As businesses accommodate their customers with the convenience of online products and services, customer service seems to take on a less significant role. Customer service and support has, in many instances, taken the form of customer FAQ via email, within 24 hours. If there is a phone number, it is buried somewhere on the website in an obscure area, almost as if no one wanted you to find it. Speaking with a person may even cost more with an upgraded package. Ugh!
Maybe some time in the future, after years of offering this to the consumers and there is a generation of consumers who seem to dislike actually “talking” via phone, this may be ok. But for now, nothing beats a voice on the phone to handle your questions or concerns. The caveat? Not just any voice will do. Nothing can send a customer scurrying away from a product or spreading bad news about it faster than rude or clearly inadequate customer service.
How do you ensure good customer service? Whether you are the sole customer support for your business or you have staff for that, here are a few ideas:
- Customer service and support personnel should speak clearly. There are few things more frustrating than the inability to understand your customer service professional.
- Customer service personnel should speak with a smile. It really does come through over the phone. A friendly voice can often disarm the most dissatisfied, even hostile, customer.
- Ask your customers for feedback via a return call, text or email. Many customers like to express their opinions about the service or product. It shows you care about what they think and about their satisfaction with your product or service.
- Be sure your customer service personnel are knowledgable or know how to quickly find someone who is if they can’t help.
- Remind your customer service personnel to listen to the customer without interruption to get a clear picture of the needs.
- Don’t forget etiquette when speaking with customers. “Yes sir/ma’am” are still the most polite way to address anyone. Better yet, repeat the customer’s name. Everyone likes the sound of their own name.
- Train your personnel to thank the customer for using the product or service and for calling in.
- Train your customer service personnel. You must teach and train your staff to deliver excellent customer service. Don’t assume that they will deliver the service in a friendly manner. Your customer service practices should be uniform and consistent. Again, train your staff.
These are just a few suggestions to help you retain customers. After all, that is the purpose of good customer service. Be intentional about how you want your customers treated.
The best training advice of all? Remind all of your staff to treat the customer as they would want to be treated.
Tell us about your best/worst customer service experience. Your input can help promote good customer service skills.