no easy answers. To serve a customer well, you often need to deal with problems when you don’t have all the information or tools available to you. A resourceful employee will find a way to go that extra mile and provide the customer with more than what they asked for.
- Accountability - Customers appreciate transparency, even when something doesn’t go as planned. Own up to your mistakes when you make them and be truthful when you don’t have an answer to their requests. What you learned as a kid still applies. Honesty is the best policy. Just don’t stop there. Make sure your customers know you’re going to do the work to fix the problem or find the answer and get back with them as soon as you do.
- Personality – People have a built-in radar for phony, so it’s important to be genuine in your approach and how you handle any given situation. Answer your phone in a cheery tone. Smile when you offer a handshake. Ask them about their day when they drop in. You need to make your customer feel like a top priority, but to do that genuinely, you must actually believe your customer is a priority. If you’re in a situation where you’re overwhelmed and spread thin, take a deep breath and remember that the person on the other end of the conversation is a person, not a problem.
As you continue to hone your skills and build your team, make customer service training part of your culture. To provide the kind of customer service that keeps people coming back, an employee needs the right combination of skills, traits, and knowledge of customer service best practices. The right time to work on customer service is way before any conversations with customers.
Now that you know the C.R.A.P. I use every day, you’re well on your way to providing a great customer service experience!