This is a guest post by Misa Chien, co-founder of Praiseworthy.
If customers are the lifeblood of a business then customer service representatives are the heart. They are the driving force behind a successful business, and when customer service fails, so does the rest of the enterprise. Because of this, it is vitally important that customer service representatives are carefully chosen and trained so that they can complete their jobs to the highest degree of excellence at all times. It can be a highly demanding and rewarding field to work in, and as a result of today, we will be covering six essential tips about customer service you need to know.
Smile When You Talk to or Greet Your Customer
First impressions are everything, and they can often set the tone for the rest of the encounter between a representative and a potential customer. Because of this, it is important to remember that great service starts with a smile and a friendly greeting. This will help the client feel at ease and appreciated. A smile creates a friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the beginning of the engagement, which is essential to achieving the best possible outcome for your service. Less friendly greetings with even a neutral or quizzical look can appear rude, even if they aren’t intended to be, and can cause the customer to feel dissatisfied with their service.
Don’t Write/Speak like a Corporate Robot
Going off of the first section, it is important to retain a polite, friendly, and conversational tone with the client. Whether the information being relayed is pricing, policy, or anything else, it’s beneficial to treat the conversation as a friendly engagement rather than a corporate or purely informational one. Small touches to both inflection and tone can make all the difference between sounding amiable and sounding cold or aloof. Customer service representatives should strive to be as inviting and friendly as possible, (within reason, of course) and maintaining friendly contact is essential.
Keep Standards High and Response Times Low
Moving away from amicability, general conduct is also important for representatives, whether it be behind the scenes or at the front desk. No matter how friendly or accommodating a representative might be, if the customer does not have their needs met efficiently and effectively then the entire effort of remaining friendly may end up being wasted. So, it is important to strive to keep your response times low and your standards for service as high as possible. Finding the balance between timely and exemplary service can be difficult, but balancing time frames with satisfactory service is a key component to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Correct the Customer (Correctly)
Sometimes (especially when providing information or pricing for a service) it is necessary to correct a customer, which can quickly turn into a highly sensitive task. It’s no secret that most people don’t enjoy being told that they are wrong, so customer service representatives must be able to breach the subject with both tact and grace. Outright telling a customer that they are wrong or misinformed will often blow over poorly, especially if the customer is interrupted or feels slighted. It is key to sound as friendly as possible and keep the correction as impersonal as possible. Rather than suggesting that the customer is wrong outright find a way around the subject skillfully and politely.
Know How to Close a Conversation
Just as the first impression is of vital importance, so is the closing impression. The last handful of words shared in an exchange can often define the feelings both parties walk away with, and the wrong words can leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth and turn an otherwise excellent engagement slightly sour for no real reason. So, the rule to remember here above all is that politeness, friendliness, and above all, a smile, is essential to defining the exchange that has occurred up until that moment as a pleasant, friendly one. Make sure that the customer has no lingering questions or concerns, and make sure that they leave your care satisfied and with a positive outlook on their experience.
Walk the Extra Mile
As a general rule for the customer service experience as a whole, it is important that the customer always feels that the customer service representative is in their corner, working for the customer’s best interest. Simple changes to conduct and language can give this impression, but one of the best ways to make a customer feel provided for is to always go the extra mile to make sure they are satisfied, and their needs are being met and then some. Going the extra mile for your customers and making it apparent gives that all-important impression that not only do you care about the customer’s experience but that you are making a conscious effort to meet their needs and provide excellent service.
In the end, customer service is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs in the modern business world. Providing your customers with a satisfying and rewarding experience is what keeps them coming back time and time again even in the face of difficulties with their product or service. When your customers are confident that their needs will be met and their concerns remedied you can be sure that they will return as satisfied, loyal customers long into the future, and secure the longevity and well-being of your enterprise for years to come.