The art of great customer service, like any great skill set, takes practise and dedication.
A negative experience in the digital age can prompt a customer to not only ditch your organisation permanently, but also cost you future customers as the original person you let down spreads the story of their disappointment publicly on social media.
Remember, it’s not just their friends and family who get to hear about a poor customer service experience – it’s potentially an unlimited number of individuals who you otherwise wish to attract.
So, get staff on board with sharpening their basic skills in dealing with customers. Here are five simple – yet essential – elements in making interactions beneficial for both parties.
Yes, being positive will make the Customer Experience positive…who would have thought? But seriously, a little positivity goes a long way.
It’s infectious, and whether you are dealing with a customer face-to-face, on the phone, or through digital platforms, always avoid negative language where possible. An outright “no” is a capital error when used instead of “I’m sorry, but…”
Being friendly will also boost your ability to persuade a customer.
Never insult a customer’s intelligence! One of the worst ways to do so is by attempting to discuss an issue, service, or product without the necessary knowledge to back it up.
Do your homework on whatever you are trying to sell or assist a customer with. You can bet that if you don’t know enough about it, they will know – and likely look elsewhere for an organisation they can trust.
Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes can save the day when a service encounter is in danger of straying into negative territory.
If you cannot accommodate a customer to their liking immediately, acknowledge how they must be feeling. Offering a simple “I understand…” can make all the difference when faced with customer disappointment over something perhaps out of your control, such as a product being out of stock or otherwise unavailable.
Another core tenet of customer relations. Frankly, if you can’t master this one, then your business is in trouble.
Staff will face impatient customers who demand satisfactory service. It’s the job of staff to counter this with as much patience as they can muster. Meeting that demand will dissolve the impatience, and leave a customer feeling they were valued. A returning customer secured.
Brush up on both verbal and written communication skills if you don’t wish to baffle a customer to the point of no return.
Be concise, yet not at the expense of warmth or approachability. Nobody wants to deal with a robot – and when that inevitably occurs you can bet they will be programmed with the friendliest AI available – so leave room for a little personality if it’s positive.
But whatever you do, communicate in a manner that leaves no room for misunderstanding. Don’t overwhelm a customer with too much information either; tell them what they need to hear at a rate they can keep up with.