Customer service is one of the most under-appreciated and under-trained jobs in the market. It was my first job while I was in high school. I was a customer service associate for a small retailer. My training included a brief lecture about the company and its products, followed by a helpful and thorough job description: “Make the customer happy… good luck!”.
Make the customer happy. How do I make the customer happy? Better yet, how do I keep them happy so that I don’t ever have to deal with an unhappy customer? (Yeah, right).
“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
One of the greatest necessities in a market where customers have seemingly unlimited options is excellency in customer service. Where limitless products and services are available, the way your customers are treated may be your biggest differentiator. So why are customer service jobs so easy to come by and training so scarce? Don’t skimp on teaching and implementing solid customer service skills for your company!
Here are some tips that can help you provide the best customer experience:
1. Be upfront
Don’t have any hidden or strange fees, let customers know exactly what happens after a trial period, especially if you are collecting credit card information, and don’t make promises that you can’t deliver on. Make your customer service contact information easily available to them should any issues come up. This can be done by having an email address or phone number at the top of your website, or adding a contact form to a page of your site.
2. Get personal
If you get on the phones or are emailing a current or potential customer, create a real connection with them. If the mood calls for it, make jokes, be personable, all while resolving their issues or answering their questions.
This is especially important in on-going customer relationships. In our office, we want to know what’s going on in our client’s offices and in their personal lives (to an extent!). These relationships create a solid foundation for our partnership with them.
3. Be willing to customize
If you’re offering a service with tiered plans or a package-deal, be willing to customize and change to accommodate your customer’s needs if possible. This kind of effort will likely create customer loyalty, so go above and beyond what other companies would do for their customers and be the hero!
4. Be responsive
Few things are worse than not being able to get ahold of a customer service department when you have a complaint or issue. This usually causes more frustration or anger and can lead the customer to leave angry reviews online. But don’t only be responsive to negative feedback or complaints! Customers also love to hear back if they tweet something positive about your product, service, or company! Make sure you’re responding to your customers on all fronts.
5. Be knowledgeable
Anyone talking to customers should know the product or service they are talking about like the back of their hand. And if they don’t, they should be asking questions. You should understand common issues that occur with your product or service and know how to resolve them.
6. Always be happy and professional
If the customer is happy and excited, be happy and excited. If they’re angry or frustrated, empathize, but be upbeat! You are going to be the most recent experience this customer has with your company, so make it a positive one, especially if their experience with your product or service was already negative.
7. Thank them
Always thank them! Your customers should know that you appreciate them. Even if they are returning a product, thank them for trying it out. There is always something you can thank them for. This is likely one of the last things you will say to them at the end of an engagement, and they’ll remember that you were happy and appreciative!
Keep these tips top-of-mind when interacting with your current or potential customers. Leave them with a positive impression of you and your company! Remember, they’re the ones that keep you in business.